Old Laptop won't boot

  awest3 18:26 29 Dec 2011

Got a friends laptop with me at the moment. An oldish Packard Bell. He said that he had downloaded some updates to his standard software set the evening before (He has MS essentials, Superantispyware, Auslogics disk defrag, Malwarebytes, Ccleaner and IOBIT Advanced systemware 3). The next day the laptop would not load (XP Home SP3). It seems to start ad gets the first PB screen up before it then goes to just a flashing cursor. I can get into Fn2 and Fn8 but cannot get the option to get into safemode. It simply shows me the drive Boot order and nothing else. I've removed the hard drive which seems to work ok and have taken an Acronis backup. I've taken out the memory (2 banks of 512mb) and reinstalled them one at a time and rebooted, to no avail. I've reseated the cpu and temp vacuum tube. I then put in one of my old laptop drives which worked ok. From this I assumed that the fault must lie on the HDD in the boot files. I've used an XP disk to get into recovery mode and used Fixboot and Fixmbr which seemed to work ok. However after all this I'm still at square one, when I try to boot it simply does the same, gets to the first PB screen and then just the flashing cursor ( you are not able to input anything into the cursor.

I'm at a loss as to my next steps.. any help greatly appreciated as ever.


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:59 29 Dec 2011

Set BIOS to from CD

and use your XP CD to do a repair install

Repair XP by install over the top of existing system

  1. Boot the computer using the XP CD. You may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS so the CD boots before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for steps to access the BIOS and change the boot order.

  2. When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer:

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.

To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.

To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

  1. Press Enter to start the Windows Setup.

To setup Windows XP now and Repair Install , press ENTER.

DO NOT choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R", (you Do Not want to load Recovery Console).

  1. Accept the License Agreement and Windows will search for existing Windows installations.

  2. Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair.

  3. Setup will copy the necessary files to the hard drive and reboot.

Do not press any key to boot from CD when the message appears.

Setup will continue as if it were doing a clean install, but your applications and settings will remain intact.

Repair XP http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

  onthelimit1 18:59 29 Dec 2011

Do you really mean Fn8? To get into safe mode is just F8 while booting???

  awest3 19:11 29 Dec 2011

Thanks fo0r the replies I'll give it a go and get back. Yep I meant F8..I'm a mainframe specialist (now retired) and our function keys were called FN rather than F..I sometimes slip back into it..! Its old age I think..

Thanks Al

  awest3 21:35 29 Dec 2011

He did not mention this, but since I've had it I've not been able to start it up so I'm not sure.

  awest3 12:15 30 Dec 2011

Right, I've tried Fruitbat's suggestion and it all sems to go ok until 'Press any key to boot from CD' it throws out 5 dots and then just sits there flashing the cursor at the end of the line.?

So I'm still stuck..! any other suggestions are very welcome.

Thanks Al

  awest3 12:17 30 Dec 2011

Also noticed that if I don't hit 'boot from CD' after about 2 mins the keyboard is disabled...

  awest3 12:29 30 Dec 2011

I've got into the bios and changed the order so that it boots from HDD first. If I left it on CD it simply comes up with a msg saying that there is no bootable CD in the drive and stops at that. With booting from HDD I'm back to the flashing cursor and a disabled keyboard..!

  awest3 18:10 30 Dec 2011

I've now tried the HDD in an old Dell Latitude I have... It asks to choose an operating system then immediately goes to the flashing cursor. I'm not sure if you can directly transfer an HDD into another laptop and expoect it to work..? Anyway I've put my Dell HDD (W7) into the PBell and its gone into memory checking mode...Hmm.. so its likely you cannot just switch HDD from one machine to another...Having said that I put in an old XP HDD and that seemed to work... I'm scratching my head on this one.. I'll post again when the memory checking has completed.. but I think its looking like some sort of HDD failure..even though I can read the disk perfectly when I attached it to my Desktop..!

  awest3 18:16 30 Dec 2011

Memory checks ok and able to logon to xp..so it looks like its a hdd problem. I'll try re-installing xp and then recover from the acronis backup I took when the hdd was hooked up to my desktop.

  awest3 18:41 31 Dec 2011

Decided to reload windows XP..seeemed to work ok! but then got 'OS failed to load' when trying to start. I'm running Bart PE at the moment to check the disk sectors... I'm stumped at the moment. If this does not work I have an old 40gb disk which I will try to recover to.

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