Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

When Windows XP won't start (secondary fix)

Symptom: You've tried the primary fix (the easy one) and you aren't successful. You keep ending up on the menu screen and nothing works.

Solution: Once again, boot to a Windows installation CD. This time, though, you will need a CD that has the same version of Windows that you are running (for instance, XP Home, XP Pro). When you get to the first question asking if you would like to repair Windows or install it, choose the "install" option.
You will be asked to press the F8 key to accept the terms and conditions. Do that.
The next screen "should" ask you if you wish to repair an existing installation or install a new one. Choose the "repair" option and follow the prompts. It will probably ask you to choose the installation to repair, so do that. There should only be one instance of "Windows" to repair. Now you'll see it deleting files and installing new ones. The nice thing about this option is you won't be losing data. If all goes well, your computer will work just like before with all your programs and data intact.
One thing you will need, though, is the Windows Certificate of Authenticity--that is the five groups of 5 letters and numbers that should be stuck on the outside of your computer case.
If this doesn't work, you will probably have to do a full reinstalllation of Windows or repair the registry which I will cover in a later tip.

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