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Dell Laptop Ignores ALL Commands to Shutdown


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#1
kramerd1506

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Hello all. I'm stumped. I have a Dell Inspiron 2500 and it will not restart. I don't need any of the data on it, luckily, so I'm just trying to reinstall Windows and keep using the laptop. Here's the story line:

1) Tried to restart from Windows XP start menu - laptop hangs
2) Performed a hard power reboot - laptop hangs in Windows startup screen
3) Tried to repair Windows. During repair process, the software wants to restart the computer as usual. Laptop ignores the restart command and just sits there doing nothing.
4) Tried to reinstall Windows from scratch. During reinstall process, the software wants to restart the computer as usual. Laoptop ignores the restart command and just sits there doing nothing.
5) FDisk the drive, deleted the partition, tried to reinstall Windows - same result.
6) Used Emergency Recovery Diagnostics boot disk from Winternals Corp. Created a new active partition and formatted hard drive.
7) Issued the restart command from the ERD console. Again laptop ignores the restart command and just sits there.

It's like the hardware power circuits that are triggered by the software restart commands are bad or something and it ignores all commands to restart. The only time it actually restarted was when I removed all disks and had no operating system on the hard drive and it said "Operating system not found. Press CNTL-ALT-DEL to restart". When I pressed cntl-alt-del, it did restart, but that was from the BIOS and I don't think it's using the same power circuits or relays (?) But that's a guess.

Does anyone have any ideas? I just want to be able to reinstall windows and keep using my laptop.
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#2
dsenette

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i'm gonna assume it's not under warranty?

you've got an awfully fishy probelm....
if it will reboot from bios...but not from anything running off the drives...well [bleep] don't know where i'm going...this is crazy...

please tell me it's under warranty?
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#3
kramerd1506

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Ohhh, noooOOOoooo. It would be far too easy if it were under warranty. It is several years old and well out of warranty.

I've just never seen anything like it. It just seems like it would have to be a board level issue, but I can't do a living thing. If it won't restart then I can't even install any software on it, I can just run utilities from boot disks.

I suppose I could use it as a dos file editor. :tazz:

Argh!
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#4
dsenette

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try installing a linux distro on it and see if it will work....if it does...you may be able to wipe the linux distro out with your windows cd...and have it work that way
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#5
kramerd1506

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Hey, great idea! I just happen to have a Linux distro, too. I will definitely try that. Any chance this is caused by a BIOS setting or a boot sector issue? I think when I deleted the partition and reformatted the disk, I blew away the original boot sector, right? And a new MBR would be written during the Windows install (which won't complete due to the inability to reboot).
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#6
dsenette

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i don't have any reference that would suggest that the hard drive would have anything to do with the shutdown process...in this fashion...so...any advice i give is a shot in the dark on this one (it should prove thouroughly fun)...so i'd try the linux thing and see what happens...if it doesn't fix it..it has to be a mobo issue
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#7
kramerd1506

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Ok update time. I was able to successfully install Linux Ubuntu distro. It gave the reboot command twice during install and it DID reboot both times. I did have a problem with the video driver just displaying a black screen a couple of times, but that's unrelated.

I will try tonight to install Windows XP again and see what happens.
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#8
kramerd1506

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Another update - well, it's against all logic to me. This laptop will not restart when trying to install windows XP from scratch or any apps using windows-like code, such as Winternals ERD Commander. It will restart when installing Linux. Anyone have any ideas? Next steps?

I suppose I'll try installing a different version of Windows and see if that helps.
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#9
dsenette

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this whole problem is rediculous.....just....silly....it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever...hehe...i'm gonna ask for some help on this one..sit tight.
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#10
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Can you download the hard drive manfacturer's set up utility to a PC and save it to disc then load that on to the laptop

The set up utility should include a write zeros to drive option, use the full, not quick method
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#11
kramerd1506

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I will investigate downloading the manufacturers drive setup utility and writing zeros to the drive at my earliest opportunity, probably tonight. Thank you for the help. I'll post back the results.
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#12
warriorscot

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Can you get hold of and try to install from another windows disk.
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#13
dsenette

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My first thought would be the need of a BIOS flash.


do you know how to do this? if not let us know and we can walk you through the process
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#14
kramerd1506

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Ok new update. I had the same thought regarding a BIOS flash. I downloaded the latest BIOS for my Inspiron 2500 from Dell and made a boot floppy to flash the BIOS. When I tried to flash the BIOS, the computer hung. The hard drive access light was solid green and it remained that way until I shut the machine down with the power button. I tried again, same result, then I tried one version before the latest BIOS, same result.

I gave up on the BIOS flash and put a Hitachi hard drive utility called "Drive Fitness Test" on another boot floppy (the Dell has a Hitachi HDD). Using this utility I first overwrote the master boot record with zeros. Then I used the "erase disk" function, which did not say it was overwriting with zeros, but I'm sure it was overwriting with zeros because it took about 1.5 hours and indicated writing over the entire disk.

I then tried to install Windows XP again. SUCCESS!! The machine rebooted normally during the install process and I was able to install Windows XP! Yay! :tazz:

Now, I don't know if it was the MBR overwrite, or the entire disk overwrite that did it. Furthermore, the BIOS flash may have been successful and it was just a poor flash utility that never acknowledged the BIOS flash completion. But Windows XP is loaded anyway.

I would like to flash the BIOS to the latest version though, so I still have that issue to deal with. But, I am VERY happy to have a usable laptop still and Windows XP. Thank you guys a lot for your help!

Should I start a new thread regarding the BIOS flash? I hesitate to even do the flash now, just because it can be so delicate and so destructive if it's done wrong, and the computer is already acting funny when trying to flash the BIOS.
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#15
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it
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