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XP - Black screen, white cursor... Help!


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#1
watto23

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Hi guys,

I'm having some trouble with my computer and I'm hoping someone can help, it is a Dell system 8400 with a pentium 4, 3GHz Processor and 512Mb RAM. Basically I was working away on my computer and I think I got the "blue screen of death". I thought the computer would be OK if I restarted it but now it just turns on and goes to a black screen with a blinking white cursor in the top left corner. I have looked around on the internet and can see this is a problem quite a few people have had.

Now when I turn the computer on I have the options of pressing F2 or F12.

F2 allows me to enter setup which is a menu with a blue screen with options such as 'System', 'Drives', 'Onboard Devices' etc.

F12 allows me to enter the 'boot menu' where the options are:
* Onboard SATA harddrive
* Onboard USB or CD-Rom drive
* System Setup
* Hard Drive Diagnostics
* Boot to utility partition

I think I know what caused me to get this problem. I was trying to obtain data files, however the website I was on told me to run a setup of a program. I was dubious about this as when I double clicked the setup file, the first install page was in Spanish and I couldn't understand it, I pressed the icon which looked like a piece of paper as I thought that might be the option to change the language and that is what caused the blue screen to occur.

Also I would like to retrieve files off the hard drive if it turns out that I need to reinstall windows. Thanks for your time.

Watto
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#2
hfcg

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Hello
First lets try to recover your documents and pictures.
get puppy linux...Get puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso here http://puppylinux.or...est Release.htm download it and burn it to cd ...if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files go here and get burncdcc ..a small FAST no frills iso burning program... here
http://www.snapfiles...t/burncdcc.html
NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ......in this case its puppy linux
3. Select the ISO file
4. Suggestion.... Check the option "Fix close"
5. Click on "Start"

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all yor data to cd/dvds
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...
==========================
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..


after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to

your computer...

click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will

mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...then drag the window to the
right edge of the screen...

now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to

the narrowest you can..drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...

your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...(I have a 120 GB external USB drive for
big data recovery jobs and a 4 GB flash drive for the smaller jobs)..after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmounting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive..trot on over (stroll if you want to look cool) to another computer and plug in the flash

drive and copy all the data files ( I drag and drop) to the other computer..
make sure the other computer can read them...

now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in

again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working
system..

If your hard drive is bad you may not have any luck recovering your data, but as long as the hard drive is working this is a great way to recover your data.
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#3
123Runner

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Here is a link to a How to Guide created by a member. It is the recovery method referenced by hfcg, but has pictures.

How to use Puppy Linux
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#4
watto23

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hey hfcg & 123Runner, thanks for getting back to me. I have followed the instructions that you both gave and am copying the first batch of files to my memory stick to transfer to my laptop. The process seems a bit slow but it's working perfectly OK and at least I havent lost all of my uni work! Thanks for your help!

Just to let you know, I have been in contact with my dad to see if there is a Windows XP disc (it was his computer originally) and he has a windows operating system backup CD with a recovery type thing on it. I'm guessing this is the next step once i've transferred my files?
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#5
hfcg

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Lets try something before you wipe everything from your computer.


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>
exit<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

You should be able to use the recovery disk to access the recovery console.
If this works you will have saved yourself from installing all of your software again.
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#6
123Runner

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How about we try F8 for the safe mode? We haven't tried that yet.

To enter safe mode start tapping the F8 key while the computer is booting up.
This brings you to windows advanced options menu

Try the last known good configuration first.
If that does not work, then try safe mode.
Safe mode loads default drivers. The screens will look different and the screen resolution will be default also.

If you can get to safe mode then we can try doing a system restore to a previous date.
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#7
hfcg

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If you can get to safe mode then we can try doing a system restore to a previous date.

While this is true of Vista and Windows 7, I do not believe that Windows XP has a system restore option on the advanced boot menu.
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#8
123Runner

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I should have written that better.
The OP needs to boot to safe mode (if he/she can), then start/ accessories/ system tools/ system restore
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#9
watto23

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hey people,

Thanks for being so helpful, i've finally managed to solve the problem! I tried to run in safe mode but I kept getting a keyboard error so that wasn't possible. In the end I used the recovery CD to do a fresh install of XP. I did initially try to complete the recovery option but unfortunatly I did not know my admin password so couldn't do that either.
I'm happy with how its worked out, the computer was getting slow so this has done it some good, and I have my much needed files backed up. It's inspired me to get a bit more involved actually, through all this I discovered my computer has a ridiculously low 512MB of RAM so im going to address that situation and maybe get an internal or external hard drive to store files on, any idea which is better?
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