Enter the system BIOS (typically by pressing either F2 or DELETE during boot on a Dell) and ensure the first/primary boot device is the optical drive, not the hard drive, exit saving changes, then reboot with the first operating system DVD in the drive. It should either boot to the Windows Vista installer automatically or prompt you to press any key to do so. You may also try doing this with the hard drive disconnected. If it fails to boot to the operating system disc you may have a faulty DVD and have to order one (usually around $35) from Dell.
As to saving your data, you can do so without an external enclosure if you connect your hard drive internally to another computer. Boot to that computer's operating system on its hard drive and use it to browse your hard drive's contents, remembering to take ownership as necessary.
Best of luck.
P.S. In the interim, download Ubuntu and burn a LiveCD. (Instructions on their website.) It is a free, alternative operating system that runs from CD, enabling you to access the internet, type documents, etc. from your computer when Windows and/or your hard drive is unavailable.
I appeal to anyone to please help with this:
I have a Dell Vostro 1700 with Window's vista installed. Everything is still factory, no add ons, no changes, no extra memory or graphic cards.
Today we had a power outtage while simultaneously my battery was not fully seated. I thought no big deal I'll reboot and everything will be fine. No go. The computer completely hangs and does not complete the boot sequence.
All diagnostics turn out ok HDD ok, mem ok, I've re-seated the memory, the harddrive, the wireless card everything. On trying to run under safe mode with command prompt I see that the boot hangs just after crcdisk.sys, from checking forums this could also implicate a corrupted or damaged ecache.sys file.
Ok, from forums, I know I need to completely re-install vista, but here is the catch, I have the re-install disks (2- OS disk and the other labeled drivers and util) but the computer will not boot from the OS disk. If I put in the drivers and util disk, I can get a boot to a DOS prompt however, from DOS prompt I cannot see HDD drive, no matter what I do.
- I cannot figure out how to get past crcdisk.sys or ecache.sys to boot up
- I cannot figure out how to get the re-install disks to initiate
saving the data is now secondary, it is more about just getting my computer to run. extenuating circumstances: I'm unemployed, there's no money to get help or hire someone or buy anything else even USB external HDD is out of the question. This computer is absolutely critical to my finding a job (all or most companies require online applications, until I can work I can't really afford internet cafes - today's message is really pushing things)
Please help! anything to get this thing up and running so I can continue the job search.