I received this error message after my Dell Inspiron running Vista Home Basic installed today's automatic updates. I should note that this machine is less than two weeks old.
The system shut down normally, but when I restarted it it came up with an error message saying, "Interactive logon process initialization has failed. See error log for details." I could not do anything from that point on. I powered it off and on several times, with no effect. I ran chkdsk which found and fixed a slew of disk and file errors. The '"Interactive logon process initialization has failed" message was unchanged, however. Running 'System Repair' found no errors. Restoring to a previous set point prior to the error occuring had no effect.
Dell Technical Support advised wiping the system and restoring from factory install, which is really not a very helpful solution. I have seen this error reported across the Web since at least May 2007, but there is nothing about it anywhere on any of the microsoft.com sites.
Does anyone have any suggestions about how to FIX this problem, other than wipe and restore?
Open up a command prompt from your recovery options and copy C:\Windows\System32\winevt\Logs\Application.evtx to an external disk. Get on another computer with Vista and open up Application.evtx with the Event Viewer. Find the error where SideBySide is the source in the event log and it should say something about an error in some manifest file. Now go back to your computer and replace that file on your C drive with a copy of that file from your recovery partition or recovery disk. Restart your computer and it should work.
Props to PJPoon over at NeoWin for this answer.
- Proposed as answer by Ryan Becker Saturday, April 23, 2011 8:46 AM
Well, after 40+ hours of online and telephone support, Dell agreed that it was a hardware failure, probably of the harddrive controller, and sent me a new computer. My new machine has worked fabulously well.
Microsoft and Dell have both been very un-helpful. I tried to wipe and reinstall from the factory disks and it wouldn't load. After trying all the suggested solutions I gave up and installed Linux. I have not had any problems since.