Windows XP won't start

After a bsod, I receive this message on boot:

I have mounted the hard drive in another computer, and the file is there, so I assume it’s been corrupted. Copying the file from another windows installation won’t work.

I can also get to the recovery console (similar to DOS) from the windows CD but am at a loss on how to repair this file once there.

Is there any way to repair this windows installation without completely reinstalling it?


Just how to would depend on what computer it is. But since I don’t know that I can’t answer. On a Dell you use F12 after you see Dell on screen, on a HP you use f10 when turning on the computer. I don’t know about the other 4,576 computer types :slight_smile:

It’s a Dell Inspiron 8000 Laptop, but all F12 does is prepare a one-time boot menu which allows me to pick the harddrive, CD Rom, or NIC.

I already have the bios set to boot from CD first if there’s one in there.

Can you please explain in a little more detail what you are referring to?

handy I guess you didn’t realize that I have no problem booting the recovery console from the CD. I can mount the windows partition, and look around with basic dos commands, but I’m not sure how to fix this file.

If no one knows of a way to repair this installation, what is the best way to preserve my settings, and especially, my Outlook Express messages while I reinstall windows? The files and settings transfer wizard won’t work because the HD won’t boot. It also won’t work with the drive installed as a slave in a second PC. Some things are as simple as copying the files (like bookmarks) but OE uses some kind of encryption making the method less than obvious.
This is one of M$ Windows’ “features” that royally sucks compared to linux. In linux you can recompile the kernel without reinstalling everything else like browsers, mail programs, desktop, etc etc etc :mad:
I’ve had to reinstall windows too many times lately on too many computers and every damn time I have to download 24 hours worth of updates on a 56k modem and reinstall every software package, disable a ton of worthless services, tweek it to my liking and all the related BS. I’m about to resort to nightly ghosting of the entire HD.

If you have your XP install CD (NOT an OEM “recovery” CD) just do a reinstall of Windows. Borrow one from a friend if you don’t have it. This is a bit time-consuming, but should repair the problem without losing settings and preferences. Since the HD won’t boot, boot from the CD and run Setup from there.

Yes, Q.E.D., but in fact when I do this, OE ends up empty with no emails to or from anyone in any folder, nor do any folders remain. The desktop is cleared, all favorites are gone from IE, etc.

This is the full retail version of XP pro.

Actually, I can see the the old username in the documents and settings folder, but windows does not. I can’t log into the old account. The last time I did this, during the install it asked for my username, and used the same one I had used before. I then had two usernames in the docs&settings folder, one was BRAD and the other was BRAD.INSPIRON (the computer name). I could only log into one of them.

Hmmm…it’s been a while since I did an XP reinstall. I know you can back up the desktop and favorites folders, which I’ve done, then restore them after the reinstall. As for preserviing OE mails, I’m not sure, but I’ll look around for a solution.

The desktop and favorites folders are in the Documents and Settings folder. I just back up that entire folder to CD-R, then C&P the contents after the reinstall.

I’m a little confused. I’ve got XP Pro and any time I’ve done a reinstall all my settings including outlook e-mails have remained the same.I’ve never lost anything.Maybe you inadvertently screwed up something while re-installing.

See, this confuses me too. I back up what I can because periodically I’ll do a reformat and reinstall. But anytime I’ve done a straight reinstall, I’ve never lost settings, that I can remember. I still back up what I can, just in case, but so far, it’s never been an issue.

There is a repair option which doesn’t completely reinstall the operating system. Boot from the XP CD and choose to Install Windows XP (don’t hit R as that error message recommended). On the next screen it should detect your existing installation and give you the option to Repair it.

There are no guarantees this will work, but it’s worth a shot.

Upon further reflection, I believe you have to highlight the partition that contains your current installation and hit Enter on the first screen. Don’t delete that partition, just select it as if you are going to install Windows over the top. The second screen should give the Repair option. This is an automatic procedure and isn’t the same as the Repair Console.

Try this page, it’s for freeware Ntsfdos, but has the other tools you might use & info. If you use the ntsfdos bootdisk you could copy your OE folder.

If you can start the recovery console just try running CHKDSK /R and see if it can fix the file. This may take a while to complete, half hour or more.

If this doesn’t work try the command FIXBOOT from the RC.