Blue screen of death problem
June 1, 2012 5:13 PM   Subscribe

How can I fix my blue screen of death problem (XP)?

I've got a 9 year old off-the-shelf pc running XP with (I think) SP3. I don't really remember the hdd/ram specs because it's really not used much. I do try to turn it on every few weeks to let auto updates happen.

Anyway, I did start it and update the software in the last week and then bought a new printer and when I tried to load its software from a disc, it wouldn't recognise the printer. It turns out that the printer cable doovy that plugs into the printer wasn't long enough and I've got another one now that fits. So I can't be sure how much, if any, of the printer cd software actually loaded during the failed installation. (I just mention this because it's the last time I did anything with the computer -- I put the new printer cable in today et voila! : bsod cycling)

Today when the pc on, it goes into a continuous cycle of never quite loading windows and into a blue screen of death (BSOD) with error text about the file nv4_disp (which is, apparently, a driver for the nVidia graphics card).

I guess the real BIG problem is this: I can't boot in safe mode - I can't change the boot mode.

Either in the middle of the cylcle when I'm taken to the boot mode page or when I conjure the page from F8, I can't actually make any choices out of the 3 booting methods such as to choose safe mode. I swapped out the keyboard batteries and nothing changed. None of the usual 3 choices is highlighted so the machine just keeps looping back into this approximation of the loop...

half-booting--->memory dump--->bsod--->unchangeable boot choice screen--->timeout---->half-booting--->memorydump-------->etc etc etc

(I've tried turning the power off a few times too)

Any ideas????

I'm pretty lowly on the totem pole of tech knowledge so be gentle.

have seen:
posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yeah, do you have access to a hard-wired keyboard? USB or PS2?
posted by kbanas at 5:16 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Boot to the install CD and do a repair installation.

Though honestly, on a 9YO machine, I would say boot to the install CD and just do a completely clean new installation. Windows gets "krufty" after a year or two, and pushing nine before it died? I'd call that nothing short of impressive.
posted by pla at 5:19 PM on June 1, 2012

Could the num_lock be turned on, preventing you from using the arrow keys on the numeric keypad?
posted by DarkForest at 5:22 PM on June 1, 2012

you mentioned batteries in the keyboard, which suggests it's wireless. there's a good chance you'll need a wired keyboard as the drivers for your wireless one haven't loaded yet at that point in the boot cycle.
posted by radiosilents at 5:29 PM on June 1, 2012

Buy or borrow a wired keyboard to get to safe mode and there's 99% chance it all can be fixed fairly easily. Most thrift shops have usable keyboards for $3-5.
posted by caclwmr4 at 5:31 PM on June 1, 2012

This link talks about how to boot into the "last known good configuration" for xp without using the f8 method. Here too. But you'll have to edit the boot.ini somehow outside of windows. You could use a linux live disk to do that, or that BartPE live windows disk. You might have to google around to find a full procedure though.

If you can use f8 to get to the safe boot screen, then your keyboard must be at least partly working.
posted by DarkForest at 5:33 PM on June 1, 2012

Umm.. sorry.. went to shops for an hour.

WEIRD! It's now working.

I swapped out kboards but that didn't really help. The same inability to change the booting mode in the F8 screen was there. BUT I think I changed the configuration of USB plugs in the back (I wasn't looking carefully). I'm assuming one plug hole is dead or not really USB.

But after removing the wired kb and returning to usual wireless one, I can't even get to the F8 screen during boot. I guess that might either be the on/off function key or that unwired kb is now partly dead.

In summary, this whole poltergeist bsod in pc event has been v. weird but is now satisfactorily, if only to 99% so far, resolved. Thanks all.
posted by peacay at 6:54 PM on June 1, 2012

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