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How to fix a Windows startup error

What to do when Windows just won't start

QUESTION When I power on my Windows XP Pro Lenovo laptop I get the error message: ‘Windows did not start successfully. This could be due to software or hardware change’. It then gives options to start in Safe mode or Recovery, or to Start normally after 10 seconds. Whichever option I choose, the screen goes black and the power switches off by itself.
 
I’ve tried restoring the machine to its factory settings, but the same problem occurs repeatedly. Onn Sein

HELPROOM ANSWER It looks as though a hardware or software change (or a faulty component) could be causing this. Before you take the drastic action of reinstalling Windows, boot into Safe mode and head to Control Panel, Programs and Features. Uninstall any updated Windows drivers, such as graphics or windows software updates.

If this doesn’t help, give System Restore a try. Note that System Restore won’t delete any of your documents or email messages, and affects only the system and program files. For more advice, see 'How to create and manage System Restore points'.

Another option is to use the Lenovo ThinkVantage System Update tool that was preinstalled on your laptop. If you don’t have this, get it here. This software will automatically detect your laptop model and find and install any driver, software or Bios updates.

The problems you’re experiencing may also be due to a faulty component or loose connection. If you’re not comfortable with looking inside the chassis, visit a local PC repair shop.

See also:

How to fix everything: the ultimate guide to fixing technology

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