Help! I'm Stuck In Windows XP Repair & Can't Get Out!

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posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 05:47 PM
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Like the title says.. I'm at the product key, and windows isn't recognizing it...
(yes it's a valid prod key) but, since I'm not sure what key is in there already since the PC was given to us, now what do I do ??!!! (I chose to use the repair option since the PC wouldn't boot up all the way to the Desktop meaning, I got the wallpaper to show but none of the icons)

I rebooted the PC and it still come up to the setup portion, I thought it would reboot back to the desktop but nada..


How do I escape out of the setup???? to get back and format the drive.. maybe ??





Mod Edit: All Caps – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 23 Jan 2010 by Hellmutt]




posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:20 PM
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You could just go ahead with a fresh installation can't you? - If you skip the bit where you enter the product key you get the 30 day trial then you can try to activate on line.

If you want to get to your files to back up one good way would be a Linux live disk (running Linux from the disk, not installing it on the hard drive).



posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:31 PM
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If I remember right there is a 2nd repair option when you just say reinstall XP or what ever. It checks to see if XP is already installed and finds the OS already installed and asks you if you want to repair it.This is the repair option you want.

I had a similar problem years ago and had just decided to re-install and lose all my programs and this option came up again.I clicked on it and it fixed what ever the problem was.

This link explains it.Sort of.

michaelstevenstech.com...



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 03:50 AM
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If the disk is a bootable one, then from BIOS you should setup the boot sequence setting the CD drive as first boot device (if it isn't already: that way, you could start a fresh installation, but could also try some recovery from the console.
Another thing that you could try to do is to boot in safe mode: if you know approx. the date when the mess occurred, you could be able to recover a previous configuration of the system, with minimal loss of data by following the steps below:

Click Start, click Run, type msconfig, and then click OK.

On the General tab, click Launch System Restore.

Select Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.

Calendar dates in bold are possible restore points. Click the most recent one to view system restore information.

Select a system checkpoint or an installation restore point, and then click Next.

Close all other programs.

To start the system restore, click Next.

Your computer restarts.

Repeat steps 1 through 8 until you fix your configuration issue.
______________-

If you'd manage to boot in safe mode, you should also be able to run Belarc Advisor (free app); it gives both a hardware and software audit, and it shows all your license numbers, including the OS one. There are many other apps able to retrieve your OS key.
I hope you'll fix it.



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 12:23 PM
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Originally posted by Now_Then
You could just go ahead with a fresh installation can't you? - If you skip the bit where you enter the product key you get the 30 day trial then you can try to activate on line.

If you want to get to your files to back up one good way would be a Linux live disk (running Linux from the disk, not installing it on the hard drive).


I can't .. it sticks me back to the setup screen. I can't get out of repair..



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 12:24 PM
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Originally posted by calcoastseeker
If I remember right there is a 2nd repair option when you just say reinstall XP or what ever. It checks to see if XP is already installed and finds the OS already installed and asks you if you want to repair it.This is the repair option you want.

I had a similar problem years ago and had just decided to re-install and lose all my programs and this option came up again.I clicked on it and it fixed what ever the problem was.

This link explains it.Sort of.

michaelstevenstech.com...


thanks .. but I can not get out of repair option where I left off at .. I was thinking to just do a hard boot again .. and see what happens.. it puts right back at the same point as I left it ..

how do i get out of repair XP????



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by internos
If the disk is a bootable one, then from BIOS you should setup the boot sequence setting the CD drive as first boot device Which I did (if it isn't already: that way, you could start a fresh installation, but could also try some recovery from the console. but how do i get out of the repair ..?? back out ??

Another thing that you could try to do is to boot in safe mode: if you know approx. the date when the mess occurred, you could be able to recover a previous configuration of the system, with minimal loss of data by following the steps below: not sure if it will let me boot to safe mode because i'm stuck in repair .. NOT the repair console

I can do the below if I can get to the desktop when i get out of repair. yea.. totally forget about belarc Ad *slaps forehead*
Click Start, click Run, type msconfig, and then click OK.

On the General tab, click Launch System Restore.

Select Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.

Calendar dates in bold are possible restore points. Click the most recent one to view system restore information.

Select a system checkpoint or an installation restore point, and then click Next.

Close all other programs.

To start the system restore, click Next.

Your computer restarts.

Repeat steps 1 through 8 until you fix your configuration issue.
______________-

If you'd manage to boot in safe mode, you should also be able to run Belarc Advisor (free app); it gives both a hardware and software audit, and it shows all your license numbers, including the OS one. There are many other apps able to retrieve your OS key.
I hope you'll fix it.


thx internos.. see my comments in BOLD in the quote above ..



