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Dell Vostro 1520 with blinking cursor


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#1 memond13

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

Hello,
I have a Dell Vostro 1520 with Vista OS. Here's what happened:

4 days ago, my screen wouldn't come on. I shut down the computer and it came back up (screen worked). The next day when I tried to awaken the computer, the screen wouldn't come on no matter how many times I restarted. Hooked it to an external screen and it worked fine (on the desk monitor). Used it for two days this way. I ordered an inverter to troubleshoot the monitor, but haven't received it yet. Yesterday I downloaded a software program from CNET to manage sales contacts (adding this as it's the only change I made). Today, I closed the laptop down, took it to work and hooked it to a monitor there. When I did, I get the Dell splash screen, then just a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left. I can get into the BIOS menu by hitting F2 and it appears to be booting off the HD. I can not start in safe mode. If I keep hitting buttons on the blank screen, I eventually get a beep with each key press (about 15 keys, then beeps with each key).

Anyone know how I can fix this or troubleshoot if it's the mortherboard or HD? I'm actually hoping for the mortherboard so I can get data off the HD.
Thanks!

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#2 AustrAlien

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:48 PM

Let's have a look at the MBR (Master Boot Record) and see where we go from there.

:step1: On a working computer, please download the latest version of PartedMagic:
Write (in the appropriate manner) the downloaded .iso file to either CD or USB/flashdrive:
Boot the problematic computer from the PartedMagic CD or flashdrive:
  • At the first menu with Default settings (Runs from RAM) selected, press <ENTER>.
    Be patient while PartedMagic loads into memory, and then displays its Desktop.
Success? Let me know if you can successfully boot to the Desktop of PartedMagic, and whether you are using a bootable CD or a flashdrive.

Posted Image
PartedMagic Desktop version 2012-08-09


:step2: At the PartedMagic Desktop, open a terminal window:
  • Locate the black screen/monitor icon (ROXTerm) along the bar at the bottom of the Desktop screen (third icon from the left-side edge).
  • Click on the ROXTerm icon to open a terminal window and at the prompt, type:

    fdisk -l

    Note: There is a space between "fdisk" and "-l".
    That is a lower case L as in Llama and not a ONE.

  • ... and press <ENTER>.
  • Drag your mouse over the output to select it all.
  • Right-click somewhere in the area selected > Copy
    (In the next step, you will paste this in a reply.)
Open Firefox (the Firefox icon is on the Desktop:
  • Hopefully you will have an internet connection already.
  • Go to www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums, sign in and find your topic.
  • Paste the output of fdisk -l in your reply.
Let me know if you have any problems.


:step3: At the PartedMagic Desktop, open a terminal window:
  • Click on the ROXTerm icon to open a terminal window and at the prompt, type:

    dd if=/dev/sda of=mbr.bin bs=512 count=1

  • Note: Leave a space between the following:
  • dd ... the executable application used to create the backup
  • if=/dev/sda ... the device the backup is created from (the hard drive when only one HDD exists)
  • of=mbr.bin ... the backup file to create - note the lack of a path - it will be created in the directory currently open in the Terminal
  • bs=512 ... the number of bytes in the backup
  • count=1 ... says to backup just 1 sector
  • It is extremely important that the if and of statements are correctly entered.
[*]... and press the <ENTER> key.
A file named mbr.bin will be saved to the system in the "root" directory.
Note: This file is saved in memory only and will no longer exist when PartedMagic is shut down.
[/list]At the PartedMagic Desktop, double-click the File Manager icon (on Desktop):
  • A new window will open.
  • In the "root" directory you will see the file that you just created called mbr.bin.
  • Right-click on the mbr.bin file > New > Archive.
  • Under "Archive Format", choose the format .zip from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Save.
  • You should now see the zipped file, mbr.bin.zip in the root directory along with mbr.bin.
Please attach the mbr.bin.zip file to a reply to this topic.
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#3 memond13

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for the quick response. I tried downloading the files twice ta a USB stick and both boot ups give me an error that says:
wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on dev/loop1.
Thoughts?

