22-Sep-2011, 05:28 AM #1
Windows XP will not Boot - Black Screen, Flashing Cursor
I have seen this topic posted many times in several forums, but in reviewing the messages and responses, none seem to apply or resolve my situation. I am posting this in hopes of some fresh help.
I have a Dell Latitude D800 laptop (2003 era) with 250GB (IDE) drive (replaced about 6 months ago) running Win XP-Pro, SP-3. One day I shut it down, then the next day it wouldn’t boot up. No new hardware or software installed for ages (perhaps other than Win & McAfee updates). The POST screen displays momentarily, but then it goes black with an unmovable blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner. I’ve disconnected and unplugged all cables and peripherals to no avail. Attempts to boot into safe mode with F8 key are fruitless, as is Cntrl-Alt-Del key. I can boot from CD via F12, enter BIOS set-up via F2, or run Dell diagnostics. I’ve booted from into Windows Recovery mode via the OP Disk CD and done repair, and also invoked “bootcfg/rebuild” command, all to no avail – black screen/cursor still returns. I can see no obvious command in the BIOS that if changed might solve the problem. One odd thing however, is that the hard disk capacity in the BIOS reads 137GB, yet the capacity is 250GB. If I had to guess, it would almost seem like this is closer to what might’ve been available free space on the disk, as though the BIOS can’t see a large portion of the disk (yet when booting into recovery mode the operating system appears to be recognized on the C drive !?). I cannot figure how to troubleshoot this, however. I’m obviously trying to preserve and save my programs and data already on the disk.
I ran extensive diagnostic tests, and all hardware passed all tests, including the hard drive tests. One exception was an error message indicating a failure of the “NIC EEProm Test”, device Broadcom 5705M, Error code “3B00:0781” – all greek to me, but seems to indicate a hardware failure in the networking circuit, seemingly built into the motherboard. So I spring for a new motherboard and replace it, but when I boot up it indicates “Invalid Configuration information” & “Time-of-day not set”, and wants to run a set-up utility (also no Dell service tag number – not sure if that has any bearing). The “press F1 to continue” route yields nothing, but the “press F2 to run set-up utility takes me back into the BIOS screens. I reset the clock with the proper time, then re-boot – arrrggh !! - black screen with cursor again. Same behaviors and actions as before. I reboot into Dell diagnostics again and run extensive tests again, this time no errors, not even the NIC EEProm test error (limited success ?). I’m thinking maybe the CMOS/NVRAM data might be corrupt. I check the CMOS battery (weird Dell configuration, but 8 yrs. old now), it’s rated at 7.2V and checks out at 8.1V – seems okay. Perhaps erroneous or corrupt information is acquired from the hard disk during boot-up and transferred into the CMOS data corrupting its addresses and stalling the boot-up. I’m lost – unclear how to proceed from here. Have I been attacked by a virus ? How do I troubleshoot and resolve this ? In checking some forums the problem seems somewhat common, but others seem to have resolved it from Vista or Win-7 operating systems which probably have more robust recovery options. Again, trying to save my data if at all possible. Can anyone help ?
22-Sep-2011, 01:45 PM #2
What has very likely occurred is that you installed XP with an XP disc that did NOT include SP2. The installation therefore ONLY ever saw 137Gb which was the original limit.
However, although only 137 Gb was seen, the rest of the drive was of course still there.
Data has now been written to that part of the drive that is not apparantly seen and can therefore not be accessed.
Windows will therefore not load.
You now have two choices.
1. Take out the drive, enclose it to a usb enclosure, connect to another computer and hopefully all being well you can retirve your data that way
2. You can make an ISO image CD and retireve your data using Puppy Linux.
If you wish to use this method please proceed as below
If you wish to be assureyour self that your data by wayof documents, pictures video etc is safe then you may secure that first. However I repeat there is really no known risk.
Your programs of course, cannot be secured as they will only be reinstated with the installation CD or download.
If you would feel more content then do this first
See this and make that Puppy Linux CD
There are a number of ways of recovering your data. One is below and probably one of the best.
See this link and download Puppy
It is an ISO image so burn the CD using this.
NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start
make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....
• Change the second drive to the C or Main Drive
Once that is done then click F10 to Save and Exit
You will prompted to enter Y to verify Save and Exit. Click Y and the system will now reboot with the new settings.
