Endless restart loop - and cannot boot into Safe Mode

Discussion in 'Windows Media Center' started by Falcon, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Falcon

    Falcon Guest

    The computer is a friend's Advent DHE X22 running Windows XP Media Center
    Edition 2006. The PC is caught in a never ending restart loop.

    At switch on the computer confirms that it could not start up properly at
    the last attempt to boot - with the usual screen suggesting that I can
    start in 'Safe Mode', 'Safe Mode with Networking' etc. My intention was to
    boot into safe mode and disable automatic restarts to try to troubleshoot
    the problem. But selecting any of the options available from 'Safe Mode' to
    'Start Windows Normally' simply repeats the cycle of restarts.

    The only Windows disk available at the moment (until he finds his recovery
    disk) is my own standard Windows XP Home SP2 disk. When I turned on the
    computer with the Windows Home disk inserted, I was able to start the "boot
    from CD" process, progressing to the stage at which it asks whether I would
    like to re-install Windows etc. At this stage the computer does not reboot
    itself, indicating (I think) that the problem is not hardware related, but
    probably driver or registry related.

    I stopped at that point as I'm not sure of the consequences in trying the
    Windows Home 'repair install' routine on a Media Centre PC. Is there any way
    I can get the computer to start in Safe Mode so that I can at least start
    the trouble-shooting process without a Windows Media Center Disk or the
    original recovery disk?
    Falcon, Oct 21, 2009
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  2. I *strongly* recommend against using the wrong OS to repair the computer...
    Gene E. Bloch, Oct 21, 2009
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  3. Falcon

    Falcon Guest

    Thanks Gene, that's why I stopped :) My intention was to go just as far as
    to see if the OS was causing the reboot, i.e. whether it was being caused by
    the hardware or software during start-up. I just haven't come across a
    machine I couldn't get into safe mode before now. (Lucky me!)
    Falcon, Oct 22, 2009
  4. Falcon

    DL Guest

    If you need to save data, then you need to remove the hd and connect it to
    another sys, as the recovery cd may not be able to do anything but a
    destructive recovery
    DL, Oct 22, 2009
  5. OK, I got it (finally!).
    Gene E. Bloch, Oct 22, 2009
  6. Falcon

    Falcon Guest

    Thanks DL.
    I do wish people would learn to back-up their data before something like
    this happens.
    Falcon, Oct 22, 2009
  7. Falcon

    David B. Guest

    I find that people do learn, after they've lost critical data and have to
    pay a couple thousand to a data recovery company to retrieve it.
    David B., Oct 22, 2009
  8. Falcon

    Buffalo Guest

    How did you manage that and does it now boot into Normal Mode?
    Let us know how it goes from there.
    Buffalo, Oct 22, 2009
  9. Falcon

    Jaime Guest

    Gene isn't the one with the (re)booting issue, which has not been reported
    as solved yet.

    Gene wrote that he "got it", meaning (I believe) that he got what Falcon
    approach was to solving the problem.
    Orlando (Goofy says "Hey"), Florida

    Jaime, Oct 22, 2009
  10. Falcon

    Jaime Guest

    When you hear the single beep as Windows boots and press F8, are you not
    getting the "Disable The Automatic Restart On System Failure" choice on the
    Advanced Options menu?

    The other option (depending on your comfort level) would be to download and
    burn an alternate boot CD (like the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows), use that
    to boot the PC and use the Remote Registry Editor tool to kill the Automatic

    The download mirrors for UBCD are here:
    http://www.ubcd4win.com/downloads.htm -- it's an ISO file with lots of
    tools, so it's a huge download, however lots of goodies for future use.
    The Key is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\CrashControl
    The Value is: AutoReboot, set it to "0" (for no reboot)
    Jaime, Oct 22, 2009
  11. Falcon

    Buffalo Guest

    Thanks for the heads up.
    Buffalo, Oct 22, 2009
  12. Falcon

    Falcon Guest

    Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.

    I finally got it to a stage where I could turn off automatic restarts by
    starting-up while pressing and holding F5. I was surprised to see the option
    to turn it off available from there. I've never come across it before.

    At this stage I simply wanted to find out what the BSOD was telling me, so
    getting it out of the loop was a blessing. The error message was 0x000000ED
    [etc...] UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME, which wasn't altogether unexpected.

    The Recovery Console option chkdsk /r sounded like an option. As I indicated
    earlier, I don't have a Media Centre OS disk, so I made one fairly desperate
    attempt this afternoon to invoke the repair console with an XP Home SP2
    disk - which failed, reporting that it couldn't find a hard disk to check.

    It appears that recovery disks were never issued with the machine
    (see: http://www.uktsupport.co.uk/advent/pc/DHEX22.htm ) and it was left to
    the user to create them. Of course, that wasn't done. I've now found that
    there is a recovery option from a hidden partition which involves pressing
    F10 during start-up, which is supposed to access the Advent recovery
    console - and I'll try that tomorrow morning (UK time), but at the moment I
    don't hold out too much hope that the disk is recoverable.

    If it comes to replacing the disk the owner would have to fork out for the
    disk and the media center OS. Which would just leave me the problem of
    getting the cover off the machine. I know it sounds silly, but at the moment
    I can't see a screw or tab anywhere on the damned thing. It's one of these
    little swines. I mean beauties: http://xrl.us/bfudjn (Link to www.pcw.co.uk)
    Falcon, Oct 22, 2009
  13. To add a bit to the above: I wrote that I got (understood) it because I
    initially *didn't* get what Falcon meant :)

    I.e., I was (implicitly) thanking him for his heads up to me.

    And so it goes...
    Gene E. Bloch, Oct 22, 2009
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