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Addendum/Correction Notice: This is a corrected version of the original article entitled "Windows XP Crashed? Here's Help A salvage mission into the depths of Windows XP, explained by a non-geek " by Charlie White. Through no fault of the author, the original article contained a number of HTML formatting errors that made the described repair process fail due to missing slashes and incorrect interpretation by browsers of certain character sequences). Also, at the bottom of each article there are often notes and comments from other users. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check those comments for any possible Errata submissions that may have been reported since this article was last updated.
The following is a corrected version of Charlie White's excellent article and if the steps are followed exactly should resolve many problems and very often result in a repaired and fully functioning XP environment:
PC users, you all know what it is: That dreaded Blue Screen of Death. That's right, the BSOD. You've installed a seemingly innocent application, restarted your computer, and suddenly you see this horror in front of your eyes: A big blue screen with some cryptic message on it. Try restarting again, same thing. You're dead. What will you do? What WILL you do?? Well, don't let it ruin your day. Remain calm. If you're using Windows XP, I can help you fix it. Come with me, down into the bowels of Windows XP, where only the high priests go. It'll be fun!
I'm going to show you how to bring your computer back to life, and restore it to the point where things went south. You might want to print this article and squirrel it away for that fateful day when this happens to you. Or if you don't want to print it (and who prints anything these days, anyway?), and you get a big ugly blue screen, just get on another computer somewhere and come back to this Web page for comfort and advice. I can get you out of this mess. I know, because I was in the same mess and I got myself out of it.
Here's what to do: First, get the Windows XP CD you used to install your operating system. By the way, this routine only works with Windows XP, either Professional or XP Home Edition. If you don't have a bootable XP CD, get one and have it with you at all times, because you never know when the dreaded BSOD might strike.
But before you do anything with that CD, try restarting your computer again. Sometimes, for some odd reason, this works. Usually not, though. If you've tried that and everything else you can think of, and you can't even boot into Safe Mode, this is the mission for you.
Put the XP CD in the drive, and restart. When it says "press any key to boot from CD," go ahead, press any key and you're on your way to recovery. The Recovery Console, that is. If it doesn't give you a choice to boot from your CD drive, go into your computer's BIOS and make the adjustment for it to boot from CD. PCs brands and motherboards are too diverse for me to give you specifics on this, so follow the prompts and you can make that CD boot happen without too much trouble. Look at your screen when it boots up, and it always says "hit DEL for BIOS settings" or something similar. If you can't get it to boot from CD, just give up and call for support or take your computer to the nearest computer store for professional help.
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