Laptop hard drive problem

  Schopenhauer 12:39 09 Jan 2011

Acer Aspire 4315, Vista
Switched on the above, only difference from usual being addition of Bluetooth dongle. System started usual 'found new hardware' routine when screen disintegrated into thickish horizontal lines, & PC would no longer respond to mouse or keyboard. Only way to switch off was to hold down 'on' key. Switched on again, black screen, no HD activity, then a little jerk from HD, and shortly afterwards PC switched itself off. I have two boot discs but neither worked, but after PC had been off some time I tried again and this time got the first screen from one of the discs, but before I could do anything the screen disintegrated as before. The situation now is that when switched on PC is back to black screen and no HD activity.
I tend to think the HD has packed up but before I splash out on a new one I would like advice from experts here. Is it possible the the dongle carried a virus? I have tried it in another machine runnig XP and it works OK.
All advice appreciated.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 13:36 09 Jan 2011

Is it possible the the dongle carried a virus?
Highly unlikely
Sounds as if the drivers are causing a conflicts

You need to look at Windows Vista's Repair Your Computer options.

* Startup repair - This automatically fixes problems that are preventing Windows from starting
* System Restore - This will Restore Windows to an earlier point in time
* Windows Complete PC Restore - This will completely restore your entire PC - programs, system settings and files - from a back up that you have previously created (Available in Windows Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions only)
* Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool - This checks your computer's memory hardware for errors
* Command Prompt - This opens a Command Window

With the Complete PC Restore Option you must have made a backup of your system, either on your hard drive or on a set of DVDs, in order to use this option. If you don't have a backup then don't use this option

How you access the repair options will depend upon whether you have a Windows Vista installation disk or whether your operating system came pre-installed by your PC manufacturer.

Pre-Installed Options

If no repair options are available your PC manufacturer may have replaced the tools or customised them. Check your Computer Manual before proceeding.

1/ Start your PC

2/ If your PC has one operating system Press and Hold the F8 key as your PC starts. If the Windows Logo appear you will need to start again

3/ If you have a dual boot system a Boot option menu will appear. Highlight the Vista operating system and Press the F8 key

4/ In both cases, if all has gone well, an Advanced options screen will now appear

5/ Highlight the repair Your Computer option and Press Enter

6/ Select a keyboard layout, and then Click the Next button

7/ Next select your user Name and Enter your Password, then Click OK

8/ The recovery options should now appear

Windows Installation Disk

1/ make sure your PC can boot directly from the Vista DVD. Obviously, most modern PCs can. With older machines you may need to check the PC's BIOS

2/ Start the PC

3/ Immediately insert the Windows Vista DVD into the DVD drive

4/ A Black screen will appear with the words 'Press any key to boot from CD or DVD'

5/ Press Any key to start the booting process

6/ A new screen will now appear with a progress bar. The legend say's 'Windows is loading files'

7/ After a few minutes the Microsoft copyright window ill appear and another small progress bar will be visible

8/ You will next see a Blue curtained screen

9/ After a short while the Language option screen will appear

10/ Select your language and keyboard language and the Click the Next button

11/ At the bottom left of the next screen - the Install screen, Click on the Repair Your Computer option

12/ The System recovery options will now search for your Windows Vista installation

13/ Once the Vista installation has been located, Highlight it and then Click the Next button

14/ You are now presented with the set of recovery options

15/ Click on the Option you require and follow the onscreen prompts

  Schopenhauer 15:43 09 Jan 2011

Thanks for that comprehensive reply. The problem is that the cpmputer seems quite dead. It does not respond to F8 or F2 which is the key used to get into Bios. I have a Spotmau bootable disc and a Vista one, which have both worked previously, but not now.
The sequence is this. Press 'on', 'on' light comes on, drive light flashes briefly, 'on' light flashes on and off, drive light flashes flashes once, there is a pause then PC switches off for good.
I have tried all combinations of key presses and inserting recovery discs but apart from a few vague noises which sound as if the hard drive is trying to do something, the result is the same.

  Schopenhauer 16:35 14 Jan 2011

I post this update in case someone else has a similar problem. It turned out that it was not a HD problem at all. What I had thought was the HD trying to start was actually the fan stopping and the PC restarting. I asked around and was eventually put in touch with a techie who suggested removing the RAM and replacing it. I didn't expect much fron this but it worked a dream.
I can't say I understand why something so simple works, but I was grateful for the advice, I was on the verge of buying a new PC!

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