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Hanging blinking DOS cursor on XP reboot: Hardware causes?


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kane5187

kane5187

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I am running Windows XP on a Dell Latitude D610, bought in the fall of 2005. The machine is an Intel Pentium M with a 1.86GHz processor, 0.99GB of RAM. It came with a 60GB Toshiba hard drive, but I replaced it with a 160GB Seagate drive in April 2007.

I posted here a few weeks ago with this problem:

The problem that I am encountering is a hanging, blinking DOS cursor after a reboot. It can occur both after completely routine reboots, and after the system crashes or otherwise gets shut off suddenly (one time I forgot to plug in my laptop and it lost power, and manifested this error when I tried to boot it up). The blinking cursor appears just after the Dell screen and hangs indefinitely, never allowing Windows to start... I can access F2 (Setup) and F12 (Boot menu) in the screen that appears before the blinking cursor, and have tried running the Windows Recovery Console from my XP install disc without success ("fixmbr", "fixboot", etc. don't fix the problem). Trying to repair the Windows installation is equally unsuccessful. ( http://www.geekstogo...ot-t204636.html )

This has happened repeatedly after many, many reformats and rebuilds. The advice I got, both from here and from my university's help desk, was to do a zero-bit format on the drive, reinstall Windows, and see if that helps. I've done that twice now, and and both times the error came back in under two weeks. After discussing it with tech support again, they suggested it was probably something wrong with the hard drive (even though chkdsk and other drive-health diagnostics consistently say that it's fine) -- their explanation being that perhaps the sector of the disk controlling boot functions was just wearing down. The drive is still under warranty from Seagate so they are sending me a fresh one, and I'll do a reinstall soon on that.

My question here is simply to inquire about what other potential causes it could be. It's obvious that something is corrupting the boot process on the drive -- such that the error is manifested there, but I'm wondering if its source could be elsewhere. Is there any way that other faulty hardware could be systematically causing this to happen to the drive over and over again - motherboard, an intermittently bad connection, etc.? It's getting to be an old machine, and I just want to know what the possible root causes of this problem are. (I have about another month to replace any hardware for free under warranty, so if the cause is elsewhere, I'd like to take advantage!)

Thanks!
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kane5187

kane5187

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