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Laptop turns on; doesn't boot up?


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#1
AF_Money

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I have an old compaq laptop that died on me. I got a new one, but there's still stuff on the other hard drive I want to get off of it.

The first question is what would cause it to power on but not boot up? I get all the standard startup stuff and I can get into the bios, but when its time for windows to load, it just gives me a black screen with a blinking cursor on the top left side of the screen. Cant type anything or move the cursor. Did my hard drive quit or does that point to a different hardware problem?

Second question, if its not my hard drive, if i firewire my laptop to another computer, will i be able to transfer the files i want without it fully booting up? (or at least with windows not loading)

It wont let me boot in safe mode. My buddy gave me an OEM version of xp but it wouldnt take. I don't think he burned the disc right personally cuz i couldn't get the disk to work on my desktop either.

Thanks for the help

~Money
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#2
123Runner

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Hi AF_Money and welcome to Geeks to Go.

The first question is what would cause it to power on but not boot up? Could be the boot.ini or MBR (master Boot Record) is bad.

My buddy gave me an OEM version of xp but it wouldnt take. I don't think he burned the disc right personally cuz i couldn't get the disk to work on my desktop either.

Burned disks generally do not work.

It sounds like all you want from the hard drive is your data. As long as the drive is not mechanically dead, there are a few ways to get the data.
1. Remove the drive from the laptop and put it in an enclosure with a USB connection.
2. Boot from a linux live CD (runs in memory) and then copy off the data by burning CD's (if the laptop has a burner), or a USB flash drive.
3. Remove the drive and slave it to a desktop with a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch adapter.

For the enclosure or the adapter we would need to know if it is an ide drive or a sata drive.

Please let us know how you want to procede and we can advise you with directions.

If you give us the make and model of the laptop, that would also help.

123runner
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#3
rshaffer61

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My buddy gave me an OEM version of xp but it wouldnt take. I don't think he burned the disc right personally cuz i couldn't get the disk to work on my desktop either.

Not only don't work most of the time but if you don't own a license for it then it would be a illegal install.
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#4
AF_Money

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Wouldn't want to do anything to my computer to get my information from my hard drive that i own to transfer my data to another hard drive that I own. That would most definatley be illegal, not to mention unethical :) (just kiddin with ya :) )

Ya now that you mention it, I did have boot.ini failures before it finally stopped booting up all together. Man you guys are good! Its been dead for so long I forgot that it was doing that to me...

Its a compaq presario 2150US. Its got a 1.2 GHz celeron CPU, 256 MB RAM, 128 MB ATI video card, and i bought it in December of 2003 just before I joined the service. Being that its so old, i would guess the hard drive is an IDE connection.

So if its my boot.ini file how do i fix that? I lost my xp disk, but I still have the key for it, so thoretically any xp disk should work right? Or would the Linux option be better? It still surfs the net and plays music and movies just fine... Well it used to anyway :) ... Thanks for the replies!
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#5
rshaffer61

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Have you contacted Compaq\HP to see about purchasing a recovery cd?
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#6
AF_Money

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Naa. Trying to keep this as free as possible and compaq/hp customer service is almost not worth the breath to speak to them. I don't really care if it works again. I just want the data off the hard drive more than anything.

So just a simple recovery of windows should square me away? Running a recovery wont format my hard drive will it? That would defeat the whole purpose of putting effort into getting it working again. I still have my xp cd key. Can I use someone elses disk and use my key to alleviate any piracy issues?

I'm deployed right now, so not much I can really do about it right this second anyway. But chattin with you guys helps pass the time and gives me something to play with when I get home after the holidays.
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#7
rshaffer61

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You would need a XP of the same type that was originally installed on the system,
Home, Media or Pro
The key located on the bottom of the laptop will only work for that version of XP.
You can borrow a copy from someone as you will be using your key to activate it and only the cd to load the OS.
Second if the system boots up but does not go into windows you can try a linux live cd to backup the data files you want to save.
Hopefully by using the OEM version you attempted to use did not format the drive.
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#8
AF_Money

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Ya i doubt the OEM windows did anything at all. It never gave me an option to do anything with it when i changed my boot sequence to load the cd-rom first. In fact I got a disk failure error when I tried to boot off the cd. (My laptop orginally came with 32bit home version. easy enough to get my hands on if it comes down to it)

Do you have any recommendations to what distro of linux i should use given that this laptop is almost 6 years old and i've never played with linux before? I was lookin at mint because of the media support and thats pretty much all it would be good for if i do get it working again. I'm computer savvy I guess meaning I learn stuff pretty quick, i've just never used any linux OS.
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#9
rshaffer61

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I use Mandriva Linux myself and other then getting updates and software installed it is pretty easy to learn. I just started with it a week ago. I did have some help with learning the packages and installation techniques.
I would suggest going with the one that gives you the most for what you want to use the system for. If it is more media then Mint would be fine. We have a forum for other OS's here and Linux is one of those supported in that forum. You might want to ask them about Mint before you make a decision. Also check and make sure you can egt drivers for your hardware.
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#10
AF_Money

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Well i'm pretty sure I got the answers I need to get my laptop running again. I appreciate your help!
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#11
rshaffer61

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Ok you are welcome and good luck. :)
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