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Black screen with blinking cursor


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#1
Shikaka

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Hello,

I was using my computer when it suddenly crashed to a blue screen with lots of text on it. It's happened before, though rarely, and I didn't bother to read the info this time. :D

When I went to restart, all i get is the initial dell logo, with access to setup via f2 and boot menu via f12, but then all i get is a blank screen with a blinking cursor.

Might it be a corrupted boot.ini file? I booted up with bartPE, and checked the boot file, it looks ok though?

Thanks in advance!
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#2
phillpower2

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Hi Shikaka,
You need to provide information about your computer, this includes is it a laptop or desktop, is it a custom build or brand name such as Dell or HP and if it is provide the model name or series number, motherboard , PSU and any add on card details would also help others to help you better.
Have you tried starting in safe mode and do you have the XP or boot disk/s that were supplied with the computer?
To start in safe mode;
•Turn the computer on (or restart the computer if it is already on).
•Start tapping the F8 key. The Windows Advanced Boot Options Menu appears. If you begin tapping the F8 key too soon, some computers display a "keyboard error" message. To resolve this, restart the computer and try again.
•Ensure that the Safe mode option is selected.
•Press Enter. The computer then begins to start in safe mode.
Dependent on the answers to the above Qs may determine what advice you are offered but for now suggestions may include running Memtest86+, running checkdisk /r or a Repair installation of XP.

Thanks to Stettybet0 for the safe mode information.
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#3
Shikaka

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Thanks phillpower2,

It's a Dell Dimension 8300 desktop with an ati radeon x1950 pro graphics card. What information do you need about the PSU and motherboard? I'm looking at the manual specs, it's says i have a DC power supply with either 250W or 305W - I think it's the 250W, then I've either got 90 to 135 V at 50/60 Hz or 180 to 265 V at 50/60 Hz. I can't find any information about the motherboard!

I have tried pressing f8, but i can't get to the menu; pressing too soon gives the keyboard error message, waiting a split second then pressing f8 doesn't have any effect, it just goes to the blank screen.

I do have the xp boot disk, so should i perform a repair install?

Thanks!
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#4
phillpower2

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Hi Shikaka,
Thanks for the PSU information it may be helpful later, but for now as you cannot get into safe mode
(possibly due to a damaged OS) a repair installation of XP may be the way forward,
please note the highlighted word repair, be sure you do not choose the re installation option.
This may help http://www.windowsxp...dexfullpage.htm
Once you have done the XP repair I recommend backing up any important data on the HDD as a precaution, you
can then run the Memtest and checkdisk /r.
Good luck and post back with any updates or if we can offer any assistance.
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#5
Shikaka

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Thanks phillpower2 for all your kind help!

I followed those steps and did a repair install of windows xp, but I still have the same problem. I did it again just to be sure, but to no avail, I still get a blank screen with cursor and I still can't get into the f8 menu
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#6
phillpower2

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Do you have data on the HDD that you need to keep?
If you do it is advisable to remove the HDD and either use an external USB HDD enclosure to copy the data across to another computer or put the drive into another computer as a 2nd (slave) drive and copy your data across, you can then format the HDD and try a fresh install of XP.
Do you have the driver disk for your GFX (graphics) card? It may need reinstalling, if you don`t have the disk you can download and burn them to disk or copy them to a memory stick from here http://support.amd.c...13&lang=English
Should you have to would you be confident working inside the computer? The Ram and GFX card may need to be removed, the slots cleaned out and the cards then refitted, whilst there you could remove the CR2032 battery on the MB to clear the BIOS, this will restore the MBs default factory settings, you can also clean out any heat trapping dust at the same time.
Has the HDD been making any odd noises such as clicks or whines etc previous to this issue, any other noises from the PC in general?

Edit:

I still can't get into the f8 menu

You could try F2, F12 or delete but as you get the keyboard error using F8 it suggests you are using the correct key.

Edited by phillpower2, 05 March 2011 - 11:13 AM.

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#7
Shikaka

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That sounds drastic! Are you saying that my HDD has been corrupted or something?

Yes it's very important that i keep the data on my HDD, but i neither have another desktop to connect it to, nor an external USB HDD. I will try to use USB Memory sticks to copy data across to my laptop.

Yes i would be comfortable working inside my computer, and i think i'll have to download the gfx drivers to a memory stick.

Is the CR2032 battery the circular cell battery?

No, my computer has not been making any funny noises, though my CD drive is temperamentally noisy, but this has been the case for a long time.

Edit: I can use f2 or f12

Edit 2: Can i not use bartpe to edit whatever it is that's wrong with my computer?

Edited by Shikaka, 05 March 2011 - 12:27 PM.

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#8
phillpower2

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That sounds drastic! Are you saying that my HDD has been corrupted or something?

A possibility or XP itself is corrupted or has files missing.

Yes it's very important that i keep the data on my HDD, but i neither have another desktop to connect it to, nor an external USB HDD. I will try to use USB Memory sticks to copy data across to my laptop.

You will only be able to do this if you get the system usable.

Yes i would be comfortable working inside my computer, and i think i'll have to download the gfx drivers to a memory stick.

Good to the 1st part but I hope it is not necessary, again you will only be able to install the drivers if the PC is usable, you should still get a display using Windows VGA drivers, the fact you don`t may suggest bad HDD or OS.

Is the CR2032 battery the circular cell battery?

Correct.

No, my computer has not been making any funny noises, though my CD drive is temperamentally noisy, but this has been the case for a long time.

