System Restore is an extremely helpful tool built into Windows XP and Vista. System Restore runs in the background as a service and continually monitors system-critical components for changes. When it detects an impending change, System Restore immediately makes backup copies, called restore points, of these critical components before the change occurs. In addition, System Restore is configured by default to create restore points every 24 hours.
To use System Restore, first restart the computer by pressing [Ctrl][Alt][Delete]. When you see the message Please select the operating system to start or hear the single beep, press [F8] to display the Windows Advanced Options menu. Now, select the Safe Mode item from the menu and press [Enter].
Once Windows boots into Safe mode, click the Start button, go to All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools, and select System Restore. Because you’re running in Safe mode, the only option on the opening screen of the System Restore wizard is Restore My Computer To An Earlier Time, make sure it’s selected and click Next. Follow along with the wizard to select a restore point and begin the restoration procedure.
Confirm the date and time selected and click Next. Windows will perform the restoration and shut down. After the restoration Windows will restart and inform you that the restoration completed successfully. Click OK to continue the startup process.
When Windows begins to boot up and you see the message Please select the operating system to start or hear the single beep, press [F8] to display the Windows Advanced Options Menu. Then, select the Disable The Automatic Restart On System Failure item and press [Enter]. Now, Windows will hang up when it encounters the error and with any luck, it will display a stop message you can use to diagnose the problem.
When a Windows XP system wont boot up, you can often fix the problem using the Recovery Console. The Windows XP CD is bootable and will provide you with access to this tool.
To boot from the Windows XP CD, insert it into the CD-ROM drive on the problem system and reboot the computer. The system should present you with the option to boot from the CD, simply follow the prompts that will allow the loading of the basic files needed to run Setup. If not, you will need to access the BIOS and enable booting from your CD or DVD drive.
When you see the Welcome To Setup screen, shown below, press R to start the Recovery Console.
You’ll then see a Recovery Console menu, like the one shown below. It displays the folder containing the operating system’s files and prompts you to choose the operating system you want to log on to. Just press the menu number on the keyboard, and you’ll be prompted to enter the Administrator’s password. You’ll then find yourself at the main Recovery Console prompt.
As Windows begins to load, the Ntldr program refers to the Boot.ini file to determine where the operating system files are and what options to enable as the operating system continues to load. So if there’s a problem with the Boot.ini file, your PC will not boot up correctly.
If you suspect that your Boot.ini file has been corrupted, you can use the special Recovery Console version of the Bootcfg tool to fix it. To do this, you must first boot the system with the Windows XP CD and access the Recovery Console.
To use the Bootcfg tool, from the Recovery Console command prompt, type
There are several other parameter switches you can use with Bootcfg. These are listed here
/Add–Scans the disk for all Windows installations and allows you to add any new ones to the Boot.ini file.
/Scan–Scans the disk for all Windows installations.
/List–Lists each entry in the Boot.ini file.
/Default–Sets the default operating system as the main boot entry.
/Rebuild–Completely re-creates the Boot.ini file. The user must confirm each step.
/Redirect–Allows the boot operation to be redirected to a specific port when using the Headless Administration feature. The Redirect parameter takes two parameters of its own, [Port Baudrate ] | [UseBiosSettings].