How come my Dell computer running Windows XP sometimes freezes on boot?

by on February 19, 2009

Q: My daughter’s Dell computer running Windows XP Home SP2 computer had several viruses and trojans. I downloaded SpyNoMore and AVG and those seem to have clean it up. Sometimes it freezes up at windows startup or at the home page. I upgraded it to SP3 but it still freezes up. When it doesn’t freeze up at these points it works great. I have to unplug the power cord to get it shut down when it freezes up it will not reset. Will a registry fix program fix this? She didn’t receive a Windows XP home disk from Dell when she got her computer. Any advice?

3 Responses to “How come my Dell computer running Windows XP sometimes freezes on boot?”

    Sadly, deleting an infection from a computer does not always remove the negative effects of that infection. It’s like if someone breaks a window to steal items from my house. I might chase the criminal away, but until I repair the window I am vulnerable to future attacks. In the case of computers, repairing the windows means reinstalling the entire operating system and all software.

    You have a couple of options for reinstalling Windows XP on your daughter’s Dell. In my experience, Dell is very cooperative when it comes to sending either Windows installation discs and/or system recovery discs upon request — even for computers that are out of warranty. Note, some computers come with utilities that allow you to create your own system recovery discs. Do not use this method now, as it might transfer your current problems to your new Windows installation. Your other option is to use the system recovery utility that may be pre-installed on your computer. Although this method still carries a slight risk of reinfection, the risk is much less than creating your own discs.

    If you daughter purchased the Dell from someone else, you should contact the seller for the appropriate discs, or purchase a retail copy of Windows XP Home.

    Some infections can penetrate into a broadband modem. So if you have broadband internet (cable, DSL, etc), you should contact your internet service provider from instructions on how to do a “hard reset” of your broadband modem.

    Also, be sure to scan any backup files before bringing them into your repaired computer!

    Regarding security software, I recommend Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 over the programs you mention (I’ve never heard of SpyNoMore). KIS 2009 is usually on sale at or one of the major office supply stores for about US$50. That my seem expensive, but you’ll get to install the software on three computers, you’ll get an excellent firewall, a subscription based on install date instead of software version (often allowing you to upgrade to the next version for free), and the protection is excellent. Many of my clients and I use Kaspersky, and not even one infection has penetrated any of those computers after Kaspersky was installed..

    Regarding Registry cleaning software, I recommend a free maintenance program called CCleaner:

    PS: Security experts generally agree that Mac OS X and Linux are much safer than Windows — due to increased immunity to infections. Ubuntu Linux or its cousin for older computers, Xubuntu, should run on your daughter’s Dell.

    Does this help?


      Thanks Robert , Your information is very helpful. I contacted Dell and the first thing they wanted was money for any help. I never even thought about the DSL service. I will try them again since the computer was bought directly from Dell. If worst comes to worst I plan to format the drive and reload it with my Home XP disk. The serial number of the Home XP was on top of her computer. One again thanks, your reply was greatly appreciated. Gary


    Hi Gary,

    Did the Windows XP Home installation disc come with your daughter’s Dell? If yes, then you have everything that you’ll need to reinstall. If no, the code that came with your Dell may not cooperate with your Windows XP Home installation disc — Microsoft and many major computer manufacturers have agreed to prevent some Windows installation discs from working on some systems.

    Dell, like other companies, often charges money to support computers which are no longer under warranty. You may want to call Dell’s sales department to request a new Windows installation disc and/or system restore disc. If you get a nice sales agent, he/she may help you free-of-charge, although the discs themselves may cost money.

    I want to clarify about your high speed internet. If your broadband modem is infected, your computer probably is as well. So it is important that you disconnect (both physical and wireless) all computers from your broadband modem before doing the hard reset. Similarly, do not reconnect your computers to the modem until the operating systems on all infected computers have been reinstalled.

    If you like, keep me up-to-date on your progress.

    PS: You may need to visit the Dell website for drivers after reinstalling Windows.