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I'm having a problem with my Dell Inspiron E1505 Laptop. There are a number of issues, but I think that they are all related. Here’s what happens:

1) When I press the power button, the power LED and Hardrive LEDs come on, but the screen comes up as black. Once in a while it will work (see step 2)
2) I have to press the power button on/off repeatedly (sometimes up to 20 times) before the regular initial Dell screen comes up.
--------a) If I let it run its course, the Windows Logo comes up, then the screen is black with the mouse in the middle for one second and then BLACK screen ( no mouse, no blinking HD light, nothing) – pitch black, not merely a burnt out lamp.
--------b) While the Dell logo boots up, I can press F8 to go to the advanced options
3) From advanced options, I can only go into SAFE MODE, where everything works.
4) In safe mode, I tried uninstalling the video card in device manager, then reinstalling it and the driver via “Add Hardware”, but after the reboot, it had the same problem. Lowering the screen resolution very low didn’t fix it either.

A few notes/thoughts:
1) I have windows XP, SP2 running
2) The video card is an ATI 9100 (not 100% sure about the number) and I’ve read that sometimes ATI drivers are more complicated to uninstall? I just went to device manager and did “uninstall” to the video card and add new hardware + install driver.
3) I recently installed Nero 8
4) It SEEMS that when it goes through a regular boot, it only craps out RIGHT before windows starts up. All other non-windows processes seem to work, including BIOS, diagnostics, etc…
5) The hardware diagnostics did not come up with any problems.
6) I tried hooking up external monitor -- that doesn't really fix anything. The external monitor usually says no signal while the computer does its black screen on power up, but it works when the laptops screen works. So all it seems to be telling me is that if the laptop is working, it can output to the screen, but when its not working, there is no video signal outputting to the monitor port. I have tried Fn+F8 to toggle between laptop and monitor.


I am at a COMPLETE loss – the screen seems to be fine because the few times it actually works, the screen works perfectly. I don’t know if the video card is bad because it can boot to safe mode (or does that not use the video card). I’m completely confused as to why the Dell startup screen only comes up so intermittently after powering it up and down.

I checked for the reed switch, but I don’t know what to look for. I took off the top panel and saw this little white pin sticking up – everywhere I’ve read says its black but if this is it, it looks fine.

I would greatly appreciate any help on this and I can/will try anything, including taking it apart, but I’m not very experienced working on laptops – I’ve done a lot of desktop work, but laptops are much more precise.

My last resort would be to reformat, but that takes a long time, so I'd prefer to exhaust other possibilities first.

Thanks

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Last Post by benmar
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I don't think a reformat is the answer here

if it is the video card then you would need either a new laptop or replace the motherboard because the video card is integrated onto the motherboard, but this doesn't sound like a video card problem to me because you can boot into safe mode.

while in safe mode you should scan your computer for viruses and spy ware, you should also try to do a system restore

did you download anything or change anything on your computer before you started to have this problem

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I've actually been having the power on/off problem for a while, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it is now. I would power it on and it would do nothing, so I would hold the power button and it would shut off, then when I powered it back up, it would be fine. Now it takes significantly more power cycles for it to work.

I will try a system restore to a month ago when I did not have this video or the power problems, but getting into even safe mode can take 30 min to an hour of power cycling.

I'll report how system restore goes.

As far as adding new software, I have only added Nero 8 and Divx recently. But I've never heard of either of these programs causing this kind of problem

Do you think a Windows Repair from the windows CD would be beneficial?

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the more I think about it, it sounds like the computer could be over heating, when was the last time you cleaned it, make sure the vents are cleared from dust get a can of compressed air and blow it out

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the laptop is pretty well sealed, do I need to take it apart a bit to blow the air through or can I just place the nozzle in the vented slits around the computer?

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try to blow it out through the vents first, see if that works only open it if you have to.

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I appreciate all of your help, I tried a few things, but its still not working...

yesterday, I blew compressed air through the vents and actually opened the laptop up by following the service manual. I saw a small amount of dust come out and it would start a little more frequently (once every 5-6 power cycles). Overall though, it is still not consistently booting to the dell screen. I think this is a separate issue from the black screen issue, so I'll focus on the black screen one first:

As far as the black screen after the Dell logo, one time I booted it into safe mode and it worked fine for an hour+ in safe mode until I rebooted the computer. I tried to reinstall the video card driver (by opening the driver setup file itself) but half way through, it says that DirectX 8 is not installed so it won't continue. I went and installed DirectX 9.0, but it was still complaining -- i couldn't find DirectX 8, but I thought DirectX 9 should be fine.

Strangely, when I go to device manager and click on the ATI radeon 1400, it says the device is working fine and when I try to reinstall driver this way, it says that I have the latest driver.

On a different note, during startup, I also checked the diagnostics by pressing F12 -- there was no error with any of the hardware. the video card test ONLY checked for connection issues, and it had no problem.

So it SEEMS that its a video card driver issue, but it won't let me reinstall the driver. Do you have any suggestions on how to get around this? The intermittent power issue is still a problem, but I will address that after I can get the computer to boot all the way to regular windows, not just SAFE MODE.

Sorry if this is long, but I'm trying to be thorough.

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if the nero was a pirated copy from the internet then you may have a virus. I know there is a couple of viruses going around with nero 8

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There is no display during boot. no boot menu displays. after 5 minutes windows automatically loads and display appears. My laptop is Dell Studio 1537.

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try go back to safemode then perform a chkdsk in both drives select safemode command only,,, hope it helps....

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