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Here is the scenario: installing an update to ActivCard (6.1) to a Windows XP laptop. After the required reboot, Windows XP brings up the default blue background, waits for quite a long time and then brings up the following dialog:

User Interface Failure

The Logon User Interface DLL acmsgina.dll failed to load.

Contact your system administrator to replace the DLL or restore the original DLL.

Serverfault seemed like a much better bet than trying to get a hold of our system administrators on a nice Friday afternoon....

EDIT: the machine cannot Safe Mode boot. It hangs at Mup.sys.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If the machine is up and running on the network, you should be able to use Regedit from another machine, do a "Connect Network Registry" to the failing machine and delete the following registry value:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\GinaDLL

After that, reboot the failing machine and it should revert to using Microsoft's GINA instead of the ActivCard GINA and you should be able to log on successfully (though not using ActivCard, of course).

(I don't have experience with ActivCard, but I see this all the time with another third-party software that we use that has its own GINA. After rebooting and logging in, we have to reinstall the software. Whether that will also be the case with ActivCard, I'm not sure.)

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If you could safe mode boot it, couldn't you achieve the same thing using the local regedit? – Jay R. May 15 '09 at 19:53
Adding edit: cannot safe-mode boot the machine (it hangs at Mup.sys). – Bob Cross May 15 '09 at 19:58
Novell Client 32 install would go bad once in a while and I would have to do this. Safemode would not work when Novell bit the dust..but might for you. – Thomas Denton May 15 '09 at 20:01
Sadly, remote registry service appears to be off. No joy connecting to the network registry as yet. – Bob Cross May 15 '09 at 20:09
A different bootable Linux configuration had a built-in registry editor. Deleting the value above and saving the registry allowed the machine to get past the demonic dialog box. Of course, now I still have the problem of installing the ActivCard update but that's for a different question.... – Bob Cross May 15 '09 at 20:26

PC Regedit is a free, Linux Live CD that boots into a registry editor. I was able to use it to resolve this issue for a co-worker.

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