can't get into safe mode to system restore

  rickd 15:40 09 May 06
Locked

I've tried installing new Nvidia drivers for a new card, and failed, so I went down the route of uninstalling all mention of old Nvidia drivers (drive cleaner) and installing the new card and drivers from scratch (from cd). It rebooted OK, but in VGA mode I guess (low quality graphics). So after a few attempts I've given up and I want to restore back to where I was. Only if I try last good config, with the old card in then I get a blank screen (as it maybe thinks the last good config was when it rebooted OK, but after I'd removed the drivers). With no card at all (i.e trying the onboard graphics, still blank) It may wellhave restored, only I don't have a desktop!
I've now tried getting into safe mode to restore from there, but it freezes.
Its XPsp2.

What can I try next.

  remind 16:56 09 May 06

If it's freezing in safe mode with minimal drivers, very fundamental Windows problem or something wrong with hardware.
Windows repair?
click here

If you have access to another PC with broadband and a cdrw,
get yourself a copy of slax or dsl, burn to CD, boot with it - if you get a usable display and you can change resolution OK, the problem is windows.
slax click here (only need the 110mb popcorn edition for this purpose)
dsl click here -
you want dsl-2.3.iso click here

i recall you saying your old card worked fine in previous threads, repair would be the first option

  Taff™ 16:57 09 May 06

Have you tried going into msconfig and selecting diagnostic startup? Go Start>Run and type "msconfig" without quotation marks.

  rickd 17:36 09 May 06

Taff
I can't get to the desktop/"start" to type misconfig, unless there's a different way

Remind
Should I remove the old card that I've already deleted the drivers for first? I still can't get it into safe mode when I do, but if I run repair, what graphics will it try to repair? The repair process sounds a bit scary, anything else I can try first?

  remind 18:56 09 May 06

If you can't get into safe mode and you don't want to affect/change/overwrite your system your options are limited; either check one/all graphics cards in another machine or try a linux CD, or both.

Leave the card you have in it now. Windows repair will reinstate the most basic settings, which should enable any standard graphics hardware to give you some kind of display, though XP usually only works at 800x600, 256 colours rather than the 640x480 of older systems. If you get dos screens and Windows setup screens with no corruption/weird marks or lines thats a good sign and the XP repair should
help.
Just follow the instructions step by step, it's simpler to do than it appears when written down.

Here are the MS instructions for the same thing;
click here

  rickd 19:40 09 May 06

I've run the MESH windows CD repair wizard that came with the PC, which basically scans the drives for errors, then reinstalls all the windows files by the looks of it. I think its basically the same as the MS one itself, but does the scary stuff for you. It takes about 10 mins to do the job, then reboots, shows the bios etc, goes to the windows starting screen with the flag, then screen goes dark, but is still on (ie no welcome blue screen, but it continues to boot from the HD (another couple of mins) but no desktop appears. I've tried this with the old card (for which I removed the drivers but would expect it still to do VGA) and taking the card out and running it straight off the MB graphics, but get the same result.
When I try to start in safe mode using F8, and select an option they become "blued" out (hidden).
If only I could get into safe mode, or the desktop I could probably restore back to yesterday.
Help!, its scary in the dark!

  rickd 20:09 09 May 06

One of the files drivercleaner removed was a "legacy driver" could this be the problem? If so how can I reinstall it. Also I may have inadvertently disabled VGA while trying to force the monitor to use the new drivers, but I'd have thought that would have reset during repair, but maybe it hasn't - anyway I can get that back, i tried "enable VGA" during boot up, but no effect.
Grabbing at straws here...

  remind 20:50 09 May 06

a legacy driver would provide support for older/lowest common denominator hardware but the repair should have solved it.
i dont know what else you can try short of a total re-install of windows or a linux cd.
`disable onboard vga` might be an option in your bios depending on its age

if the problem is windows the repair ought to have sorted it, but you cant be 100% sure without a total reinstall of windows.
not getting a useable display in safe mode is pretty unusual if you ask me

i hope someone can offer more help

  remind 20:57 09 May 06

the last resort before re-installing is to copy the registry backup (made once the first time you boot the pc after a fresh install of xp) to your current registry locations and create a new user account. it involves lots of typing though. if you follow the instructions you will have a backup of your current registry to fall back on (again, lots of typing)

click here

  rickd 21:09 09 May 06

I made a copy of my entire harddrive a few months back using Norton Ghost onto an external drive. I can't get to ghost on my PC (for obvious reasons), but maybe I can reinstall everything from there? Is this a possibility? Or can I install XP afresh then copy over all my settings, software etc to save having to reconfigure my email, website, games, life......
(just a hope before I go drown my sorrows!!)

  remind 21:21 09 May 06

you could give that a try, if ghost stores an image that you can access individual files from, you're in luck - i dont know if that is the case as i dont use norton ghost. if you have an xp cd that boots to a recovery console where you can type commands it might be possible to re-install windows over what you have, but saving your actual documents (rename the entire `documents and settings` and `program files` folders, new ones are created and the old ones are untouched, if you dont format before install)

you'll have to re-install all your programs and their individual settings, but your documents will be intact.
emails will be recoverable separately. time consuming

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