Think I Have Major Hard Drive Problems.

  Fred Spoons EPNS 07:40 03 Apr 2011


My system is a Dell 540 Studio desktop running Windows Vista Home Premium and my computer is two years old.

Last night,after doing my daily quick scans of Norton 360,SuperAntiSpyware,Malwarebytes and CCleaner,I was unable to restart my computer to clear out the few usual bugs I accumulate after being online.

After several unsuccessful attempts to restart,I then tried to shut down also to no avail.In the end,I had no alternative but to turn off from the on/off switch. Several attempts later to get anything have resulted in very little.

My computer still turns on,I can still get into safe mode etc,and she starts up with her usual opening sounds.I can hear the drives kick in and the fans working.Despite my limited efforts,I can get no further and no programmes or features work.I can see an illuminated 'lock' on my keyboard but have no idea why it is lit.

I have tried every restore point listed to no success.I have opened in safe mode again with no success.Beyond this,I have no working knowledge of what is wrong.I can open in safe mode with command prompts as well if it help.

I'm using my netbook to do this which is next to my main computer.Any help, suggestions and guidance would be appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance for your help.

  Nontek 08:19 03 Apr 2011

Just a stab in the dark, but - what happens if you press the key with the illuminated lock?

Could possibly be a problem with the Keyboard - can you try a different keyboard?

  Fred Spoons EPNS 08:27 03 Apr 2011

I managed to turn it off. It was the number lock key which had illuminated. The keyboard is ok as I can still get into F2, F8 and F12 settings with no problem. I think my computer needs to be closed down manually which I don't know how to do.I'm still working on it.

  ICF 08:27 03 Apr 2011

I know it's not much help now and you have learned the hard way if a fix is not found but always have a back up strategy
Get Acronis or something similar and make a image of your drive when your up and running again.

If You can get in safe mode then can you transfer all your valuable data to another drive?

  Fred Spoons EPNS 08:38 03 Apr 2011

All my data is saved on three external hard drives barring one cd I ripped on Thursday. I have no problem with any data which I can copy over at any time from any one of the three. I'm simply trying to ascertain why my computer won't shut down properly nor restore to a former time at the moment.If I can't succeed,I'll ring Dell and get them to help. I also have the original Dell discs to start over but thats a last resort.

  Nontek 08:41 03 Apr 2011

Have a trawl through this site, you might strike lucky ...

click here

  ICF 09:11 03 Apr 2011

With an image from Acronis you could be up and running within 15 mins

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 10:35 03 Apr 2011

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

  Fred Spoons EPNS 12:05 03 Apr 2011

Thank you very much Fruitbat. I'm going to look at the manual now and see if I can work some magic on my desktop.If it doesn't work (and some of it isn't working)I've tried the pre-install options vis Dells website but nothing happens so I'll see what the instruction book says and follow that.If not I'll try the Windows Installation & Dell Installation discs. If not working,contact their Dell support centre as I'm covered until 2014. It is a daunting task I'm hopefull will eventually succeed.

Thank you very much for all your kind help and suggestions warmly received.

  Fred Spoons EPNS 08:46 04 Apr 2011

Fruitbat,I spent much of yesterday reading the Dell manual which came with the computer,along with your invaluable input.I think there is more wrong under the bonnet than I fear. I tried the various solutions and detailed Dell online help but to no avail. My computer had been running slowish and clearly culminating in the problems of Saturday & Sunday. Thankfully I had the foresight to take up a five year 'at home' warranty for repair when I first bought it. I'll be ringing them soon but at least my little netbook i'm on now is still my lifeline to the world.

Thank you for your help again. I'll conclude this thread and wait for the repairs!

All the best.

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