Boot and XP problem

  mka 19:49 21 Jan 2010

I hope some knowledgeable person out there can help.

My 7 year old PC (Multivision Elite Athlon XP2100+ with 64mb Geoforce 4 Ti 4200) with XP SP3 Home seems to have got itself into a mess.

When I switch on it boots ok at first, but then when the black screen with the option to start Microsoft Windows XP home or the recovery mode appears the words are full of spelling mistakes so it actually has Micrgsoft Wifdows @phome. On selecting Windows XP it loads up ok at first but then the screen goes black before the login window appears. It then hangs and will go no further.

If I boot it up, press f8 and select VGA mode (the whole screen is full of misspelt words), it will go into Windows desktop ok but then says the display is set very low and wants to correct this problem, if I allow it to do so it then crashes as above. If I try and work in VGA mode it is very difficult since the font is too big for me to see all the screen so doing anything is difficult!

I have made no changes to the hardware or knowingly updated any drivers.

Does this make sense to anyone?


  Jollyjohn 22:37 21 Jan 2010

Some of the Windows files are corrupted - possibly due to a virus - try a repair of Windows.

Boot from your XP CD, ignore the first option to repair, proceed as if installing XP. The existing installation will be detected and the option to repair it will be offered - accept this.
Once repaired I would copy all personal data to dvd/external hdd run antivirus and malwarebytes. If infections are found I would look to a format and re install of XP

  mka 09:39 22 Jan 2010

Thanks Jollyjohn, I am away for a few days now but will give that a go when I get back. I have Kasperski AV, updated daily, and a scan of the pc shows no problems.


  mka 15:17 31 Jan 2010

Have used the XP CD and followed your instructions. All appeared to work well until it rebooted and then began to load XP (with no spelling mistakes this time) but then a blue screen with half a page of info flashed on the screen and before I could read it the screen went blank and the PC rebooted. It keeps doing this in a cycle. I stopped the cycle by pressing f8 and tried to enter safe mode but it tells me that XP setup does not support safe mode and then hangs. I then repeated the process from the XP CD and it detected that it had already tried to repair the system, and asked did I want to try again. I did so but got the same result.

Does anyone know how I can get to read the blue screen before it vanishes and how I can stop the reboot process?

Many thanks

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:01 31 Jan 2010

Your problem could be a hardware one.
Windows XP is rather intolerant of mismatched RAM modules, especially with regard to its installation routine.
If you have more than one RAM module installed and they are not identical it might be an idea to try installing Windows with only a single module installed.
There are numerous errors which RAM incompatibilities can generate during the Windows install.

You could have a defective optical drive. Your PC is an older, 450MHz one, and if the optical drive is an older one also it may well be suffering the effects of time and use. Alternatively, that Windows installation CD may be scratched or dirty.

Considering that you’ve tried to effect a "repair" rather than a clean install, your problem may be a quite simple one.
Have you changed or added any drives in your system since Windows was initially installed?
If the drive letter allocations have changed the Windows install (or the replacement of system files via the Recovery Console) can throw up this rebooting error.

  mka 18:43 31 Jan 2010

Thanks Fruitbat that's brilliant, you really are spot on!

Yes, I did add an extra hard drive a few years ago, do I need to remove it or just disconnect it from the motherboard?

Yes, I did add extra memory some years back, the PC came with 256mb and I later added another 500mb so I do have 2 RAM modules which are of different sizes, should I take out the 500mb to get it back to the original state when XP was first installed or take out the smaller 256mb original module.

Yes the CDRW is very tired, the tray will not open without help, but luckily the dvd drive still functions and that is what I used today.

The Windows XP disc had never been out of the box until this morning so I hope that is ok.

Many thanks

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:03 31 Jan 2010

1. take out extra memory an see if it will continue with the repair.
2 if not then just disconnect the extra drive / CD and retry

  DieSse 20:09 31 Jan 2010

I suspect the graphics card rather than main RAM. I remember the GeF4xxx series well for many failures - I had three from one supplier that failed immediately. I rather think yours has lasted very well for what it was.

It's also possible that the fan has failed, or is running very slow, and led it to overheat and fail.

Try taking it out and refitting (in case of a bad connection. If not (and it really does turn out to be a card, afetr all) - then a good card for an AGP slot won't cost too much, and will run faster than the current one.

  GJC60 20:17 31 Jan 2010

I had this problem about a month ago. Kept giving me a blue screen flashing up then re-booted. Cured it in the end by re-installing XP, then virus and spyware scan. Found trojan virus. Re-booted and problem cured.

  mka 14:20 01 Feb 2010

Thanks guys

1. I took out the extra memory and tried again but no success.

2. Disconnected the hard drive, but I stupidly disconnected the original drive by mistake and it ran through the repair option with no problems except of course it is on the G drive rather than the C drive.

3. Re-connected the original drive and disconnected the G drive as per fruitbat's instructions but then when it tries to run through the XP setup it crashes like it did before.

Does this mean it is the graphics card as DieSse thought or something on the C drive?


  mka 14:50 01 Feb 2010

Another thought

Would it be possible to connect both drives and boot from the G drive and then access the files on the C drive

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