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Symptoms: Windows 2003 hangs after booting and never reach the login screen.

Background: ACPI stands for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. It is an open standard that defines platform for hardware discovery, configuration, power management and monitoring.

Possible Cause and Resolution

  1. Cause: CMOS Battery is Dying

    Resolution: Goto CMOS setup, scroll to POWER MANAGEMENT SETUP, hit Enter, look at it, Hit ESC to exit, Anwser Y to save.

    Source: Win2003 freezes at acpitabl.dat solution

  2. Cause: RAID Problem


    1. Turn off the server.
    2. Unplug one of the hard disk in your RAID.
    3. Boot the server. The RAID status now should change to degraded
    4. You should now be able to see the login screen.
    5. Login, do the necessary backup
    6. Plugin the hard disk, rebuild the RAID array with its software

    Source: sbs 2003 r2 acpitabl.dat hang in safe mode

I stopped my search as the solution no 2 solved my problem 🙂 I am still not clear with the exact cause, but I suspect that the RAID controller was having problem synchronizing between hard disks (my server is using RAID-1).

About Hardono

Hi, I'm Hardono. I am working as a Software Developer. I am working mostly in Windows, dealing with .NET, conversing in C#. But I know a bit of Linux, mainly because I need to keep this blog operational. I've been working in Logistics/Transport industry for more than 9 years.

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42 comments so far

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  1. Totally saved my ass- thanks for this.

  2. A little late, but I just had this caused by a NIC driver update failure. Booting in with the last known config, and reinstalling the driver worked perfectly.

  3. Many thanks for the solution. We couldn’t boot the server past the welcome screen following a power cut. Safe Mode with prompt worked occasionally. Errors were fond and fixed with ChkDsk but still no joy. Couldn’t restore to last known and couldn’t repair from the setup disk. I was resigning myself to reinstallation when I found this. After unplugging one of the Raid disks the server started normally and we are up and running within 10 minutes. Once again, many thanks.

  4. Follow on..
    Moral of the story – put your servers on UPS!

  5. Genius! mine was combined problem had to do with dust and high temps (my client refuses to install air conditioning all these years in server room), CPU had stuck on the fan, and at the same time stuck on raid 1. Thanks my friend worked at the first boot like sugar. I know finish chkdsk . I spent more than 2 hours thinking of the mainboard (5 years old xeon server) the raid. I had lost hope. Thanks my friend. Greetings from sunny Athens, Greece

  6. Have 2 systems. followed advice. none worked. last thing i tried was putting hd (sata) that only boots to splash screen and stops at safe mode acpitbl into the twin other system that works with another sata w2003 drive in it. still sticks on that system too.


  7. It has happened to me after updating BIOS on Dell 2900. After reboot I had same issue.
    I’ve removed all SCSI card which I had (3 in total), apart of main Dell card.
    Then I’ve started system and it was fine.
    I’ve then put them in one by one and found that one card was causing those issues.

  8. SAVED MY BUTT!! changed cmos battery, and hung at acpitabl.dat….pulled a drive, booted to windows (slowly, but it did it) opened the managment utility, showed degraded, plugged it back in, and rebuilding now! Thanks a ton for this, saved me an all night rebuild!

  9. Saved my butt and my neck too. Thanks a million.

  10. 20 year veteran, Have been recovering servers across the globe.
    This was a very nice find, you saved a lot of us.
    I changed bios power management to user defined, still blue screened, I removed 3rd disk, raid yelled no boot volume, shutoff, put disk 3 back in, booted up fine. And rebooted fine!

  11. Just want to thank you for the importance of this tip. If you could only imagine! If you are down this side of the country will definitely treat you to some frosty cold ones. Which reminds me, I am heading to have some cold ones… 🙂

    Thanks again.

    • cheers mate! 😉

  12. I do all this it’s don’t work for me any other idea?
    I’m waiting for you. thanks

    • What’s your hardware specs? Any recent changes to the server?

  13. I had this problem and tried every solution above mentioned and noting worked. So i disconnected all devices one by one and tried to start windows. When i took off the network card it started correctly. I put a new network card and everything worked right.
    Seems like this problem could be caused by any faulty hardware.

  14. Thanks for the great post. One of the great things about the Internet. We had a 2003 server come in, based on an old P4 mb (yeah, that old). Thing wouldn’t come up at first. Had to copy ntldr to one of the two mirrored drives. After that, we could get it to boot just to the Windows Splash screen whereupon it would promptly reboot. Thanks to all of your readership, I tried swapping out as many parts as I could. No go. So I simply moved the drive to another P4 system. Up she came. With a couple of driver additions, I’ll be back in the saddle again. Kudos, buddy!

  15. My system hung after taking an Ghost image from a HP Z800 and dropping it on a HP Z600. The systems are the same, except for the RAID controller.
    To skirt the issue, I booted from a Backup Exec System Recovery disc, captured an image from the Z800, then when I restored it to the Z600 I took the “restore to any hardware” option, and it gave me the opportunity to provide the proper RAID driver.

    I didn’t do it to see if it works, but I would guess that I could have mounted the Ghost image with Ghost Explorer, and dropped the Z600 RAID driver into c:windowssystem32drivers – fyi, the driver name for the Z800 is lsi_sas2.sys and for the Z600 it is lsi_sas2.sys

  16. I was having this same problem with Server 2003 after installing updates. There was a USB hard drive plugged into the server. Once I removed that and rebooted, the server finished installing Windows Updates and got to a login prompt. Not sure why it wouldn’t boot with the USB drive plugged in this time, but whatever. The server is up.

  17. Had this problem after exchanging a bad hard disk with a new one and had it rebuild from the other two hard disks. the system had a raid 5 with three scsi disks. It booted in save mode but could not pass the welcome screen without freezing. on save mode restart no info for why it freezed. went to msconfig under save mode and selected the option: “Selective startup” and checked only the “load system services” option. That worked for me. I guess some driver has not ben happy with the rebuild part, but since the sever has restarted 4 times and is up and running with no problems for more than 11 hours I think I want to leave it just that way! thank you for the post. it might be handy in a similar occasion. For now I felt like sharing my experience in case someone faces the same problem and non of the solution would work for him/her

  18. Yeah this is an old issue… Had it though on a Virtual machine that was being hosted on a Hyper V server… Seemed to occur after a bizarre unexplained power hiccup to the host server… Scanned the virtual drives for errors… nothing – same issue…. I removed a raid array I had attached for file storage and then I created a new Virtual session and mounted the virtual drives to a new session… booted fine…

    Meh…. I’ll be more diligent about snapshots…HAD NONE!

    Figured I would leave my 2 cents in….

  19. item 2 saved my life. Thanks