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by Komodo
 


So you have not powered down the machine at all since you got stuck? Is that right? Cos if that is the case I'd just pull the power (if you can't shut it down normally - and then reboot, either to safe mode or off the XP disk.



posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 11:30 PM
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Originally posted by Komodo
I can do the below if I can get to the desktop when i get out of repair. yea.. totally forget about belarc Ad *slaps forehead*

Once you switch on, press repeatedly "F8" until you'll be prompted to a screen with some different options: select "safe mode": i think it will let you boot to safe mode.
It's also possible that you'll be prompted to a double options choice:
"Microsoft windows XP"
and
"Microsoft windows XP setup"
in this case, choose the first one.
But if you managed to boot from CD, then IMO the best thing to do is to setup a fresh version of the OS: given the circumstances, i'd get rid of the old OS ASAP.
Please, keep us updated



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 12:05 AM
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Originally posted by Now_Then
reply to post by Komodo
 


So you have not powered down the machine at all since you got stuck? Is that right? Cos if that is the case I'd just pull the power (if you can't shut it down normally - and then reboot, either to safe mode or off the XP disk.


Yes, I HAVE powered down the PC, (5 sec count from pwr swtch) when XP wouldn't take the prod keys. Powered it back up, removed the XP disc immediately after pwr on, and waited to see if it would revert back to normal desktop.




...off the XP disk


I did this already and it still reboots the system BACK TO the prod key setup .. it does this reguardless weather the CD is in the drive or not.



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 12:10 AM
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reply to post by Komodo
 


And without the disk and F8'ing (to get into sate mode)???

Also is your disk all scratched up - that would be important...

And also you clearly have 1 computer that works... If you want to grab large amounts of files you could slave the HDD - best to do it to a desk top. - There are other convent ways to grab small amounts of data.



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 12:19 AM
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Originally posted by internos

Originally posted by Komodo
I can do the below if I can get to the desktop when i get out of repair. yea.. totally forget about belarc Ad *slaps forehead*

Once you switch on, press repeatedly "F8" until you'll be prompted to a screen with some different options: select "safe mode": i think it will let you boot to safe mode.
It's also possible that you'll be prompted to a double options choice:
"Microsoft windows XP"
and
"Microsoft windows XP setup"
in this case, choose the first one.
But if you managed to boot from CD, then IMO the best thing to do is to setup a fresh version of the OS: given the circumstances, i'd get rid of the old OS ASAP.
Please, keep us updated





i think it will let you boot to safe mode.


hmm.. yea.. it might .. not sure.. didn't have time today to check it out..but you've made me think about it.. here's some questions..

1). If i CAN get to the desktop in safe mode,

~will that be a indicator that the OS will boot to windows normally...and hopefully to the desktop and all the icons showing?? (The icons not showing was the actual reason I thought I'd do a quick repair...not sure if I mentioned that.)

~Once at the desktop in Safe mode, then what should I do LOL

2). IF, I can NOT get to safe mode & since the OS will revert BACK to the setup state weather or not the CD is in the drive... then what ?? :bnghd:



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 12:25 AM
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Originally posted by Now_Then
reply to post by Komodo
 


And without the disk and F8'ing (to get into sate mode)???

Also is your disk all scratched up - that would be important...

And also you clearly have 1 computer that works... If you want to grab large amounts of files you could slave the HDD - best to do it to a desk top. - There are other convent ways to grab small amounts of data.


have't tried the F8 yet..

XP CD's are pristine
there the ONLY 2 in the house I've ensure they stay that way LOL.. I"m the only one that handles the CD's


heh.. heh.. well.. I have like 4 other PC's in the house, and 2 other HDD's.. but, I REALLY don't want to slave anything at this point..

BTW, yea.. I call the MS tech support line.. they don't support XP any more.. I think I knew that.. but thought I'd give it a shot in the dark .. :bnghd:

forgot to add.. plz see my last reply to internos for further questions..

[edit on 24-1-2010 by Komodo]



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 04:33 AM
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reply to post by Komodo
 

I'd say that first we should make sure that the CD is bootable (just to figure it out the reasons of the failing boot from CD): you should try to boot the working one from the CD (after making sure that the boot sequence is set to CD as first device: it should appear something like "press a key to start from CD...": if you miss it, the system will start again from the point in which you are stuck: (is it possible that this is what happened, btw?).
If even the other PC won't start from cd, then it's possible that it's not a bootable one: in this case there would be a solution. Download some bootable version of xp, burn it and boot it from cd: setup the OS until the end. When you're done, proceed with the copy that you own, and this time starting a NEW installation from windows (not update).
It will take you the double of the time, but it should work.

