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Can't boot; stops at "Dell F2/F12" screen


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#1 Llyn

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 06:07 PM

Hi,

I have a Dell Vostro 400 tower, just over a year old, running WinXP. Tuesday night (shortly after I started to download the Sims 3), the screen froze hard, beeped once, then no mouse movement, no Ctrl+Alt+Del -- so I hard booted it. As it came back on, it beeped once while the monitor was still black, then the blue "Dell" screen (that says F2 for this, F12 for that and lists the Bios version) comes up, and that's it, it doesn't get any further.

I've tried F2, F12, F8, F10, each during startup as early as I could, but haven't been able to boot up into safe mode. I have the WinXP disc that Dell sent with the PC and have tried booting up with that in the CD drive, but no go, same result. No error messages anywhere, just stops always at that same point.

Also, from other computers were I access my email I have seen a bunch of "Tagged" emails over the last couple days, and I gather they are infected. I didn't open any on the PC in question, but thought I should mention it.

I guess my question is whether there's anything else I can try, or if I need to truck it down to my local PC repair shop.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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#2 joseibarra

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 06:41 PM

The F2/F12 options are from the BIOS on he motherboard.

I looked at at the manual here: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst.../CR532A01MR.pdf

and it tries to help you know what to do when offered the menus and some troubleshooting.

It tells you what the beep codes mean when you power up, so you need to pay attention to them and if yo uhave more than one short beep, diagnose the problem.

The manual also describes how to clear (sort of like a reset) of the CMOS where BIOS and configuration settings are saved. This will set your settings back to defaults, so you may need to know a little about your hardware to set things up properly inthe BIOS after it is cleared (if you choose to clear it). Sounds like the CMOS is whacked.

If you can get into the BIOS, you can check to see if it even sees your hard disk and maybe tell it to find it if it is missing.

I would consider it unlikely that malicious code from an email will do anything to your BIOS settings and you can't seem to even get to the point where XP tries to load (then F8 would be work). It sounds like you don't even get tothe point that it sees a hard disk and tries to find an operating system. You need to make sure the BIOS recognizes your hard disk and if not, tell it so.

Since it is take-apart-able, you may want to unplug it, remove the cover and reseat all the modules (RAM, video card if applicable, etc.), power it back up and see.

If that doesn't work, you can consider clearing the CMOS while you have the cover off.

You should read the parts of the manual that describe the F2/F12 options and what they do, the section on beep codes, and the part about clearing the CMOS.

This is probably what they would to if you took it someplace and it doesn't sound like it can't get much worse!

Edited by joseibarra, 05 June 2009 - 07:05 PM.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.


#3 Llyn

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 07:26 PM

Thanks for the quick response Jose! No, I guess it doesn't sound good, does it? Everything you suggested sounds doable, and I know I have the manual and will read up -- sure beats paying someone else $60 to do it! I'll let you know, thanks.

Lynn

#4 joseibarra

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 04:46 AM

Another thing - maybe your keyboard is defective, can you try another? They keyboard is plugged in? :thumbsup:

Sometimes, during the POST (power on self test) the BIOS will report a missing keyboard, a key that is stuck, etc. and just stop until you fix it.

Try removing your keyboard and see if you get a different message. Hold down a key while it is booting and see if it detects that, try a different keyboard etc.

Since the F2/F12 keys don't work that would be something to try.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.


#5 Llyn

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:55 PM

Good news! Unseating/reseating got WinXP to start, and then a different KB got me logged the rest of the way in. I was then able to revert to the original KB no problem, so I'm not sure what the issue really was, but I really appreciate your help!!

This is my second visit to Bleeping for help, and both times I got excellent help -- I hope you guys know how much what you do means to us not-quite-so-techy people out here :thumbsup:

Thanks again,

Lynn

#6 joseibarra

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:52 AM

Good job!

Now that I think about it, I should have asked if it was a PS/2 or USB keyboard first off. Might have eliminated some back and forth.

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#7 Llyn

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 09:18 AM

No worries! The first time I sat down to try your suggestions, the PC came roaring back to life -- can't ask for better than that!! Thanks again for all your help!

Lynn

#8 joseibarra

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 09:21 AM

Threats are sometimes effective.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.





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