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Safe Mode options keep recycling back to the Safe Mode options screen


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#1 Felix67

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:58 PM

I know this laptop is old and I should just dump it and get a new one. The problem is all the personal data I have stored and I am also trying to stay away from Windows 7 which would render my printer and programs useless.

Here is the problem I have encountered.

1. When I power on the laptop goes into the initial welcome display screen that gives you the F2 and F12 options and the Dell Inspiron 700m logo and the Intel Celeron Mobile Tech logo screen.
2. It then goes directly into the F8 safe modes selection screen with the various safe mode options.
3. When I select any of the available options, i.e., SAFE MODE; SAFE MODE WITH NETWORKING; SAFE MODE WITH COMMAND PROMPT; LAST KNOW GOOD CONFIG; or START WINDOWS NORMALLY; the laptop goes to the Windows XP splash screen for a short while and then keeps retuning to the F8 safe mode selection screen.
4. This cycle repeats every time without being able to actually get into safe mode to do a system restore or take any other action.

Here is what I have done:
1. I have connected to an external monitor with the same results
2. I have removed the RAM module and moved it to the other slot; same results
3. I have replaced the RAM module with a new one; same results
4. I have removed the HDD and put it back; same results
5. I have ran the F12 Dell Diagnostics and found one error code: 1000-0146 Drive Self Test Failed – not sure if this applies to the HDD or to the IDE CD/DVD drive that hasn’t worked for many years.
6. I have the original Dell Operating System Reinstallation CD and have connected an external CD Rom drive to the USB port but unfortunately when I try to change the booting seq there is no option for an external USB CD drive; I have options for USB HDD; USB FDD; IDE HDD; and IDE CD drive

Short of pulling out the HDD and connecting it with a USB cable interface to a working computer to pull out the data I don’t have any more ideas as to what to do next.

Please help.

Here is the laptop info: Dell Inspiron 700m
CPU: Intel Pentium M Processor 755 (2 ghz/400mhz FSB)
RAM: 1 gb
OS: WinXP Pro SP2 upgraded to SP3
HDD: 80gb Ultra ATA
Optical Drive: 8x CD/DVD burner (NOT WORKING – does not read or play any CDs)

I am not sure if this should posted here in the Operating System forum or if it should go in the Hardware forum.

Edited by hamluis, 01 September 2012 - 08:00 AM.
Moved from XP to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 ElFasso

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 04:57 AM

It looks like your boot.ini has been changed. Have you entered the "msconfig" to change something?

Try this;

Restart the computer and keep pressing on F8. Then you'll see a screen like in the screenshot;

If you have the option "Disable automatic restart on system failure" like in the example, you must enter this.

Posted Image

If you don't have this option. Let me known.

#3 Felix67

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 01:14 PM

ElFasso,

Thanks for getting back to me. The answer to your suggestion is NO I do not get that option; the only options I get are the ones listed on my initial post.

#4 Artrooks

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 02:14 PM

Felix67,

I have ran the F12 Dell Diagnostics and found one error code: 1000-0146 Drive Self Test Failed – not sure if this applies to the HDD or to the IDE CD/DVD drive that hasn't worked for many years.


This is reporting that your hard drive has failed Dell Diagnostics tests. Only Dell knows exactly what that code means, however, it is evidence that the hard drive is failing and can't be trusted. The CD\DVDROM error codes are different - see here.

If you have important data on that drive, it would be best to slave it to another computer and attempt rescue as soon as possible.

Once data has been rescued and with the problem drive still slaved, you could run the hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic software linked from here: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/tp/tophddiag.htm as a second opinion.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#5 joseibarra

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 04:50 PM

ElFasso,

Thanks for getting back to me. The answer to your suggestion is NO I do not get that option; the only options I get are the ones listed on my initial post.


In addition to the potential HDD issue, peruse this:

If there is a problem booting, XP is configured to automatically try to boot again and you can get stuck in a loop of just being unable to get past the boot options screen or none of the boot options you choose will work.

Sometimes when XP has a problem starting or crashes and tries to start again, it will give you a "short" menu of boot options and none of them will seem to be the right ones to get your system going again. Something like this:

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
Start Windows Normally

You've tried them all!

The options resemble the XP Advanced Boot Options menu, but the one option you need (Disable automatic restart on system failure) is not offered because XP has gone too far along in the boot process and offers you a limited number of boot options.

If that is the case, you must manually invoke the Advanced Boot Options menu yourself until you do see the option:

Disable automatic restart on system failure

When you do get to the correct XP Advanced Options Boot menu you want to see, it has options on it like these:



Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Enable Boot Logging
Enable VGA mode
Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows domain controllers only)
Debugging Mode
Disable automatic restart on system failure

Start Windows Normally
Reboot
Return to OS Choices Menu



What you need to choose from that menu is the option:

Disable automatic restart on system failure

Then if XP fails to boot normally, you will see an error screen with information and clues regarding the problem and then you can decide what to do next.

