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XP won't load past the blinking cursor

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I've read a couple of other entries on this forum with my problem, but since mine is a bit dissimilar from the others, I thought it would be best to start a new topic. If not, redirect me to wherever I can find answers.

So, I've got a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop, and use the OS Windows XP Home Edition. When I press the power button, the Dell logo comes up and the loading bar below it loads properly, and then it brings me to the black screen with the blinking cursor. Usually after this, the Windows XP Home Edition logo comes up and it's loading bar runs and then it brings me to the login screen. However, I am stuck at the blinking cursor stage and cannot get by it.

I've found that, before this screen comes, I can access 3 options, all of which I have tried to use to fix my computer, but cannot:

F2 - Setup
Brings me to a page titled 'Dell Inc. Inspiron 1545'.
It lists 9 drop down menu's with options to change some settings

- System Information
-Battery Information
-Boot Sequence

System Configuration
-Integrated NIC
-SATA Operation
-Miscellaneous Devices
-Function Key Behavior

-LCD Brightness

-Admin Password
-System Password
-Internal HDD Password
-Password Bypass
-Password Change

-Intel Speedstep

Power Management
-USB Wake Support
-Wake on LAN

POST Behavior
-Adapter Warnings
-Fn Key Emulation

-Wireless Switch
-Wireless Devices

-Service Tag
-Asset Tag

F12 - Boot Options
Brings me to a page that shows the following:

Use the up- and down-arrow keys to move the pointer to the desired boot device. Press [Enter] to attempt the boot or ESC to cancel.

Internal HDD

BIOS Setup

Brings me to a screen that shows the following:

Window Advanced Options Menu
Please select an option:

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Enable Boot Logging
Enable VGA Mode
Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows domain controllers only)
Debugging Mode
Disable automatic restart on system failure

Start Windows Normally
Return to OS Choices Menu

Use the up and down arrow keys to move the highlight to your choice

Unfortunately, I'm not totally tech-savvy. I don't know commands or codes to input or anything like that. So, the most I've been able to do or try to do was go through each of the options I could access (and I don't know if there are others), and try finding a way to make my computer upload. For F8, I went through all Safe Modes, Last Known Good Configuration, Start Windows Normally, Reboot, and Return to OS Choices Menu to try to get it to boot up. Each attempt brought me to a blank screen that doesn't change. F12, I tried to tell it to use the Internal HDD, but to no avail. I went through all of the information in F2 to see if any settings were mixed up.

This problem occurred after I got home from vacation, over which my laptop worked fine. I didn't get a chance to backup all the new files, or this wouldn't be a problem and I would just get a new computer. Is there a way to fix this, or am I going to have to send my computer off and just hope that the files on my Hard Drice can be retrieved?

Thank you for reading.
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Hello Jazien.... Welcome to
GeeksToGo, :D
:D ;)

I'm sorry to hear about your issue. We will try to help you resolve this as soon as possible.
  • Please understand we are all volunteers and we are not here all the time.
  • Sometimes it may be a extended amount of time to get back to you. If it has been
    more then 3 days please shoot me a PM and I will try to get back to you quickly
  • Please do the following and supply the requested information as needed. If you
    don't understand my instructions please ask and I will try to explain them
    clearer for you.
  • Do not attempt any steps unless instructed or ask before to
    make sure they will not cause any further issues.

I would like to make sure your files are backed up first before we do anything. To do this I'm going to suggest a Linux Live cd to get access to the data.

Use Puppy Linux Live CD to Recover Your Data:

***Required Hardware***
CD Burner (CDRW) Drive,
Blank CD,
Extra Storage Device (USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)


1. Save these files to your Desktop/Burn Your Live CD:
  • Download Latest Puppy Linux ISO (i.e.: lupu-520.iso)
    Download BurnCDCC ISO Burning Software

  • Open BurnCDCC with Windows Explorer
  • Extract All files to a location you can remember
  • Double Click Posted Image BurnCDCC
  • Click Browse Posted Image and navigate to the Puppy Linux ISO file you just downloaded
  • Open/Double Click that file
    IMPORTANT: Adjust the speed bar to CD: 4x DVD: 1x
  • Click Start Posted Image
  • Your CD Burner Tray will open automatically
  • Insert a blank CD and close the tray
  • Click OK
Puppy Linux Live CD will now be created
2. Set your boot priority in the BIOS to CD-ROM first, Hard Drive Second
  • 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, under Advanced BIOS Options change boot priority to:
    CD-ROM 1st, Hard Drive 2nd
  • Open your ROM drive and insert the disk
  • Press F10 to save and exit
  • Agree with "Y" to continue
  • Your computer will restart and boot from the Puppy Linux Live CD