If you'll manage to start the pc in safe mode, then you would be able to edit the file "boot.ini": in order to do that, follow these steps:


Click Start and then click My Computer.
Double-click the drive letter where Windows XP is installed.
On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
Click the View tab.
Click the Show hidden files and folders button.
Click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
Click OK.
In My Computer, double-click the Boot.ini file to open the file in Notepad.
Under [operating systems], remove the line that refers to Windows XP Setup.
Change the "default=" line to match the installation location.

For example, the remaining line under "[operating systems]" may be the following line:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

If so, change the "default=" line to the following line:
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
On the File menu, click Save.
Restart the computer.

This way, the setup won't show up anymore for sure, but yet you'd be stuck in the same troubles you've encountered before your attempt to repair:
i'd like to know a little more about what happened: do just the icons vanished from desktop but still all the software is there (for example, if you go to start\program files\ can you see the apps still there?).
Because if you've just lost the shorcuts in the desktop then you could be able to fix it this way:
- right click the Desktop
- choose 'Arrange Icons By',
- select 'Show Desktop Icons

It would be funny if that's the issue, but it has happened to me more than once with someone else.
If it's not the case, then you should try to remember when the problem did show up (i mean the date) the you should try to restore the system to the date before the mess happened (see my first post).
So, i'd suggest to first, try to boot in safe mode (do some attempts with F8 key, not just one), if there won't be way, then you'll need a way to boot from CD.
Also, as Now_Then suggested, if you'd manage to slave the HD with the issue (check the jumpers' config. scheme on the HD itself before connecting it) then you would be able to fix the issue for sure as well, because you would be able to run the app which will allow you to read the serial number of the previously installed OS: actually, that would be a very good solution. In my opinion, you'll manage somehow to solve the problem: also if there's something i can do for you, free free to u2u me, i'd be glad to help if i'll be able to.



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 05:00 AM
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see my replies in the quote in bold as before..and will post the history on a seperate post below this one..


Originally posted by internos
reply to post by Komodo
 

I'd say that first we should make sure that the CD is bootable (just to figure it out the reasons of the failing boot from CD): you should try to boot the working one from the CD (after making sure that the boot sequence is set to CD as first device: it should appear something like "press a key to start from CD...": if you miss it, the system will start again from the point in which you are stuck: (is it possible that this is what happened, btw? yes that could have happened since my eye were ablur with fury of the gods at that time..
I'm 99.9% sure the CD's are bootable but will try it again
).

If even the other PC won't start from cd, then it's possible that it's not a bootable one: in this case there would be a solution. Download some bootable version of xp, burn it and boot it from cd: setup the OS until the end. When you're done, proceed with the copy that you own, and this time starting a NEW installation from windows (not update).
It will take you the double of the time, but it should work.

If you'll manage to start the pc in safe mode, then you would be able to edit the file "boot.ini": in order to do that, follow these steps:


Click Start and then click My Computer.
Double-click the drive letter where Windows XP is installed.
On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
Click the View tab.
Click the Show hidden files and folders button.
Click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box.
Click OK.
In My Computer, double-click the Boot.ini file to open the file in Notepad.
Under [operating systems], remove the line that refers to Windows XP Setup.
Change the "default=" line to match the installation location.

For example, the remaining line under "[operating systems]" may be the following line:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

If so, change the "default=" line to the following line:
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
On the File menu, click Save.
Restart the computer.

This way, the setup won't show up anymore for sure, but yet you'd be stuck in the same troubles you've encountered before your attempt to repair:
i'd like to know a little more about what happened: do just the icons vanished from desktop but still all the software is there (for example, if you go to start\program files\ can you see the apps still there?).

Because if you've just lost the shorcuts in the desktop then you could be able to fix it this way:
- right click the Desktop
- choose 'Arrange Icons By',
- select 'Show Desktop Icons

It would be funny if that's the issue, but it has happened to me more than once with someone else.
If it's not the case, then you should try to remember when the problem did show up (i mean the date) the you should try to restore the system to the date before the mess happened (see my first post).
So, i'd suggest to first, try to boot in safe mode (do some attempts with F8 key, not just one), if there won't be way, then you'll need a way to boot from CD.
Also, as Now_Then suggested, if you'd manage to slave the HD with the issue (check the jumpers' config. scheme on the HD itself before connecting it) then you would be able to fix the issue for sure as well, because you would be able to run the app which will allow you to read the serial number of the previously installed OS: actually, that would be a very good solution. In my opinion, you'll manage somehow to solve the problem: also if there's something i can do for you, free free to u2u me, i'd be glad to help if i'll be able to.



