Cause: A recently installed file or service or software program is incompatible with Windows XP and is preventing it from starting. Look carefully at the error message. If a file or service name is referred to in the error message, then you can troubleshoot by either clean booting or by stopping the service.
Solution 1a: To perform a clean boot in Windows XP, use the following steps:
1. Start the system configuration tool by going to Start > Run, typing in “msconfig”, and pressing [Enter]
2. Click Selective Startup and clear the following checkboxes:
“Process System.ini File”, “Process Win.ini File”, and “Load Startup Items”.
3. Select the Services tab and click the “Hide All Microsoft Services” checkbox, and then select “Disable All”.
4. Click OK and then “Restart” to restart your system.
5. When Windows restarts, if the error doesn’t occur, re-open “msconfig” and check the “Process System.ini File” checkbox, click OK and restart your computer. If the error returns, you know that the problem is with one of the System.ini entries. If the error doesn’t occur, progressively enable the remaining checkboxes (“Process Win.ini File”, “Load Startup Items”, and “Load System Services”). Restart the computer after you enable each checkbox till the error occurs again.
6. Once you have identified the area in which the error occurs, disable the entry or stop/disable the service as the case may be.
Solution 1b: If you are unable to perform a clean boot to troubleshoot the problem and you know the name of the service, then start the Recovery Console as explained earlier. From the command prompt, change to the System32 folder. Type in “listsvc” at the command prompt in the System32 folder. A list of all services on your computer will be displayed. Locate the service name that is causing the error. Type “disable <servicename>” and press [Enter]. The computer will print a message listing the “start type” that is being shut down. Note it down in case you need to re-enable the service. Type “exit” and allow the computer to restart normally.
Solution 1c: If you recently installed a program that is causing this error, remove the program. If the program is not listed in the Add/Remove list, you’ll have to visit the developer’s Web site for instructions on how to remove the program.