    Posted Image

3. Recover Your Data
  • Once Puppy Linux has loaded, it is actually running in your computer's Memory (RAM). You will see a fully functioning Graphical User Interface similar to what you normally call "your computer". Internet access may or may not be available depending on your machine, so it is recommended you print these instructions before beginning. Also, double clicking is not needed in Puppy. To expand, or open folders/icons, just click once. Puppy is very light on resources, so you will quickly notice it is much speedier than you are used to. This is normal. Ready? Let's get started.

    3a. Mount Drives
  • Click the Mount Icon located at the top left of your desktop. Posted Image
  • A Window will open. By default, the "drive" tab will be forward/highlighted. Click on Mount for your hard drive.
  • Assuming you only have one hard drive and/or partition, there may be only one selection to mount.
  • USB Flash Drives usually automatically mount upon boot, but click the "usbdrv" tab and make sure it is mounted.
  • If using an external hard drive for the data recovery, do this under the "drive" tab. Mount it now.
3b. Transfer Files.
  • At the bottom left of your desktop a list of all hard drives/partitions, USB Drives, and Optical Drives are listed with a familiar looking hard drive icon.
  • Open your old hard drive i.e. sda1
  • Next, open your USB Flash Drive or External Drive. i.e. sdc or sdb1
  • If you open the wrong drive, simply X out at the top right corner of the window that opens. (Just like in Windows)
  • From your old hard drive, drag and drop whatever files/folders you wish to transfer to your USB Drive's Window.
For The Novice: The common path to your pictures, music, video, and documents folders is: Documents and Settings >> All Users (or each idividual name of each user. CHECK All Names!) >> Documents >> You will now see My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos.

Remember to only click once! No double clicking! Once you drag and drop your first folder, you will notice a small menu will appear giving you the option to move or copy. Choose COPY each time you drag and drop.

YOU ARE DONE!!! Simply click Menu >> Mouse Over Shutdown >> Reboot/Turn Off Computer. Be sure to plug your USB Drive into another working windows machine to verify all data is there and transferred without corruption. Congratulations!

Posted Image

Posted Image

If you're doing this to recovery from a virus or malware infection, (or even if you're not), DO NOT copy executable files (.exe, .scr. etc...) if any of these files are infected you could be copying the corruption over to any new device/computer. just copy documents, pictures, music, or videos.

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    The hippie freak computer geek

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Pay close attention to the spaces!

Step I. Access the reconvery console using the OS CD. as suggested already you need to have your OS CD to repair it.

To run the Recovery Console from the Windows XP startup disks or the Windows XP CD-ROM, use the following steps:

Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console and follow the process till you will be at the recovery console command prompt.Getting to the Windows Recovery Console

STEP II. At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines(in blue) then press enter after.

1. cd \ ( Note: between "cd" and "\" there should be a "blank space" else the command won''''t work )
2. cd system~1\_resto~1

If it gives an error "Access Denied" while accessing the folder, follow the method below

cd \ <Enter>
cd windows\system32\config <Enter>
ren system system.bak<Enter>

Thenrestart the computer and follow step I.

3. dir

when you hit <Enter> it will list all the restore points folders like rp1,rp2................ we have to see the last restore point to copy the file from a recent backup. if the restore points have more than one page then u have keep on hitting the <Enter> key to view the last restore point folder.

4. cd rp {the last restore point no. } (Note : Example : cd rp9, if rp9 is the last restore point, where last restore point no.=9 )

5. cd snapshot

Now the command Prompt will look like this c:\system~1\_resto~1\rp9\snapshot> ( Note : restore point 9 assumed for clarity of the content, you have to goto the last restore point folder as described in the previous lines) Now according to the error message we have to copy the appropriate file from the restore point folder.

6. copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
7. Type Exit then press enter. your computer should restart and don't forget to cross your fingers
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