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 05:39 AM
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reply to post by internos
 





i'd like to know a little more about what happened: do just the icons vanished from desktop but still all the software is there (for example, if you go to start\program files\ can you see the apps still there?)
.

No, the entire desktop, including the start menu and task bar never did show up after multiple attemps to wake it up by hard booting the system..

So, here goes the long history of what happened...

After performing a clean install of a new 256mb vid car in the system, clean as in, it installed as it should had, no glitches during install, the only factor was after exiting out of WoW it restarted the PC automatically; I thought that was a bit odd but, I've seen games and vid cards do that to reset the settings from the game itself.

Reboot was fine, came up normally and i was kinda estactic at this point! LOL.. As I sat there staring at the desktop while it was loading up, the anti-virus prgm call Anti-vir was stating it needed a new version. Do I or don''t I ..? that was the question..

Ensuring that all the the programs loaded as normal and giving it a extra 30secs.. I click the linked which DL'd the new version. DL went ok install went ok .. and said .. your system will now reboot automatically which is normal, and i've never had Anti-vir glitch on me in the last 9 months I've had it.

The reboot stage started, got past the XP splash screen then it went blue screen and was asking for an authentication #! I was like WT*?? !!!! LOL.. grrr.. since it wouldn't let me out of the authentication screen .. I was thinking well.. welcome to winblows.. time to hard boot and see if it was a glitch .. BAM!.. it did it again .. nope..it was real.. (VERY VERY odd !) I have 3 xp systems in the house and never had this happen b4 since they're all sp3.

I called the #, got the NEW authentication #, clicked 'next'..and it acted like it was going to show the entire desktop, but after 5 whole mins.. it sat there..and sat there and well.. sat there.

Grinding my teeth at the fact of hard booting it AGAIN, I did, BAM.. same thing.. and a 3rd time.. it was hung hardcore at the desktop with no icons showing, taskbar, nada.. just the wallpaper.


I decided to get the xp cd, throw it in the cd drive, boot from that, np there, selected repair which I believe is the enter button and the 'R' key is for the repair console. I've repaired xp before, which is fairly easy, even for a monkey
LOL..

So i get to the Prod key info screen, grab my prod key, put it in, nada, says it's invalid, tried it again, nada. grab my wifes prod key, put it in, nada! Now that I"m livid to the max and seeing red...i take the CD out, hard boot the system to see if it will just come up as normally to the desktop or what.. BAM~! put the system back at the setup screen!

Still livid, I reinsert the CD again, don't touch anything and it comes back to the setup screen. :bnghd:


So, there it sits, at the prod key screen glowing in the dark, waiting.. for precious input !

So, after typing all that out, I've realized maybe I should have done the f8 again LOL.. and reselected repair.. again?

So, now that it won't take any of my product keys... now what... boot to safe mode? I tried to boot to safe mode with networking but, the wireless card doesn't either activate quickly enuf or the driver is dead in safe mode..but, I can't surf in safe mode.. that I know of, that's another rabbit hole for later.. I can't remember if I got Belarc on that system or not, guess I'll have to DL it to the floppy if it's small enuf.

If it is, I can pull the prod key from that .. *cross fingers* if this works and i can get the system back up with out having to format.. I got 2 more projects for you guys LOL..





[edit on 24-1-2010 by Komodo]



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by Komodo
the anti-virus prgm call Anti-vir was stating it needed a new version. Do I or don''t I ..? that was the question..


Din ding ding!!! Alarm bells!!!



As soon as the user tricked into visiting the compromised website, the browser is minimized and a dialogue box titled “Message from webpage” pops up with a message

“Warning!!! Your personal computer needs to install antivirus software! Antivir can perform fast and free virus and malicious software scan of your compute“.

Clicking on Ok or Cancel button will run the fake scan. At the end of the scan another message box with the following text is displayed.
“This computer is under attack They can seriously harm your private data or files, and should be healed immediately Return to Antivir and download it secure your PC”

Clicking on OK or Cancel button shows a fake Windows security alert _


Any of the above sound familiar?


Antivir is an untrustworthy anti-spyware application that spreads via a sneaky Trojan. The Trojan will create random files that will later be detected as malware when Antivir runs a fake system scan. The fake system scan report will state that the victim’s computer is infected with several parasites, followed by the display of warning notifications and pop-ups. The victim will then be enticed to purchase the full version of Antivir in order to remove all the purportedly detected parasites. Antivir is an illegitimate program that is incapable of detecting or removing any malware.


