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Beginners Guides: Windows XP Safe Mode Explained

Beginners Guides: Windows XP Safe Mode Explained - PCSTATS
Abstract: Safe Mode is a powerful tool for fixing problems in Windows, and finally PCstats explains how to actually use it!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Beginners Guides Feb 10 2011   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Beginners Guides

Stoping Autorun Programs Con't

Once you have found the culprit and prevented it from running at startup, you should be able to boot into normal mode and uninstall the offending software properly.

If for some reason you can't get a copy of autoruns, you can use the MSCONFIG utility included with Windows XP. This doesn't find auto-running programs as thoroughly as autoruns does, but it should still do the trick.

If you are using MSCONFIG, go to 'start\run' and type 'msconfig' to open the program. Select the 'startup' tab.

Any of the checked items are software that will run on startup. To start troubleshooting, uncheck most or all of the items, exit MSCONFIG and reboot your system in normal mode.

If the problem disappears, run MSCONFIG and re-enable the previously checked items, starting with necessary software like firewall and anti-virus programs and rebooting periodically to test the settings. When the problem manifests itself again, you've found the culprit.

Fixing driver problems

If you have installed a new driver for your graphics card or other peripheral, and your PC has gone haywire as a consequence, safe mode can help you reverse the damage. The most common signs of driver malfunction are blue screens and other crashes during the Windows XP loading process.

Of course, you can uninstall and roll back device drivers in Windows XP, but this comes as little consolation if you can't boot correctly into the operating system. By booting into safe mode, you can generally bypass the faulty drivers (since safe mode uses its own set of default drivers and ignores non-essential peripherals like sound) and get to the operating system where you can remove them.

Locating the problem driver

If you are not sure which (or even if) drivers are the cause of your Windows issues, you can use the built-in SIGVERIF program to locate all non-Windows certified drivers on your system. If you do have a driver issue, it's likely to be because that particular driver has not been properly tested with XP. SIGVERIF can tell us the various possible culprits.

To run SIGVERIF, boot into safe mode, go to 'start\run' and type 'sigverif.'

Click 'start' to begin the scanning process. SIGVERIF will examine the Windows system files for drivers that have not been WHQL certified to work with Windows XP. The list is saved as a text file in c:\windows.

Create a directory on your C:\ drive called 'driverbackup' or something similar. Locate any unsigned drivers you wish to test in the 'c:\windows\system32\drivers' directory and cut and paste them to the 'driverbackup directory you just created.

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Contents of Article: Beginners Guides
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Windows XP Safe Mode Explained
 Pg 2.  How do I get into safe mode?
 Pg 3.  Running System Restore in Safe Mode
 Pg 4.  Identifying the cause of the problem
 Pg 5.  — Stoping Autorun Programs Con't
 Pg 6.  Locating Bad Drivers Con't
 Pg 7.  Disabling devices in safe mode

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