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Windows XP won't boot, Blinking cursor in top left corner


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#1
xupugh

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This is a friend's computer that I am borrowing to do some work on. Unfortunately, I was working and it froze. I tried to reboot the machine and it just goes to a black screen with a blinking cursor at the top left corner and nothing else.

It is a Sony Vaio laptop (Model PDG-8W1L).

The only thing that I can do is hit F2 and get the PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility screen.
It seems like it is working properly, but I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed to know.

Please let me know what other information you would need from me to help.
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#2
123Runner

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Hi and welcome to Geeks to Go

Reboot and start tapping the F8 key. It will bring up a list of boot options.

Try "last known good" or something like that. If no go then..
Try safe mode. If you get to safemode you can try system restore.

123runner
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#3
xupugh

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F8 yields nothing except for a beep after continuously pressing. Only F2 yields anything other than the blinking cursor.

Updated: 7:41 p.m.
Not sure if this helps, but I tried hit ESC and it took me to the following screen:

BOOT MENU
1. IDE 0: MATSHITADVD-RAM UJ-85
3. IDE 2: FUJITSU MHV2200BT-(S1

<Enter Setup>

Unfortunately, neither yield a different result other than the blinking cursor screen.

Thanks again for the assistance. I appreciate any help given.

Edited by xupugh, 02 March 2010 - 06:43 PM.

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#4
xupugh

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Have tried to rearrange Boot Order to do CD Rom first (but only labeled Floppy Drive) in order to boot from CD, but to no avail. Not getting anything other than the blinking cursor. I'm thinking I may be out of luck here.

Thanks for any more light you can shed on this.
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#5
xupugh

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I'm guessing by the lack of interest/help that I am out of luck here. I tried some of the things said in similar posts about this issue, but thought I was supposed to start my own thread for help about my particular situation.
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#6
Ferrari

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Sorry for the delay. 123Runner is probably busy, we are all volunteers and have other things going on in life... girlfriends, jobs, friends, etc.

Is your hard drive recognized in the BIOS?
  • Start the computer/press the power button
  • Immediately start tapping the appropriate key to enter the BIOS, aka "Setup"
    (Usually shown during the "Dell" screen, or "Gateway" Screen)
  • Once in the BIOS, do you see your hard drive listed anywhere?
    Marked as recognized, the name of it, anything?
  • Press F10 to save and exit
  • Agree with "Y" to continue
  • Your computer will simply just restart
See it anywhere?

Posted Image

Posted Image


If not, it may be dead, but lets try testing it...

Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.

NOTE. If your hard drive is made by Toshiba, unfortunately, you're out of luck, because Toshiba doesn't provide any diagnostic tool.

Thanks to Broni for the instructions (In the process of making my own, thanks)
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#7
ersatz

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Is your XP Recovery Disk in the drive when you Reboot > ESC > CD/DVD Drive? If you choose an optical drive with nothing in it, it will just resort back to your hard drive which is not gettin' you anywhere. I was reading this thread and it seems no one suggested to you a recovery.. so wondered if you were booting empty CD drive.

If so, refer to this guide.

If you don't have your recovery disk, make one:

  • Download RC.ISO from Here.
  • Now burn this ISO image to a CD and boot your computer with it.
    NOTE: Keep in mind that this is different than burning a file to a CD-ROM. If you do not know how to burn an ISO image, then go Here for instructions for burning the ISO image.
  • Once the CD is created, place it in the defunct computer
  • Then reboot your broken PC with that CD in the CD-ROM drive.
  • Make sure the PC is set to run from the CD as the primary boot device.
    NOTE: You do this by setting your PC to boot to the CD-ROM in BIOS (enter bios by pressing f1, f2 or del key during memory count up, then search for boot order, and set the CD as the first boot device)
  • When the PC boots, it will boot from the CD...after the first several screens load, you will be given a choice to choose R for Recovery Console. You will be asked to log in.
    NOTE: For Windows XP Home, there is not password, just hit ENTER. For Windows XP pro, ask whomever set up the machine what password they used.

