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I am new here.

I am having trouble re-booting a Dell, and I any help or suggestions I can get is appreciated.

I apologize for the length of the post, if it is a problem, but I have reviewed other posts (trying - unsuccessfully - to solve the problem), and more information always seems to be better than less.

I have an Inspiron 9200.

About half a year ago, the hard drive crashed.

I replaced the hard drive, got a copy of Windows XP from a friend of a friend, installed it, and just started over.

Everything worked fine.

For about six months.

Then, I noticed the fan running loudly, and in an incoungrous setting - the computer was in nothing like a warm setting.

So I sent a hit to the temperature sensor with the Fn-Z keys.

The fan starting running faster, not slower.

I was worried that something was wrong, that I might damage some components, so I shut the thing down, then powered it back up.

To find the dreaded blinking cursor.

No boot, no nothing.

Just a blinking cursor.

So I wandered around the Internet, looking for a fix, but nothing seemed to solve the problem.

I got a copy of the Puppy version of Linux, and tried to move the contents from my hard drive to a USB hard drive. I don't know what this means, but I have a feeling it's significant - I couldn't remove the files from the hard drive, just copy them. But I did copy the files, so I got into a situation where I wouldn't lose anything.

Then, I tried repairing the Windows XP installation with the CD-ROM I used to originally install Windows XP. The system ran through all the steps, and said it was finished. So I powered down, then powered up. And got the blinking cursor.

Next, I tried a complete re-install of Windows XP. It told me that I would lose the old installation, and I told it, "Good - go ahead." It ran through all of the steps, and told me that it had completed the installation. So I powered down, and powered up. Once more, a blinking cursor, and nothing else.

At this point, I can think of a couple of things to do, but I figured I had better listen to some people who know what they're talking about before I go any further.

One thing I could do is to re-format the hard drive, and then re-install Windows XP.

The second idea I have is to install Linux and go forward with it. I have used Mandrake in the past, and really liked it. The Inspiron just came with Windows, so I ended up using it. Plus, I was far from sure that Linux could be installed on the Inspiron. Now, after using Puppy, which seems to run fine from RAM, I am seeing no reason I couldn't do it.

I would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions anyone has about my situation.

For instance, is there something wrong with the re-format idea? Or is there something I need to be sure and do if I go that route.

Or is there something that precludes a Linux installation? Or is there something I need to be sure and do if I go that route? Is there a preferred flavor of Linux for my needs? (I would prefer Mandrake or Ubuntu, I think.)

Finally, is there another, preferably simple, way to get this machine back up on its Windows XP legs?

If you need any more information, please tell me what it is, and I'll provide it.

Thank you for all suggestions and ideas.

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I would try to format your drive, then re-install Windows XP. After that if it still does not work, it *could* be a hardware issue. I don't know if it is a hardware issue, so before we jump to conclusions then try to reformat the drive and install Linux. I like Ubuntu, it is a good choice, but my favorite is Gentoo. But be warned, Linux is not as user friendly as Windows, so make sure you understand what you're getting into. But I would also listen to other peoples ideas/solutions, because there could be an easy way to fix this.
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