Boot Failure, System Halted

Dear Computer Lady,

When I start my computer I get a message: boot failure,system halted, how can I remedy this & boot my computer?



Dear Bob,

This sounds like it could be a serious problem. Here is why.

When your computer boots (starts up) it runs a quick check of all necessary components that it needs to run. It is kind of like a roll call:

Processor – here
RAM – here
chipsets – here
hard drive – here

Once all the hardware components have reported that they are present and working correctly, the system copies the files that it needs to run Windows from the hard drive to the RAM and you get to start using your computer.

The fact that you are getting this message means that something in the boot process is either missing, or not working correctly.

If your computer is fairly new, and still under warranty, contact the manufacturer, or store where you purchased the system. You don’t want to be replacing parts on your own if they are still under warranty.

If the computer is out of warranty, you need to figure out what the problem is yourself.

The first thing to try, is to start the computer from a bootable CD or DVD. The Windows disk that came with the computer, or the recovery disks that you created when you first got the computer would be a good choice. Put the disk in the drive and start the computer again.

If you are getting the exact same error message, it can be safe to conclude that something on the motherboard itself is causing the problem. You can try opening the case, and reseating the RAM and any cards that are present. Just take them out, and put them back in. Sometimes corrosion will cause a break in the circuit and doing this will fix that problem.

If you are still getting the same error message, you will probably need to replace the computer. Replacing parts like the motherboard and processor can run into more money than just getting a new computer.

If you have information on the hard drive (documents, photos, music, favorites, emails, etc.) you can bring it in to a local computer shop like mine and have the technician copy your files to a DVD for you.


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    • mpsmom
    • May 20, 2010

    You forgot to mention it could be her anti-virus if she has McAfee (I think that was the one that tagged a windows file as a virus and prevented 100,000’s of computers to not boot).

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