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Old 12-21-2007, 02:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Windows PC won't allow login

So this might come off as a bit of a strange request, but I need help.

Yesterday my friend's PC, which is running Windows XP Pro SP1, freaked out and is in a state that is only semi-bootable. She ran anti-spyware and anti-virus checks to see if that was the problem, and after finding a bunch of infections, she rebooted the computer to find that it wouldn't let her get to the desktop!

The oddest thing of all is that the login box now appears when it never has before. Today I tried running the scans again while disconnected from the internet and running in safe mode. Both scans went off without a hitch; however, after rebooting the problem persisted––it actually got worse. After I rebooted I tried first logging on normally. The password I had set for the regular user, not the administrator, was recognized, but the computer didn't login to Windows. Instead, the login box disappeared for a moment, reappeared with information saying things were loading, and then returned to the the login prompt. Very frustrating, as you can imagine.

So again I tried safe mode, but this time things didn't go well at all. On my first attempt after pressing f8 and then selecting safe mode, the computer loaded all the required drivers and then simply rebooted. On the second attempt the situation ended up exactly like booting regularly did––letting me put in my password and then returning me back to the prompt in a retarded cycle from ****.

So this is the situation as it stands:
-A login prompt has come out of nowhere and won't let me past even though the password is correct. Instead, it sends me into a perpetual circle.
-Safe mode does the same thing.

So far I can't locate any solutions to this problem. I have a couple of Linux Live CDs (2 versions of Knoppix and a few others) and we're in the process of locating the Windows install CD. I'm not sure the recovery mode on the install disk is going to do any good, but I'm somewhat hopeful. I'm also not sure if my live CDs will come in handy; I'm not backing up files or changing a password, but trying to recover a (probably) fried install. The only utility on the live CD that might come in handy, at least to my knowledge, is regedit. However, I don't know a **** thing about the Windows registry, so this isn't of much help.

If there is a (relatively) simple way to fix this install by making edits to the registry, please, point me in the right direction and I'll be on my way. If not, well, then bye-bye Windows; we're going to have another Linux machine under my command.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Windows PC won't allow login

Wow, I would just format and reinstall, I think this may be beyond a simple fix. Formatting would also give me peace of mind down the road just in case something may be hiding out on the hdd waiting to muck up the system all over again.
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Windows PC won't allow login

Try a repair install first before doing a full format. You need that XP disk however. You can try the recovery console and use fixboot then fixmbr commands. Failing that the repair install is next choice, then if that doesn't do it, a format may be your last hope.
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Old 12-21-2007, 12:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Windows PC won't allow login

Quote:
Originally Posted by superdave1984 View Post
Try a repair install first before doing a full format. You need that XP disk however. You can try the recovery console and use fixboot then fixmbr commands. Failing that the repair install is next choice, then if that doesn't do it, a format may be your last hope.
That's what I was planning on doing, but we need to get an install disk. We're working on it, but I'm thinking a wipe and re-install might be the most likely option. If so, XP is probably going to be replaced with Arch Linux.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Windows PC won't allow login

It sounds like something took a big bite out of her Windows install. Possibly a rootkit or someone gaining access to the box and deleting system files.

I had a similarly scary thing happen several years ago and I lost an entire system. Had to reinstall from scratch.
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