Make sure the cd you burned is in the cd drive before clicking Y and then your system will reboot. Puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all your data to cd/dvds - but THIS GUIDE is for using a USB flash pen or hard drive.
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..
after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to
click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will
mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...about half the width of the screen...then drag the window to the right edge of the screen...
now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to
the narrowest you can..about half the width of the screen...drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...
your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmouting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive.. and download to another computer.
Ensure the other computer can read them...
now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in
again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working
Remember to only click once! No double clicking! Once you drag and drop your first folder, you will notice a small menu will appear giving you the option to move or copy. Choose COPY each time you drag and drop.
YOU ARE DONE!!! Simply click Menu >> Mouse Over Shutdown >> Reboot/Turn Off Computer. Be sure to plug your USB Drive into another working windows machine to verify all data is there and transferred without corruption. __________________
Please QUERY any of my advice, that you do not understand.
I will do my best to respond to your posts, as soon as possible. Please bear in mind any time difference, I am in the UK.
22-Sep-2011, 01:48 PM #3
FURTHER TO MY FIRST POST HERE IS A FULL EXPLANATION for you with images
Use Puppy Linux Live CD to Recover Your Data:
CD Burner (CDRW) Drive,
Extra Storage Device (USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)
1. Save these files to your Desktop/Burn Your Live CD:
2. Set your boot priority in the BIOS to CD-ROM first, Hard Drive Second
3. Recover Your Data
If you're doing this to recovery from a virus or malware infection, (or even if you're not), DO NOT copy executable files (.exe, .scr. etc...) if any of these files are infected you could be copying the corruption over to any new device/computer. just copy documents, pictures, music, or videos.
After recovering your data and IF indeed the error has been caused by what I have described then you need to firstly check in the BIOS that 48bit LBA support is enabled.
Is the BIOS set for Auto configuration of that drive.
If it is set manual is 48bit LBA enabled.
Returning to if this is the cause of the problem, then the entirely guaranteed solution is to start again firstly using the Western Digital utilities to format and partition the drive as you wish and then to install XP using a XP CD slipstreamed to a CD incorporating SP3. N Lite is the usually used program.
Here is the link.
The guides are on the link on the top left hand corner of that page.
Here is the link to the Western Digital site with the necessary advice to remedy the situation
Last edited by Macboatmaster; 22-Sep-2011 at 02:04 PM..
22-Sep-2011, 03:34 PM #4
Further to my previous posts, I have just re-read your opening post.
I missed an important point. I apologise, but you post is not the easiest to read.
It would have been easier if it was set out in more paragraphical form.
However it was my error.
When XP was installed on the drive, all the setup related to the original motherboard setup.
You cannot change the motherboard and expect XP still to load unless as I say it is EXACTLY the same model.
23-Sep-2011, 02:05 AM #5
MacBoatMaster, thanks for your inputs. The data retrieval tips you gave may have some promise and I'll give them a try (HD USB Case, Puppy Linux). My hard disk was operating successfully for many months on Win XP-Pro, SP-3 so unclear of impact regarding 137 GB limit. The new motherboard is exactly the same - it must be, as remember this is a laptop, so you just can't throw any ole motherboard into a laptop as every laptop is different with generally custom designed and fit motherboards - no standards like a desktop.
What does seem to have merit is the 48-bit LBA issue mentioned at the end of your messages. It appears that Windows XP and the BIOS in the 2003 era had problems addressing and recognizing IDE (PATA) hard disk capacities over 137GB. I think the Windows problem was overcome starting with XP service pack 2 and above, but the BIOS had to be upgraded as well. This could be a clue to the problem as my BIOS indicated only 137GB for a 250GB hard drive. I have to explore if an upgraded BIOS is available (the current BIOS is a Phoenix Technology, Rev. A-13), then how to install it. My quest continues....
Last edited by TechDabbler; 23-Sep-2011 at 02:12 AM..
23-Sep-2011, 05:37 AM #6
I did realise that you could not simply throw in any motherboard, as you say.
The EPROM error MAY and I have to admit I am not certain, not have been a motherboard error.
I think the new motherboard was possibly a little hasty.
I would have leaned towards trying a puppy boot first, that is always a good test for hardware.
It appears you have received the same advice here as on the other site where you have asked for help
Puppy runs in ram, so it is also an ideal way of testing your ram.
Good luck with it.
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