A Stop: 0xc000026C or Stop: 0xc0000221 "Unable to Load Device Driver" Error Occurs When You Start Windows XP

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Article ID: 315241 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you start Windows XP, you may receive one of the following error messages:
STOP: 0xc000026C [Unable to load device driver] DriverName
-or-
STOP: 0xc0000221 [Unable to load device driver] DriverName
-or-
STOP: 0xc0000221. Bad image check sum, the image user32.dll is possibly corrupt. The header check sum does not match the computed check sum.
DriverName is the name of the device driver file.

CAUSE

This behavior can occur if one of the following conditions is true:
  • A device driver file (.sys) is missing or damaged.

    The missing or damaged file is probably the driver file that the error message mentions.
  • The User32.dll file may be missing or damaged.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this behavior, use the appropriate method for your symptoms.

Missing or Damaged Driver File

Use Recovery Console to replace the missing or damaged driver file. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer. Select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
  2. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start Recovery Console.
  3. If your computer is configured for dual booting or multiple booting, select the relevant Windows XP installation.
  4. When you are prompted to do so, type the administrator password, and then press ENTER.

    Note In Windows XP Home Edition, the administrator password is\ blank by default.
  5. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    cd windows\system32\drivers
  6. To rename the damaged driver file, type the following command, and then press ENTER
    ren drivername.sys drivername.bak
    where drivername is the name of the damaged driver file.
  7. To copy the driver from the Windows XP CD-ROM to the Drivers folder, type the following command, and then press ENTER
    copy cd-rom:\i386 drivername
    where cd-rom is the drive letter for the drive that contains the Windows XP CD-ROM.
  8. Type exit, press ENTER, and then restart the computer.

Missing or Damaged User32.dll File

Use Recovery Console to replace the corrupted or damaged User32.dll file, then, if needed, perform an in-place upgrade (also called a repair install) of Windows XP. To do so follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer. Select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
  2. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start Recovery Console.
  3. If your computer is configured for dual booting or multiple booting, select the relevant Windows XP installation.
  4. When you are prompted to do so, type the administrator password, and then press ENTER.

    NOTE: In Windows XP Home Edition, the administrator password is\ blank by default.
  5. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    cd windows\system32
  6. To rename the User32.dll file, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    ren user32.dll user32.bak
  7. To expand a new copy of the User32.dll file from the Windows XP CD-ROM to the System32 folder, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    expand cd-rom:\i386\user32.dl_ c:\windows\system32
    where cd-rom is the drive letter for the drive that contains the Windows XP CD-ROM, and c:\windows is the drive letter and folder in which Windows XP is installed.
  8. Type exit, press ENTER, and then restart the computer.
If Windows XP still fails to start, you may need to perform an in-place upgrade (also called a repair install)

For additional information how to perform an in-place upgrade of Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
315341 How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade of Windows XP

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

MORE INFORMATION

While you are running Recovery Console, if you want information about a specific command, type help commandname at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

For additional information about using Recovery Console, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314058 Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console
307654 HOW TO: Install and Use the Recovery Console for Windows XP
If you started the computer from Windows XP Setup boot disks and you receive either of the Stop errors that are described in the Symptoms section of this article, one or more of the six floppy disks might be defective. You can create a new set of Windows XP Setup boot disks.

For additional information about creating a set of Windows XP Setup boot disks, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
310994 HOW TO: Obtain Windows XP Setup Boot Disks

Properties

Article ID: 315241 - Last Review: March 29, 2004 - Revision: 2.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kberrmsg kbfaq kbprb kbsetup KB315241

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