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May 23, 2006 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Computer Won't Boot -- needless to say [MI]:

I apologize up front if this question is a bit redundant w/r/t other AskMeFi questions I saw, but I'm greatly in need of advice/reassurance.

My Win XP PC worked fine as of last evening; it was shut down properly. This morning my Fiance tried to turn it on I was in the bathroom, I came out and saw a Blue Disc repair screen checking the disk for errors (This is not the first time this has happened; at the time I was concerned though not especially worried). I walked out of the room and came back. It wasn't loading. I saw that my Fiance had turned on my computer without unplugging my iPod and this halted the OS from loading.

I unplugged the iPod and it started to load. It got as far as the win logo screen with the progress bar-- then the screen went black and my monitor flashed an "INPUT MODE NOT SUPPORTED" message I had never seen before. It starts the booting process over at this point and will do so indefinitely unless I turn it off/uplug.

I tried starting in safe mode, debugging mode and last known good configuration. XP still won't load.

What can I do? My computer was buit for me and I do not have the installation XP discs, assuming that's the problem... Will Geek Squad have the necessary repair discs if I shell out a hundred bucks for them to show up at my apartment?

For bonus points, if I burn a linux live CD will that allow me to plug-in an an external hard drive via USB and rescue my files that way? (I have around 100 GB of stuff to recover).

Thanks in advance...
posted by Heminator to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Yes, a Linux live CD should let you rescue your files. I've used Knoppix for this on a few occasions.

It sounds, generally, like you have a software issue. My next step would be to boot from my XP CD and try to repair from there. I don't know if the Geek Squad guys will have one; surely you can find a copy on a pirate site somewhere...
posted by autojack at 7:56 AM on May 23, 2006

Once you've got access to the drive, see if you've got c:\i386 or c:\windows\i386 folders. If so, you can copy them off and rebuild an XP CD to reinstall with from another machine. A repair install might well sort you out.
posted by ed\26h at 8:03 AM on May 23, 2006

I've been in several situations like this myself, and have helped many friends who've been there. In each case, I've used Spinrite. Basically, you create a bootable CD and on boot several extended disk checks and repairs are run.

This software has gotten me out of more than a few sticky situations where data was at stake. The software isn't free, but I've never once regretted the money I spent on it.
posted by jcummings1974 at 2:11 PM on May 23, 2006

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