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If the Command

Prompt is available,
try the commands:
chkdsk /r
and then:
win
This is the option
of the last resort
as it comes to
salvaging your
data and
OS.
Turn the machine
off, turn it back on and IMMEDIATELY press
two keys: CTRL +
F6. If you hear
a distress series
of beeps (around 5/sec)
keep pressing for
about 1 min. After
that release F6 but keep pressing Ctrl for
a while.
At this point the
MS Windows Boot
Console should
appear and offer you
choices. Choose
Boot in Safe Mode
With Internet.
Now, that combination
Ctrl+F6 is maker specific.
It worked for my
DELL
towers. Other
manufacturers reportedly
have other "secret"
codes.

You may try Alt, Del,


PgUp, PgDn instead
of Ctrl. Also F6
is not cast in
concrete. You may
try other function
keys. Some machine
may require only
one
key to be pressed.
Every machine MUST
have a code like this.
It took me about 10
min to find
mine.

The help entry for


the System Recovery
Options screen
indicates that the
Command Line is an
option. His OEM may
have enabled that

Here is the SOLUTION


FOR THOSE OF WHO ARE
IN THIS SITUATION!!!
It took me 2 hours,
but I finally got it
to work. All you
have to do is restart
the computer and keep
pressing F8 until
a list of options
appeared. Under one
of those options,
you will find "Last
Known Good
Configuration
(advance)".
Highlight that
and press ENTER.
Well hope this
helps everyone. GL
Summary
-------
I have a brand new DELL Inspiron 1525 and have loaded Windows Vista Ultimate on
it.
It was working fine for 4 days, until it started downloading updates via Windows
Update.
Now it fails to boot up with the following symptoms:
1. I get a message saying "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or softwar
e change might be the cause.
To fix the problem:
1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart the computer.
2. Choose your language settings and click next.
3. Click "repair your computer"
It also gives me the following options:
4. Safe Mode
5. Safe Mode with networking
6. Safe Mode with Command Prompt
7. Last known good configuration
8. Start Windows normally
Summary ------- I have a brand new DELL Inspiron 1525 and have loaded Windows Vi
sta Ultimate on it. It was working fine for 4 days, until it started downloading
updates via Windows Now it fails to boot up with the following symptoms: 1. I g
et a message saying "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software chan
ge might be the cause. To fix the problem: 1. Insert your Windows installation d
isc and restart the computer. 2. Choose your language settings and click next. 3
. Click "repair your computer" It also gives me the following options: 4. Safe M
ode 5. Safe Mode with networking 6. Safe Mode with Command Prompt 7. Last known
good configuration 8. Start Windows normally My actions: ---------- 9. When I at
tempt to proceed using options 4-6, the screen turns black and just hangs there.
10. If I choose option 6, I also get a list of loaded files. The last loaded fi
le message says: ... Loaded \Windows\system32\drivers\volmgrx.sys Loaded \Window
s\system32\drivers\atapi.sys Loaded \Windows\system32\drivers\ataport.sys Loaded
\Windows\system32\drivers\msahci.sys Loaded \Windows\system32\drivers\fltmgr.sy
s Loaded \Windows\system32\drivers\fileinfo.sys" [Please wait...] 11. I tried bo
oting it with the Vista DVD inserted. It prompts me to choose an OS to start and
displays "Microsoft Windows Vista" as the choice. Upon pressing ENTER, it takes
me to Step 1. 12. I changed the boot sequence to boot up from the Dvd drive. It
starts up the Windows installation upon reboot. Upon getting the Vista menu, I
choose to Repair my computer. 13. A message comes up that says: "Windows found p
roblems with your computer's startup options. Do you want to apply repairs and r
estart your computer?" I click on "Repair and restart". 14. Step 1 shows up agai
n. I choose 8. Start Windows normally. 15. The screen shows the Vista icon and W
indows Vista starts up ok. 16. I turned off windows Updates and rebooted the com
puter and it starts up ok. Copyright Ashlen Consulting Service c 2007

You should try the repair option. If not, Vista does not erase your My Document
s folder, unless you format the drive. You should be able to install over the o
ld Vista. But you will loose your programs without re-installing them again.

Hopefully a final update from me.


