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Sudden start-up failure. Black screen, flashing cursor only


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#1 bsgranpa

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:01 AM

OMG. My Toshiba Satellite M35-S320. XP Pro (SP3) just splashes the "Toshiba" logo then goes to a black screen with a flashing cursor up in the top left corner. When I try to F8 and start in safe mode or "Last good configuration" it does nothing for the first dozen or so F8's. Then it beeps once each time I press the F8 key. I next tried F12 and a window appears which offers four boot options. The top one is "CD/DVD". So, I downloaded and burned the ISO of OLTPE and tried it in the machine. I can hear and feel the spinning starting and stopping. However, there is no change to the black screen and nothing loads. It was working great and all of a sudden, it's just not. No new programs, no downloads. Ergh!

I know that there are many seeking help here and I'm highly appreciative of the assistance I've gotten in the past. Please help out this old, seriously "non-techie" granpa.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:25 AM

Worth a look, Black Screen (fixmbr) - http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;314503.

I'd try the fixmbr command from XP Recovery Console.

How to Create a Bootable XP Recovery Console CD - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/276527/how-to-create-a-bootable-xp-recovery-console-cd/

Louis

#3 bsgranpa

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:45 AM

Greetings my friend. If the F8 does not take me to the option page for Safe Mode, and if the OTLPE disk failed to boot. Will I have greater success with the Windows XP disk to repair the start up? I can't even get F8 to work.

#4 bsgranpa

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:07 AM

Louis, I created a Recovery Console disk and followed the process for FIXMBR. I then exited and tried to start the computer. It is unchanged. I do now have a RC boot disk available. Any new ideas?

#5 bsgranpa

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:10 PM

OK. Here's where we are now. I got my XP Pro disk and booted. At the point where I have the opportunity, I press "R" to repair Windows. I go to the recovery page and where I have the page telling me to repair "C:/Windows" press any key, I press a key and it goes to a black screen which now says to "Press any key to boot from CD....." I press a key and absolutely nothing happens. I have been through this routine twice with no change. Is the Toshiba now a "door stop"? I guess the next option is to try a fresh install instead of a repair. Please advise as soon as possible. Thanks

#6 hamluis

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:54 PM

Well...I can't tell you much about Toshiba products or how they operate.

I can tell you that...if the CD you have is a MS Genuine XP CD, as opposed to a Toshiba Recovery/Restore CD...I don't understand why the repair option didn't work.

If it's a CD provided you with your system...you need to read Toshiba documentation on how it works, when to use it, etc.

Per the Toshiba website: "All Toshiba laptops ship with the ability to run the system recovery process from a hard disk partition, and software for creating recovery media is also bundled. Toshiba recommends creating recovery media to ensure the ability to run a system recovery even if the hard disk recovery partition is damaged or deleted, or if the hard disk breaks."

<<I got my XP Pro disk and booted.>>

If Toshiba doesn't provide one, what is the origin of this "XP disk"? A repair install effort will only work with a Genuine XP CD, AFAIK.

One other informational item...in order to do a repair install of XP or run sfc /scannow...the disk used must reflect the same SP as the O/S. Since you have SP3 on the system, SP3 needs to be included on the disk used to attempt any repair install.

One of the standard things I do when the system goes wrong...is run the chkdsk /r command from the Recovery Console, before I do anything else.

How to use CHKDSK in the XP Recovery Console - http://pirules3.14.googlepages.com/recovery_console_chkdsk

Louis

#7 bsgranpa

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 03:10 PM

Louis, I have had the MS Genuine XP CD with the correct and matching serial number since I bought the laptop. I also have the Toshiba recovery disk which wipes and does a fresh install. At that point (since I've done this before) I have to go through the time consuming process of installing SP2 and SP3 and all critical updates. Then I have to install all my programs. Since the laptop and thus the XP Pro I have are almost six years old, I am sure that the Pro version I have is not SP3. Are you saying that I cannot repair with the old Pro version since I have kept current on all Windows updates and service packs? That doesn't seem fair. I am penalized for staying current.

I have questions: Is it possible to contact Microsoft and exchange for a SP3 version? What does "sfc /scannow" do? What, in your opinion, is the most likely cause of my problem?

