can only boot in safe mode after opening case

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sunliner

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Well, I screwed something up.
I opened up my Dell for its twice yearly interior dusting. blew/vacuumed all the dust out, hooked everything back up but she won't boot up normally. I can get into safe mode but that's it. I tried using system restore to go back to another point but that doesn't work either.

help, advice, rude comments?
-Mike
 

managed

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Try 'Last known good ...' on the safe mode screen.

With system restore did it fail to work at all or did it work but didn't fix the problem ?
 

sunliner

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I booted into safe mode, selected a prior system restore point, and tried to reboot normally..just a blank screen. thanks, I'll get over there and try last known good in a minute.
 

sunliner

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last known good is a no go as well. It shows the Windows XP screen briefly then nothing but black.
 

managed

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I suppose you already checked that all the power connections are present and correct ?

This is usually a driver problem, safe mode uses generic drivers and doesn't install all the devices. Normal mode installs every device and uses the 'full' drivers if any.

Disconnect anything you can, like external drives, non OS internal drives, optical drives etc. If you have a Graphics card try removing and reconnecting it. Do that with the ram modules too.
Then try a normal boot again, if it works add each device one at a time to find the culprit. It's possible it was a poor connection and they will all work.
 

sunliner

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update...verified power connections, removed and replaced graphics card. disconnected the optical drive. I turned the pc back on in normal mode and the machine has launched into CHDSK, which informs me that the volume is dirty. it's currently verifying indexes, about 25% complete.will see what it does. I do appreciate your help!
 

sunliner

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I should add....it boots into 'plain' safe mode, but can't boot into safe mode with networking, if that helps diagnose anything
 

sunliner

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another update:
I pulled the ATI graphics card and plugged monitor into the 'regular' jack. Tried booting, nothing happened.
Next, with graphics card still out, I unplugged one of four RAM 'sticks', nothing
Put one back in, unplugged the second one:SUCCESS. booted up normally.
So...I left the second RAM out, put the graphics card back in, tried it again... won't boot up.
Pulled the graphics card back out, same state as when it booted just a minute ago...uh oh..won't boot normally again.
I'm thinking this is not a good sign.
 

managed

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What happened with CHKDSK, did it complete ? How do you connect to the Internet on that PC ?
 

sunliner

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CHKDSK ran and didn't put up any error messages, but it still wouldn't boot normally other than that one time. I can't connect to the net from that PC. I have a second PC (another Dell but about 9 years old), which is what I'm on right now.
 
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i would pay attention to the memory.......... take it all out and try with only 1 stick and move forward from there
 

sunliner

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tried one stick at a time...nothing. I have a couple probably stupid questions...
1. I notice the retainers that snap into place at either end of the RAM sockets...they alternate one pair is black, the other white...is there any significance or is it just a visual aid for installation? If I was only using one socket, does it matter which one normally?
2. When I first push the on button, there is a message that flashes very quickly at the top left screen, I think it says 'searching for PBR (?) not found' or something like that....maybe a clue?
thanks all
 
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MBR master boot record ........probably
the different color memory clips are for dual channel placement (nothing to do with your prob)

maybe download and burn diagnostic disk for the harddrive (WD,SEAGATE OR?) and boot from it do the long test and see what it says
 

sunliner

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the other line I see when starting says ACPI (I think) Bios not installed!
 
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