Windows 2000 box that hangs during boot


Windows 2000From the "my weblog as my personal mailinglist" department:

I have a laptop where we just installed Windows 2000. Shortly after installing it, it started hanging during boot. It gets about 60% through the "Starting up ..." screen and then stops. It boots fine in "Safe Mode with Networking". I used that to upgrade it to SP4 and whatever other updates Microsoft wanted it to get. What to do? How can I figure out what makes it hang? I'd just reinstall it, but it took forever to install all the updates and I worry that it'll just do the same thing on a fresh install.

I tried booting with logging and then looking in the ntbtlog file, but that seemed pretty useless. At least to my untrained eye. (Great log format, with no timestamps and no verbose information...)

I also tried enabling VerboseStatus, but that didn't seem to do anything at all.

(I just need it to run one program; which one will be the subject of another posting soon. No, that one program doesn't work in Virtual PC 7 on the Mac or in VMware on Linux).

Yes, I see the irony, go away.


well there's your're installing Windows. You need to install Linux or something. ;-)

Seriously, have you tried wine? What about other Windows versions?

Often there's some damaged hardware in a system that gets that far... Safe Mode with Networking won't start up very many of the drivers for the in-built hardware that a laptop has.

Once you're in Safe Mode, right-click on My Computer, choose Properties, Click the Hardware tab, the click Device Manager.

In safe mode, most devices will appear to be OK, but that's becuase the drivers for them never actually got loaded. Start by disabling devices that you don't need for your application (especially built-in modems, sound cards, etc.). Obviously don't disable anything that you'd need for the laptop to actually run, but many things like PC Card controllers, etc. can be lived without. Then reboot. If you get into Win2K now, then start enabling devices again... the system will usually lock up the moment you enable the offender... thankfully it doesn't usually save the "enabled" state, so just reboot again and continue enabling (obviously skipping the one that caused the lockup) until you have it narrowed down to the one really broken device.

In-built modems are very often the culprit in a case like this, since they're often exposed to over-voltage conditions because of accidentally plugging into digital phone system or power surges coming through the phone system.

Good Luck!

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on December 29, 2004 2:39 AM.

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