Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 18, 2008
After literally 12 hours of effort, I finally got my computer back up and running. Truthfully, I’m not sure what did it, but I’m going to detail what went on, which may give information to others who might go through this problem.
What started it all was my trying to get my scanner to work. It just wasn’t having it, and it wouldn’t run with either of the utilities are are supposed to scan items, those being Microsoft Photo Editor, my editor of choice, or its own toolbar; I have a Canon scanner. So, I did what I thought was the logical step; I uninstalled the drivers for the scanner so I could load them again after the reboot.
Okay, the reboot never stopped rebooting. At first I actually just let it go, thinking it would right itself, but that wasn’t going to happen. I then booted up in safe mode to see if I could determine what was going on; nope. I tried loading the Canon program back there, then rebooted the computer again; same issue.
I started trying to think of anything else I’d done since the last reboot. I’ve still been having major problems with the computer shutting down, and I thought I’d traced it to a HID compliance issue (human interface device, used to describe wireless hardware such as keyboards and mice) by adding some files to my computer that I’d gotten from others. That problem didn’t resolve itself, but I’d rebooted after that and the computer came back just fine.
Actually, saying my computer was coming back just fine is a misnomer. For the past week or so, any time I tried to reboot, the computer would hang and just not get it done. But if I rebooted a second time, or if I shut down the computer completely then started it back up, everything was fine. So, there were problems on the horizon.
Anyway, I kept going through the stages of booting and rebooting the regular way and through safe mode, even signing on as administrator, and nothing was working. Then I decided to try to run the Win XP repair option. When I’d accidentally erased my files before, I was actually trying to run a repair instead, but hit the wrong key and ended up doing a full reinstall. With the repair option, and I’m not talking about the Repair Recovery Console, you can have Windows repair itself, almost like a full install because it takes about as much time, but it doesn’t touch those all important Documents and Settings files, which contains all your data files, including your email files. I first had to go into the BIOS and change the boot option so it would look for the CD first, and away I went.
For the uninformed, after Windows loads all its files, it gives you some options. One allows you to hit R to go to recovery; don’t do that if you’re not close to being an expert. More on that one later. Instead, hit ENTER, which looks like you’re going to install, but you’re not at this point. What happens is you’ll come to the next screen where it will give you the option of either repairing or doing a clean install. This is where you hit the “R“. From this point on, you just let Windows do its thing, answering questions as needed, but here’s a very important point: Do NOT do any of this if you don’t have an installation key number! Oh, one more thing. After the install, when the computer reboots for the second time, you’ll want to go back into BIOS and change the boot order back to hard drive, and of course take out the XP CD.
Going on with the story, during the first repair process, suddenly it stopped and was looking for a particular video file. I don’t know why it wasn’t already on my computer, but it wasn’t. I had to go through the process of locating the driver on my laptop, then copying it over to a blank CD (I used a rewritable disk) and putting it into my computer. Of course, things never go easy for me, so it couldn’t find the file. I ended up having to reboot the computer, and when it came back it started the repair process again, but when it came to the file this time and I put the CD in, it found the file. Of course a few minutes later it needed another file, and I had to go back to the laptop and repeat that process, and of course I then had to reboot the computer and start the repair process again. Once it finally had both files, I was good to go.
Or so I thought. Once the repair process was completed, I started the computer again, and it kept rebooting itself; arrgh! I ended up running the full repair process again, just to make sure that it was done properly, especially with what I had to go through with those two files, and this time it ran perfectly.
Good to go again, right; nope! Still was stuck in some kind of loop. Also, it kept flashing a blue screen message, but it was so fast that I couldn’t read it. So I had to boot up in safe mode and go into the My Computer settings to turn that off. I then rebooted the computer, and finally, even though it didn’t boot up, it stopped on the error message so I at least had a chance to see what was going on. I saw the error message and headed to the internet on my laptop. It indicated that there was a possibility that I might have a virus. Oh yeah; you can always type in your error messages, but someone else might not have typed in exactly what your problem is. However, the first two lines of the code will usually get you somewhere close to what your issue might be. I went to McAfee’s site for its Stinger program, which will scan your computer for the latest viruses without your having to load an entire program.
Before I went through this entire process, though, I suddenly thought about opening a restore point and going back to a date when the computer was running fine. Of course, turns out I didn’t have one. Figures, because a few days ago I was thinking I should go in and create a restore point; always follow your first thought.
I booted the computer again in safe mode, then this time I ran the Stinger program. It didn’t find anything, so it wasn’t a virus. I also decided to run two other programs. I ran Error Doctor again, which I’d already run twice, then decided to run this program recommended by PC Magazine called Driver Sweeper, a free utility that cleans out bad drivers, mainly video and audio, but still, it was another check. Then, while I was at it, I decided to run Spybot, a program that looks for spyware and malware, and it found nothing. I also was going to try to run my free AVG program, but it wouldn’t work; odd. And, one final thing, I also installed Service Pack 3, which I’d already had downloaded; you never know when you’ll need those service packs.
At this point, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I decided to hedge my bet. I backed up all my data files from Documents and Settings, which includes all the My Documents files. I was prepared to run the full install if my computer didn’t boot up properly.
I hit reboot, then waited. And this time, the computer booted up all the way. When I heard that wonderful applause (instead of the normal Windows opening, I replaced the sound with applause; who wouldn’t enjoy being applauded more often?), I was ecstatic. I checked the time, and it was 3:35; I’d spent 12 hours and 21 minutes trying to get this to occur. I decided to just turn off the monitor at that point and get back to everything else later in the morning.
Once I came back, I turned on the monitor to see it ready for me to do something. I had to reload many Windows updates, including reinstalling Internet Explorer 7, but I didn’t care. What I cared about was whether the computer would reboot once all that stuff was installed. It did, and that part of the computer is working well once again; whew!
The one bad thing? The scanner still won’t scan. Hey, I’ll take what I can get!