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Chapter 19. Maintenance & Troubleshooting > Recovering After a Crash

Recovering After a Crash

If you’ve installed a criminally faulty driver or program, and Windows won’t boot—perhaps greeting you with a black screen (symbolizing thick smoke) instead of the Windows logo—you can invoke the Windows startup menu to recover from catastrophe. This menu takes a little fancy fingerwork to bring up.

To use the startup menu

Restart your computer.

When the computer startup messages finish (and before the Windows XP screen appears), tap the F8 key repeatedly until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears (Figure 19.35).

Figure 19.35. If Windows won’t boot, this screen gives you an excellent chance of recovering.

If you have a dual-boot system, use the arrow keys to select the OS that you need; then press Enter.

Use the arrow keys to select a startup option; then press Enter.

Table 19.3 lists the most appropriate options.

Table 19.3. Startup Menu Options
Safe ModeStarts Windows with only its fundamental files, drivers, and components. Only your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and disk drives will work. A generic video driver makes everything appear in jaggy 640x480 screen resolution. Safe mode lets you run most essential configuration and troubleshooting tools, including Device Manager, System Restore, Registry Editor, Backup, Services, and Help and Support. You can uninstall a program or driver that you suspect is causing the problems.
Safe Mode with NetworkingOffers the same functions as safe mode, plus access to your network connections. Use this mode if you need files or drivers from another PC on the network. This mode won’t work for laptops that connect via a PC Card network adapter; PC Card drivers are disabled in safe mode.
Safe Mode with Command PromptLoads the same set of services as safe mode but displays only the command prompt instead of the Windows graphical interface. This mode is for command-line geeks only.
Enable VGA ModeStarts the PC with the safe-mode VGA driver but doesn’t invoke any other part of safe mode. Use this option to boot past a bogus video driver.
Last Known Good ConfigurationStarts the PC by using the registry information and drivers that were in effect the last time your PC was working, effectively undoing the changes that caused the problems. (This is the old Windows 2000 system rollback option; System Restore is preferable, because it restores OS system files too.)
Start Windows NormallyStarts Windows in the usual way.
RebootRestarts the computer.
Return to OS Choices MenuBacks up to the screen that lets you choose the operating system. Most people have only one choice: Windows XP.



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