If you are still using Windows XP as your PC’s operating system, you could do yourself a great favor by replacing it with a more reliable and powerful operating system like Windows 7. Windows 7 administration and configuration management features are lot easier to handle, and in most cases, they are automated and less time consuming. In contrast, for Windows XP, you will often end up spending a lot of time fixing recurrent errors and security vulnerabilities and that too following complex troubleshooting steps or executing weird commands at the command prompt.
Why Windows XP Boot Problem Occurs?
Getting a Windows XP boot problem is quite common and many computer users are faced with a system where Windows will not start at all. More specifically, just after you have done some addition into your system like installing a new hardware for example, the system might crash due to possible conflicts in system resource sharing. If that is the case, take the new hardware off of your system and see how it behaves. Sometimes installing new software can also lead to similar problem, maybe because the new program gobbling up too much physical memory of your system. In that case, you should uninstall the new software, add sufficient physical memory into your system and then install the new program back again and see what happens.
This kind of trial and error method you might have to pursue in order to deal with the error when Windows won’t boot. Also you need to keep in mind that some of the hardware parts like a memory chip or a graphics or sound card could go out of order anytime. In that case, doesn’t matter which operating system you are using, your PC might fail to boot.
Analyzing the system from different angles therefore and identifying the root cause of the problem is often critical to fix Windows boot problem. You might try taking out one memory chip off the slot or the sound or the graphics cardout and see if you notice any change in its behavior.
Yes, I know it could be difficult to see what’s going on inside the system if you take the graphics card off when there is nothing on display! Well, even without the display, you can look at the hard drive indicator light and get an idea if it is booting all way through or just stopping after a while, right? If the indicator light keeps blinking longer than before, more likely there is a problem with the graphics card. Your solution would be to get a new graphics card and put the old one under retirement.
Solutions to Fix Windows XP boot problem
Considering you don’t have any faulty hardware in your PC, I am proposing two solutions for you to try and fix the Windows XP boot problem. If the 1st solution doesn’t work, try the 2nd one that will definitely work! 1st solution is lot easier and less time consuming but not a guaranteed solution. If you feel like the rest of your day is going to be a lucky one, go ahead and take the first option. Unless you know what to do – get ready for spending couple of hours fixing this infamous problem. You can take the easy way out and use software to Boot up Any Computer, Fix & Install Windows Easy. But this tutorial will give you a few things to try first.
Solution #1: Good Old Last Known Good Configuration
Switch on your PC. Just after it finishes memory scan, press F8 key on your keyboard. On F8 key, the system will come and stop at a screen giving you several options to choose from, like; “Start windows in safe mode” or “Safe mode with command prompt” etc. Just after few of these options you will see another option “Last known good configuration”. Select this option and hit enter. The system will use the configuration that was used last time to boot successfully. Normally the configurations are stored in your hard drive after every time a computer is booted successfully and if the present configuration fails the last known good one can be called for rescue. After calling last known good configuration for help, if the system boots up and you don’t notice any other problem, that’s the luckiest you could get as far as PC troubleshooting is concerned.
Solution #2: Try Repairing Windows XP
You need your Windows XP installation CD to proceed with this option.
1. Put the installation CD in your CD or DVD drive and power on the system.
2. Depending on how your system BIOS is configured, you might be asked “if you want to boot from the CD?” Say “yes” and proceed. The Windows XP setup program will be launched and after a while you will reach the welcome screen as shown in image 1.
3. Press “enter’ at this point – the 1st option. It will bring up a confirmation screen asking you if you really want to proceed with Windows XP installation.
4. “Press F8” to confirm that. You will reach the next screen as shown in image 2 below. Here at this point, Windows XP installation software just found out that you already have an existing version of Windows XP in your system and it might be damaged. That is the reason why it is offering you a repair option for the existing Windows XP.
5. We are going to take advantage of it and select the first option by pressing “R”. You don’t need to bother about installing a fresh copy of Windows XP as the 2nd option states – that will be more time consuming and complicated. we are going to try and fix our boot problem without formatiing Windows XP.
6. Let’s keep going here by pressing the “R” key and wait for Windows to repair the existing version of the OS. You just accept all the default options that you are presented with. At this stage, what actually the Windows installation program is doing is like performing an upgrade but in a limited form based on what you have in the PC – both in terms of hardware and software. This process will take time, normally in the range of an hour.
7. Once the repair is complete, the system will reboot. And this time, it will work – in 99% cases to be more precise!
As far as I have seen, the 2nd solution has worked most of the time. If by any chance, it also fails to make your PC bootable, the next step will be to try formatting your hard drive. If that fails you definitely have a faulty hardware in your system. You might have a corrupt hard drive or bad memory. In that case, it would be better not to try it by yourself. Contact a good computer expert to check it out for you.