General discussion

Dell Inspiron 400m Blue screen of death

I gave my Dell Inspiron 400m to a friend and she received the BSOD. I was able to start it in safe mode, but now can't do that. When I do, I get the following error message after all the info scrolls down:

"stop c000 unknown hard error systemroot system32\ntdll.dll"

Some other sites suggested reinstalling the ntdll from a flash drive, and I tried, but there is no way to get into the computer past the error message above. I also put a disk in to reinstall, but can't get into the computer from that either

What I wanted was to get some info she has on it, in Word, and then I assume it need a new HD. Is there any way? She's a complete computer novice and I feel bad giving her a computer and having it crash so soon.

Thanks for any help, Peggy

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Link, comment.
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Dell Inspiron BSOD

That sounds a bit complicated, but I'll try it. I did encourage my friend to back up from the beginning, but, being a newbie, didn't listen. I hope I can get her stuff for her, somehow. I do wonder why I was able to into safe mode a couple of times, and then when I chose safe mode, it just scrawled through to that last thing "Stop, unknown hard error.....etc...."

What an interesting challenge computers are. peggy

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Nothing drives the point home

Nothing drives the point home about the value of backups, than an incident like this. Once you make it real to people, as opposed to some vague nebulous threat off in the distance, you'll often see a marked change in attitudes.

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Let's see how complicated.

Boot the CD, use a mouse to double click on my C drive and drag the files over to the USB drive on the desktop.

I'd shown this dozens (and more) times and can't seem to find a simpler solution.

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Let's see how complicated

Okay, one more dumb question! It's a laptop that's not working. So, do I make a cd on my desktop and then put it into the laptop? How do I get it to boot? Will it do it automatically? Thanks, Peggy

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Most laptops arrive set to boot from the CD first. IF no one changed that then we turn on the laptop, get the bootable CD in and reboot again and if asked, boot from CD.

Here's an old discussion where I helped others with a much older boot CD. Read

That was 6 years ago and it's only gotten easier from those days.

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Well another dumb question comes your way! I downloaded Ubuntu but now can't find it on my computer. Daa! It took a log time to download and I wasn't in front of the computer when it finally finished. Any suggstions? Don't know why it took so long as I have DSL which is usually pretty fast. Thanks again, Peggy

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Where folk download is up to them. There is no standard so I can't tell where it went.

But if you did get Ubuntu downloaded as the usual .ISO file, here's how to create a CD from it. I'll use the Ubuntu help site: notes why we use a LiveCD (data recovery.) your LiveCD writes about creating the CD. details even more.

Many have created CDs and if they haven't, now is a good time to learn.

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Well, I downloaded it again and this time made a note of where it was.
I burned the disc and put it on the laptop drive. Ubutu booted the machine, but I'm still trying too find the missing Word documents. I said no when it asked if I wanted to install and override Windows. Seems as if I do that then all on Windows will be lost, yes? This is interesting! I'm experimenting and hope I figure it out. If I can access those files, should I install Ubuntu on the laptop? Will that mke it useable? Thanks, Peggy

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No. Do not install.

It's a nice OS and all but we are more interested in the LIVE CD use to look around for our files. If we are lucky we can access the internet.

I've used GOOGLE DOCS to upload files during such recovery missions.

Or I use any available memory key or usb drive.

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Do not install

Yippee! It's working. Thank you all. I was finally able to get in and find my friend's files and I've put them on a little flash drive. It's very slow and cumbersome, but working. Couldn't get on-line, but will try it again later. Lots of fun, this stuff, and this group is great. Now I have to decide if it's worth buying a new hard drive for this computer. Or can I just install Ubuntu after we get all the stuff we need off of it?

Again, many thanks. peggy

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If it does what they need.

It's not Windows but the power to dive in and copy out files from a crashed OS is one of the best uses. I've also used it on older hardware where all we need is the web.

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Now what?

