Endless restart loop - and cannot boot into Safe Mode


F

Falcon

The computer is a friend's Advent DHE X22 running Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2006. The PC is caught in a never ending restart loop.

At switch on the computer confirms that it could not start up properly at
the last attempt to boot - with the usual screen suggesting that I can
start in 'Safe Mode', 'Safe Mode with Networking' etc. My intention was to
boot into safe mode and disable automatic restarts to try to troubleshoot
the problem. But selecting any of the options available from 'Safe Mode' to
'Start Windows Normally' simply repeats the cycle of restarts.

The only Windows disk available at the moment (until he finds his recovery
disk) is my own standard Windows XP Home SP2 disk. When I turned on the
computer with the Windows Home disk inserted, I was able to start the "boot
from CD" process, progressing to the stage at which it asks whether I would
like to re-install Windows etc. At this stage the computer does not reboot
itself, indicating (I think) that the problem is not hardware related, but
probably driver or registry related.

I stopped at that point as I'm not sure of the consequences in trying the
Windows Home 'repair install' routine on a Media Centre PC. Is there any way
I can get the computer to start in Safe Mode so that I can at least start
the trouble-shooting process without a Windows Media Center Disk or the
original recovery disk?
 
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G

Gene E. Bloch

The computer is a friend's Advent DHE X22 running Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2006. The PC is caught in a never ending restart loop.

At switch on the computer confirms that it could not start up properly at
the last attempt to boot - with the usual screen suggesting that I can
start in 'Safe Mode', 'Safe Mode with Networking' etc. My intention was to
boot into safe mode and disable automatic restarts to try to troubleshoot
the problem. But selecting any of the options available from 'Safe Mode' to
'Start Windows Normally' simply repeats the cycle of restarts.

The only Windows disk available at the moment (until he finds his recovery
disk) is my own standard Windows XP Home SP2 disk. When I turned on the
computer with the Windows Home disk inserted, I was able to start the "boot
from CD" process, progressing to the stage at which it asks whether I would
like to re-install Windows etc. At this stage the computer does not reboot
itself, indicating (I think) that the problem is not hardware related, but
probably driver or registry related.

I stopped at that point as I'm not sure of the consequences in trying the
Windows Home 'repair install' routine on a Media Centre PC. Is there any way
I can get the computer to start in Safe Mode so that I can at least start
the trouble-shooting process without a Windows Media Center Disk or the
original recovery disk?

I *strongly* recommend against using the wrong OS to repair the computer...
 
F

Falcon

Gene said:
I *strongly* recommend against using the wrong OS to repair the
computer...

Thanks Gene, that's why I stopped :) My intention was to go just as far as
to see if the OS was causing the reboot, i.e. whether it was being caused by
the hardware or software during start-up. I just haven't come across a
machine I couldn't get into safe mode before now. (Lucky me!)
 
D

DL

If you need to save data, then you need to remove the hd and connect it to
another sys, as the recovery cd may not be able to do anything but a
destructive recovery
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Thanks Gene, that's why I stopped :) My intention was to go just as far as
to see if the OS was causing the reboot, i.e. whether it was being caused by
the hardware or software during start-up. I just haven't come across a
machine I couldn't get into safe mode before now. (Lucky me!)

OK, I got it (finally!).
 
F

Falcon

Thanks DL.
I do wish people would learn to back-up their data before something like
this happens.
 
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D

David B.

I find that people do learn, after they've lost critical data and have to
pay a couple thousand to a data recovery company to retrieve it.
 
B

Buffalo

Gene said:
On Thu, 22 Oct 2009 00:18:55 +0100, Falcon wrote:
[snip]
Thanks Gene, that's why I stopped :) My intention was to go just as
far as to see if the OS was causing the reboot, i.e. whether it was
being caused by the hardware or software during start-up. I just
haven't come across a machine I couldn't get into safe mode before
now. (Lucky me!)

OK, I got it (finally!).

How did you manage that and does it now boot into Normal Mode?
Let us know how it goes from there.
Thanks,
Buffalo
 
J

Jaime

Gene isn't the one with the (re)booting issue, which has not been reported
as solved yet.

Gene wrote that he "got it", meaning (I believe) that he got what Falcon
approach was to solving the problem.
--
James
Orlando (Goofy says "Hey"), Florida

Buffalo said:
On Thu, 22 Oct 2009 00:18:55 +0100, Falcon wrote:
[snip]
Thanks Gene, that's why I stopped :) My intention was to go just as
far as to see if the OS was causing the reboot, i.e. whether it was
being caused by the hardware or software during start-up. I just
haven't come across a machine I couldn't get into safe mode before
now. (Lucky me!)

OK, I got it (finally!).

How did you manage that and does it now boot into Normal Mode?
Let us know how it goes from there.
Thanks,
Buffalo
 
J

Jaime

When you hear the single beep as Windows boots and press F8, are you not
getting the "Disable The Automatic Restart On System Failure" choice on the
Advanced Options menu?

The other option (depending on your comfort level) would be to download and
burn an alternate boot CD (like the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows), use that
to boot the PC and use the Remote Registry Editor tool to kill the Automatic
Restart.

The download mirrors for UBCD are here:
http://www.ubcd4win.com/downloads.htm -- it's an ISO file with lots of
tools, so it's a huge download, however lots of goodies for future use.
The Key is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\CrashControl
The Value is: AutoReboot, set it to "0" (for no reboot)
 
B

Buffalo

Jaime said:
Gene isn't the one with the (re)booting issue, which has not been
reported as solved yet.

Gene wrote that he "got it", meaning (I believe) that he got what
Falcon approach was to solving the problem.
Thanks for the heads up.
Buffalo
 
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F

Falcon

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.

I finally got it to a stage where I could turn off automatic restarts by
starting-up while pressing and holding F5. I was surprised to see the option
to turn it off available from there. I've never come across it before.

At this stage I simply wanted to find out what the BSOD was telling me, so
getting it out of the loop was a blessing. The error message was 0x000000ED
[etc...] UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME, which wasn't altogether unexpected.

The Recovery Console option chkdsk /r sounded like an option. As I indicated
earlier, I don't have a Media Centre OS disk, so I made one fairly desperate
attempt this afternoon to invoke the repair console with an XP Home SP2
disk - which failed, reporting that it couldn't find a hard disk to check.

It appears that recovery disks were never issued with the machine
(see: http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/advent/pc/DHEX22.htm ) and it was left to
the user to create them. Of course, that wasn't done. I've now found that
there is a recovery option from a hidden partition which involves pressing
F10 during start-up, which is supposed to access the Advent recovery
console - and I'll try that tomorrow morning (UK time), but at the moment I
don't hold out too much hope that the disk is recoverable.

If it comes to replacing the disk the owner would have to fork out for the
disk and the media center OS. Which would just leave me the problem of
getting the cover off the machine. I know it sounds silly, but at the moment
I can't see a screw or tab anywhere on the damned thing. It's one of these
little swines. I mean beauties: http://xrl.us/bfudjn (Link to www.pcw.co.uk)
 
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G

Gene E. Bloch

Thanks for the heads up.
Buffalo

To add a bit to the above: I wrote that I got (understood) it because I
initially *didn't* get what Falcon meant :)

I.e., I was (implicitly) thanking him for his heads up to me.

And so it goes...
 

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