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Computer wont boot

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#1 devanert


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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:28 PM

This story starts around Christmas...

I have a Gateway GT4024 that had issues in 2007. I had to reinstall my operating system at that time. I never got my monitor to display correctly (Gateway wide-screen 1440 x 900 resolution).

So Christmas 2008 my kids received a Sims game. The game wouldn't run because of the video driver. I looked into it and found that I was running in VGA mode. My driver wasn't installed. I searched the net and found the driver I thought I needed and downloaded it. I may have pulled it from the Gateway site, I'm not really sure. Anyway, Sims was able to run.

My computer started to lock up in the middle of the game. I'd reboot an then there was no problem. I assumed it was the video driver.

My kids also received an IbFunky's gift that was downloaded.

At the same time my Mcafee account ran out. I never updated it on the computer in question. I have a multiple computer account with them and although I installed it on the computer I'm typing on, I couldn't install it on the computer that wont boot.

Well the computer stopped rebooting. Now when I turn it on I get a screen that has the Gateway logo in the middle, the text: "Boot Menu (F10)" and "Bios Settings (F2)" in the lower right corner, and then Intel pentium inside logo in the lower left corner. The background is black.

Pressing F10 and F2 yield no response.

I disconneted the internet cable. I moved the computer and plugged it into an old, 1995, monitor. The same screen displaid. I removed the old monitor and plugged in the wide-screen monitor.

So right now it's just the computer plugged into the wall with no internet connection. I have my mouse, keyboard and monitor plugged in.

I have to hard boot (hold the power button in for about three seconds to turn off, and then turn it back on). When I do this, the screen that I described above comes on almost right away. Like, within one second.

I got lucky this week. I rebooted and by continuously pressing the F10 key I was able to get to safe mode and then boot into regular Windows. When I got there, however, no icons showed up. I had my background (blue sky, grass), but no icons. I pressed cntl/alt/del to get to task manager and then "file"/"run". I was able to access files and went to c:\windows\system32\ and ran control panel. When I ran this all of my icons showed up and it seemed as though my computer finished booting up.

I received multiple messages about viruses. I opened McAfee Security Center to scan and my account wasn't up to date. Then my computer locked up again. I had to turn it off.

I tried to get to that point again today but was not able to.

My goal is to get back to my files and pull off the important ones. I have a McAfee recover CD and also my operating system CD. I don't know if I should try to boot off these, I really don't want to lose files.

So my questions are:

Why does my computer boot/default to the black screen so fast?
Is there a different way to get to safe mode?
Can I start in DOS?
Do you have any ideas???

BTW, the computer I'm writing to you on is a Dell Dimension 4100 with a 20g hard drive and 256M of memory. I have really enjoyed this computer. It's been solid. The Gateway has been an issue, but I have three kids that play internet games. Does Gateway typically have a good product?

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#2 garmanma


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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:12 PM

Can I start in DOS?

XP does not have DOS

If you can access Task Manager again, either by right-clicking the taskbar or the three finger salute
Click on the Applications tab and end all tasks. Then start a new task and type - explorer.exe and click OK
That should hopefully bring up the Desktop
If you have a thumb drive or can burn a CD you can try mbam
It should be run in normal mode, but even safe mode should be enough to get it going so we can use other tools


The process of cleaning your computer may require you to temporarily disable some security programs. If you are using SpyBot Search and Destroy, please refer to Note 2 at the bottom of this page.

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link 1
alternate download link 2
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application.
  • When the installation begins, follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
  • When installation has finished, make sure you leave both of these checked:
    • Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
    • Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
MBAM will automatically start and you will be asked to update the program before performing a scan.
  • If an update is found, the program will automatically update itself.
  • Press the OK button to close that box and continue.
  • If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here and just double-click on mbam-rules.exe to install.
On the Scanner tab:
  • Make sure the "Perform Quick Scan" option is selected.
  • Then click on the Scan button.
  • If asked to select the drives to scan, leave all the drives selected and click on the Start Scan button.
  • The scan will begin and "Scan in progress" will show at the top. It may take some time to complete so please be patient.
  • When the scan is finished, a message box will say "The scan completed successfully. Click 'Show Results' to display all objects found".
  • Click OK to close the message box and continue with the removal process.
Back at the main Scanner screen:
  • Click on the Show Results button to see a list of any malware that was found.
  • Make sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
  • When removal is completed, a log report will open in Notepad.
  • The log is automatically saved and can be viewed by clicking the Logs tab in MBAM.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that report in your next reply and exit MBAM.
-- If MBAM encounters a file that is difficult to remove, you may be asked to reboot your computer so it can proceed with the disinfection process. Regardless if prompted to restart the computer or not, please do so immediately. Failure to reboot normally (not into safe mode) will prevent MBAM from removing all the malware.

Note 2:
-- MBAM may make changes to your registry as part of its disinfection routine. If you're using other security programs that detect registry changes (like Spybot's Teatimer), they may interfere with the fix or alert you after scanning with MBAM. Please disable such programs until disinfection is complete or permit them to allow the changes. To disable these programs, please view this topic: How To Temporarily Disable Your Anti-virus, Firewall And Anti-malware Programs


If mbam won't install

Some types of malware will disable MBAM and other security tools. If MBAM will not install, try renaming it. Right-click on the mbam-setup.exe file and change the .exe extension to .bat, .com, .pif, or .scr and then double-click on it to run.

If after installation, MBAM will not run, open the Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware folder in Program Files, right-click on mbam.exe and change the .exe as noted above. Then double-click on it to run.
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