Good for the 1st part, are you sure the CD drive reads disks properly.

Edit: I can use f2 or f12

What options do you get when tapping these upon boot up?

Edit 2: Can i not use bartpe to edit whatever it is that's wrong with my computer?

Never used it myself but from what I have read it will suit your requirements, have you changed the boot sequence in the BIOS to CD drive 1st and the HDD 2nd, saved the settings and exit?
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#9
Macboatmaster

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Shikaka
Do you wish to secure your data first, before you go any further.
If your hardware has not failed which presumably it has not otherwise you could not have carried ouit a repair install, we can get your data off.
DID the repair install proceed as per the guide. - in otherwords do you KNOW you have done a repair install or are you presuming you have because you selected that option.

As the repair install has NOT worked we can then move to other tests but lets get your data off first.

As an aside the best guide to the reair install of Windows is the one ON THIS SITE Geeks to GO
http://www.geekstogo...air-windows-xp/

Edited by Macboatmaster, 05 March 2011 - 02:26 PM.

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#10
123Runner

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A way to get your data.

Use Puppy Linux Live CD to Recover your Data
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#11
Shikaka

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What options do you get when tapping these upon boot up?


f2 gets me into the (BIOS?) setup, f12 shows me the boot menu where i select to boot from a cd - it's how i did the repair install and launched bartpe

Never used it myself but from what I have read it will suit your requirements, have you changed the boot sequence in the BIOS to CD drive 1st and the HDD 2nd, saved the settings and exit?


No i haven't, do i need to do this since I can access the boot menu as i described above? At least i can access the contents of my HDD with bart!

DID the repair install proceed as per the guide. - in otherwords do you KNOW you have done a repair install or are you presuming you have because you selected that option.



Yes the repair install proceeded as per the guide, setup copies all the files, restarts, and i'm still left with the same blank screen problem. I ran it again this morning following the guide you posted, still the same!

Many thanks guys!

Edited by Shikaka, 06 March 2011 - 05:03 AM.

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#12
Macboatmaster

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Having had a quick look at the spec for your computer I do not think it has onboard graphics, so unfortunately you cannot disconnect that ATi card from the AGP slot to test with the onboard graphics.
See this
http://support.dell....sm/adtshoot.htm

But you say you cannot run the diagnostics.
What is the sequence of leds on boot.

If you cannot enter setup - you have I think a serious hardware fault somewhere as the setup ie enter BIOS is not dependant on the state of the hard drive.

I suggest you try setup with the HDD disconnected.
I would also try another keyboard.
If still no success I would see if you can try another graphics card
Check ram, although I do not think it is that, if you have two sticks, take one out, leave the first slot populated and then swap the sticks.

If you can still boot to that Barts and the hard drive is seen run a check on the hard drive.

It is the lack of ability to enter setup that concerns me - it is either keyboard or hardware error.
The earlier blue screen was of course the warning - but that info is pretty useless now.

I asked earlier about your data and as puppy runs in ram it will effectively test your hardware for you.

No, my computer has not been making any funny noises, though my CD drive is temperamentally noisy, but this has been the case for a long time.

A long shot but try boot with the optical drive disconnected.
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#13
Shikaka

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Having had a quick look at the spec for your computer I do not think it has onboard graphics, so unfortunately you cannot disconnect that ATi card from the AGP slot to test with the onboard graphics.

If you mean physically disconnecting the card, I can do and have done before.

But you say you cannot run the diagnostics.
What is the sequence of leds on boot.


Which diagnostics? All the leds are green.

If you cannot enter setup - you have I think a serious hardware fault somewhere as the setup ie enter BIOS is not dependant on the state of the hard drive.

It is the lack of ability to enter setup that concerns me - it is either keyboard or hardware error.
The earlier blue screen was of course the warning - but that info is pretty useless now.


I can enter BIOS setup by pressing f2! :D

If you can still boot to that Barts and the hard drive is seen run a check on the hard drive.


Yep I can access my hdd via bart. What kind of check should i run?

I asked earlier about your data and as puppy runs in ram it will effectively test your hardware for you.


Ok i'll give it a go, but i was thinking of using bart to transfer files since i've already got it/used it

Thanks Macboatmaster!
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#14
Macboatmaster

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1. I do not doubt you can take out the graphics card. What I said was unfortunately the motherboard, according to the spec, does NOT have onboard graphics - so you cannot elimiate the Ati card fault by running those.

2 .What leds. Have you checked the link I sent. It is quite clear on there. - what I refer to.

3, I can enter setup by pressing F2. - are time and date correct. Is the HDD seen in the BIOS and are all other setings apparently correct. Is the graphics seen in the AGP slot. Is AGP enabled.

4. A check on the state of the HDD

5. Well use Barts then.It does not matter what you use, just secure your data - IN CASE
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#15
Shikaka

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2 .What leds. Have you checked the link I sent. It is quite clear on there. - what I refer to.

The 4 diagnostic leds at the back marked A, B, C and D, as on the link you sent. They're all green.

3, I can enter setup by pressing F2. - are time and date correct. Is the HDD seen in the BIOS and are all other setings apparently correct. Is the graphics seen in the AGP slot. Is AGP enabled.

Date and time are correct.

I can see the HDD in the bios under 'Disk Configuration' --> 'Primary Master Drive'.

As for AGP, the only mention of it I see is under 'Integrated Devices (LegacySelect Options)' --> 'Primary Video Controller......AGP'
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