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Thread: XP Won't Load - Just flashing cursor - Help

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Unhappy XP Won't Load - Just flashing cursor - Help

    My PC is not booting, not from my hard drive nor from either of my floppy drives (using bootable recovery CDs). I need help in determining what to do.
    Here is how this problem developed:

    • I received the following error message: DRIVER_IRQL_NOT-LESS_OR_EQUAL
    • I Googled this message and found a suggested solution on a Microsoft website. It instructed me to reset the PAGING FILE under Virtual Memory first to “No Paging File” and then to “System managed size”. I followed that instruction.
    • After that the system started to crash at frequent, random intervals.
    • I had earlier (and very recently) made a complete backup image using Acronis True Image, so I tried to restore the image from the backup drive (an external USB drive).
    • The system completed the boot process through to the Windows XP desktop, so I started a restore process using Acronis.
    • The image restoration started its process, and shortly thereafter stalled.
    • Now the PC starts up with the usual hardware posting, but Windows XP does not start. The PC only displays a flashing cursor on a black screen.
    System Specs:
    OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 with all updates installed through 9/14/2012
    Motherboard: Asus P4P800-E Deluxe
    3 GB Ram
    Pentium 4 processor

  2. #2
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    This is a what, at least 5 yrs old (more likely 7...), system?

    Is this the original hard drive?

    If you can boot to a CD, try running the hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics. I'm suspecting drive problems, if not other hardware, being the root cause.
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  3. #3
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    s478 P4? I would say at least 7 years old.

    Hard drive or memory. Try simply reseating both as a start. Run diagnostics on both as MJC suggested.

    Look for blown/bulging caps on the board.

    The PSU that old as well? Make sure its fan is working.
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  4. #4
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    System is about 8 years old. It's the original 200 GB hard drive partitioned as C: containing the OS and D: containing files, docs, downloads, etc.

    There is a second physical HD with a lot of media files on it.

  5. #5
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    Yep, run the diagnostics...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  6. #6
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    System won't boot from the Acronis rescue disk, nor from the original XP disk. It's got 2 optical drives, a CD and a DVD. Can't get it to boot from either of them.

  7. #7
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    Load the diagnostics onto a floppy drive since you have one. You're in before Windows...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  8. #8
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    I could not locate a diagnostics disk for either my CD or my DVD drives. I tried booting using the utilities CD for the mobo, but that would not work. I also tried booting (from both drives) a "self-booting" memory test CD, but that would not work either. The system continues to load through the listing of the hardware information, and then it reverts to a blinking cursor on a black screen.

  9. #9
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    Are you changing the boot order in the BIOS when you attempt to use the floppy as the boot?
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  10. #10
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    If needs by, you could also slave the drive to a working system and then run the diagnostics on it there.
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  11. #11
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    Yes, I am changing the boot order. I've tried:
    (1) CD; (2) DVD; (3) HD
    (1) DVD; (2) CD; (3) HD
    No sequence seems to work.

  12. #12
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    Hmmm...Should be an option for A
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  13. #13
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    Floppy drive is motherboard supported?
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  14. #14
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    If it is motherboard supported, the BIOS should have the option
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  15. #15
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    You may need to be sure that the Legacy Diskette A is enabled and not disabled. If disabled it may not show up as an option in the boot order.
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  16. #16
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    BIOS options can look different depending on the motherboard. If it has an option for Removable devices that would likely include the floppy and/or flash drives etc.
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  17. #17
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    Also, be sure to Exit and Save or it may revert to the previous setting. What does your BIOS list for boot options?
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  18. #18
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    Spokaneman,

    As an addendum to Whyzman's suggestions, go into the BIOS and look at the Main page. Your floppy drive should be listed there as Legacy Diskette A (most likely with 1.44M, 3.5 in).

    If you look beneath there, you should also have a listing for Primary IDE Master and Slave, and Secondary IDE Master and Slave (if applicable). What's showing there?
    "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" ~ Ben Franklin

  19. #19
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    Any updates??
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

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