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Strange behaviour with Windows XP lately...

Sunday 13 February 2011, by Stéphane Téletchéa

Is it the same for you?

This is the second computer with the same symptom: it started to fail booting up (black screen in a normal boot, working as expected in failsafe mode). This is windows XP but I have other stuff to do than debugging this, and of course the symptoms are the same if you try to re-install from scratch, which is more strange.

A GNU/Linux system (Mandriva or any other I tested) boots fine and works like a charm, and Windows Vista or Seven installs and works fine also... This eliminates any hardware problem (my first suspects were the graphic card and/or memory but both work as expected).

Is there any specific setup needed for XP, a virus made for banning the remaining XP installations since there is no more support for it from Microsoft?

I cannot imagine there is such problem from Microsoft, but who knows?

Is there anyone encountering the same symptoms?

If you have any hint, please let me know.

Update (14/02/2011) :

I have also tried to:

- reset BIOS settings to the default factory (this was my first test)
- Install/uninstall ATI drivers (thanks revo uninstaller which enables to uninstall stuff even in safe mode ->
- Use an anti-adware program
- Install a new antivirus (Symantec) instead of Clamwin
- Install the fix for Windows Shell (
- Install an anti-malware (
- perform all Windows updates
- do a memory check (no problem so far)
- Install Vista instead of XP...

But the problem persists :-)

Thanks to Misc and Ric who gave me good hints but it seems I’m going to have another bunch of tests to get it working again (sadly I cannot use Mandriva-only setup on this computer...).

My best guess for now is the mainboard battery, since the computer is 6-years old...

Stay tuned.


A quick search on "Black Screen Of Death" triggers a lot of web sites, not everything presents the same symptoms as I do, but it seems I’m not alone (in the dark screen :-)

Update (21/02/2011) :

I finally came out on this:
- installed Vista instead of XP
- cleaned out all the dust inside (since the graphic card fan was full of dust this is my main culprit)
- changed the bios battery (and yes, I tried to reset to defaults, change values, etc)
- performed a disk check inside windows without any error
- performed a memory check again using memtest without any error too

The computer seems now back to normal, and most programs are back on it, all are legal and / or free software, of course.

In the end Microsoft is probably not pushing users to upgrade, but in the end it seems newer releases (Vista and above) are less "sensitive" to some temporary hardware problems (dust). I really hope I’m done with thi

4 Forum posts

  • Strange behaviour with WIndows XP lately... 13 February 2011 at 20:08, by Michael

    C’est surement un effet de rpm 5 ou de systemd /o\

    Sinon, je pense que tu peux démarrer xp dans un mode avec des messages plus verbeux :

    Le vrai souci est d’éditer la base de registre bien sur. Je sais que le cd de boot de win2k le propose, et les lives cd de windows aussi ( bartpe ) ainsi que des outils de l’auteur de virt-manager ( j’ai oublié le nom ).

    Reply to this message

  • Strange behaviour with WIndows XP lately... 14 February 2011 at 15:28, by RJohnson

    Have you tried resetting the bios first? I’ve had problems with XP sp2 on one mine I use for recording TV video were sometimes it would tell me it couldn’t run with the advanced settings, so I just restarted it and it functions. Have you tried to do a repair instead of a reinstall? I am taking it on faith that Microsoft hasn’t done the "timeout" OS because they want everyone off of XP and on Windows 7, that just isn’t good business.

    Reply to this message

  • Strange behaviour with Windows XP lately... 15 February 2011 at 00:45, by katnatek

    Did you try burn new windows xp cd or use other cd/dvd drive?

    You also can try to install xp from usb memory if the motherbord support boot from usb drive

    Reply to this message

    • Strange behaviour with Windows XP lately... 27 February 2011 at 23:31, by Stéphane Téletchéa

      My XP CD is an original one, but I think one problem was it was probably meant for an "upgrade" or "repair". On the other hand, the issue was probably coming from a bad sector on the disk.

      I’ve now been able to successfully install MS Vista on it, and although it is a little bit more slow, it fits my needs.

      I thought it would be good to share my findings, though.

      Thanks for reading my post, and for getting some info :-)

      Reply to this message

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