When I turned on my laptop, the usual blue Dell logo screen (with press F2 to enter setup) came up followed by a blank screen where the cursor is at the top left flashing, the hard disk light is permanently on and it stays like that indefinitely. When I press F2 for setup, it won't go to setup.

Sounds like you incandecentplasmothermalator has gone south.

Is your hdd making clicking noises while this is going on?

yes actually, intermittenly. sometimes it makes a clicking noise, sometimes not.

The noise I was asking about would be when the computer first starts up. Hard drives that are going out sometimes will make clicking noise when it spins up.

Can you do a last good configuration?

no... i cant do ANYTHING. I can't even click escape during the intial power-up. you suggesting perhaps the hard drive (which is brand new)? i saw on a similiar post from late 2005 that a guy pulled the battery, hard drive and still same problem. id hate to invest in another hard drive without knowing the exact cause.

PLEASE PLEASe listen I had the same problem. I talked with Dell support for hours and they like all of the othe rpeopel here told me that I needed a new motherboard. That was not the case. I found a thread on this site also and found a solution to the problem. You must upgrade your bios. I know it sounds strange but it works. I know you cant even get into the bios when you press f2 at the dell logo screen. You have to keep trying to get into the bios. It must have taken me 2000 tries until I finally got into the bios. Keep pressing F2 during startup eventually you will get in. Once in the bios press escape and it will boot into windows. Go to the Dell web site and download the lates bios update. It will be a file called A15-I81.exe run this file it will update the bios and then reboot and then your laptop will be back to perfect. Believe me this works. I just got this to work at the same time that I bought a used motherboard off of ebay. So now I am stuck with a motherboard that I dont need. I will have to re-list it on ebay.

Go to the hdd manufacturer's site and download their diagnostic tool. Most of these will require you to transfer them to a floppy to boot from. Insert the floppy and boot from it and run the diagnostic.

This is free and will determine the health of the hdd.

Its not the hard drive dont waist your time. You cant even get inot the bios. Its the bios