Laptop won't boot past BIOS, blinking cursor

Discussion in 'Windows OS's' started by RPete88, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. RPete88

    RPete88 Geek Trainee

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    I'll start with the background info:
    I have a Dell Inspiron E1705 with Windows XP and Ubuntu installed. Previously, GRUB would boot up and allow me to select which OS to run.
    A day or two ago, I was using StumbleUpon and listening to iTunes when my computer froze, minimized to the desktop, and showed a window saying there was a virus. Half the icons on my desktop were missing and I didn't have control of the mouse. I performed a hard shutdown. When I restarted the computer, it went past the Dell splash screen and sat at a black screen with a blinking cursor in the top left hand.

    What I've done so far:
    -Tried removing the battery and starting the laptop.
    -Removed the hard drive and started the laptop, receiving a "missing hard drive" error, replacing the hard drive and starting the laptop.
    -Running off a live Ubuntu CD.

    I've had the most luck running of the live cd. Originally, I couldn't get the windows partition to mount, but after trying (and failing) to get GRUB to install, one of the commands must have freed it up and now it mounts properly (in the live environment). However, my computer still won't boot past that blinking cursor.

    I opened up the Boot.ini file and everything seems in order, however I still get an error when trying to mount the Ubuntu partition (but I think I can worry about that later).

    So, since I can open up that partition and browse around my files just fine, why won't the darn thing boot up? Could GRUB be installed in the inaccessible Ubuntu partition and freezing up the computer before Windows can load? Is there something wrong with the Windows partition? Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated, and if you need to know anything else that can help I'd happily attempt to answer. Thank you very much in advance.
  2. Wildcard

    Wildcard Big Geek

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    If you havent already, I would try running the Dell Diagnostics utility. It will check your laptop to see if there are any hardware problems. It usually comes on a CD with the machine, and also on the HD itself, but if you have reformatted the HD, it may be gone. Try hitting f12 to get to the one time boot options when the laptop first comes up, and there should be an option for diagnostics. If not, you can go here Obtaining the Dell for instructions on how to download it. It will ask you for your service tag, which is to help identify which diagnostic program is best for your laptop. Usually its on a sticker on the machine, but you can also go into the bios at startup and it should be listed in there as well. I would specifically scan the Hard Drive to see if it is failing or not. Also, have you tried booting into safe mode yet? When the computer is first turning on, tap the f8 key a few times to see if it will bring you to the safe mode options. If you can boot to safe mode, you can try running a system restore to see if that will bring your system back. Also while in safe mode, if you think you have a virus, try running an AV scan and malware scan. If you have your windows CD, you can also try doing a repair of the operating system using that. I would start with the dell utility though, just in case it is the HD starting to fail on you. Dell laptops also use blink codes to help with trouble shooting. The blink codes are usually done with the lock keys, scroll lock, number lock, caps locks. They will either be on, off, or blinking during the boot process. If you are getting a code, then you should be able to look it up to see at which stage it is failing at.
  3. HarryUSA

    HarryUSA Geek Trainee

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    I had a similar problem and fooled around with F2 and F12 for a while, running the diagnostics and such. I finally removed the harddrive and connected it to another computer using a SATA to USB converter/connector (available at for about $20) I copied my critical files off the drive and scanned the drive for problems and nothing was found. I reloaded Windows 7 and it gave me the option to save everything to a folder labeled windows.old. I think a security patch update the day before was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had had 4 security progams over the years and alot of shareware and as such I think over time enteries in the registry become conflicting and your machine slows and becomes more vulnerable to problems. I am enjoying the new found speed of a freshly load OS. Back-up your data and keep your original disks. Good luck, I hope this helps somebody.
  4. Ghostman 1

    Ghostman 1 Mega Geek

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    It sounds like a SMART VIRUS, it will put your computer into a loop..Where it will be stuck, starting and shut down, but since you have your partition split to dual boot, you want be able to start it normally.. If it is a Smart virus, the only way to fix is to do a fresh install... this means removing both OS.s...

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