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Windows XP halts and will not load Windows Explorer after upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 2
When upgrading Windows XP Pro and Home editions with Service Pack 1 or Release Candidate builds of Service Pack 2, your system may halt at the desktop during the first boot.
This problem is almost always associated with external devices that are not properly detected by Service Pack 2 during it's installation, or are found during the first boot after Service Pack 2 is installed.
This issue is much more common when upgrading pre-release versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, (RC2) - build 2149 or later to Windows XP Service Pack 2 RTM build 2180. To work around the halt, upon first boot after installing Service Pack 2, when your system halts on the desktop, press control-alt-del, select users tab, disconnect and logoff the current user, then reboot the system. The system will now boot successfully.