Although that in it's self shouldn't prevent you booting up of a bootable XP disk... Head scratcher mate...



posted on Jan, 24 2010 @ 06:57 PM
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Originally posted by Now_Then

Originally posted by Komodo
the anti-virus prgm call Anti-vir was stating it needed a new version. Do I or don''t I ..? that was the question..


Din ding ding!!! Alarm bells!!!



As soon as the user tricked into visiting the compromised website, the browser is minimized and a dialogue box titled “Message from webpage” pops up with a message

“Warning!!! Your personal computer needs to install antivirus software! Antivir can perform fast and free virus and malicious software scan of your compute“.

Clicking on Ok or Cancel button will run the fake scan. At the end of the scan another message box with the following text is displayed.
“This computer is under attack They can seriously harm your private data or files, and should be healed immediately Return to Antivir and download it secure your PC”

Clicking on OK or Cancel button shows a fake Windows security alert _


Any of the above sound familiar?


Antivir is an untrustworthy anti-spyware application that spreads via a sneaky Trojan. The Trojan will create random files that will later be detected as malware when Antivir runs a fake system scan. The fake system scan report will state that the victim’s computer is infected with several parasites, followed by the display of warning notifications and pop-ups. The victim will then be enticed to purchase the full version of Antivir in order to remove all the purportedly detected parasites. Antivir is an illegitimate program that is incapable of detecting or removing any malware.


Although that in it's self shouldn't prevent you booting up of a bootable XP disk... Head scratcher mate...





not sure where you got your infomation from .. but I trust the anti-virus program, for now.. since the police dept uses it here as well.



posted on Jan, 25 2010 @ 04:00 AM
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There's a possible explanation about the Anti-vir issue:
one is legit, by Avira (link: the other one IS "Anti Vir Online Protection", a non-working security software that warns you that your PC is infected by non-existent viruses, and makes you believe that the only way to remove them is to buy the product, bascally, it a so-called scareware: it could be very deceiving also because it has the same logo as the shield of Ms Security Center, here's a screenshot

more screenshot to compare with can be found here see also here
there you'll find also more informations, removal instructions, 15 screenshots, a YT video with overview etc...
This is the one that Now_Then meant, and we'd have to rule 100% out that this is what has happened (for an unfortunate coincidence, their names are almost the same): i've had some close encounter with that fake antivirus, but i have to say that it has happened only while surfing, never after a reboot: plus, the symptom was jut an annoying pop-up alert, while what occurred to you would sound much more like some rootkit infection (if i had to think about some malware).
In my opinion, it could have happened that some files of the software that you've installed for the VC messed somehow up with the antivirus software, but this is yet far from explaining both the vanishing of desktop shortcuts & taskbar and the request of the admin password.
In my opinion, we'd better focus on the solution of the problem:
either

1) Get rid of the ongoing setup
or
2) Get somehow to the end of the setup
or
3) Manage somehow to restore a working system configuration
or
4) Setup a fresh OS
(What version of XP you are trying to setup, btw?)
or
5) to obtain a bootable CD from the installed os:
this can be done with Bart's PE builder

Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.
It will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a graphical user interface (800x600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem support.

but in this case, you'd need the correct serial number.

With PE builder you should also be able to edit the boot.ini file and remove the line related to the setup ( see here )
Another way to edit the boot.ini file without need to start win xp is to enter the recovery console and once you see the promp, type "Bootcfg" (without the quotes):
you can find the list of commands that can be run from the console here

If you manage to get to the desktop (even without shortcuts nor taskbar) you'd have to try this:
CTRL + ALT + DEL > file > new > "explorer.exe" (without the quotes) > enter

if this doesn't bring the stuff back, then try

CTRL + ALT + DEL > file > new > "%SystemRoot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe" (again without the quotes) and
restore to a time before the mess has happened (hoping that the system restore is enabled).

Anyway, one of the three: either you manage to startup in safe mode, or to boot from CD or to fill in the prod key screen module: and please remember that in order to start from the CD you'll have to press a key when asked, otherwise the CD will be ignored: and don't give up after the first attempt: also check and re-check the boot cfg from the bios: if it's set p correctly and the cd is a bootable one, then it MUST boot from the CD.
What versions are them (the installed one and the cd one)?



posted on Jan, 26 2010 @ 02:21 AM
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Mmmmm: almost 24 hours and no signs from Komodo: I hope nothing's happened while doing some experiments with the working pc ...





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