I've just taken the Cyberpower PC that I mentioned earlier back to my client. I
reinstalled Vista (again!), loaded all the drivers, and added AVG and firefox. I
then used Paragon Drive Backup to create a partition backup onto a separate par
tition. (I then tested the restore worked, but that's another story).
I allowed windows update to run - 51 updates, all applied OK. And the pc worked
afterwards. Made another backup.
Ran update again. 3 optional (driver) updates - again, it survived the experienc
e.
Next update found and update for .net framework, plus two of the optional driver
s (which it reported had installed correctly first time, but then failed to inst
all second time.)
Next update found Vista sp2. This definitely had not tried to install before, so
we're now off "down a different leg of the trousers of time". Agin, the PC surv
ived, so I made a new backup.
Apart from the two drivers that it tells me that it wants me to install (in spit
e of having succeeded first time and failing ever since!), there was only one ot
her update found, for Windows defender. Again, the pc survived the experience, a
nd it now reports no further updates available, and (so far) seems OK.
I'm leaving the windows updates on manual, but I'm hoping that's an end to it.
Dborns - my guess is that you are going to have to bite the bullet and do a full
system restore. This will of course destroy all your data, so you need to get i
t off the disk first. The good thing is that, unless the disk has physically fai
led, all your data is still there, and just needs a working PC to read it. What
you should try is removing the hard disk and putting it in as a secondary disk o
n another PC. You should even be able to do this by using a USB hard disk caddy
although there's a lot to be said for fitting it properly (much faster for a sta
rt!). I'd recommend finding a friend with an XP PC with plenty of hard disk spac
e. If you get a "not accessible" message when you try to get at your data, you w
ill have to "take ownership" of your folders on the new PC before you can copy t
he data across. And there's always the danger that you'll forget something - ema
ils, for example, are well hidden, and there's probably other stuff, so this is
not a job to rush. And you might also be able to use a partition backup program
to create a compressed backup of the whole disk - a belt and braces option that
might allow you to get at any stuff you miss.
Once you've secured your data, use whatever means Dell provided to restore it to
the factory state. Don't bother trying to repair windows, and if you get the op
tion, destroy the first version (repartition or reformat the disk). If you have
the room, you might get the option to leave the old version in a "windows.old" f
older - yet another belt and braces option!
Whatever happens, your data should be relatively safe at the moment, albeit diff
icult to get at. The secret is not to do anything that destroys it!
Hope this gives you enough to proceed for a while. If you get stuck and I can ma
ybe help, shout!
Steve

Hi Dylan
That's what I was hoping for too, but no luck!
As you've got an external HDD and a second computer, I'd seriously look into som
e sort of automatic or semi-auto backup routine. I'd also look at making a backu
p of your system partition once you've got the computer reloaded with all the so
ftware.
I get Personal Computer World magazine, and the free CD includes some great soft
ware - they've given away Acronis True Image and Paragon Disk Backup - full work
ing copies - that allow you to setup your PC, and before you have time to screw
it up, make a backup. Load and update windows, add firefox and your favourite an
ti-virus software (do this early so that you can download the updates etc.), and
any other often used or critical software. Set up your email, internet access,
e-mail etc. Then make a partition backup to the external HDD, and an emergency b
oot CD. Then, next time windows gets screwed, you should be able to take it back
to that state in a few tens of minutes. Invaluable! And for not much more than
the price of some space on an external or network disk.
RAM sticks are so cheap and big now that you could probably back up all your doc
uments on a regular basis. Again, there are a lot of options for this, but I'm a
luddite, and I like "Update2.2" from profiles software (http://www.profiles-sof
tware.com) - it's low tech, but it allows you to set up a simple command file th
at will copy all files from A to B, (a simple copy, no compression or anything)
and after that, it will just copy files that have changed. The first run takes a
while (20mins for a few gig?) but after that, it just takes a few seconds. Your
pictures, music and e-mails may need more work, but you can set up automatic ba
ckups for those too (as you already have, although possibly not 100%)
Me - I'm just hoping that the 3 PC's with this problem that I've fixed in the la
st week stay fixed!
Regards
Steve

Hello Steve,
I've decided to go ahead and erase my hd and start over, however I've run into p
roblems just doing that. I've tried all the "f" keys and nothing gets me to a co
mmand prompt to type "format". F8 gets me to the advanced boot options, but the
only selection with command prompt is "Safe mode with command prompt" and my com
puter won't even go into safe mode. It just continues to go back to the Windows
Error Recovery screen. Any ideas on how to get to a command prompt another way?
Thanks
Dylan

Hi Dylan
Sorry - only just picked up the message.
A lot depends on whether you have a "real" microsoft XP disk or a "manufacturer'
s cobbled together one". I find that the latter ones are generally a big issue,
as they seem to be lobotomised - some handy recovery features are just not avail
able.
I'm trying to remember how the real ones work. If you can boot from one of these
, then you get various options like "recovery console" (which gets you a command
prompt), and sometimes the questions are asked out of order, so that you tell i
t all about where you want it to go, and then it asks you if you want to re-form
at the disk.
If you've got the disk out, you should be able to add it to another pc and run s
candisk on it. You should also be able to see the data. And reformat the disk (m
ake sure you hit the right one!). This is probably the best option and is the on
e I think I would choose. Once the disk is empty, you can put it back in the ori
ginal PC and try the installation again.
I use GRC's "spinrite" to test disks, but to be honest, it's quite expensive and
probably overkill. There are possibly a lot of disk utilities available (try th
e manufacturer's site) that you could use that might warn you if the disk is abo
ut to fail. Speedfan (www.almico.com) is a temperature monitor that seems to hav
e SMART reading capabilities, and that's a free download.
If you're limited to working on the disk in the PC that's "broken" and you've se
cured or written off your data, then I think it's a matter of trying anything th
at will re-install windows. If there are options along the way that will destroy
the existing copy (such as reformatting the disk) then try them, but the aim mu
st be to get the pc running. Once you can boot it, you should have more options
available, such as running scandisk, or running a second re-install that might h
ave better options.
If you do get a re-format option, always choose the "full" option as opposed to
"quick". It takes a bit longer, but is much better. In cases where I've suspecte
d a virus might be involved, I've even reformatted the disk as a FAT volume (to
try and ensure any rootkits and AD streams get clobbered), before running the re
-installation again.
Hope this helps!
Steve