#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:38 PM

I tried downloading the files twice ta a USB stick ...

This prompts me to ask:
  • Did you use the recommended method (Creating the LiveUSB) to load the .iso file to the USB device?
  • If so, can you test that it is indeed bootable on another computer?

AustrAlien
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#5 memond13

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:18 PM

I double checked and made sure I followed those instructions closely. I get the same error. I will try the boot program on a computer at work tomorrow as my desktop here has encryption that won't let it boot from anything else.
I'll let you know if it works.
Thanks!

#6 memond13

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

Ok, it doesn't seem to work on that computer either. I'm following the link for "Creating the LiveUSB", once on my desktop, I'm selecting the PartedMagic option, selecting the drive letter my flash drive is in, waiting for the download to complete, reseting my computer, taking out the stick and finally booting it from the USB on the other computer. Am I missing somthing?

#7 memond13

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:59 AM

Any other thoughts on this anyone?
Thanks!

#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:33 PM

Sorry about the delay getting back to you. I think you were unlucky enough to have two computers that were not compatible with PartedMagic ??? Let's try a different Linux ...

:step1: Download http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/unetbootin-xpud-windows-latest.exe
and http://noahdfear.net/downloads/bootable/xPUD/xpud-0.9.2.iso to the desktop of a working computer:
  • Insert a USB flashdrive.
  • Go to Start > My Computer > right-click on the flashdrive > choose Format > Quick format.
  • Double-click the unetbootin-xpud-windows-387.exe that you just downloaded.
  • Click Run > OK.
  • Select the DiskImage option and then click the browse button located on the right side of the text-box field.
  • Browse to and select the xpud-0.9.2.iso file that you downloaded.
  • Verify the correct drive letter is selected for your flashdrive, and then click OK.
    A small bootable Linux operating system will be installed on the flashdrive.
  • Once the files have been written to the device, you will be prompted to reboot: Do not reboot the computer.
    • Instead, just exit the UNetbootin interface (simply close the installer).
  • Remove the flashdrive from the computer.
You will use this flashdrive to boot the ailing computer from.


:step2: Boot the ailing computer with the xPUD flashdrive.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the flashdrive/USB HDD.)
    A Welcome to xPUD screen will appear.
  • Click on File.
  • Expand the mnt icon on the left (click on the little arrow beside the icon).
    • sda1, sda2 etc. ...usually correspond to your HDD partitions
    • sdb1, sdc1 is likely to correspond to a USB flashdrive, external USB hard drive etc.
      Note: It may happen that after booting to xPUD on a flashdrive and then looking for the flashdrive, you are not able to find it anywhere. If this happens, simply unplug the flashdrive, wait briefly and then re-plug it back into the system, and it should now show up.
  • Click on the folder that represents your USB drive (sdb1 ?).
  • Click Tool on the top menu, and choose Open Terminal.
  • Type the following at the hash prompt:

    dd if=/dev/sda of=mbr.bin bs=512 count=1

    • Note: Leave a space between the following:
      • dd ... the executable application used to create the backup
      • if=/dev/sda ... the device the backup is created from (the hard drive when only one HDD exists)
      • of=mbr.bin ... the backup file to create - note the lack of a path - it will be created in the directory currently open in the Terminal
      • bs=512 ... the number of bytes in the backup
      • count=1 ... says to backup just 1 sector
        It is extremely important that the if and of statements are correctly entered.
  • Press the <ENTER> key.
    After it has finished a file will be located on your USB drive named mbr.bin.
  • Go to Home > Power Off > Turn Off and remove the flashdrive as the system shuts down.

:step3: On the working computer:
  • Insert the flashdrive, and navigate to the file mbr.bin
  • Zip-up the mbr.bin file:
    • Right-click on the file and choose Send to .. > Compressed (zipped) Folder.
      A zipped folder will appear in the same location as the mbr.bin file.
  • Please attach the zipped file to your next reply.
    This will allow the MasterBootRecord of your hard drive to be checked to see whether or not it is infected &/or damaged.