If you do not see the Disable automatic restart on system failure option, you need to reset your system and start tapping the F8 key on the keyboard until you do see the Disable automatic restart on system failure option.

If you miss the F8 window of opportunity, you need to try again and start tapping the F8 key with more urgency (sooner and more frequently) until you do see Disable automatic restart on system failure, then select it.

You need to keep trying the F8 menu until you do see Disable automatic restart on system failure option, and select it.



If your system is experiencing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), we need to know what the screen says:

Here is a BSOD example showing information you need to provide:

BSOD Example

Send the information pointed to with the red arrows (3-4 lines total).

Send the entire *** STOP message line since there are clues in the 4 parameters.

If it looks like there is some kind of file name listed under the STOP message, send that line too.

Skip the boring text unless it looks important to you. We know what a BSOD looks like, we need to know what your BSOD looks like.

Report back the results from the Disable automatic restart on system failure screen and you can decide what to do next.

Edited by joseibarra, 20 August 2012 - 04:51 PM.

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


#6 Felix67

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:42 PM

Ok... thanks to all for all the help.

Here is what I did on the suggestion of Artrooks. I took the hdd out of the laptop and connected (slave) it to my son’s working Win7 laptop USB port. It was immediately detected and ready to go. I could see all the folders and files. This was a good sign that the hdd was ok. I then decided to check the hdd for errors by opening My Computer then right click on the hdd drive letter (E:); the clicked on Properties – Tools – Check Now and selected Automatically Fix File System Errors. That utility did the trick and returned the hdd to working condition. There is nothing wrong with the hdd.

I then put the hdd back in the laptop and was able to get it to boot into Safe Mode where I did a restore to a date before the problem started. It then restarted normally and I was able to update Microsoft Security Essentials and did a full scan detecting and removing a TrojanDownloader:HTML/Adodb.gen!A; after this I updated Malwarebytes and also did a full scan with no detections.

I took advantage and copied some of my files into a flash drive... all this was done while watching the Yankees v. White Socks game... too bad the Yankees lost the game but not so bad because up to now I was happy to have my laptop back.

I then figured let me shut down and start it again to make sure... well, it did come back on for a short while and the screen went black again. I pressed the lid button and the screen would come back for a short while and go black again.

This morning I connected to an external monitor and I have turned it off many times to make sure... and so far it works perfectly with the external monitor.

This leads me to believe I have a problem with the laptop display or something else and I don’t know what else I can do other than continue to use it connected to the external monitor. BTW: I am writing and posting this with the laptop.

This info should be useful to other users and I’d appreciate it if anybody else have any other suggestions.

Again, thank you all for all the suggestions.

#7 Artrooks

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:20 PM

Good work, Felix67. :)

Regarding the video problem, I guess it could be inverter board or backlight. I'm not really up on diagnosing video issues, but others here are.

I'm still concerned that your hard drive failed the Dell Diagnostics test. You should run that test again. If it gives the same error, you should get a second opinion from the hard drives manufacturer's diagnostic software linked in post # 4.

It should "pass" both short and long tests. A "fail" in either test would be further indication that the drive is failing, even though it appears to functioning for the time being. I would burn the DOS version to make a bootable CD and run it at computer start-up.

You can determine your hard drive manufacturer via Device Manager -->Disk Drives (WDC=Western Digital; ST=Seagate; HTS=Hitachi; if it's not otherwise obvious).

Regards,
Brooks



 


#8 Felix67

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:24 PM

Artrooks, I am now convinced that I have a problem like you suggest; with the display inverter or backlight. I’d like to have this thread moved to the hardware forum to see if I can get more help with this.

I have been using the laptop connected to an external monitor without any problems; this tells me it’s not the video card or the hard drive.

BTW, there’s been a few times when the laptop display comes alive and works fine; this while connected to the external drive; but then when I shut down and turn it on the next day it does not come back on.

Is there anything else that I could do to find a solution?

Thanks again…

#9 Felix67

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 03:20 PM

I am still lost trying to find out what is causing my screen to go black. I ordered an inverter board with cable and today I opened up the screen cover bezel and replaced the inverter board; I did not replace the inverter cable, I only replaced the inverter board. I crossed my fingers and power on the laptop only to find that I still have the same problem.

Here is a recap: The laptop boots normally and I can see the initial splash screen with the F2, F12 options, it then starts loading the operating system and the screen shows the WinXP logo with the running status bar for a short while... the screen then goes completely black; at this point I have to connect an external monitor to be able to see the "Log on to Windows" screen to type my log on password to complete the log on process. Once done that the laptop functions perfectly with the external monitor.

I can reasonably eliminate the following as possible causes: the operating system, the ram, the hdd, viruses, and the inverter.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

BTW: Can I get the title of this thread changed to something like: What's causing my laptop screen to go black?

Edited by Felix67, 08 September 2012 - 08:15 AM.





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