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#8
xupugh

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Ferrari ... I apologize. I didn't mean to come across as rude. I honestly thought that this was a lost cause (and it looks like it will be).

I ran what you asked and the BIOS screen says this:

Bios Version: R0150J6
Machine Name: VGN-AR250G
Serial Number: 28248431-3001143
UUID: 815466c0-362c-11db
-80f1-0013a9286397

System Memory: 2048MB
Hard Disk Drive 0: 200GB
Hard Disk Drive 1: None

That's all it says. Now, if I hit escape to get to a boot menu, I have the following:

2. IDE 2: FUJITSU MHV2200BT-(S1
3. IDE 3: MATSHITADVD-RAM UJ-85

=============
ERSATZ ... thanks for your help as well.

I created that boot disk and got it to go to the Setup screen. I hit R for repair and unfortunately the next screen says:

Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer.

Make sure any hard disk drive are powered on and properly connected to your computer, and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. This may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program.

Setup cannot continue. To quit Setup, press F3.


======

Ferrari ... if I put the Diagnostic disk in the defunct computer, do I just do the same stuff to get it to boot from the CD to run the Diagnostic program? It looks like the file I downloaded is .exe and not .iso. Should I find one that is .iso from that list?

Thanks again to both of you for your help. I really do appreciate it, but I think I am S.O.L.
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#9
Ferrari

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Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer.

This is what ersatz and I were sort of looking for, this typical means that the hard drive is dead. The only other thing it could be is a possible loose cable. If you know that the connections are tight, then the HD is probably gone for good. Hence the error, "Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer." when you know it's plugged in.
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#10
xupugh

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Well ... thanks for the help. That's what I was afraid of. I'll have to tell my friend I somehow killed his computer. Thanks again for the help and insight.
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#11
stormbynder

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Sorry to raise this topic from the dead but I was the friend who owned the Sony Vaio.
After getting it back here are more details.

Original SATA HDD can be slaved into a diff. PC to recover files...YAY!
Cannot hit F10 to start XP recovery
Cannot use XP SP2 full version to reinstall windows
- Error cannot find HDD installed in your pc
- BIOS displays HDD
- BIOS is limited to what I have access to change. Time Stamp and Boot order only.
- Loaded MFR SATA/raid drivers and still cannot detect hard drives.
Attempt Clean Install with Win 7. Error loading drivers and failed.

Purchssed new SATA HDD and same problems as above.

Ripped apart laptop and reseated cables from controller to hard drives.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by stormbynder, 15 March 2010 - 03:39 PM.

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#12
shetech

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I realize this is old, however, the fix for this is removing the internal battery and then replacing it. It resolves this issue. ;-]
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#13
PhrantiQ

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I realize this is old, however, the fix for this is removing the internal battery and then replacing it. It resolves this issue. ;-]

Yes, normally when they are this old we just let them die. However the 'internal battery' is the CMOS, which helps make that more searchable and easier to find replacements for. As for your recommended fix, if the BIOS does not see a hard disk, it is not from a BIOS Battery / CMOS Battery. It is due to faulty hardware or connections. Which they kind of went over. Either way though, welcome to the forums and hope to see you around.
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#14
shetech

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You would think .. however, today I had the exact happen and my recommendation worked. I had this happen one other time before with same results.... odd....didn't show hd ... blinking upper left ... remove battery and we're back in business.
anyway ... have an awesome day! ;-]
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#15
PhrantiQ

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By removing it you're resetting BIOS. By placing same one back in, that's fine. However I had taken your post as REPLACE as in buy a new one and put it in, which is unneeded. Resetting BIOS is one option that's easy enough, though it is still not the most likely for this (however yes, I'd still give it a shot vs saying hard drive is bad and to start over haha).

Anyway hope to see you around more on the forums, specially in the new posts !
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