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Hi:

I'm working on a Dell Inspiron 500m Laptop running Windows XP. The machine suddenly crashed (I was programming but nothing related to the OS) and now it won't reboot.

It runs through the Dell bios startup and then goes to a black screen. I've attempted to boot from the Dell Restore CD and the same thing happens. I can enter the setup menu but nothing seems to help.

I can't start in safe mode or use any of other Windows troubleshooting methods because I can't get to the Windows Advanced Options. I ran a diagnostics test and everything passed, except it froze at the very end.

I'm starting to think the problem is with my hard drive, but not sure why I can't boot with the CD.

I really appreciate any advice here!

Thanks,
Mark

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Last Post by hpaa
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How old is your Inspiron?

Also by the Dell Restore CD do you mean the Dell Resource CD (a blue disk) or you mean the OS cd (a burgundy or black disk)?

If you try hitting F12 while the computer boots up what happens?

Also have you tried going into BIOS with F2? I'm trying to figure out if this is a hardware issue or a software issue.

If it's a software problem you should be able to boot from the OS cd by pressing F12. F12 brings up the Boot Device Menu. Then choose the Cd/DVD Rom device and "Press any key to boot from the cd..."

If you were able to boot into setup go into Recovery Console.
Execute the following commands:

fixmbr (you are not able to go to the advanced options menu so your Master Boot Record probably is corrupt)
chkdsk /p (to fix the file system)
fixboot
bootcfg /rebuild (in case your boot.ini file is missing)

Hope it works.

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Thanks a lot for replying to my post. Here are the anwers to your questions.

~How old is your Inspiron?
Almost 3 years old

~Also by the Dell Restore CD do you mean the Dell Resource CD (a blue disk) or you mean the OS cd (a burgundy or black disk)?
Yes, the burgundy resource disk.

~If you try hitting F12 while the computer boots up what happens?
It gives me the boot options (e.g. Internal HDD, CD/DVD, etc.), but regardless of my selection it goes to a blank screen. I can hear the CD drive spin for about 5 seconds but nothing happens.

~Also have you tried going into BIOS with F2? I'm trying to figure out if this is a hardware issue or a software issue.
Yes, I can get into the BIOS setup and everything looks normal. The CPU, hard drive, memory, etc. all look correct.

~If it's a software problem you should be able to boot from the OS cd by pressing F12. F12 brings up the Boot Device Menu. Then choose the Cd/DVD Rom device and "Press any key to boot from the cd..."
Here's where I have trouble. The CD spins for a moment and then it goes to a blank screen.

Any ideas? Would the hard drive going out prevent a CD startup?

I really appreciate your advice. I have no idea what to do.

Thanks! Mark

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I think the computer either can't boot for the cd because of the BIOS settings or the cd is damaged.

First reset the bios to the defaults:

Restart your computer.

At the first text on the screen, or immediately after the Dell logo appears, press the <F2> key every three seconds until the message Entering Setup appears.
When the System Setup screen appears, press the <ALT> and <F> keys at the same time.

Then set the cd-rom as the main boot device

Press the <Alt> and <P> keys simultaneously to proceed to the second page of the BIOS.
Page 2 of 7 appears.

Press the <Down Arrow> key until CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive is highlighted.

Press the <U> key until CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive is at the top of the list.

Press the <ESC> key.
The message What do you want to do? appears.

Press the <Enter> key to Save changes and exit now.

If it still can't boot replace the burgundy disk with a blue disk called: Dell Inspiron Resource CD: Drivers and Utilities

That disk may take you to a Windows 98 startup menu.. or to an a: prompt Choose start system normally if the startup menu comes up.

If that started your system the harddrive is not bootable either because of the BIOS either because of the MBR.

If the Blue Resource CD was bootable that proved that your burgundy disk is damaged
and you need to find another operating system reinstallation disk.

If the resource cd was not bootable you might have some problems with your motherboard or cd rom drive.

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Hello, hello!

I'm very happy to be making this post from my laptop. Thank you for the great advice to boot from the drivers and utilities CD. That allowed me to run a detailed diagnostics test, which gave me specific error codes. I looked up the error codes on the Dell support site where it said the hard drive was probably dead, but suggested reseating it. After removing and replacing the hard drive, it booted perfectly.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must back-up all of my files.

Thanks for the help!
Mark

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Hello, hello!

I'm very happy to be making this post from my laptop. Thank you for the great advice to boot from the drivers and utilities CD. That allowed me to run a detailed diagnostics test, which gave me specific error codes. I looked up the error codes on the Dell support site where it said the hard drive was probably dead, but suggested reseating it. After removing and replacing the hard drive, it booted perfectly.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must back-up all of my files.

Thanks for the help!
Mark

Glad it worked out, I thought it might be a bad hard drive, but why didn't your bootable CD boot?

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I'm not sure why the bootable CD didn't work. In fact, after getting things going again I tried booting from the CD and it worked fine. I don't understand the details at all, but somehow the hard drive error was completly stopping any Windows apps from booting. Strange. Thanks again for the suggestions!

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I had the same problem, actually my daughter had the same problem, and I got the error code 0F00:0228

I cannot find the error codes listing on the Dell site for the Inspiron 1100.

Am I missing something? How did you find the error codes.

Also, am I correct to understand that you removed and reseated (not replaced) the hard drive?

Thanks

Doug

Hello, hello!

I'm very happy to be making this post from my laptop. Thank you for the great advice to boot from the drivers and utilities CD. That allowed me to run a detailed diagnostics test, which gave me specific error codes. I looked up the error codes on the Dell support site where it said the hard drive was probably dead, but suggested reseating it. After removing and replacing the hard drive, it booted perfectly.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must back-up all of my files.

Thanks for the help!
Mark

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