Win XP Home (French Version) boot problem

  Jayar 19:59 13 Jan 2010


Two days ago I was given a friend’s PC which was infected with the Command Center virus. It would not boot into Windows XP, in the Safe Mode the Administrator option had limited functionality and the User option was overwhelmed by the virus and was unusable. After some time I removed the virus, and the PC now boots into the Safe Mode fine with both Administrator and User modes.

However, I cannot get it to boot into the normal Windows XP. It starts normally with the initial Windows splash-screen, the screen goes blank (as it does normally but only momentarily) and then hangs.

This is not a usual Windows XP Home installation, inasmuch as the owner had the computer assembled in France around four years ago, and the OS installation is the French version of XP Home. It came with no installation CD, he has no recovery discs, and the person who did the assembly has gone out of business.

I have three Windows XP discs (all bootable), English versions, and although the PC will boot from any of them, the Windows XP on the disc does not recognise that there is another Windows XP version installed on the C:\ drive, therefore any Repair is unavailable, and the Recovery Console needs the Administrator Password which neither I or the owner have. I tried to do a manual installation of the Recovery Console, but once again, the PC did not recognise the required entry in Start Menu>Run. I have downloaded various recovery programmes but none work on this PC – I can only assume it is because there is different architecture in the bootup files at least in the French version.

This would not be a problem to me at all with my own PC, but it has the English version of XP installed and I have the installation discs here with me, and all the solutions I have seen so far for this problem would work. But the “visiting” PC has the French version of XP Home installed, and no solution I have tried (to get it to boot into XP normally) so far has worked.

I have tried to track a similar problem on the forums, but no joy. Lots of information, but not for a French version of XP. If anybody can offer any solution at all I shall be grateful. Downloads of any repair tools or ISO files for burning to CD are no problem at all – I will try anything!

  GaT7 20:23 13 Jan 2010

Well, looks like your only option (if you want to retain the French version) is to try to borrow an original French XP Home edition disk. Or, buy one - from eBay click here perhaps? Some will have just the disk (sans sticker / sans COA / sans whatever it is in French!) for sale, which should be a lot cheaper. Also enquire if they'll be willing to post to the UK before bidding/buying. A similar search on eBay UK didn't turn up anything click here, but keep checking from time to time.

Do you have the COA sticker/product key for the French version installed at present? If no, use one of these free 'keyfinders' click here to find out - use a couple of different ones for verification purposes, & make a careful note of it. G

  DieSse 20:23 13 Jan 2010

I presume there is no backup to solve the problem

You could remove the hard drive, connect it to another system, and attempt to copy off any needed data files. You might also first run a full AV and spyware check on the drive from the other system, in case there is anything still "lurking".

You could then put the drive back into the original system, and using the original activation code, do a clean install of an English copy of XP (the French code should work OK if you use a similar English version (ie - retail for retail, or OEM for OEM, Home for Home, Pro for Pro).

You could also hunt around for a French XP CD if that was a necessity, and use that.

Failing all that then I think your friend will need to buy a new copy of XP (or switch to a Free OS such as Linux).

  MAJ 21:13 13 Jan 2010

Try "ophcrack" click here (the liveCD) to recover the admin password, then run the recovery console to (maybe) Fixboot. To see how it's done click here Well it's worth a try, else, as the guys above say.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:23 13 Jan 2010

the screen goes blank (as it does normally but only momentarily) and then hangs.

Uninstall all drivers in device manager (safe mode) then reboot to normal mode see if it will boot ok and let it find and install drivers.

  woodchip 21:34 13 Jan 2010

In Safe Mode, go to run type msconfig press enter then try starting the computer after you make changes in troubleshooting mode. may be worth a try ticking and unticking to see what is stopping it

  Zeppelyn 23:21 13 Jan 2010

A password to enter the recovery console with XP Home is NOT required, just press enter. What you could actually achieve there though Im not sure as if it is getting as far as the splash screen then the boot sector and boot files would appear to be intact.

Try bootcfg /scan to see if it can find the Windows install.

  Zeppelyn 23:28 13 Jan 2010

Also run chkdsk /p /r from the recovery console.

  Jayar 17:35 14 Jan 2010

Many thanks everybody for your assistance. The PC is running normally again, but to be honest I am not 100% sure why. The last programme I tried before it finally booted into the Normal mode was from the Ultimate Boot CD, and I was playing around with the Linux boot programmes. Whatever, it is running fine now, and it has raised a few interesting points which are worth passing on.

There seems no compatibilty between the English and French versions of XP Home, at least when it comes to installation parameters/files. As I did not have a French version with me, such things as the Recovery Console and Repair functions did not work, nor did the Adminsitrator option when attempting to repair. When booting off the English CD, it did not recognise that there was already a version of XP installed, viz the English version did not recognise the French installation at all – therefore it deduced that there was nothing to repair.

Because it booted into the Safe Mode okay, I was able to copy off all his precious files (many photographs included) which he had neglected to do for some considerable time – even the Safe Mode with Networking option worked fine, so it was not like a case of a computer that had a case of dead Windows with a potential loss of everything, it was that the boot-up into Normal mode started okay but hung in the latter stages of the boot process.

Crossbow7 – thank you for the link to eBay for the French XP. I didn’t make it clear, but in fact I, the affected computer and its owner are in France, and he has ordered a copy today.

DieSsie – no there was no back-up, but he is painfully aware of the consequences that might have been. His photograph collection especially is extensive, and he considers it irreplaceable. I could use a stronger word for him not backing up his drives – I will settle for “idiot” for now.

Maj – the Ophcrack worked as advertised, and although it didn’t help me on this occasion, for me it is a keeper as one day I am sure it will be needed again.

Fruitbat/woodchip – thanks for the good gen.

Zeppelyn – thanks too – the Adminstrator option became irrelevant when the English XP on the CD did not recognise the existence of the French XP on the PC, so none of the Recovery Console or Repair functionality was available.

Once again, grateful thanks to you all for your responses.

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