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I have a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop running Windows XP SP3 and encountered the above problem after a previous system restore. Windows initiates fine, the Welcome screen displays and, instead of going to my desktop, the user logon screen comes up. When I select the user name to logon, I get the Windows logon, logoff 'music', the system indicates 'saving my personal settings', and the only option I have is to shut down. CTL-ALT-DEL displays a logon screen, but when I logon from here I return to the user screen, and the loop continues.

I'm not certain if this is a virus or a system problem with my user profiles..



I was directed here from the PC HELP Forum. Since I am unable to logon to my computer, I can't follow the general directions under Option 1.

Thank you.


Hi, invected2010:

I think you're still not quite in the right place for your problem. ;)

It looks as if AdvancedSetup suggested having a malware expert check your system.

That's done over >>HERE<< in the Malware Removal Section. :)

Before you post there, please try to follow as many of the steps as you can in this sticky topic >>HERE<<. :)

If the system is too crippled, just do the best you can and start a post in the malware removal section anyway.

It might be helpful if you reference your original topic when you start your new post.

The link for your original topic is here:





Thank you, daledoc1, for your fast response!

I am unable to access Windows with this logon issue. Therefore, I cannot follow the initial instructions for malware issues. I suppose my system is "too crippled' at this point. Further, I am posting my problem to the Malware Removal Section as suggested and moving forward ... :(



Can you help?

Thank you.

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Hello invected.

Tell me if you have your Dell Operating System CD. From there it is possible to get into the XP Recovery Console.


Boot the computer in Safe Mode with Networking.

To boot the computer in Safe Mode with Networking, please power OFF the computer and wait for about 30 seconds. Then power ON the system and start tapping the F8 function key which would take you to Advanced Boot Option screen. Using the up and down arrow key, select Safe Mode with Networking

Step 1

1. Go >> Here << and download ERUNT

(ERUNT (Emergency Recovery Utility NT) is a free program that allows you to keep a complete backup of your registry and restore it when needed.)

2. Install ERUNT by following the prompts

(use the default install settings but say no to the portion that asks you to add ERUNT to the start-up folder, if you like you can enable this option later)

3. Start ERUNT

(either by double clicking on the desktop icon or choosing to start the program at the end of the setup)

4. Choose a location for the backup

(the default location is C:\WINDOWS\ERDNT which is acceptable).

5. Make sure that at least the first two check boxes are ticked

6. Press OK

7. Press YES to create the folder.

Step 2

Set Windows to show all files and all folders.

On your Desktop, double click My Computer, from the menu options, select tools, then Folder Options, and then select VIEW Tab and look at all of settings listed.

"CHECK" (turn on) Display the contents of system folders.

Under column, Hidden files and folders----choose ( *select* ) Show hidden files and folders.

Next, un-check Hide extensions for known file types.

Next un-check Hide protected operating system files.

Step 3

Download DDS and save it to your desktop from here

or or

Disable any script blocker if your antivirus/antimalware has it.

Then double click dds.scr to run the tool.

DDS will run in a command prompt window and will take 3 to 4 minutes or so.

  • When done, DDS will open two (2) logs:
  • DDS.txt
  • Attach.txt
  • Save both reports to your desktop.

Please Copy & Paste contents of the following logs in your next reply:



Always use NOTEPAD to COPY All contents of log and Paste into main-body of reply.

Do NOT use Attach files when posting logs I ask for.

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Maurice -

Finally, I had some time to work on this problem! Unfortunately, the computer came preloaded without the installation disk, but I was able to follow your alternate suggestion to use F8, Advanced Boot Options, and select Safe Mode with Networking. While Windows loads correctly, the same "Welcome screen with Users List" screen for logon appears. I selected Administrator as well as my name,. and the same logon/logoff loop continues.

Is there anyway to get to DOS and, perhaps, edit the Registry?

Infected2010 desperately looking for a way out of this!!

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Editing the registry is not something that will help this situation.

If you have access to another system that has a CD writer, then do this to get a boot CD :

Artellos ARCDC Automated Recovery CD Creator

Please download ARCDC from

  • Double click ARCDC.exe
  • Follow the dialog until you see 6 options. Please pick: Windows Professional SP2 & SP3
  • You will be prompted with a Terms of Use by Microsoft, please accept.
  • You will see a few dos screens flash by, this is normal.
  • Next you will be able to choose to add extra files. Select the Default Files.
  • The last window will allow you to burn the disk using BurnCDCC

Your ISO is located on your desktop.

Let me know when you have created the CD, and, let me know if this system has a USB port.

Edited by Maurice Naggar

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download Farbar Recovery Scan Tool and save it to a flash drive.

Put the Artellos ARCDC CD in the drive. Put the USB flash drive in.

Power off the pc and wait about a half-minute.

Restart the pc. You will likely have to set the pc BIOS to boot from CD as the 1st boot-device in the BIOS boot sequence.

Once it boots from the CD, it will offer the options to Install or Repair:

select R.

You will get to Microsoft Windows XP Recovery Console.

