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Windows XP updates hosed my PC
August 14, 2007 7:49 PM   Subscribe

My pc can't start Windows after the latest updates. What now?

I just installed the latest automatically downloaded Windows updates for my XP Pro home pc. I forget what all the updates were - various security patches and reliability updates.

Now when the computer tries to boot up, there's a long wait and then I get the message that "Windows did not start sucessfully." I've tried the option to start using the last known good working configuration. Same result. I've tried starting in Safe Mode. In that case I get a bunch of lines as follows:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS\System32\Drivers\ (names of various .sys files)

and then eventually it tries to reboot and comes back to the same "Windows did not start successfully" screen. This happens whether I choose regular Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

I've got a 3 gig processor, 1 gig of memory and plenty of disk space. I hadn't had any hardware problems previously.

Do I have any options besides re-installing Windows from scratch?
posted by tdismukes to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
Restore to a previous System Restore point from a command prompt at startup.
posted by paulsc at 7:57 PM on August 14, 2007


Thank you!!!

I didn't think it was going to work at first, because when I followed the directions to get to the Safe Mode with command prompt, I got the same screen with a list of all the .sys files as when had tried before. But eventually this time it took me to the command prompt and do the system restore.

If you're ever in Lexington, I owe you a beverage of your choice.
posted by tdismukes at 8:33 PM on August 14, 2007


Now I just wish I knew which of the 9 updates caused the problem. If I knew that, I could install the other 8.

I suppose I can install them one at a time until one causes the problem again, then restore the system from that point. That sounds like more time and trouble than I feel like dealing with right now, though.

For the record, the updates were:

cumulative security update for IE 6

security update for XML core services 4.0 SP2

security update for Windows Media Player 10

4 security updates for Windows XP (addressing vulnerabilties in OLE automation, XML services, VML, and GDI)

reliability update for Windows XP

the latest (Aug 07) Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool


I wonder if any of those are known to be causing problems.
posted by tdismukes at 8:45 PM on August 14, 2007


I put the whole lot on my XP Pro laptop (2.2 P4/1 gig DDR) today, via Custom, without incident. If you can remember to manually patch on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, or shortly thereafter, you can avoid some of the misery of Automatic Updates.

Try doing your patches this time as Custom, and turn off Automatic Updates.
posted by paulsc at 8:51 PM on August 14, 2007


I did install them using the custom option. I wonder if the problem might have been a result of doing them all at once. I'll try doing them one at a time and see what happens.
posted by tdismukes at 8:55 PM on August 14, 2007


I suppose I can install them one at a time until one causes the problem again, then restore the system from that point. That sounds like more time and trouble than I feel like dealing with right now, though.

Don't do it this way. Very slow and inefficient. Do it like a binary sort. Install half the updates. If it crashes remove and then install half of the half you just installed. If it doesn't crash try the other initial half - and so on. You can find the guilty culprit much quicker this way.
posted by srboisvert at 3:16 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


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