Knowledge Base

Computer Does Not Boot to Microsoft Windows XP


Table of Contents:

  1. Verify the Computer Finishes Initial Power-Up (POST)
  2. Check for Specific Error Messages
  3. Run a Computer Diagnostic
  4. Boot the Computer into Safe Mode
  5. Check for Recent Changes
  6. Unplug All External Devices
  7. Use Startup Repair to Restore Critical Windows Files
  8. Use System Restore to Revert to a Previous State
  9. Use Clean-Boot Troubleshooting to Isolate the Software Issue
  10. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

This article is for Microsoft Windows XP.

Click below to change the operating system:

This article describes troubleshooting computers that are powering up correctly and passing the Dell BIOS screen at boot-up, but do not successfully boot to Microsoft Windows


1. Verify the Computer Finishes Initial Power-Up (POST)

In many cases a computer will not attempt to hand off control to the operating system. If you power the computer on and you see a Dell logo screen with a bar at the bottom, and that bar fills up completely and disappears, then your computer has successfully completed POST.

Click Here if Your Computer Does Not Complete POST

Back to Top


2. Check for Specific Error Messages

Dell has information on some specific error messages at startup. Refer to the following links for more information:

Back to Top


3. Run a Computer Diagnostic

To run PSA Diagnostics:

  1. Turn on the computer and tap the <F12> key several times at the Dell logo screen.
  2. This will start the One-Time Boot Menu. Select Diagnostics to start the diagnostic assessment of the computer hardware.

This test takes approximately 5 minutes.

If you receive an error from the PSA diagnostics, refer to the Dell Hardware Diagnostics page for further assistance:
Click Here to Troubleshoot Diagnostic Errors

Back to Top


4. Boot the Computer into Safe Mode

  1. Start the computer.
  2. Repeatedly tap F8, on the keyboard, immediately after the Dell logo screen disappears until you see the Windows Advanced Options Menu on the screen.
    (If the Windows Advanced Options Menu does not appear, restart the system and try again.)
  3. Select Safe Mode and press Enter.
  4. Log on as the administrator or as a user with administrative access. If your computer does not boot to Safe Mode, select from the following options to troubleshoot. Otherwise, proceed to Step 5.
  5. Check for Recent Changes.

If you are able to successfully boot to Safe Mode, check your computer to see if any new software or hardware was recently installed. If so, try uninstalling those programs or hardware from your computer.

Back to Top


5. Check for Recent Changes

If you are able to successfully boot to Safe Mode, check your computer to see if any new software or hardware was recently installed. If so, try uninstalling those programs or hardware from your computer.

Back to Top



6. Unplug All External Devices

A piece of hardware may be interfering with the normal boot process of Windows. Try unplugging all devices from your computer, including:

  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Media Card Readers
  • Small Media cradles (iPod, PDA, MP3 player, etc.)
  • Digital Cameras and Video Recorders
  • USB storage devices
  • CDs or DVDs from all optical drives

The only devices you should leave attached to your computer are your monitor, mouse and keyboard, if the computer is a desktop.

Back to Top


7. Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Repair Installation) of Windows XP

The Windows XP CD provided with your computer contains an option to replace the system files on Windows XP, effectively refreshing the installation of Windows.

To learn more about using Startup Repair to restore critical Windows files, click the link below:
How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Installation

Back to Top


8. Use System Restore to Revert to a Previous State

Windows XP contains a feature known as System Restore to roll back changes to the computer based on "restore points" that are commonly scheduled by Windows. This functionality is available through Windows Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

To access and use this feature, refer to the link below:
How to Use System Restore from Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Back to Top


9. Use Clean-Boot Troubleshooting to Isolate the Software Issue

A program or application may be interfering with the normal boot process of Windows. Microsoft has created a detailed process for isolating a startup program that is causing Windows to not boot correctly.

Click the link below to being the troubleshooting process:
How to perform advanced clean-boot troubleshooting in Windows XP

Back to Top


10. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

If clean boot troubleshooting cannot identify the issue, it may be necessary to restore your computer to factory settings.

To restore your computer's operating system and software to the original factory settings, launch the link below:
Launch the Microsoft Windows Reinstallation Guide

Back to Top





Article ID: SLN129781

Last Date Modified: 12/15/2014 11:00 AM


Rate this content

Accurate
Useful
Easy to understand
Did this article solve your problem?
Yes
No
Send us feedback
CAPTCHA
Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 
Enter Captcha Code
There is an error with an entry. Please try again entering your CAPTCHA code.
Feedback shows invalid character, not accepted special characters are <> () \
Sorry, our feedback system is currently down. Please try again later.

Thank you. Your feedback has been sent.