Winlogon.exe Buffer Failure
The Winlogon.exe application is used to process accounts in Windows XP. Interference from other programs or viruses could corrupt the process of this application and deny you access to Windows, even through Safe Mode.
When this failure occurs you need to repair your Windows XP installation to get the computer operating again.
As the computer starts, an error box appears that reads “Error: Buffer overflow detected. Program :\??\C:\Windows\System32\winlogon.exe
A buffer overrun has been detected which has corrupted the programs internal state and has been terminated.” When you press “OK,” either Windows freezes or the error appears again.
When you are trying to log onto Safe Mode, the error appears in the same state or the computer just freezes without loading Safe Mode properly.
Windows Repair CD
Use a Windows XP Recovery disk to fix the Winlogon.exe file. Boot the computer and insert the CD. Let the Windows XP setup load and then press “R” to enter the recovery console. From here you can repair the complete version of windows by pressing “R” again.
The CD automatically repairs the Winlogon.exe file and any other files that are corrupt or causing harm to your computer. The computer will restart after the repair completes. If the error still occurs, then other software, like anti-virus software, is causing issues.
Anti-virus software or other Windows startup software could be causing errors with the Winlogon.exe files. If you have access to “Safe Mode,” uninstall any third-party anti-virus software temporarily and attempt to restart your computer.
If you cannot access Safe Mode or Windows, you need to install a clean copy of Windows because the files are beyond repair at that point.
A clean install will remove any lingering errors that occur, but you will lose all of your data and software on the hard drive unless they are backed up on a different location.
If you want to recover data because of the Winlogon.exe then you need to download and burn a copy of Hiren’s BootCD from another computer. Hiren’s BootCD is a repair disc with utilities to diagnose and repair PCs.
When burned, the CD will give you access to the hard drive through the utility named “Mini Windows XP.” After the disc is inserted, the Mini Windows XP will be one of the main options to select from.
Here you can copy data to a portable hard drive and transfer it back after a new copy of Windows is installed. This may be the only way to save your data because the error prevents you from getting past the logon screen in Windows.