View Full Version : Freezes on Windows Loading screen... Merged with old topic...

04-20-2007, 05:15 PM
Hello. I recently did some serious in-case cleaning with a canned air duster. When I put it back together and booted up, the computer froze immediately upon the appearance of the windows loading screen. The computer works fine in safe mode, so I don't think it's a hardware problem, but that's just an uneducated guess. I tried to reformat my hard drive after this started happening, but when I boot from the WinXP CD it loads all of the setup stuff and when it gets to the "Starting Windows..." part the screen goes black, I hear some hard drive activity for a while, but nothing happens. I'd really like to just reformat, so if there's an alternate method I could use, please indulge me! Thanks.

04-20-2007, 08:38 PM
Hi CaptOprah,
I would go and get the manufactures diagnostics for your particular HDD. Most allow you to write zeros, check your drive, format too. Very strange problem, have you checked your HDD connections? I know booting in Safe Mode, but stranger things have happened with computers. Maybe optical drive, CD/DVD has a problem?
The real brains will be along I'm sure so hang in there.

Fruss Tray Ted
04-21-2007, 10:43 PM
I may have not mentioned 'writing zeros' at first, but the manu's diagnostics and or a barebones boot would be reasonable first choices.

"Starting Windows..."
This sounds like you installed, or tried to, Windows again and the harddrive is not being read 'from'.

More details about your system and what you have done specifically will help us diagnose your issues better.

Paul Komski
04-22-2007, 08:44 AM
Maybe optical drive, CD/DVD has a problem?That's my first thought since you may have loosened a power or data cable when you were cleaning the dust up and it only comes into play when you attempt to load windows.

Personally I would remove both the CD and the HDD and see if you can boot to a boot floppy. Then add the CDROM and see if you can access it with the floppy. Then add back the HDD and see if you can access it with the floppy or boot to it in safe or normal mode.

04-22-2007, 07:13 PM
That seems like sound advice Paul, but I'm not sure how to go about doing all that with the floppy. I'm not quite as computer savvy as you guys; mind breaking it down a bit more for me?

Paul Komski
04-22-2007, 08:40 PM
Each drive has two connections: to a data cable and to a power cable. Detaching them from a drive takes the device out of play. Generally-speaking they pull out easily enough though sometimes they can be quite tight.

You need a boot floppy with CDROM support (you can download say a Win98 boot floppy maker from www.bootdisk.com and use it to make one; just about all such floppies have CDROM support)/

The floppy on its own should take you an A: prompt.

Then connect the CDROM, put in a CD and boot to the floppy again and see if it can read the files on the CD.

Etc - or do you need other detail?

05-16-2007, 09:43 PM
Recently I went inside of my PC with a duster can to clean it out. When I booted it back up, it froze when windows began to load. As I needed to reformat anyway, I went ahead and tried wiping the drive, but it was no good. I got the same kind of freeze when trying to use Windows Setup and Recovery Console. I tried testing the ram, thinking it might be corrupt, but I don't believe it is. So, I can't do anything with my computer other than run it in safe mode. Did I kill my hard drive? I can still save things to it and use it as normal in safe mode.

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition
Processor: 2.00 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 3200+
Soundcard: Creative SB Audigy 2 (WDM)
Videocard: Radeon X700 series
Memory: 1gig 2x512

05-17-2007, 02:20 AM
LOL...can you say, asynchronous?! :D

Okay, a merged post... LOL

05-17-2007, 10:29 PM
Whoops, sorry for the double post! Anyways, I tried disconnecting all the drives and then accessing them through the boot floppy as suggested. It recognized both cdrom drives, so I typed "dir" and it came up with the name of the cd, but it listed it as having 0 files and 1 directory. On multiple cds. Not only that, but it did it on both drives! Something very weird here or am I doing something wrong? I don't know a lot about dos commands.

05-20-2007, 04:58 PM
Can anyone offer any sort of assistance or suggestions at all? I'm really desperate at this point, and I'm considering shelling out a few hundred for a tech guy to tell me something that I probably could have done on my own with a little guidance.

05-20-2007, 05:06 PM
Have you run the harddrive diagnostics yet?

05-20-2007, 08:09 PM
Ah yes, forgot to mention that. The diagnostics did not detect the drive. Now, of course this suggests that the drive is dead, but that's not the only reason it wouldn't be detected. And I don't understand how it could be defective, yet I can still access all of my files, run programs, etc.

