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Laptop won't boot

Troubleshooting issues with software, including all version of Windows.

Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 15th, 2013, 2:32 am

Hello!
My laptop said it had a hard drive error or something like that, then shut down. Since, it won't boot past the Dell spash screen. I get a black screen with a blinking cursor. F8 doesn't work; it starts beeping at me. I do not have a bootable CD. Thank you for any help you can give to me!
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 15th, 2013, 6:59 am

What kind of Operating System ? (XP, Vista, W7, W8)

Can you access Safe Mode etc using F5 rather than F8 ?
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 16th, 2013, 3:00 am

Hi. Gary!!!! :hello2:
I have XP.
I tried F8 and F5. With each, I tried turning the laptop on and repeatedly pressing the key, also just holding the key down. The laptop goes to the black screen with blinking cursor right after the splash screen, then beeps if I am still holding down or press a key.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 16th, 2013, 3:11 am

With XP the recovery options are pretty limited, especially since you can't access your F8 menu.

Is this an OEM machine (did it come with Windows pre-installed) or did you install Windows yourself.

If it is the former, then let me know the make and model, there may be other recovery options available supplied by the manufacturer.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 16th, 2013, 3:48 am

Hi, Gary!
It came with Windows pre-installed. It's a Dell Inspiron PP12L.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 16th, 2013, 6:07 am

OK, well while I do a little research to see what (if any) options Dell might have provided to recover your machine, I'd like you to see if your computer will boot from a Linux distro, because if it will then it's likely (but not 100% guaranteed) that your problems are not hardware related.

If you go to this topic in the Public Library here at MWR ... viewtopic.php?p=618146#p618146 ... you'll find instructions for how to create a bootable copy of Puppy Linux on a USB stick. You'll also find instructions for how to boot your computer using it.

Let me know if you're able to boot into Linux or not. No need to backup any files at this point, just see whether Linux will boot.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 16th, 2013, 12:38 pm

To restore to factory default on a Dell Inspiron computer you need to follow the instructions on the following page ... https://support.dell.com/support/topics ... egacy=true

Obviously if your computer is not booting then you won't be able to backup your personal files and folders, in which case follow the instructions in my last post for how to back them up using Puppy Linux.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 17th, 2013, 2:06 am

Thank you, Gary! I have to go buy a USB stick tomorrow.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 17th, 2013, 2:47 am

Good luck, let's hope it's not a hardware problem. :)
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 19th, 2013, 1:56 am

:( It won't complete booting with the UNetbootin. It loops around from "Automatic boot in 10 seconds..." through "...1 second..." back to 10. Can I use another program to boot?

I'm sorry it took so long to reply. I ended up staying overnight to do a triple shift...inventory...yawn!
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 19th, 2013, 10:47 am

Were you able to successfully create a bootable USB drive ?

If so, can you check that the bootable drive you created actually works. The easiest way to do that is to try booting from it on the machine you created it on.

If the good machine can't boot from it, then it's likely that the USB drive copy of Puppy is the problem, if the good machine will boot from it then you have a good copy of Puppy, and it's your broken machine that is the problem.

Let me know when you know whether it's your copy of Puppy that is the problem, or your broken computer.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 20th, 2013, 6:29 am

Hi, Gary,
The BIOS on this computer doesn't give the option to boot from a USB drive. Under Boot Device Priority it gives 4 choices:
[CD/DVD:PS-LITE-ON CD-RW SOHR-52]
[HDD:PM-WDC WD1600AAJB-00WRA0]
[1st FLOPPY DRIVE]
[Disabled]

So I'm going to see if someone is around today to let me test it on their machine.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 20th, 2013, 9:59 am

If using a USB drive poses problems, then you can create a bootable CD/DVD for Puppy and give that a try .... http://www.puppylinux.com/cd-puppy.htm

Note ... If you don't know about burning ISO files to disk, be sure to read the section highlighted in red below the download link, and also the section written in red just below that.
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Kathy » January 20th, 2013, 10:39 pm

Hi, Gary! :D
Linux booted from the CD!
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Re: Laptop won't boot

Unread postby Gary R » January 21st, 2013, 7:45 am

Good, so it looks as if your problems are not hardware related, and you should be able to restore your computer to factory default using the method I linked to earlier .... viewtopic.php?p=619621#p619621

To backup your personal files and folders before you "restore to factory", boot your damaged machine from the Puppy CD, then recover your files by inserting a blank USB drive into the computer, and copy the files you need to keep onto it. The method for doing this is described in ... viewtopic.php?p=618146#p618146 ... Phase 4 and Phase 5.
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