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blinking cursor - cannot get to F8 recovery


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#1
deekaye

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Hi all:

Firstly I am a Mac user and have little-to-no knowledge of the workings of a PC. However a co-worker has a Toshiba Satellite laptop running Windows 7 and he asked if I could try and help him. When you boot up all he gets is a black screen with blinking cursor in upper left corner. It will not boot up and when you first turn "on" by pushing the on button, you get a brief (maybe 2 seconds) of a Toshiba Screen with a message at the bottom saying to choose F2 for utility or F12 for boot options.

If you do not quickly push either F2 or F12 it will go to the black screen with blinking cursor. If you choose F2 all it shows you is info about the computer (setup utility) and the F12 just gives you the choices to boot from what I presume is the internal disk or from a CD, or external source. (There is no CD in the drive) There are no choices in these I can see that would allow a clean install or reboot.

From what I could find online, it looks like 99% of the time people are told to quickly push F8 and this should bring up some sort of Recovery menu. When we push F8 (or any other key for that matter) all you get is a high pitched beeping with the black screen and blinking cursor.

What are you supposed to do when you can't get to this F8 recovery window?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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#2
phillpower2

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:welcome: deekaye

Have you tried holding down the 0 key when you restart the notebook?
Only do the following if there is no data on the HDD that your co-worker wishes to keep.

Press and hold the zero key and at the same time press the power button once to switch on the notebook
When the machine starts beeping release the zero key
When prompted by the warning screen select Yes to continue with the system recovery
Select Recovery of Factory Default Software and click Next
Select Recover to out-of-box state and Click Next again
Click Next to Start the recovery.

If the above does not work the recovery partition may have been deleted/damaged or the HDD itself could have issues.
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#3
deekaye

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Thanks for the response, Philpower2. He does desperately want what he had on the laptop - primarily his TurboTax and/or Quickbooks information. This had all his past tax filings and financial info. When I do a web search about the blinking cursor it looks like a really common problem, but there seem to be multiple answers, most that talk about inserting a recovery CD (Windows 7?) or about getting this F8 screen to come up.

Is the only option to wipe his HD to a factory setting?
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#4
Ztruker

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If you do not have a Windows 7 installation DVD, or it's not up to the Service Pack level currently installed,you can download a legal copy with SP1 integrated from here:

Windows 7 Direct Download Links

Make sure you get the same version you have, Home Premium, Pro or Ultimate and 32 or 64 bit. Note that Basic or Starter is not available.

I recommend using ImgBurn at 4X speed (or the slowest available) to create the DVD from the downloaded .iso file.

You can do this on any computer capable of burning a DVD.

YOU MUST HAVE A VALID KEY TO INSTALL THIS .ISO. The one on the COA sticker on your computer will work.

You can also create a bootable USB Flash drive (4GB or larger) to install Windows 7 from.
  • Download and run Universal USB Installer – Easy as 1 2 3
  • Select Windows 7 from the first drop down list, all the way to the bottom
  • Select the downloaded Windows 7 iso file
  • Select your USB flash drive
  • Click Create
For techies or folks who work on computers: Create Windows 7 Universal ISO With All Editions Selection On Install with ei.cfg Removal Utility.
This will fit on a 6GB flash drive or can be burned to a DVD.

Next, run chkdsk and System File Checker (SFC) from the Recovery Console
  • Boot your Vista or Windows 7 installation DVD
  • When you see "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD", press Enter
  • At the "Install Windows" screen, click on Repair your computer at lower left
  • At the System Recovery Options screen, make note of the drive letter assigned to your boot drive (normally C:) and click Next
  • At the Chose a Recovery Tool window, click on Command Prompt. You will be sitting at X:\Sources directory
  • Run chkdsk or SFC
  • If you did not note the drive letter of your boot disk, you can enter bcdedit and look at the osdevice line to see what it is.
  • For chkdsk, type chkdsk c: /r and press Enter (use the letter from above if not C:).
  • For sfc, type sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows and press Enter (use the letter from above)
Let either run to completion undisturbed.

After doing this for chkdsk, try a normal boot. If you have the same problem then run sfc.

If still problems, run Startup Repair: How to Run a Startup Repair in Windows 7
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#5
Ztruker

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If you end up having to restore to factory, backup his important data first.

See this tutorial by theog on How to Copy & Paste in Recovery Console on Windows 7 or Vista for a neat trick to use to allow you to Copy & Paste from the Recovery Console to save files and folders.
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#6
deekaye

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Thank you ztruker for all this. I will see if I can do this tomorrow at work where I have a PC running Windows rather than my Mac stuff here at home. :)
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#7
deekaye

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VERY frustrated.... it is 3:13am and I have been at this for HOURS..... I have a CD to boot from, but running chkdsk or SFC does nothing (except a really really long time!) and then you restart and immediately get the black screen with a blinking cursor. SFC says it doesn't find any integrity violations...

I have tried Startup Repair - it runs through the whole sequence, says everything is swell and then restart you get the black screen with blinking cursor. I've seen sites online state that you sometimes have to do Startup Repair and restart 3+ times for it to work (huh?)

I have tried System Restore from 2 different points and I get a message that it can't do this "an unspecified error occurred during system restore 800700b7" when I Google that, it says you have to disable Norton Virus stuff. How can you do this if you can 't get into Windows to get to a "Start" button and do whatever it is saying to turn disable this?

How do you do a "Safe Boot?" None of these options appear on this CD...