Thanks again for your heart to help. Bill

#8 hamluis

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 04:25 PM

<>

Correct. No one...can use a CD reflecting an older version of XP than the system reflects...can do a repair install of XP that will function properly. It's been that way for some time, ever since SP2 at least, AFAIK. Windows will not allow older system files...to be used to repair a more current install of XP, which makes sense in my world.

<>

That's a matter of opinion, I think. I believe that most would say that you fall into the same boat as do all those...who don't backup their systems. An O/S disk that doesn't reflect your current install is pretty useless when it comes to repairing XP...most situations call for repair, rather than clean install of XP.

<>

Not even necessary. Since you have MS Genuine XP CD, all you have to is follow the procedures listed at Slipstreaming Windows XP To Create a Bootable Windows XP CD or DVD - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/slipstreaming-windows-xp-to-create-bootable-cd/.

<
How To Use Sfc.exe To Repair System Files - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/43051/how-to-use-sfcexe-to-repair-system-files/

LEARN how to use SFC.EXE (system file checker) in this article! - http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html

<>

I don't have an opinion...many things can result in what you reported.

On my systems, a black screen with a blinking cursor would have been overcome by running the fixmbr command...but I don't have any Toshiba systems and I only recently purchased a laptop. IMO, a laptop defies all routine troubleshooting because everything is packed in and the laptop is likely to overheat, in addition to having all the normal problems that could occur on a desktop.

As I previously indicated, you ought to try running chkdsk /r.

Bear in mind that a repair install is just an effort...not a solution...to overcome whatever is wrong. Next progression would be a clean install...next progression would probably be hands-on by someone who repairs laptops.

Louis

#9 bsgranpa

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:52 AM

Louis,

I ran "chkdsk /r" last night and finally went to bed when it was at 62%. This morning, it had completed so I removed the Recovery Console disk and "exited". It attempted to start and the following message popped up:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

<Windows Root>\system32\hal.dll

Please install a copy of the above file.


What is the next step? Thanks for your help my friend.

(edit) I have a recent Erunt registry backup on the machine. Is this there? If so, how do I get there when Windows will not start?

Edited by bsgranpa, 10 April 2010 - 08:56 AM.


#10 hamluis

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 10:27 AM

The old hal.dll problem...the following two links should be what you need:

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrorm...ssinghaldll.htm

Restore Hal.dll - How To Restore Hal.dll From the Windows XP CD - Hal.dll - http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproble...storehaldll.htm

If the above don't do it, then you may want to read other links on this error:

Hal.dll Corrupt Or Missing - http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/Fowler...missing./175165

Hal.dll Missing Or Corrupt - http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/documen...product=3962105

How to fix hal.dll is missing or corrupt in windows - http://www.troublefixers.com/how-to-fix-ha...upt-in-windows/

Missing Windows hal.dll file - http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000490.htm

Louis

#11 bsgranpa

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 12:43 PM

OK, now it says:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

<Windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe.

Please re-install a copy of the above file.


Suggestions? Should I try the slipstreaming approach in an earlier post and then try to repair? Should I lean it against the door and let it function as a doorstop?

#12 hamluis

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 01:56 PM

I believe these are the same instructions as for hal.dll mising, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314477.

The files referenced in both error messages...are key Windows files.

I have the feeling you will get a different file, same message, each time.

Louis

#13 bsgranpa

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 07:26 PM

I have my registry backed up via Erunt. Is there a way to over-write or restore that even though I can't load Windows? Is it my registry that is corrupted?

#14 hamluis

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:31 PM

I can't tell you what's wrong, based on what you have thus far reported.

The error messages do not (IMO) indicate that a registry fix is to be considered, the files specified and the known ways of overcoming such...don't indicate a focus on the registry. I would not go in that direction.

The typical error encountered indicating a registry problem follows: Corrupted Registry, Config.sys Missing or Corrupt - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545

IMO, typically when something like this occurs...it's time for a clean install. Known error messages do not respond to known solutions...reasons could be varied...I clean install to eliminate something from contention and try to get to a place where I can say positively what it is NOT and go forward with troubleshooting all other suspects, if problems continue.

IMO, the two biggest suspects, once the O/S is eliminated...have to be hardware and malware. A clean install eliminates malware and the O/S (in most cases, if not all).

<<Should I try the slipstreaming approach in an earlier post and then try to repair?>>

What do you have to lose? Repair installs are my last effort before a clean install.

You have a proprietary computer and you have a laptop...those two things are both items I have virtually no experience with in my years of playing with computers. Each makes it (IMO) somewhat more difficult for me to comment upon.

