PC won't start up after power cut

  VTD 12:27 17 Feb 2007

My PC won't restart after two power cuts within an hour, though this may be purely coincidence as we've had plenty of power cuts before and the PC has always started ok.
The PC is based on parts up to about 8 yrs old and it has a 667MHz Pentium 3, running Windows 98, and a 20Gb Seagate HDD. The power is supplied via a Belkin Surgemaster. There was no lightning strike at the time of the power cuts as far as we know.
On powering up, the screen shows the usual system details (processor, memory etc) in DOS, beeps once, and then the Windows 98 screen comes up, whilst the HDD is operating, all of which is normal, but then the HDD stops whirring, which isn't normal. Ctrl/Alt/delete restarts and then we get to the same point again.
Pressing Escape brings up a DOS screen showing the last five lines of the disk drives list, the PCI device listing, then the line "Verifying DMI Pool Data..." and then the prompt "C:\>C:\WINDOWS\net start" but then won't respond to any keyboard input (not that I know to put in anyway).
I removed the HD and was able to copy the entire contents to a new PC via a 'caddy', so assume it isn't the HD. I've got a new 160GB HD, normally kept in the caddy, but when I fitted it into the PC, it (the PC) asked for the boot up disk, which didn't work.
There are two issues. First: how can I start the PC - is it a hardware or software problem and if so how can I find out?
And second: how do I get access (either from the original HDD or from the copy of it on the new PC) to all the emails stored in Outlook Express?
This seems to be the only data that I have lost.
Hoping someone out there can help...

  mad1234 12:34 17 Feb 2007

will it start in safe mode?

  VTD 12:44 17 Feb 2007

How do I start it in safe mode? (I'll give it a try on my return in about 45 mins).

  Belatucadrus 14:03 17 Feb 2007

click here for notes on Safe mode for all windows versions.

  VTD 14:05 17 Feb 2007

No luck trying to start it in safe mode. I can get the BIOS options on screen (heading "CMOS SETUP UTILITY") but can't find any mention of safe mode. Any advice on how to find one?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:24 17 Feb 2007

Reboot the PC and keep tapping F8 while it is booting.

Menu should appear Safe mode should be one of the options.

If you cannot get safemode but can get command prompt

1. Start your computer, press and hold CTRL, and then choose Safe Mode Command Prompt Only from the Windows 98 Startup menu.
2. At the MS-DOS prompt, type cd\windows\command, and then press ENTER. Where windows is the name of the folder in which Windows is installed.
3. At the C: prompt, type scanreg /restore, and then press ENTER.
4. Select the previous registry you want to restore, and then press ENTER.NOTE: A properly working registry has the word "Started" next to the date.
5. When you receive notification that you restored a properly working registry, press ENTER to restart your computer.

  VTD 14:53 17 Feb 2007

Thanks Belatucadrus (your posting crossed with mine) and Fruit Bat. I've got into Safe Mode successfully and it seems that everything is basically fine, so I take it that means that there's no hardware problem - I assume mobo, PSU, HD and graphics card must all be working ok.
This answers your question mad1234, so what do I do next please, anyone?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:00 17 Feb 2007

If it will boot to safe mode then one of your device drivers is probably causing the problem try updating / reinstalling drivers starting with graphics driver.

  VTD 15:47 17 Feb 2007

I can't update the drivers as, in Safe Mode, the PC won't recognise the CD drive (or the separate DVD drive), so I can't load the CD which has the drivers on it. I've tried to enable the CD and DVD drives in the BIOS/CMOS screen but I don't yet know enough to be sure that I've done the right thing or that I haven't made things worse!

  VTD 17:25 17 Feb 2007

Thanks everyone for your advice. I have restored a previous registry (all 5 listed appeared to be ok) and it has restarted properly, and all the emails are there and open ok.
I can't pretend to understand what I've done but it's resolved the problem, and it's down to you!
Thanks again.

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