Safe mode starts then stops

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Safe mode starts then stops
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jr4939
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January 26, 2014 - 8:04 pm
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When I get the menu provided by pressing F8 and select any of the safe mode choices, the computer proceeds through the safe mode startup process to the safe mode welcome screen. It then stops, and shortly thereafter proceeds to boot up into regular Windows 7 x64. If I use msconfig and/or a command mode DOS command to invoke safe mode, the same thing begins to happen, but the computer gets into a loop and never returns to regular mode. The only way out I've found when this happens is to use a DOS command which cancels the safe mode option or to restore a previous system image. Haven't found a virus after scanning with multiple AV programs, and the computer otherwise operates correctly. The SFC /scannow command also finds no problem. - The computer is an ASUS All-in-One ET2400IGTS desktop. Clues will be appreciated!

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Jim Hillier
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January 28, 2014 - 4:30 pm
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Hi jr - Frankly, I have no idea.

What's confusing here is that this issue is more often than not caused by malware yet multiple scans of your system come up clean. Have you experienced any malware infections at all recently, even one which you thought you'd cleaned properly??

Have you created a Windows 7 System Repair disc? If so, boot the disc and try running Startup Repair - run it several times over, regardless of any messages.

Sorry I can't be of much help,
Cheers... Jim

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David Hartsock
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January 29, 2014 - 4:27 am
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Have you tried a Startup Repair?

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jr4939
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January 29, 2014 - 2:09 pm
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Have tried startup repair several times now.- It presents of daunting list of passed tests each time. Will try to boot up from a system restore disk next time.

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jr4939
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February 4, 2014 - 2:22 pm
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Sorry, life interfered with a quicker followup to your suggestion. - Have determined that I can start up from a Windows system recovery disc, and have completed the startup repair process several times more, all reporting no problems/errors. The computer continues to function fine, but still refuses to complete the safe mode boot process, either using command mode commands, MSConfig default setting, or the usual F8 startup switch to a system menu.

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Jim Hillier
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February 11, 2014 - 1:49 pm
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Are you certain your system is not infected? Have you run scans with your security software, or with MBAM or SAS?

You might like to try the suggestion here: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/repair-recovery/a/force-or-stop-safe-mode-windows.htm

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jr4939
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February 12, 2014 - 3:45 pm
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Thanks for the link. I had tried their process, but in the end needed to use the DOS command they provided to kill the resulting safe mode attempt loop. - Have scanned the computer with Avira, MBAM, a Kapersky online scan (which found no malware but didn't like my having the latest Java). SuperAntiSpyware also didn't find anything besides some tracking cookies. Are there other AV programs I ought to try?

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Jim Hillier
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February 12, 2014 - 5:14 pm
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Are there other AV programs I ought to try?

Not really, those are all excellent programs and if none of them found anything, I doubt there is anything to find.

It sounds to me like maybe you've had some sort of malware infection on the machine which has been cleaned up but left some files damaged/corrupted.

The only other course of action I can suggest is to perform a repair installation. Do you have a Windows 7 install disc, or can you maybe get hold of one?

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jr4939
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February 13, 2014 - 3:57 pm
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OK, but I'd avoided a repair installation because my ASUS All-in-one did not come with a Windows 7 install disk, only the ability to recover the OS to the "Factory Default Partition". - I had partitioned my hard drive to include a D: partition for storing data, but I'm not at all sure that it would be spared in this procedure. Also feel very unsure of what "user data" to backup from the C: partition, given the "Users" folder and extensive contents there. Would also have a large number of programs to reinstall, unless I misunderstand what would happen. - I did go thru the "Repair my computer" process from the bootup menu, but can't see that it made any difference at all. Had also used the SFC /scannow command at some point, with no improvement discerned. - Do appreciate your help, tho!

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Jim Hillier
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February 13, 2014 - 10:28 pm
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"Restore to Factory Settings/Defaults" will take you right back to square one, just like a clean install. You'd need to reinstall all programs and updates, plus re-configure everything all over again... far from ideal.

Don't know about you but I wouldn't be happy if my system wouldn't boot into Safe Mode. If you can't find an alternative solution, you can download your corresponding Windows 7 ISO here: http://www.w7forums.com/threads/official-windows-7-sp1-iso-image-downloads.12325/. Then burn the ISO to DVD and perform a repair install.

**Make sure to create a full system image first.

Cheers... Jim

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jr4939
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February 22, 2014 - 10:54 pm
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Thanks again for your suggestion and link. - Took awhile to get up enuf courage to do a repair install (a harrowing experience), but finally completed it today, apparently successfully. Unfortunately, nothing that was wrong before, and, in particular, the inability to get into safe mode, was fixed. Which I suppose leaves me with no alternative but to use the ASUS down-to-the-ground system recovery. Wish I could guess whether it's worth it.

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Jim Hillier
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February 27, 2014 - 7:27 pm
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Do you have a 100MB reserved drive (partition) that was created by the Windows 7 install?

If so, please try assigning a letter to that drive and see if you can then boot into Safe Mode.

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jr4939
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February 28, 2014 - 8:23 pm
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That was interesting, since I'd never looked at how my hard drive was structured before. It appears there is a 15gb "Primary" partition and a 39gb EFI system partition in addition to the 80gb NTFS C: partition and an 836.47gb NTFS D: [data] partition. Which doesn't seem to meet your specification. Don't know if either of the unlabeled partitions would allow assignment of a drive letter.

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