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#9 memond13

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:10 PM

Sorry for the delay, I forgot my flashdrive at work last night. Attached is the mbr.zip file. Just as an fyi, as the bootup came on, the screen on my laptop worked for about 10-15 secs. Not sure if that adds anything to the diagnosis.
Thanks!

Attached Files

  • Attached File  mbr.zip   578bytes   4 downloads


#10 AustrAlien

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:39 AM

The partition table is corrupt:
  • The first partition is invalid (see that PARTITION 1 is not displayed in the the output below as a partition).
    • What was the first and second partition, is listed below as PARTITION 2 and PARTITION 3.
  • The boot flag is set to the first invalid partition and explains why the system will not boot to Windows.
MBR Analyzer v1.1.0

File : C:\Documents and Settings\GEOFF\Desktop\memond13_BC\mbr\mbr.bin

--------------------------------------------------------------

--OFFSET--  0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-A-B-C-D-E-F-  0123456789ABCDEF

0x00000000  90EB07C0010A0A008000FA33C08ED0BC  .ë.À......ú3À.м
0x00000010  007CFB505351521E06CD12EB07B90400  .|ûPSQR..Í.ë.¹..
0x00000020  BDBE073FC1E0068BD02EC51EBC00817F  ½¾.?Áà..Ð.Å.¼...
0x00000030  035250750B807F054C7505B8064ACD2F  .RPu....Lu.¸.JÍ/
0x00000040  8BCA0E1F5556578BF14E2B36037C83E6  .Ê..UVW.ñN+6.|.æ
0x00000050  C089364B7D2BCEC1E1038EC633FF33C0  À.6K}+ÎÁá..Æ3.3À
0x00000060  FCF3AB068EC0B4088B16087C52CD1383  üó«..À´....|RÍ..
0x00000070  E13F8AC1F6E603C18BF8BB007E880E4D  á?.Áöæ.Á.ø».~..M
0x00000080  7D8B0E067C5AE84B0033C0078A076800  }...|ZèK.3À...h.
0x00000090  08078D7708505B4B5352C1E3028B008B  ...w.P[KSRÁã....
0x000000A0  50023BD7733EF7F7928BCAF6364D7DC0  P.;×s>÷÷..Êö6M}À
0x000000B0  E506FEC40AEC86CD5A8AF0C1E3077464  å.þÄ.ì.ÍZ.ðÁã.td
0x000000C0  8A26057CFECCD0E438E77505FF364B7D  .&.|þÌÐä8çu..6K}
0x000000D0  0768967CB00550B80102CD13587201C3  .h.|°.P¸..Í.Xr.Ã
0x000000E0  FEC875F20E070E1FFCBE007C0E58C1E0  þÈuò....ü¾.|.XÁà
0x000000F0  042BF0568BDE8BFE81C70002B9AE01F3  .+ðV.Þ.þ.Ç..¹®.ó
0x00000100  A4E9000283C6108B140AD274F779058B  ¤é...Æ....Òt÷y..
0x00000110  4C02EBC0BE637FAC0AC074FE32FFB40E  L.ëÀ¾c.¬.Àtþ2.´.
0x00000120  CD10EBF358A1037C8B36067C8B3E087C  Í.ëóX¡.|.6.|.>.|
0x00000130  8CC583C5208EDD66813FFEFDCEEF75A4  .Å.Å .Ýf.?þýÎïu¤
0x00000140  896F08FF5F06729CEA0402496E76616C  .o.._.r.ê..Inval
0x00000150  696420706172746974696F6E20746162  id partition tab
0x00000160  6C65004572726F72206C6F6164696E67  le.Error loading
0x00000170  206F7065726174696E67207379737465   operating syste
0x00000180  6D004D697373696E67206F7065726174  m.Missing operat
0x00000190  696E672073797374656D000073696E67  ing system..sing
0x000001A0  206F7065726174696E67207379730065   operating sys.e
0x000001B0  6D00000000627A99A3042DA400008000  m....bz.£.-¤....
0x000001C0  38000000000037000000000000000001  8.....7.........
0x000001D0  0100DEFE3F043F000000863901000019  ..Þþ?.?....9....
0x000001E0  150507FEFFFF00400100B056A0120000  ...þ...@..°V....
0x000001F0  000000000000000000000000000055AA  ..............Uª

