Windows XP Error at Startup

5 pts.
Blue Screen of Death
Microsoft Windows XP
My brother-in-law has a Dell Dimension 8400 Desktop PC, running WIN XP PRO, the following error message pops up right after the welcome screen goes off.

STOP: C000021s {Fatal System Error} The windows subsystem system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of ox c0000005 (0x7c9106c3 0x0052f36) The system has been shut down.

Answer Wiki

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MS KB article: How to troubleshoot a “STOP 0xC000021A” error.

More information required about what occurred prior to the error appearing :-

  • Was any software installed?
  • Were any Microsoft updates installed?
  • Were any drivers updated?
  • Was any hardware changed?
  • What Service Pack is installed?

Since the error appeared :-

  • Can you boot into Safe Mode (press F8 when the system boots, before XP screen comes up)
  • Can you boot into “Last Known Good Config” (although if the system logs on this is useless option as it clears Last Known Good)
  • Can you boot to the Dell Diagnostics partition (press F12 while BIOS is loading)
  • What happens after the error message (e.g. does windows reboot/shutdown? Keep working?)

As mentioned, a re-install of XP in repair mode MAY be an option, but in my opinion repair is a messy option that has many potential issues, and is not to be used in all circumstances. (e.g. An incompatible third-party program has been installed).

See below.

How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP

Third-party programs
Do not use a repair or in-place upgrade to resolve a problem with third-party programs, files or registry entries.

Disk problems
Do not use a repair or in-place upgrade if you suspect disk problems.

Third-party devices
Do not use a repair or in-place upgrade if you suspect a problem with a third-party device. Determine whether the latest device drivers are currently installed for the device.

Discuss This Question: 3  Replies

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  • Jaideep Khanduja
    seems the OS has gone corrupt. try re-installing in repair mode.
    19,810 pointsBadges:
  • Pressler2904
    Some interesting info here: (and no, I'm not associated with the site...). What would check first is the RAM: use any of several programs to validate the installed memory modules. If you have a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD, there are a couple of good programs there. Personally, I use CheckIT Pro. Of course, the primary question to ask is "What Changed?" If hardware or software or systems updates were performed (as is discussed by SaneAlexander, above) then undo the changes... Also, and this one may be :out there", check at Symantec (or your favorite A/V vendor)'s website for info on the "Rustock rootkit"....
    2,190 pointsBadges:
  • ShaneAlexander
    Agree with "pressler". To test RAM, Microsoft have a good free tool, "Windows Memory Diagnostic", that creates a boot cd. MS also have a tool to analyse crashes / stop errors, "Offline Crash Diagnostic tool " (Note : You have to install this though, which may not be possible.) Another tool from MS, again needs installing though, "Change Analysis Diagnostic tool " (Note : It requires restore points, cannot be run in Safe Mode, & is best to be installed before issues) PSOrwig, it would be good to get some feedback on our posts
    330 pointsBadges:

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