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os not booting up

by trolyy / June 4, 2008 8:34 AM PDT

my laptop was running normal and like it normally has for the past year since i got it. today and this week i have done nothing different or downloaded any new software or updates.

so tonight i was using my laptop when the internet went off. okey its probably just the isp or something.(it happens every now and again) then i get a message such a log file is corrupt, i started checking around my OS to see if everything was okey. first thing i noticed was that the side bar in my documents or my computer was missing. then i went to the start menu and 4 out of 20 or so programmed where listed. i got an other corrupt error message some log file in the windows folder this time and it suggests do a check disc. i knew something is not right.

first idea was to restart my computer in safe mode and run a virus/ spyware scan. so i said to my computer restart. as it shutdown 20 or so corrupt messages came up saying this file is corrupt do a check disc. and the windows theme changed as i was logging off to the old 98 theme from the xp one. so as it restarts it goes through the bios and then blank black screen with a blinking cursor line at the top.

and thats as far as it gets. doesn't load up anything. so i can't get into the os to run a check disc, to do a scan of any sort or to do a system restore to early today or yesterday. so i'm pretty much stuck. anyone got any ideas before i wipe it and reinstall xp.

also it is a dell and so i have direct media( for those of you that don't know about it, its a small linux based media center which boots out side of the main os from a separate button on the laptop.) and i tried to boot into this just to see and that just comes up blank.

my system info.

xp pro
dell inspiron 6400(1505, i think thats the American version of it)

any other info u need just ask and as usual thanks for any help in advance.

Si.

ps. i'm in england and so will not reply quickly because its nearly midnight here.

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You could be in trouble!
by Grimbles / June 4, 2008 8:59 AM PDT
In reply to: os not booting up

Si - If your computer will not boot from the hard drive or external media (CD) you may have a corrupted BIOS....Obviously your machine is not locating any boot source..can you access BIOS (by pressing F2) and have a look at the settings, especially for hard drives and boot options? Make sure the active drive is enabled/switched on....will usually be drive 0.
If all else fails you may still be able to invoke the 'return to factory settings' option (I'm nearly sure that would be available on your laptop) rather than perform a full re-install. To try and return to factory settings...press ctrl+F11 repeatedly during BIOS boot (as soon as the Dell logo appears). BE AWARE that invoking this option will erase all of your data.
good luck.....JIM

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after a look in the bios
by trolyy / June 4, 2008 8:52 PM PDT

after a look in the bios everything seems fine.

the last time i backed up my system was 3 weeks ago so i need to fetch a couple spreadsheets and documents off it. so i will get an external enclosure for it and copy these files over and see if i can see anything odd by looking at it as an external storage device. (hopefully the files for not corrupt that i want)

and then it looks like some sort of restore.
any other ideas whilst i get the data off it.

Si.

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update
by trolyy / June 4, 2008 9:00 PM PDT

sorry for the double post buy the direct media has just managed to boot up(sort of)

except it comes up with an error message:

"limited virtual memory
your system has no paging file, or the paging file is too small.
to fix this problem go to system in control panel, click advanced tab, and under performance, click settings. on the advanced tab, click change. click 'custom size', and then type an initial or maximum paging file size."

and then it just doesn't do anything more.

but xp still stop at the same point as above.

Si.

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How much physical RAM do you have??
by Grimbles / June 4, 2008 10:26 PM PDT
In reply to: update

Si - How much actual RAM do you have installed?? It may be something as simple as a faulty RAM strip but I doubt it, I remain concerned about all the corrupted file messages and strange behaviour. It may well be a faulty hard drive, especially now that you have had some success booting from CD. It's a catch 22 situation really where a lot of the diagnostics can only be run from within the OS which, of course, you can't access....you can't even make the alterations to the paging file size without the OS.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help mate but it is difficult to diagnose from a distance....it could be any number of things.
Have you tried invoking the 'restore to factory settings' option as yet? If that doesn't get a result it would suggest a hardware component failure...motherboard or hard drive maybe??
cheers.....JIM

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"With an NTFS file system, the permissions for the root
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 5, 2008 1:25 AM PDT
In reply to: update

"With an NTFS file system, the permissions for the root directory of the drive where the page file is must give ?Full Control? to SYSTEM. If not, there is likely to be a message at boot that the system is ?unable to create a page file?."

More at http://www.petri.co.il/pagefile_optimization.htm but your message is NOT UNKNOWN but caused by a few things such as someone tinkering with accounts, permissions or even some software titles.

Review that link for clues and consider deleting the pagefile.sys as well as performing a repair install.

I can't nail this one since the cause is not clear to me from your posts.
Bob

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Tried Run Chkdsk From Safe Mode?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 5, 2008 1:41 AM PDT
In reply to: os not booting up

Please restart the computer into Safe Mode, if it will, then follow the instructions in the link below to run "Error Checking" which is the same as Chkdsk.

How To Start In 'Safe Mode'

How To Run 'Error Checking/Chkdsk' On Win2000/XP

Hope this helps.

Grif

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i would if i could
by trolyy / June 5, 2008 1:51 AM PDT

it doesn't get to the stage were i can access the boot options only the bios, and then a blank screen as said before. if i could boot it in any form then i could probably fix it.

im currently running a dell diagnostics which runs from a separate partition on the HDD, however this is only for hardware and so far this has said that all hardware is okey.

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is it possible...
by trolyy / June 5, 2008 1:58 AM PDT
In reply to: i would if i could

to run a chkdsk from a xp cd or what im going to do tomorrow put it in an external casing and plug it into another computer, from there can i run a chkdsk of my hard drive(which will now be an external drive)

Si.

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When all SAFE MODE options fail.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 5, 2008 2:00 AM PDT
In reply to: i would if i could

Then we are looking at a heavily damaged OS. When I see this we back off (copy out) the files the owner didn't save to their backup and reinstall the OS.

We might attempt the XP REPAIR INSTALL (see google) but this may not be possible unless you have real XP CDs. Dell might be asked how to do such a repair install but the one thing you must consider is that any file on the hard disk might be lost.
Bob

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If It ONLY Goes To The BIOS, Then..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / June 5, 2008 2:20 AM PDT
In reply to: i would if i could

...the hard drive is possibly gone or at least the operating system is badly corrupted.. My next step is to attempt a repair install and if that doesn't work, a reformat and reinstall of everything.. If that doesn't get done, then it's time for a new drive.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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update
by trolyy / June 5, 2008 4:37 AM PDT

im going to get a couple important files which were updated this week off it and then try the repair and then the full reinstall.

i don't think it makes much difference but the dell diagnostics came up with all tests passed.( it took like 4 hrs to do but anyway) and the new symptom is that when i press the power button it now always boots up into the direct media partition. so i think the xp os is completely corrupt.

Si.

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Sorry I left
by Grimbles / June 5, 2008 8:11 AM PDT
In reply to: update

Si - G'day...sorry I didn't get back to you...I went to bed...it's this upside down part of the world in which I reside (Oz).
Anyway, I see you have been getting some help....in the end they came down to same conclusions as I....either badly corrupted software or failed/failing hard drive......they seem to be the 2 most logical conclusions.
Hope for get it sorted okay,
cheers....JIM

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