Dell Inspiron - BLue Screen of Death and now no boot
Greetings and Happy New Years..
My daughter has a dell Inspiron laptop that went Blue Screen of Death to boot failure. She has told me it's ok to wipe it, but I know she has a lot of pictures on it and I'd like to try to recover them for her before wiping it. I have no way to prove viral corruption, but I know she has been running w/o virus scan and goes to lots of media sites, so I wouldn't be surprised if some nasty is involved. The laptop is over 4 years old. Here are the symptoms and what I've tried to far.
1. Trying a normal boot hangs the system at the black screen before the any windows activity. The PC has a chronic "battery Calibration" message" which she typically bypasses with ESC, but I've recently had her run the calibration through to completion and it still pops the calibration message On bootup once you ESC past that message, there is no further drive activity (based on sound and the HD light), and it sits at black screen.
2. I booted and then hit F12. Took me to dell diagnostics. I ran individual diagnostics on Memory, bios, HD, and "control system" all passed, even the HD diagnostic. There are "symptom based" diagnostics and I selected "can't boot OS", this ran over an hour through a number of memory and HD tests, no errors reported.
3. I then tried to boot into safe mode so that I could dump her photos to a memory stick and then wipe it, but the system gets through about 20 of the lines in the DOS bootup list and hangs, consistently at the same place and will not complete the DOS boot to windows safe mode.
4. I created a XP boot CD on another XP computer and booted using this, which correctly takes me to A:, but it will not let me access C:, with an "invalid drive specification" message. (question, is there a way to boot windows, not DOS, from a CD?)
5. I loaded using a Windows XP CD (though I don't know if it'sthe right version. It is a copy of pro, and I don't recall whether she had pro loaded. It recognizedd that there is a previous version of windows, and loaded setup which I continued until the decision to wipe the drive, or not, but it said that even without the re-format, "My Documents" folder might be wiped and that's where the photos are, so I escaped and didn't continue.
6. Using the XP Cd I ran windows recovery console ® and ran CHKDSK /rwhich ran to completion and then ran bootfix, which simply returned to the DOS prompt with no messages at all. I'm assuming it completed normally?
As you experts can see, I know enough to be dangerous, but I'm out of tricks, except for the thought to remove the HD and try to load it as a slave inside desktop system, just to get the files off it..
I would sincerely appeciate any help that can be provided. thanks very much!!!
The best approach for this problem is to acquire an external USB drive shell, remove the hard drive from the computer and mount it in the shell, and attach the combination to a working computer. You can then copy the information from the drive to a second storage device and proceed to reinstall Windows.
You may need to transfer ownership of the folders before you will be allowed to copy anything from the drive. How you will do that will depend on what operating system is used on the computer you want to transfer the files to.
The drive shell will need to match the interface of the hard drive. Older inspirons use a parallel ATA/IDE drive, but anything purchased after 2007 most likely uses a SATA drive.
Thanks for the update. Someone mentioned to me that Dells have a "special" command that on boot up will instruct the system to restore the original factory image, instead of me trying to find the original OS disks and reload. Have you ever heard of this.
Since July, 2004, Dell has shipped their computers with a restore image that can be used to put the computer back to Dell factory condition. The only catch is that it only works with the original hard drive, or a clone of the original drive. If the drive is failing, or has failed, the image doesn't do much good.
If the drive itself is still good, and you are using Windows XP, restart the computer and wait for a blue stripe to appear at the top of the screen immediately after self test has finished, but before Windows begins to load. The stripe stays for two seconds; during that time, press and release CTRL and F11 simultaneously. You will get a menu that allows you to choose to restore the computer to factory condition.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you need to use the advanced start-up menu that you reach by pressing F8 just before Windows begins to load. I'm a bit fuzzy on Vista and Win 7, but I believe you need to choose to repair your computer, followed by clicking on the option to restore the Dell factory image.