The dreaded startup loop

  nedrick 15:37 14 Jun 2008

A friend's PC was running slow so I was asked to have a look at it; I brought along HijackThis but it kept crashing upon startup so I opened task manager and noticed a process "pojijphc.txt" appearing that appeared as HJT process ended. I did a few virus scans but none picked this up but with no infromation on the file online, I decided to delete the it, it would not delete easily but I used cmd to delete it on reboot. With it gone however, explorer.exe did not initialise and gave an error message when I tried manually.

At this point, I made the mistake of going straight to reinstalling WinXP on the computer but the process would not allow a repair installation for some reason, I therefore did a fresh installtion but once it began, the system rebooted into a infinite loop. I get to the DELL logo then a black screen then back the the logo, I can access safe mode options screen but safe mode just leads to a reboot and loop again.

Finally, I booted from CD again and tried to reinstall WinXP again and this time, I was prompted to reinstall over without NTFS, ie. over previous installtion. This just led to a different error where it would pass the DELL logo and say 'disk read error, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot.

My next step would appear to be delete the partition and start afresh but I would rather see if anyone knows if I can do anything else so I don't lose data on the PC. Any ideas?

Thanks alot

  Mac70 15:49 14 Jun 2008

Oopsie, that's what happens when you dont know what you are doing.

You said you already reinstalled, so the data will be lost anyway, wont it?

  bjh 16:01 14 Jun 2008

Not very helpful or constructive.


Before you go any further, do you have any disk imaging software - Acronis TrueImage, for example?

If not, you can download a working version if the hard disk is a Seagate Maxtor type (and if it is a Western Digital, I think).

Was the disk you used the one supplied with the computer? Doing a repair with an oem disk on a full version (and vice versa) install can cause problems.

It sounds as if the disk read error is referring to the Windows CD, not the hard disk - in which case there is possibility of success. Try cleaning the cd carefully with a dry cloth wipe out from centre, not around.

You want a repair installation, not a reinstall. Is it an oem disk, or a full one, and did it come with the computer, or is it your copy?

I'm in and out for the next few hours, but I (and no doubt others) will post back with helpful information. I would suggest the golden rule now is take things slowly.

  bjh 16:02 14 Jun 2008

Sorry - just to add, I am aware that one disk error iIS from the HDD - but was the first sounded like the cd....

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:19 14 Jun 2008

Its a Dell, does it have a reset partition?

  MarvintheAndroid 17:52 14 Jun 2008

You may be able to use a third party recovery program to pull files off the disk before you do any thing else. GetdatabackforNTFS is one that I have used with success. Note the more things you do that write to the disk, the less chance there is that you will get meaningful data back - you have already all but knobbled your chances by performing a fresh install. I think at this stage your best option is probably to cut your losses, re-partition and re-format, then reinstall windows etc from scratch. This will clear out the junk.

You have the option of installing a new HDD and setting up windows on that, then attempting to use the old HDD as a slave and transfer and / or attempt recovery of files off it. I think the chances of success are slim, but at they very least you'll end up with a backup drive for the future.

I am a little concerned about the read error - systems have a nasty habit of developing hardware problems after a botched installation.

Better buy your mate some beers !!


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