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December 22, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: XP logon error message

FailAlex Burka writes:

This error message appears whenever I log on to any limited (not administrator) account on my brand new eMachines computer with WinXP. Everything else works fine, though!


Is your Caps Lock on?

Posted by: John Bauman at December 22, 2004 12:32 AM

OK, well, troubleshooting step one would be to not purchase an eMachine. What were you thinking?! Step two is to try the ol' windows reinstallation. Or, you could see if you can still get a refund and either build your own computer or get a nice Dell or something.

Posted by: Maurs at December 22, 2004 01:07 AM

Well, it's not from Windows -- XP certainly doesn't do that with non-admin accounts. Looks like eMachines installed some crap for you that crashes when it tries to run without admin.

The sad fact is that most home users (i.e. eMachines's target audience) always run as Administrator. Unfortunately, the user experience in Windows for non-Admin users sucks; an experienced Windows admin can easily get by that way (I don't normally run as Admin on my work machines for security reasons), but for a home user it's terrible -- there are so many apps that do Bad Things (like saving settings or data to Program Files) that it's not practical unless you're comfortable changing ACLs all the time.

Posted by: Grant Bugher at December 22, 2004 02:03 AM

Goodness, a veritable fount of broken-ness. There's the wacky caps as somebody has already noted. The completely unhelpful message of "fAIL" doesn't tell anybody anything. And there's no identification as to what program or process generated the error message. Wonderful!

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at December 22, 2004 08:55 AM

If you're actually able to log onto the machine, I'd say it's not an XP problem. It's something that's attempting to start up when you log on. If you don't feel like reinstalling Windows (not a simple task for some), try this:

1. Go to Start -> Programs -> Startup. I've found that most of the stuff in that folder I don't need, like "Microsoft Find Fast". Right-click on anything that looks suspicious and choose "Delete".

2. Look in the Registry. Be VERY careful with this. Click Start -> Run and type in "regedit". Expand the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" folder, then "SOFTWARE", "Microsoft", "Windows", "CurrentVersion", and then click on the folder that says "Run".

There you will see a list of programs that attempt to start whenever you log onto your machine. In the "Data" column, look for files that might be in a Program Files folder called "eMachines" or something strange. If you're not sure, don't change anything.

If you think you've found the problem, here's what you do:

Select the item by clicking on the row in the "Name" column. Right-click it and select "Modify". Wherever you see the name of the program being called, like "C:\Myfolder\StartupProgram.exe", add an underscore to the name of the program, so the above example would now be "C:\Myfolder\_StartupProgram.exe". Please do NOT actually type in "C:\Myfolder\_StartupProgram.exe", this was just used as an example.

The reason I do it this way is that it disables the program from being called at startup, but if it turns out I needed it, the entry is still there in case I have to restore it later.

Posted by: Manni at December 22, 2004 10:25 AM

I posted it because it's funny... the message says "Fail", and your only option is to click OK.

Posted by: Mark Hurst at December 22, 2004 11:43 AM

"Success is not an option." Err, wait a minute. That doesn't quite sound right!

Posted by: n8 at December 22, 2004 12:07 PM

HAHA...this made me laugh.

Posted by: YoungHistorians at December 22, 2004 12:36 PM

As someone who's successfully set up a limited user account for normal people, you don't have to change ACLs all the time. You do have to change a lot of them once though, and adjust permission on some registry keys. You have to spend a few extra hours setting it up, but after that it works fine.

Posted by: josh at December 22, 2004 12:37 PM

Looks like emachines put some crappy add-on on your machine. Might want to check for spyware and that sorta stuff. Run HiJackThis! to see what software is trying to run.

Posted by: Dylan Greene at December 22, 2004 03:58 PM

this error has an error in itself, not only is the f lower case and the rest uppercase, the uppercase letters are smaller than the lower case f. A broken error, when an error itself means something is broken... hrmmmm...

Posted by: Dragon at December 22, 2004 06:01 PM Microsoft? Just a thought...

Posted by: []D [] []V[] []D at December 23, 2004 11:21 AM

Microsoft is often (and sometimes correctly) criticised for the problems users experience when running as non-admin (even if they're the vendor's fault rather than Microsoft's). The sad fact is, the alternatives aren't even as easy to use with full rights, let alone peon rights.

Posted by: James at December 23, 2004 09:23 PM

Windows isn't a virus!!!!!!!!!!!

A virus does something.

Posted by: MIT at December 26, 2004 02:04 AM

Linux. Linux,Linux- Linux.

At least linux error messages tell you something.

Posted by: Please Stop Me at December 30, 2004 08:46 PM

Found the same message with a non admin roaming profile on a win2K domain.

Very pissing, actually. I found that some exotic stuff (that we don't actually need on a domain, like multimedia card readers and such avec registry keyx that have permissions set to local users. Not domain users.

The answer might lay in this area: if on a domain with roaming profiles try to give read authorisations to domain authentified users for suitable keys in registry (aka HKLM/..../run)

I will try this and report if it gets any better.

Posted by: rdubost at January 21, 2005 05:38 PM

I fixed the problem by adding domain users to the local "power users" group.

This special group was created with legacy programs or those that do not respect windows security standards. One might send a note to such vendors : just warn your customers that they should belong to the power users group instead of running the risk of being stuck in admin mode.

Posted by: rdubost at January 21, 2005 06:06 PM

I disagree with MIT windows does do something. It crashes, so technically it is a virus. Too bad there aren't many games for linux yet.

Posted by: Unknown at February 23, 2005 11:20 PM

FAIL! Darn you!

Posted by: Bob at March 21, 2005 07:59 PM

What the !*@&#^$%~? What kind of an error is this? Go tell your computer manufacturer and tell them to fix it! They must have a guarantee or something!

Posted by: xxx at April 21, 2005 12:17 AM

You fail it, your skill is not enough. It's plainly visible.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 7, 2005 11:49 AM

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