When Win XP won't boot after a new device or service install

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If you install a service or hardware device that is not compatible with Windows XP, you might receive an error message when you try to restart the computer. This message refers to the service or file (device driver) that's causing the problem. To get Windows to start, perform the following steps:


  1. Start the computer with the Windows boot disks or the installation CD (if the computer will allow you to boot from the CD-ROM drive).
  2. Press R (for Repair) at the Welcome screen.
  3. Press C to start the Recovery Console.
  4. Choose install Windows and log on with the Administrator account.
  5. At the command prompt, change to the System32 folder in the systemroot directory (typically Windows, but it may be named WINNT if you upgraded from Windows 2000).
  6. When you are in the proper directory, type listsvc and press enter.
  7. In the list of services and devices, find the one that was referenced by the error message. Type disable [service/device name]
  8. Press enter.
  9. Type exit

The computer will

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restart, and should now boot normally with the troublesome service or device disabled.

This was first published in January 2004

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