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Windows XP SP2 installation fouling up system startup?

I tried to install Windows XP SP2. After installation was finished, I could not log in because the computer failed to display the login screen. I tried safe mode and even last good variant but the same thing happens. How can I resolve this without reinstalling the entire Windows system?
There are many variable here. For starters, Winternals' ERD Commander will likely help – that would be a good first step. Alternatively, you should contact Microsoft's tech support or try reinstalling Windows XP and then SP2.

This was first published in August 2006

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