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Boot /Setup hanging Problem

8:25 am on Oct 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Apologies if this is a long post but I thought the more information the better.

I recently bought a new harddrive and transferrred the contents of from my old drive to the new.

On putting the new disk in the machine and booting I got the 'OS not found' message. I found that I could boot from an XP install disk and can log onto the existing instance using the recovery console or I could choose the 'Install Windows' option and then select the repair existing installation option from the subsequent menus. Everthing completed succesfully (no error messages) but the machine wouldnt boot.

I then thought that if I installed a new instance of windows onto the same disk (with a different owner name so as not to wipe my old directories) I would get then get the boot config menu that would allow me to select the old instance and boot into that.

The DOS install part went well and started to reboot into the windows install section. I got distracted during the reboot and missed the boot menu to choose which instance of windows to log into... the new one or the old (real) one. As the old (real) one was first in the list it booted into that and proceeded with a question on screen res and then started the graphical install bit

I panicked thinking that the install was about to wipe all my old settings and files and stupidly hit the power off. (With hindsight it was probably finishing the attempts at Repair I had done on this instance previously)

I continued the install of the new instance and this works fine, has no applications installed but I can see all my files etc.

If I boot into the old install it now just gives me the windows blue background screen (NOT BSOD) and a mouse pointer. Mouse pointer works fine and I left it a good 6 hours to see if anything else appeared but nothing. Mouse pointer was still active after the 6 hours

No other apps are loaded, I cant ctrl-alt-del or right or left click.

I've tried booting in Safe mode and all the drivers appear to load prior to the blue screen but i still dont get anything other than a mouse pointer.

I've tried booting in safe mode with command prompt but I get the same blue background with mouse pointer but no command prompt.

Just prior to the windows logo screen it appears to be doing a resume (graduated black and white bar that becomes solid) like when you do resume from hibernate, only of a much shorter duration and I'm wondering if it is trying to restart the setup from the point it thought it got to before I killed the power.

I've tried the repair option again from the setup disk which completes succesfully but when I boot into that instance, it still does the same - bluer background and mouse pointer, also tried FIXMBR and FIXBOOT from recovery console - no change.

The easy answer would be to remirror the old disk and start again...... unfortunaltely the old disk has ceased to work and whilst I have a copy of all the files, it isnt an image.!.

Laborious reinstall is a possibility if all else fails but I would be very grateful if anyone can help with the above.

12:32 am on Oct 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 2, 2003
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It sounds as though it does not know what program to load as the shell.

Since the shell program is specified in the registry, you'll need to edit this. The relevant key is...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Take a look at the in the version that's working and you'll see that there's a lot there. Shell=Explorer.exe may be the critical value, but many other values may be critical too. I've never tried editing the registry from the recovery console so I can't comment on how easy it is, but if you can export the whole key above and import it into the dead version, that may do the trick, but the system may still be unstable if other critical data is missing.


2:52 pm on Oct 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Kaled,

It didn't quite fix it but you put me on the correct path....

I took your advice and tried to fool the registry. Actually I took the whole windows/config folder from the copy of all the files on the disk and overwrote the one on the original windows install. It didnt work, did almost exactly the same as before but displayed my original ACER screen rather than the blue one.

It dawned on me that if I copied over the whole windows directory from my original disk it would restore it to pre-aborting the setup.

I've just finished, booted it up and **ta da** the login and desktop appears as before. Job done

Many thanks for your ideas.