I have an HP Pavilion running Vista Home. Awhile ago (like 6 months or so) I turned my laptop off and when I attempted to reboot, it would get stuck in a restart cycle. After some extensive googling, this turned out to be an infamous Windows Update issue and after doing a system restore to a previous point it booted up.
However, it only worked that first time. Every time I turned off my laptop it would go to the initial loading screen (with the HP logo) and then after about 15 seconds it would turn off and back on and then just a blank screen appears. After another 15 seconds-ish it turns off and on again tot he same blank screen. Being in the middle of classes I just kept turning it off and on and off and on and eventually it would catch and boot up. But the second I turned it off or put it to sleep it would do the exact same thing all over again.
I found that if I put it into "hibernate mode" (which saves the session to disk so that it loads right into my last session) it would work like 75% of the time. Regardless, however, if I let it run in the continuous turn off/on/turn off/on for long enough it would eventually catch and boot up and work perfectly until I turned it off again.
After moving home for the summer I attempted to turn my laptop on and got stuck in this same process except that after 3 days it still wont boot up. Furthermore, the initial screen with the HP logo usually displays the F10 and F11 commands in the bottom left corner to enter boot order etc. There is no text where those normally are and when I press the keys nothing happens. Also, every once in awhile it will go to a screen that says Operating System Not Found. I'm worried my hard drive is not being read properly but I have a hard time believing it's completely shot since this is a functioning machine when it does boot up.
Is there anything I can check/try? At this point I am not adverse to opening her up and poking around if someone has a recommendation.
Thank you so much! and I apologize if this is long... I'm an English major not a compsci