The next step in trying to fix a computer if you do not wish to format it, is trying to start up your machine in a state called “safe mode.” It is simply a start up that is similar to regular start up, but only the most essential programs are run, like the USB (universal serial bus), screen adapters, and the installed drivers. In other words, any other program, such as a virus, will not be able to start unless manually selected to start.
To access the safe mode, restart your computer. Press the key f8 rapidly (every 5 seconds) until the safe mode screen appears. If you got past this and windows is already loading, restart your computer and try again. Once you have accessed the safe mode screen, you will have a number of different options to choose from. A few of those would be to start your windows normally, or start the most current version that works. I have found that if windows is malfunctioning neither of those options work. It is recommended to choose the option “safe mode with networking,” to allow your computer to access the Internet if need be.
Once your machine has loaded up safe mode, you may want to try to restore your system again (look in article How to format a computer (Windows XP)-First steps-system restore), or try to plug in a portable hard drive to extract as much necessary data as you can from your hard drive before the formatting process will begin.
After you have backed up your data, you may try to find the cause of your problem. If you have downloaded a program by accident that will not uninstall itself and would not be removed, you may try to search “unlocker key” in the web, which is a useful program to remove such occurrences.
If you have tried everything said in the article so far and still couldn’t solve your problem, the need to format your hard drive may be looming closer. Advance to the next article to help you prepare for that moment- How to format a computer (Windows XP)-Second steps-Preparation