It will ask you Which Windows installation would you like to log onto

Typically, the Windows drive is 1

Type 1 and press Enter-key

(Note: You may need to press the NUM-lock key on your keyboard IF at first it does not "echo" the number.)

Once you are at the command prompt, you will see similar to


Type in MAP and press Enter

That will show a list of logical drives, in which you will see the drive letter for your USB drive. Use that letter to "prefix" the command line

such as

X:\FRST.exe where X stands for the USB-drive letter

The tool will start to run.

When the tool opens click Yes to disclaimer.

Press Scan button.

It will make a log (FRST.txt) on the flash drive. Please copy and paste it to your reply.

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Problem, Maurice:

Following the instructions, everything goes well until I get to the USB drive and execution of the FRST file.

After identifying the USB drive, I changed the command line, my computer prompt looks llike this D:\>. I typed FRST.exe at the command line. pressed enter key, and received "The command is not recognized. Go to Help...." I also tried typing FRST without the exe and received the same error message. I confirmed the FRST.exe file is on the drive. There is only one attribute, 'a', associated with the file. Did I miss something?

Thank you.

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You have to type in the USB-drive Letter + the name of the excutable ....That is why I listed for you to do the MAP command.

What is the drive letter assigned & shown for the USB slot? Is it E:

You have to type in something like


at the command prompt.

If C is the hard drive with Windows, and D is the CD drive, and if E is the USB ......then use and type in


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I confimed the USB dirve is letter "D". The problem appears to be that the dos command, "exe", is not on the command list for this computer?

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Here's the "map' output:


? FAT16 55MB \Device\Harddisk0\Partition1

C: NTFS 34648MB \Device\Harddisk0\Partition2

F: FAT32 3444MB \Device\Harddisk0\Partition3

D: FAT16 480MB \Device\Harddisk0\Partition1

E: \Device\CDRom0

I physically opened D: and confirmed the FRST.exe file is on this drive.

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Where is the flash drive ? is that D drive ?

if so you have to type in all of the following


"think like dos days"

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You will not find FRST as an internal command !!! That is why HELP is of no use.

Tell me again, what is logical drive of where FRST.EXE is stored (saved) ?

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You will not find FRST as an internal command !!! That is why HELP is of no use.

Tell me again, what is logical drive of where FRST.EXE is stored (saved) ?

The logical drive which contains the FRST.EXE file is stored (saved) on DRIVE D. I determined the FRST file is on this drive by changing directory to D: from C: and listing the directory contents. FRST.EXE is the only file on DRIVE D.

I understand FRST is an executable file with the extension EXE. The error message says this is not a system command. whether I type the file name or the file name and extension.

I recreated the steps for the FRST file. This time I used a larger portable hard drive to save the FRST file instead of the flash drive. I followed the Recovery disk steps and used map to identify the logical USB port DRIVE D. I received the same command not found message when typing D:>FRST or D:>FRST.exe.

Maybe I'm having a problem creating the FRST file? What is its size?

Thank you for your help.

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Further research on my computer found that no .exe files will run. Internet troubleshooting turned up this problem as related to a virus (Windows XP Security?) that attacks the Registry. The solution seems to be editing the Registry. Awaiting your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you.

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It's time to cut your losses. If you have not previously done so, use the recovery command line and copy your documents and personal files to USB-flash drive.

Then it's time, if you have a system image backup from before the disaster, to restore the system from that backup.

If you have no backups, it is time to do a clean install of Windows XP and to re-install all your applications + antivirus + security apps.

If you have no Windows XP operating system CD, you will need to check with your pc manufacturer on how to kick off the factory restore.

System factory restore is typically done from a hidden partition and resets the system back to Day 1 out of the factory.

If you have the Windows XP CD ......

I suggest a clean (new) Windows XP Install:

Before you do that, make sure you have at hand the Windows XP CD and also, a fresh new copy of your antivirus that is downloaded from a clean pc and saved on transportable-media (CD-DVD or clean thumb drive).

When you are at point of re-installing o.s., I'd recommend you have the pc disconnected from internet until after the o.s. is installed, plus the antivirus is fully setup and running.

Remember that when you do this you will need to have the installers for all your software, along with all the information for configuring your system, such as license keys and passwords.

See Windows XP Clean Installation - Partitioning and Formatting using Windows XP CD by Ramesh Srinivasan, MS-MVP & AumHa VSOP

Also Clean Install Windows by Michael Stevens, MS-MVP

I would urge you to follow the directions very carefully.

You will loose your documents so if you have some to save, offload them to a separate offline media. And later on insure you do a full scan of them by running your antivirus.

NOTE: If XP CD is from a pc manufacturer, and they bundled an AV like McAfee or Norton/Symantec trial versions, immediately de-install those, sice they will be outdated & of no use. Install your antvirus immediately after.

Other security references at Microsoft

4 steps to protect your computer

How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC

I wish you well.

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Thank you, Maurice, for your suggestions.. I will consider the clean install which will take some time to gather all resources, and consider this problem closed,

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Since this issue is resolved I will close the thread to prevent others from posting here. If you need assistance please start your own topic and someone will be happy to assist you.

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This topic is now closed to further replies.

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