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Windows XP boots endlessly on start up

I have Windows XP running on one of my older notebooks. And it has been working quite well for the past few months. Today, when I really need to do some work on it, it won't boot. Actually, it boots up the Windows XP splash screen, flickers the crash screen and automatically reboots the notebook. It don't matter if I try booting to safe mode, the command prompt, or the last known good state. It'll continue to reboot endlessly no matter how many times it has rebooted.

I remember there is a way for Windows to repair itself. So I popped in the Windows XP CD-ROM into the drive and booted it up. Upon booting, I saw a tempting option:

"To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R."

That was the wrong option. Because it dumps you at the command prompt. If you know what to do to fix the Windows XP installation, the Recovery Console might be for you. But I had no idea. So after pressing 'R' at the wrong time, I typed "exit" to reboot the computer once again. This time, I continued the set-up CD-ROM and ignored the Recovery Console method.

On the next screen, I saw the following message:

"If one of the following Windows XP installation is damaged, Setup can try to repair it. [. . .] To repair the selected Windows XP installation, press R."

Voila! That's exactly what I'm looking for . . . Windows XP to fix itself. So I pressed 'R' and Windows XP proceeded to copy the installation files.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 08 Aug 2007 07:48:06 +0000

Ok. Today I figured out what caused my Sony VAIO PCG-748 to continuously boot. It's right after Windows Update automatically install 79 updates to SP2. Now my notebook just boots over and over again. Looks like I won't ever enable Windows Update on this notebook again. But I'll have to reinstall Windows XP first.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 31 Aug 2007 22:57:27 +0000

Everywhere I read that the only way to disable the automatic Windows XP restart is by clicking through the Windows menu system. Well, I can't even get to Windows menu system before the notebook reboots.

But I pressed F8 today and got a whole set of diagnostic options. One of them happends to be "Disable automatic restart on system failure"! Just what I need. The following are all of the options:

Windows Advanced Options Menu
Please select an option:

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Enable Boot Logging
Enable VGA Mode
Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows domain controllers only)
Debugging Mode
Disable automatic restart on system failure

Start Windows Normally
Return to OS Choices Menu

Use the up and down arrow keys to move the highlight to your choice.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 31 Aug 2007 23:26:44 +0000

After disabling the automatic restart, I was finally greeted by the blue screen of death. The technical information for the problem is

*** STOP: 0x0000007E (0xC0000005,0xFB503DB8,0xFBC5F8D0,0xFBC5F5CC)

I searched for "*** STOP: 0x0000007E" and found "STOP 0x0000007E" error message after you upgrade to Windows XP. I will try to figure out the exact problem and see what I can do about it.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 31 Aug 2007 23:32:33 +0000

Here is another one: Error message in Windows XP Service Pack 2: "Stop 0x7E"

But I don't see how I can install a patch if I can't even boot into Windows XP in the first place.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 31 Aug 2007 23:42:04 +0000

This is my Sony VAIO PCG-748 notebook computer. It turns out one of the Windows update components is incompatible. As soon as I apply all the updates to date, the computer would exhibit this symptom. But if I reinstall Windows XP from scratch and disable automatic update, the notebook will work just fine.

Chieh Cheng
Sun, 11 May 2008 02:11:26 +0000

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