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Windows XP will not Boot - Black Screen, Flashing Cursor

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by TechDabbler, Sep 22, 2011.

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  1. TechDabbler

    TechDabbler Thread Starter

    Sep 22, 2011
    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 ?
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  3. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor

    Jan 14, 2010
    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.
    Puppy Linux
    See this link and download Puppy
    http://puppylinux.org/main/Download Latest Release.htm
    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
    your computer...

    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. __________________
  4. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor

    Jan 14, 2010

    Use Puppy Linux Live CD to Recover Your Data:

    ***Required Hardware***
    CD Burner (CDRW) Drive,
    Blank CD,
    Extra Storage Device (USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)


    1. Save these files to your Desktop/Burn Your Live CD:
    • DownloadLatest Puppy Linux ISO (i.e.: lupu-520.iso)
      DownloadBurnCDCC ISO Burning Software
      • Open BurnCDCC with Windows Explorer
      • Extract All files to a location you can remember
      • Double Click [​IMG] BurnCDCC
      • Click Browse [​IMG] and navigate to the Puppy Linux ISO file you just downloaded
      • Open/Double Click that file
        IMPORTANT: Adjust the speed bar to CD: 4x DVD: 1x
      • Click Start [​IMG]
      • Your CD Burner Tray will open automatically
      • Insert a blank CD and close the tray
      • Click OK
      Puppy Linux Live CD will now be created

    2. Set your boot priority in the BIOS to CD-ROM first, Hard Drive Second

      • Start the computer/press the power button
      • Immediately start tapping the appropriate key to enter the BIOS, aka "Setup"
        (Usually shown during the "Dell" screen, or "Gateway" Screen)
      • Once in the BIOS, under Advanced BIOS Options change boot priority to:
        CD-ROM 1st, Hard Drive 2nd
      • Open your ROM drive and insert the disk
      • Press F10 to save and exit
      • Agree with "Y" to continue
      • Your computer will restart and boot from the Puppy Linux Live CD


    3. Recover Your Data

    • Once Puppy Linux has loaded, it is actually running in your computer's Memory (RAM). You will see a fully functioning Graphical User Interface similar to what you normally call "your computer". Internet access may or may not be available depending on your machine, so it is recommended you print these instructions before beginning. Also, double clicking is not needed in Puppy. To expand, or open folders/icons, just click once. Puppy is very light on resources, so you will quickly notice it is much speedier than you are used to. This is normal. Ready? Let's get started.

      3a. Mount Drives
      • Click the Mount Icon located at the top left of your desktop. [​IMG]
      • A Window will open. By default, the "drive" tab will be forward/highlighted. Click on Mount for your hard drive.
      • Assuming you only have one hard drive and/or partition, there may be only one selection to mount.
      • USB Flash Drives usually automatically mount upon boot, but click the "usbdrv" tab and make sure it is mounted.
      • If using an external hard drive for the data recovery, do this under the "drive" tab. Mount it now.

      3b. Transfer Files.
      • At the bottom left of your desktop a list of all hard drives/partitions, USB Drives, and Optical Drives are listed with a familiar looking hard drive icon.
      • Open your old hard drive i.e. sda1
      • Next, open your USB Flash Drive or External Drive. i.e. sdc or sdb1
      • If you open the wrong drive, simply X out at the top right corner of the window that opens. (Just like in Windows)
      • From your old hard drive, drag and drop whatever files/folders you wish to transfer to your USB Drive's Window.

      For The Novice: The common path to your pictures, music, video, and documents folders is: Documents and Settings >> All Users (or each idividual name of each user. CHECK All Names!) >> Documents >> You will now see My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos.

      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. Congratulations!


      Resized to 89% (was 1024 x 768) - Click image to enlarge[​IMG]

    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
  5. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor

    Jan 14, 2010
    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.
    Unless that motherboard is exactly the same as the motherboard that was in there orignally, it is NEVER going to work, without installing all the motherboard drivers, chipset etc. to the installation.
    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.
  6. TechDabbler

    TechDabbler Thread Starter

    Sep 22, 2011
    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....
  7. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor

    Jan 14, 2010
    That is NOT necessarily correct, it may have different chipsets, different integrated audio chip, graphic chip, network controller etc.
    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
    The only aspect I would change to that advice is to then try it with a Puppy boot.
    Puppy runs in ram, so it is also an ideal way of testing your ram.
    Good luck with it.
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