05-20-2007, 08:31 PM
If the diagnostics can't detect the drive...are you perchance running it using an onboard Promise adapter?

Fruss Tray Ted
05-20-2007, 08:36 PM
What diagnostics? MaxBlast? DataLifeguard?...

Did you make sure the cables are secure?

If you want to reinstall XP, I would format the drive with the hard drive manufacturer's programs and then boot to the XP cd and do a clean install.

You may want to do some partitioning prior to formatting depending on the size of the drive also.

If the install doesn't complete again, test your memory with Memtest86. Better yet, do it anyway to be sure it's all ok.

Are you saying that a pci ide card would 'hide' the drive from diagnostics?

Paul Komski
05-20-2007, 09:03 PM

1. We have a PC that boots in safe mode - so hardware problem not impossible (eg some bad sectors) but most unlikely.

2. CD setup also fails and floppies can't read CDs normally which looks very like a hardware problem with the CD drive itself which though accessible doesn't read properly.

If it were me I would be swapping the CDD for a known good one and see if the one swapped in then works and the one swapped out doesn't work. You might then be in a position to fix the corrupted Windows installation.

05-20-2007, 09:11 PM
Fruss: I used Seatools, Seagate's diagnostics tool. The cables did feel a little loose, but I made sure to hold them securely in place while running the diagnostics to make sure that wasn't the problem. I'll try the memory test next.

Whyzman: That could be, I'm not sure. When I boot the computer and it shows the BIOS version it says something along the lines of FastTrack Bios v.blahblah (c) 2003 Promise Technologies, etc. Is that what this means?

Paul: That's true, but mind you that I tried reading CD's on two separate CDD's and they both did the same thing, which leads me to think that maybe I was doing something wrong, or the boot disk was too old? I used a simple Win98 boot disk. I don't have anymore CDD's to check.

05-20-2007, 10:26 PM
Ran MemTest86, everything checked out. However, when I rebooted, a message came up that said "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll"

Rebooted again and it came up with options for booting as normal such as Windows Setup, Recovery, and Windows Home Edition," which allowed me to get back into safe mode. Is this error related to my problem maybe?

05-20-2007, 11:51 PM
Are you saying that a pci ide card would 'hide' the drive from diagnostics?Don't know about a PCI card, but on my ASUS with onboard Promise adapter/controller it does hide the drives. In order for me to run diagnostics I need to pull the IDE cable from the Promise and plug it into the IDE Channel

05-20-2007, 11:53 PM
So, were you able to run the diagnostics? Any problems if you did?

05-21-2007, 12:20 AM
The hard drive diagnostics? As I said, it didn't detect the drive and couldn't run any tests. If you were referring to MemTest86, yes it ran and found no errors.

05-21-2007, 12:41 AM
Sorry, I thought you said something like you were holding the connection tightly to the HDD... or something like that... :)

So, it might be possible that you're plugged into a Promise controller and unable to detect the drive. I would then check the motherboard and check to see where the IDE is plugged into...unless you have SATA drives??

05-21-2007, 02:09 AM
Yes it is a Seagate Barracuda SATA V 120 gb. It's plugged into the primary sata controller.

05-21-2007, 02:48 AM
Is this what you're using? http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools

If so, it is very strange that it cannot see the drive...

05-21-2007, 03:08 AM
Yep, that's what I used...

Paul Komski
05-21-2007, 04:12 AM
As long as the BIOS is configured to use the SATA in 'normal', (non-RAID or IDE-emulation mode), then then neither Seagate Utils nor DOS-based utils should have no difficulty seeing it.

If there's one major fault with SATAs it is just how easy it is to dislodge or move the cable connectors so that good contact is lost - which brings us right back to the opening post.

05-21-2007, 05:55 AM
Well, I've tried my best to ensure connection, although they do feel a bit loose. So are you saying that I may have permanently loosened up the cable connections ?

Paul Komski
05-21-2007, 08:03 AM
I doubt it but they are a weak link in the SATA chain. If not recognised in one place then the only other thing is to try the drive in another pc, usb external case, etc to see if it is recognisable there.

05-21-2007, 06:26 PM
Well, I guess I'll just have to get a new HD then. Thanks for all of your help guys.

05-23-2007, 02:08 AM
Just in case this might spark something new, I tried replacing the SATA cable and it still didn't recognize the drive. However, I notice in BIOS that I do indeed have an onboard Promise controller.