Louis

#15 Stang777

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:31 PM

Hi bsgrandpa,

I do not know if it is possible for you to have the registry backup from Erunt fix your problem, or if trying would create more problems for that matter, but since you were asking if it was possible to use that backup, I thought I would post the info from Erunt on how to do that...

What to do if Windows does not boot anymore?
--------------------------------------------

If Windows refuses to boot normally it can be for a variety of
reasons, not the least of which is that the registry is damaged, or
you installed a program or driver which is somewhat incompatible with
the system or buggy, in which case restoring a registry backup from a
point where everything was running smoothly should also help.

The first thing to try is to reboot and press the F8 key immediately
before the first Windows screen appears, then select the "Last Known
Good" option from the menu and see if Windows boots up with this
option. If it does, you're all set.

If it does not, reboot again with F8, and select the option "Safe
Mode". If Windows boots up in safe mode, you can restore a registry
backup just as you would in normal mode, as described above.

If safe mode also fails, read on...



Restoring the registry with ERDNT - Emergency Scenario I
--------------------------------------------------------

Situation: Windows fails to boot up in normal and safe mode, but you
have a DOS boot disk or another (working) operating system installed
on your PC which is supported by the ERDNT restoration program, and
from which you have full access to the drive(s) containing the corrupt
Windows installation and the registry backup.

Boot up to the working OS, and open the folder containing the registry
backup you want to restore.

If the drive letters are different to as they were in the Windows
where you created the registry backup, you need to edit the ERDNT.INF
file now to reflect the new drive letters, before trying to restore
the registry backup. For example, if the drive with the corrupt
Windows installation is now available as D: instead of C:, then you
would change all C:\... references in the INF file to D:\... . Editing
the file can be done in Windows with the Notepad program, and in DOS
with the EDIT command.

Now run the ERDNT.EXE file to start the restoration program. Select
which registry components to restore (just the system registry will do
in most cases), then start restoration. When the process is complete,
reboot the computer and check if the other Windows installation is
repaired now.



Restoring the registry with ERDNT - Emergency Scenario II
---------------------------------------------------------

Situation: Windows fails to boot up in normal and safe mode, and you
have no other working operating system installed on your PC.

The following two rescue methods require that your PC is configured so
that it can boot from CD. See your BIOS documentation for more
information.

1. Bart's PE Builder
Use another computer with Internet access and CD burning capabilities
to download this free program from the Internet (do a Google search
for it), which will create a bootable Windows CD with full access to
all drives (including NTFS). Boot from this CD, open the File
Management Utility and follow the directions in "Emergency Scenario I"
to run ERDNT and restore the registry.

2. The Windows Recovery Console (Windows 2000 and higher)
Note that you can use this method only if you saved the registry
backup inside the Windows folder, and that using this procedure only
the system registry is restored. This should however get you back into
Windows, from where you can run the ERDNT program to restore user
registries, if necessary.
- Boot your system from the Windows 2000/2003/XP CD-ROM.
- At the welcome screen, press "R" (Windows 2000: "R" then "C").
- Type in the number of the Windows installation you want to repair
(usually 1), then press ENTER.
- Type in the Administrator password (leave blank if you are unsure
what it is) and press ENTER.
- At the command prompt type
cd erdnt
or whatever you named your restore folder, then press ENTER.
- If you enabled automatic registry backup on system boot during ERUNT
installation and want to restore one of these backups, type
cd autobackup <ENTER>
- If you created subfolders for different registry backups (for
example, with the different creation dates), type
dir <ENTER>
to see a list of available folders, then type
cd foldername <ENTER>
where foldername is the name of a folder listed by the dir command,
to open that folder.
- Now type
batch erdnt.con <ENTER>
to restore the system registry from that folder.
- Type
exit <ENTER>
and remove the CD from the CD-ROM drive. The system will now reboot
with the restored registry.


I have never tried any of the above, this is just copied from the file that Erunt puts on the system when you install it, which you have, but cannot get to. Since I can, I figured I would share it. I think it is just step number 2 in the second scenerio that you need to concern yourself with since you do have the XP disk.

I wish you the best of luck.

I just noticed that Louis said a registry fix was not the way to go. He is way more knowledgeable about this stuff than I am so I would go with what he says.

Edited by Stang777, 10 April 2010 - 08:57 PM.





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