Another non-booting PC

This concerns a desktop PC about 5 years old belonging to one of my neighbors. I simply want a second or third opinion before walking over tomorrow morning to attempt a fix.:flower:

Condition of the system when I had my first look yesterday was as follows:

On startup Windows XP Pro SP2 (my neighbor does not have an internet connection so has not updated to SP3) reports it is attempting to recover the Registry. This is followed by a 2-3 minute pause, after which Windows reports “Recovery Successful” by using a backup or log. Then
the system just Hangs and no further progress occurs (displays still shows the Windows startup screen.) I wait 10 minutes during which there is no hard disc activity.:frowning:

So, I hit the Restart button on the front of the PC intending to boot into “Safe Mode” by pressing F8, which on my first attempt leads to the Screen asking what I want to do:
“Boot Windows Normally”
“Boot Windows in Safe Mode”
“Boot Windows in Safe Mode with Networking”,

So I hit the “UP” arrow button on the keyboard to change the selection to “Boot into Safe Mode” (something I have done countless times on my own PC) – and to my dismay there is no response from the keyboard. I cannot choose to boot into Safe Mode. So, the countdown continues and
eventually Windows boots normally, leading to a repeat of the situation I describe above about the registry recovery and the following Hang.:frowning:

So, I check the connections of the keyboard and mouse–which appear to be fine and hit the Restart button again for round 2 attempt into Safe Mode.
To my greater dismay, I now receive no response when pressing either the “F8” for Safe Mode or the “Delete” button to go into Setup. So now the PC repeats the situation above where it trys to boot normally. It appears both the mouse and keyboard no longer respond.:sad: I have checked and re-checked their connections to the back of the PC several times and everything appears normal.:doh:

So, I told my neighbor I needed to sleep on this one and have a return on Saturday morning for another try.
After a night’s rest I now plan to return tomorrow morning and take MY keyboard and mouse over to determine if it is his which have suddenly become defective. (But I don’t believe that to be the case.)

In the event, I still do not get a response from either the keyboard or mouse–what should be my procedure at this point?

(I am beginning to think at the very least a clean re-install with his XP cd will probably be necessary, but if there is no response from a non-faulty keyboard how will I do that?)

There are probably corrupt/damaged files on the HDD. One thing to try is to remove the HDD and install it as a slave on your PC, then run checkdisk and attempt to recover any bad sectors, also defrag it. Another thing to try is to leave the HDD in his/her PC and use the xp install disc that was used for that PC and then use the ‘R’ recovery console. If you go the recovery route, you might want to first take the HDD out and save any really important files to a cd/dvd, because they may be lost if the HDD is on its way out.

If you in the end do a full fresh install of xp, you might want to get a new HDD, they are pretty cheap and will give a nice performance boost over an old HDD.

I will second eric93se response.

I always connect a HDD as slave and copy all important files before starting any repair / recovery operation.

Good Luck


Try to clear the CMOS if possible.

Well to rule out keyboard go into the bios and see if you can navigate.

Yes try what the others have suggested.

Hi,[quote=uSerKey;2128696]This concerns a desktop PC about 5 years old belonging to one of my neighbors. I simply want a second or third opinion before walking over tomorrow morning to attempt a fix.:flower:[/quote]5 years old? If I remember correctly, then this was the era of el-crappo capacitors. Affected are not only mainboards, but also PSUs. So I would recommend a closer look at these components.

Additionally, I’d recommend checking RAM and HDD. The Ultimate Boot CD is nice for that job.


Most probably a software problem.

Best of all; kill the current installation, reformat and a fresh install.
(I reinstall OS on my windoze compus at least every 6 months. Linux boxes have been up and running for years though.)

O.K., I appear to have the situation under control now. (I hope.)
After reading the above posts, I decided a clean re-install of the OS after moving my neighbors personal data off the system drive was the best approach.
So I went back to his house, opened the PC case and removed the HD (a Samsung 80 GB, about 3 years old). At the same time, I located the CMOS Jumper and cleared CMOS. I took the HD back home to have a look at its situation.
My neighbor’s HD was the epitome of [B]disorganization[/B].:doh:
I first checked his system partition and it was virtually FULL.
That partition was about 13 GBs in size and in the Properties pie chart was 99.9% utilized. The amout of free space was in kilobytes. The second partition was pretty full as well having only 12 GBs of free space. I went poking around his system partition looking for his data and I found the probable cause of the system’s troubles. A folder containing almost 10 GBs of mp3 and videos was sitting on his desktop. I asked him about it and he said that he moved it there from the second partition a few days earlier to make it easier to access.:eek:
That move filled his system partition(Low Disk Space Warning was apparently disabled?). So when he shut down the PC, the system began having problems due to lack of space. He tried starting the PC several times after that and this apparently compounded the problem.

Anyway I have now moved all his media data from the system drive to the second partition which is now left with only 2 GBs free space. I took the drive back and put it in his PC. Ejected the DVD drive and put in his Windows CD. I Started the PC and pressed Delete during POST to try and get into Setup and it now worked(clearing CMOS probably did the trick.)
I set the first boot device to his DVD drive and everything has proceeded normally.:slight_smile: Now begins the long line of software installations.:rolleyes:
He understands now what he did, and I told him he needs to buy a second HD if he was going to save MP3s in triplicate and quadruplicate copies on his PC.:bigsmile:
Sorry, if this post got a bit long.


Glad to hear you got it going.
I myself did not even think about space,with HD’s being as cheap as they are I guess I was assuming everyone has plenty of space these days.

We all know what we get when we assume don’t we.

Happy Computing