Very unusual problem with XP reinstall after SP3


S

Stephen Harris

Hello,

I am an experienced computer technician and this problem
has me baffled.

Customer computer has 512mb memory 1.7gig cpu, 80mb hard drive.
and windows xp home.

Customer received SP3 through automatic updates and it didn't
take. My only clue is that some people have had nvidia video
card conflicts which customer has. The customer woke up to find
his screen at 640 resolution and a few super large icons.

After reboot, there was a black screen, never getting a signal
never getting as far as a logo or even the bios screen which
describes the ram of the video card. The keyboard is also dark
after the first flash of green,no persistent signal to it.

After several reboots, the screen processed somewhat and it
said the SP3 update was not completed, did I want to revert
to the stored SP2 earlier install. I said yes, and it reverted
but all of the SP3 install effects were not undone.

An MS service tech said that there were better results with
downloading all of SP3 to disk and then starting the update.
I did that as well as turn off hardware acceleratio for Nvidia
and disable antivirus.

Now this time SP3 did complete its installation and when done
said it needed to reboot. This is when the black screen with
an amber light to the monitor (no signal) happended again.
I spent a long time with a MS SP3 tech support guy. Finally
it rebooted after unplugging nearly all the USB devices.

I was able to uninstall SP3 at this point, hoping to go back
to a stable SP2 installation. But it appears that installation
is corrupted because it reboots after being on a couple of
days to the black screen of the monitor with no signal.

It doesn't seem like a hardware problem to me because uninstalling
SP3 put a lot of stress on the cpu, memory and hard drive and
finished. The computer will stay on for two days without apparently
overheating and then spontaneously reboot to the black screen.
Then it takes several tries to get the Logo to appear at boot up.

I decided to reformat and reinstall Windows XP which is why I'm
at this group. I tried a general emergency boot disk first.
It does boot to the cd. But if you make a choice of a rescue
option, the monitor stays lit blue, but there is never any
further progress of loading from the cd to a virtual drive.

I tried with the Windows XP install disk. It boots to the cd,
and I see the first line which is something like,"Windows
is copying setup files necessary for the configuration"
Now at this point, after a few minutes it is supposed to
start copying information to a blue screen to keep one informed
of the progress, that doesn't happen, it just sits there
and the format and install doesn't proceed, not past that
one line which let me know the cd was being initially read.

After several more tries without a cd, it booted to the installed
version of Windows XP, with the whole desktop etc. It just doesn't
last. Now I can't figure out what is causing this or how to fix it
in order to format and reinstall Windows.

Could it be some type of intermittent short on the motherboard?
Could some of the SP3 install code have partially corrupted
the MBR, or an early disk sector containing boot instructions.
When it doesn't work not even the bios seems to start. After
several tries, I do see the info about the video card which
I think comes from the bios and then later the Manufacturer Logo
and at this point sometimes it will freeze soon after the Logo
and produce a black screen. Or once in awhile it proceeds through
the whole bootup process and produces a working windows. But then
that spontaneously dies and reboots to a black screen, usually
after a few hours of operation. A while later after retries, it works.

This computer is at a home. Backups were made. Mainly I want
to get to the point where I can reformat Windows and reinstall.

Regards,
Stephen
 
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A

Andrew E.

First unplug pc,remove battery,locate & move the CMOS jumper pin from
1-2 position to 2-3 for .45 seconds or so,then back to 1-2 position,replace
battery,start pc.On pc start,enter the BIOS,reset date/time,load optimal
defaults,
reset BIOS for add ons,etc...Save & Exit.As for youre problems with the OS,
either download the hd MS-DOS utility to a MS-DOS formatted floppy,boot pc to
floppy,delete the partition with xp.Or,set BIOS to boot to xp cd,recovery
console,
select 1 For C: Press enter key for password,type:DiskPart,In
DiskPart,delete the
partition with xp,create one,press ESC key,type:EXIT Reboot to xp
cd,reinstall
xp.Also,512mb of memory is at min.for xp...
 
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S

Stephen Harris

Andrew said:
First unplug pc,remove battery,locate & move the CMOS jumper pin from
1-2 position to 2-3 for .45 seconds or so,then back to 1-2 position,replace
battery,start pc.On pc start,enter the BIOS,reset date/time,load optimal
defaults,

I'll try that. You didn't bother to explain why the computer would
boot once out of every 7 or times to a Logo, but just a black screen the
other 6 times. Do you mean SP3 wrote new information to the bios? All of
the computer was working fine before SP3. I thought the bios worked or
did not. But anyway, it is an idea to look into and I don't have better.
reset BIOS for add ons,etc...Save & Exit.As for youre problems with the OS,
either download the hd MS-DOS utility to a MS-DOS formatted floppy,boot pc to
floppy,delete the partition with xp.Or,set BIOS to boot to xp cd,recovery
console,

The bios was already set to boot to the xp cd. The cd generates
exactly one line of text on the screen and never proceeds any further.

The recovery console is an option found on the win xp install disk.
The opportunity to delete a partition is never reached.

"I see one line of text on my screen from the cd, and that is all."

The cd produces just one line of text and that's it. It quits. I
know the one line of text is from the cd because of its MS content.
select 1 For C: Press enter key for password,type:DiskPart,In
DiskPart,delete the
partition with xp,create one,press ESC key,type:EXIT Reboot to xp
cd,reinstall

This can't be done now. Are you saying that resetting the cmos
will change the drive from booting up randomly, to consistently
enough that the cd can be booted to, and read, for more than 1 line?
Another thing is that I can't get into cmos every time. It usually
takes 3 or 4 boots to get far enough (past initial black screen) to
even have the chance of entering the bios. I'll read about weird
bios problems if I can find it.
xp.Also,512mb of memory is at min.for xp...

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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