Will this be my lasata dumb question? No probably not! But what should I do now with this computer. Does it need a new hard drive? I could do that, if it is the hard drive and not just a windows failure. It's too old to get a free chat with Dell techs. Any thoughts? Peggy

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If it does what

So what should I do now? Replace he hard drive? Is that what it needs or is it just a windows problem. I have no problem with replacing the hard drive if that's what it needs. Can't get any help from Dell as it's long out of warranty. Would appreciate you suggestions. Don't want to buy a new HD if that's not the problem

Thanks, Peggy

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Now that the files are safe.


It doesn't state the hard drive is bad. It could be bad but my thought is always to save the files BEFORE REPAIRS. You did that so now all we need is the restore media or the Windows CDs that came with this machine to start fresh.

Repairing this OS might be possible but is nearly impossible over a forum chat. That's why we save the files first then think about the OS reinstall.

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Replace Hard Drive

Okay! I've tried everything suggested-- was able to get the documents off for my friend. Did system restore, start in safe mode, etc. Even too out the hard drive to make sure it wasn't dusty. When I put it back in I can't access anything as it says there is no hard drive.

So, question is: should I buy a new hard drive? Don't want to waste the $$$, but am happy to spend them if you think this will help.

Is that error message that I originally received indicative of failed HD?

Thanks for your help.. Peggy

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Let's say you have the recovery media.

And are ready to start over. Not that I'll duplicate how to install Windows (which is done in many discussions and web pages) but I will note that many seem to miss one easy step. Here it is.

Boot the XP CD and when we get to about step 5 as noted at we could DELETE THE OLD PARTITIONS and create a new one then let Windows installer format it fresh.

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Recovery media

But the problem is that I can't boot now because it is not recognizing the hard drive. Also, the CDs I have are from another Computer -- this one didn't come with any. But if the hd isn't working I can't get in. Right?

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Which may be proper.

1. No recovery media.
2. XP.
3. Likely the same old story about XP installs to SATA hard drives.

Again, asking to repeat the XP SATA discussion usually gets you the short answers. Not having an OS to install is not helping here.

Many are just learning about XP and SATA drives but you can catch up fast by using google about that.

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Can't find the type of drive used in this model.

I'll have to leave it to you to supply the hard drive make and model we are dealing with.

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HD Model

Installed on the computer; Toshiba Proteus F3893 60G, 9.5 MM 5.4K

When I asked Dell Chat about replacement, I was told that Western Digital, A1294809, 80G would do it, cost $59.99. I don't mind spending the $59.99 if I know this is problem. Peggy

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Ask that question too. NOTHING IS ASSURED HERE. If you were able to get the files out but the XP install can't find a drive the big clue may be the wrong XP install CDs.

Buying a new drive and having no compatible OS would land you right back at the same problem.

I'd solve the missing OS issue first.

PS. That's an IDE drive so I'd shop for any drive 127GB and smaller at,,

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Me again!

Still haven't worked it out, but if there is no HD to let me into the computer, how can I repair the OS? That's where I am now -- took out the HD twice, but it back in and it's not recognized. I hate to just junk it!


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Then is repair an option?

I know this may sound like I'm missing the point but why not have it fixed? Not everyone can fix their own hardware.

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Repair an option?

No, not really! I don't need this computer as I have a nice new Netbook. I had wanted my friend to use the Dell, but she is really without money to spend. Also, we live in the country -- well, sort of! Our town has 5,000 people and the nearest larger one is about 40,000, so there is not exactly a large group of skilled computer people. That's why I wanted to fix it myself. Today, I tried again, was able to get it to boot up under Ubutu, did a check and said they, Ubutu, couldn't find anything wrong and to re-boot. Rebooted and then screen went blank, power went off. Now I think there might be something wrong with the power supply. I'm sure you're bored to death with all this, so maybe I'll just give up! Thanks for all your patience. peggy from lenox

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