Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Windows XP unable to boot

A Dell Inspirion 640m notebook suddenly shutdown and won't reboot. When system was restarted, the Windows logo will come up and then a blue screen with the following error comes on screen. STOP: c0000021a {Fatal System Error} The Windows Logon Process system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0x0000034 (0x00000000 0x00000000). The system has shut down. There is no response on the keyboard and only a switch on the power can shut it down. Booting into Safe Mode or even Safe Mode command prompt does not work and will also go into that error.

After running the diagnostics that came with the Dell system and eliminating the suggestion possible cause of bad memory chips, I figured the problem is a corrupted file. Found the hint from this forum Boot the system from the cd installer and expanded the WINLOGON.EX_ file into C:\Windows directory. After rebooting, the system was able to fully boot into Windows.

Also found that the system was infected with the GenericFakeAlert virus as detected by McAfee anti-virus. Why the anti-virus did not detect it in the first place is a mystery. I disabled the System Restore in Windows and run Malware Byte's scanner. It fixed a number of spyware problems including detecting the winlogon.exe file as a bad file. Apparently the file should be located in C:\Windows\system32 directory. I copied the file from C:\Windows into the system32 before allowing Malware Byte to remove the detected files and then rebooted the system. The system seems to be running ok now.