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No logon prompt - totally locked out

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  • No logon prompt - totally locked out


    I have been working cheerfully with my Win XP SP1 machine for many months, until some days ago I hooked up a cloned drive (a year old) to the system. On boot, just as I got the graphics screen, there was a quick message about a lsass error (did not have time to read it through), and the system got stuck at that phase. I disconnected the clone, but the machine now gets to the graphic screen and stays there. I have the mouse but no logon prompt. CTRL+ALT+DEL does nothing.

    - Safe mode - same behaviour
    - "Last Good" - no dice. I don't have restore points (did not have the HD room for them )
    - Can not see the machine from the network.

    Just like in the twilight zone : Can't get through - getting no connections...

    Since I did not see the NTFS partitions (got C, E and F, where E and F are NTFS, E is the system) from a slave drive on my first try (I saw them later), I prepared a Bart PE CD, and then managed to see my data. From the boot log I got a hint that the registry got mixed up and the system is referred to D: . Pulled out the SOFTWARE hive and looked into it with a freeware Regxplor utility and indeed some entries were d:\windows instead of e:\windows.

    I could not find a way to edit the registry on an another machine and be able to save it into a file that I can take and, using Bart PE, insert it back into the locked out system. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

    Also, if any of you guys have any experience in doing a repair-install from an XP SP1 CD (my concern is that I would lose the registry and/or data if I do that), please share it with me.

    Needless to say, other words of wisdom are quite welcome..


  • #2
    Re: No logon prompt - totally locked out

    Great first post with muchos info - thanks very much we really appreciate it.

    Unfortunately in my experience when Windows gets confused about which drives the system and boot partitions are on, it's not time to repair it's time to reinstall.


    I would recommend TRYING a repair first, anyway; you're not going to lose anything by doing this as the idea is to repair what's in situ and not destroy anything. If this doesn't work, back up your data as best you can and then wipe your system and start again. I would STRONGLY recommend building your system with the system and boot partitions on C:\ - it avoids any confusion and prevents problems later. If you're going to slave in drives AFTER build, make sure they're (a) not bootable and (b) (if IDE drives) connected as SLAVE SECONDARY. That way, Windows is unlikely to mistake them for the boot partition and get confused.

    Can anyone else give any greater wisdom than this? This is the extent of my experience.

    For my own and your protection, I do not provide support by private message under any circumstances. All such messages will be deleted and ignored.

    Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you


    • #3
      Re: No logon prompt - totally locked out


      Thanks for the supportive welcome.

      Since rebuilding the drive from clean slate will be a major undertaking, I ain't giving up yet (already spent more than 30 hours on it). I will still try to hammer at it over the weekend, and if unsuccessful then I'll try the XP CD repair procedure. If everything else fails - it is format time. I got the problem drive cloned and will experiment on the clone.

      Being very traditional and old fashion, I like my C: drive to be FAT at 1GB with DOS 6.22 on it in case I need to run some forgotten programs of yore or to store important docs that would be always accessible when disaster strikes. Used E as NTFS system drive since my NT4 days.

      Your point of making sure that both IDE drives need to be different re master/slave is well taken - will make sure of this in the future. In my case, my main disk that got clobbered was SCSI and my cloned attachment was IDE. They are all bootable, and I did it many times in the past without problems, but now I will be more careful.

      Thanks for the comment.
      Last edited by Kob; 24th March 2007, 00:06.


      • #4
        Re: No logon prompt - totally locked out

        If you anticipate the need to boot DOS and run legacy stuff, do it from a USB key or a CD floppy emulation - most systems now allow a USB key to emulate a floppy disk and boot the system...

        as to the rest - best of luck!

        For my own and your protection, I do not provide support by private message under any circumstances. All such messages will be deleted and ignored.

        Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you


        • #5
          Re: No logon prompt - totally locked out

          An update for posterity:

          1. I copied the mixed-up hives to another machine and used some of the available free/trial version registry tools to try to fix them. Did a few rudimentary changes where I saw d:\ instead of e:\, and planted them back into the locked-out system.
          Did not help.

          2. Tried Windows repair-install. The repair saw the existing windows at d:\, and that repair cycle did not fix the mix-up. Windows booted up alright, all the proper icons were on screen, but none worked obviously, since they were all linked to e:\ locations. Many services did not work either.

          3. I then got really smart: re-imaged the locked-out system onto the test drive, and also hooked up a second HD with a primary partition on it so it would force itself into D: when doing a repair. (Windows, when building up the drive letters assignments, looks for 1st primary partition on disk #1, 1st primary partition on second drive, and then for extended partitions on the 1st drive, and on the second drive, followed by a search for other primary partitions. That's the reason that me trying to add an extra primary partition on the bad drive did not help - I had to add a physical HD.).
          Now proceeded on to repair-install. I got now a repaired Windows on E: with all my icons. Alas, testing the system was a disaster - 80% of the programs did not work, and Windows itself was messed up - could not even activate the "Start" button.

          So, Stonelaughter, put another notch on your belt - when drive letters are messed up, it is time for a fresh install. I am through that process now. Hopefully will get my system fully loaded in a few days.

          Really appreciate your comments.