When I look at System Restore I can see his last backup (or update) was April 23, which makes sense because the person I'm trying to help said nothing was wrong - all he did was his Taxes (which is what he wants me to get off this computer) and then when he started up he got this black screen with blinking cursor. He is not much of a computer user, only uses this for minor email and doing his taxes - doesn't surf the web a bunch or look at weird things that would likely give him a virus (but he did say that his wife's computer had acted up and she used this to go on her Facebook page, if that could have done this)....

Any help would be greatly appreciated....

Thanks! :help:
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#8
Ztruker

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You say you have a CD to boot from. I surely hope it's a DVD. Where did you get it? Did you download and create one from the link I gave you?

Have you tried following the directions I gave you to save the data your friend wants? Once you have done that then you can restore the Laptop to it's factory new state as Phillpower stated.

What do you mean by "Safe boot"? Do you mean boot to Safe Mode? If so, normally you get to the Advanced Boot Options Menu by pressing F8 during boot, tapping every second or so as soon as the manufacturers logo shows. From there you can select Safe Mode and a bunch of other choices. One of them is Last know configuration that worked, which you can try.
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#9
deekaye

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Sorry for the confusion - its a DVD and the person whose laptop this is found it - it came with his laptop - Windows 7, etc. I was able to boot to that and run the Repair options on the DVD. I thought this preferable to having to download and burn something as it is what I'm trying to obtain - yes?

Re: the post Phillpower posted, I'm confused. His instructions said they were only to be followed if there's no data we want to keep ["Only do the following if there is no data on the HDD that your co-worker wishes to keep."] Hence I didn't do any of it as we need Turbotax files.

Pressing 0 or any other keys on the laptop when it first starts up (other than F2 or F12 just makes the laptop beep and you still get a black screen with blinking cursor, so I was following your instructions and ignoring his. I followed your instructions starting after you presumed I had downloaded and made a DVD (since I now already have one!) starting here: ['Next, run chkdsk and System File Checker (SFC) from the Recovery Console"]

I did these and it all runs and they ran their course. Then I did Startup Repair - ran it 3-4 times and it always says there's no problem found. I saw some websites claim you sometimes had to run this at least 3 times for it to work (no idea why - but I tried just in case)

Then I tried the second choice - to recover back to a point in time. In looking at that I can see the last successful time this computer logged on and was saved was April 24. I know the data he wants is his tax stuff in his TurboTax subsequent to April 15, so I tried to see if it would let me do that twice (choosing April 23 or April 22) it ran a looooong time (like hours) and looked successful and said it was finalizing it and then you get an error message saying it can't do it. When I Googled that error message people were all saying it happens if there's Norton Security in the computer and it has to be disabled, hence the questions about what they were calling "Safe Boot."

As a Mac user I know we can boot up to a clean or "safe" boot which basically disables any extensions so you can access your main hard drive files and folders, etc.,. so I was hoping this might be the same thing in the PC world....

And here we are....

Hope my explanation helps. Any insights you can give are greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
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#10
Ztruker

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I gave you a link before that you can follow to save any data you want before restoring the computer to it's factory new state. How to Copy & Paste in Recovery Console on Windows 7 or Vista

Did you try that?
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#11
deekaye

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No I didn't do any of that as to me that was a last resort - basically saying we won't be able to just repair and get into the laptop.

Are you saying I'm at the point where I have to restore him to the factory new state? I'll go ahead and try what you suggest here just to get a copy of his files and folders onto a backup drive.... thanks!
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#12
Ztruker

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I'm saying you should backup the data now, while you still can. Once that's done then you can continue to try to fix it, do a Repair Install or do a Clean Install.

See if you can get to the Advanced Options menu. You get there by pressing F8 repeatedly as soon as the manufacturers logo shows. If yes, select Last known configuration that worked, which is sort of a mini System Restore.

AVB.gif
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#13
deekaye

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I will try the back up you are saying tomorrow at the office when I have access to an external drive with enough memory.

What I am saying re: F8 is that does nothing except make the computer beep ... When you first start up, the laptop starts immediately (with suspiciously little-to-no time at all) and you have about 2-5 seconds to read at the bottom the grey line that says to either push F2 or F12. If you don't do that right away, it goes to the black screen with blinking cursor. If you try and push F8 once or numerous times it beeps (as it does if you hit any other keys other than F2 or F12).

You don't see a Windows splash screen you see a quick (2-5 second) Toshiba one. Is that what you mean by manufacturers logo? I can try hitting F8 a bunch more but so far it's never shown me the screen shot you're showing me below with the safe mode, etc.

But as I mentioned below, the other night I did get into a choice from the DVD that allowed me to see the last times they successfully booted and that's when I tried going to those dates but after a long time it failed (supposedly according to other comments I saw on the web because Norton Security or Virus protection is enabled and needs to be disabled to make this work - don't know if that's true)....

As soon as I can get to the external HD tomorrow where I'll have room to back up the laptop files I'll do that first. My work computer is a PC also running Windows 7, where at home everything I have is Mac.

I'll let you know how it goes after tomorrow. Thank you for helping me!
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#14
deekaye

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I have backed up the TurboTax files that he had as well as his User file in case there's anything in there he wants. I tried pushing F8 a bunch but as I said it just beeps. I'm assuming I'll just need to reinstall Windows (and he'll have to get another TurboTax software - he's trying to find that application disc).

Unless there are other options I'm missing.

Thanks for your kind help.
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#15
Ztruker

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One other thing. Try pressing F5 instead of F8. Both should take you to the menu.

Wait until the manufacturers logo appears then tap F5 (or F8) once a second or so, no more than that. If you are getting beeps it means the keyboard buffer is full, which also means you are pressing it too soon.
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