---------------------------[ MBR ]----------------------------

MBR_CODE        : Unknown MBR Code
MD5             : 689AE9C2FB273F02389B4946E7F4BCD6
SHA1            : EDCEA2DC954FC43C54FDE9B4B0A15F424E02466C
PARTITIONS      : 2
DISK_SIGNATURE  : A3042DA4
SIGNATURE_ID    : AA55h

-----------------------[ PARTITION 2 ]------------------------

BOOTABLE        : NO
PARTITION_TYPE  : 0xDE ( Dell Utility )
PARTITION_SIZE  : 39.00 Mo
STARTING_SECTOR : 63
ENDING_SECTOR   : 80325
TOTAL_SECTORS   : 80262

-----------------------[ PARTITION 3 ]------------------------

BOOTABLE        : NO
PARTITION_TYPE  : 0x07 ( NTFS / HPFS)
PARTITION_SIZE  : 149 Go
STARTING_SECTOR : 81920
ENDING_SECTOR   : 312579760
TOTAL_SECTORS   : 312497840

Edited by AustrAlien, 07 December 2012 - 12:42 AM.

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#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:57 AM

I have manually edited the partition table:
  • The invalid first partition has been removed.
  • The boot flag is now set to PARTITION 2, the Windows system partition.
The MBR now looks like this:
MBR Analyzer v1.1.0

File : C:\Documents and Settings\GEOFF\Desktop\memond13_BC\mbr\mbra.bin

--------------------------------------------------------------

--OFFSET--  0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-A-B-C-D-E-F-  0123456789ABCDEF

0x00000000  90EB07C0010A0A008000FA33C08ED0BC  ........3.м
0x00000010  007CFB505351521E06CD12EB07B90400  .|PSQR......
0x00000020  BDBE073FC1E0068BD02EC51EBC00817F  .?.......
0x00000030  035250750B807F054C7505B8064ACD2F  .RPu....Lu..J/
0x00000040  8BCA0E1F5556578BF14E2B36037C83E6  ...UVW.N+6.|.
0x00000050  C089364B7D2BCEC1E1038EC633FF33C0  .6K}+..3.3
0x00000060  FCF3AB068EC0B4088B16087C52CD1383  ......|R..
0x00000070  E13F8AC1F6E603C18BF8BB007E880E4D  ?....~..M
0x00000080  7D8B0E067C5AE84B0033C0078A076800  }...|ZK.3...h.
0x00000090  08078D7708505B4B5352C1E3028B008B  ...w.P[KSR....
0x000000A0  50023BD7733EF7F7928BCAF6364D7DC0  P.;s>..6M}
0x000000B0  E506FEC40AEC86CD5A8AF0C1E3077464  ...Z..td
0x000000C0  8A26057CFECCD0E438E77505FF364B7D  .&.|8u..6K}
0x000000D0  0768967CB00550B80102CD13587201C3  .h.|.P...Xr.
0x000000E0  FEC875F20E070E1FFCBE007C0E58C1E0  u.....|.X
0x000000F0  042BF0568BDE8BFE81C70002B9AE01F3  .+V......
0x00000100  A4E9000283C6108B140AD274F779058B  .......ty..
0x00000110  4C02EBC0BE637FAC0AC074FE32FFB40E  L.c..t2..
0x00000120  CD10EBF358A1037C8B36067C8B3E087C  .X.|.6.|.>.|
0x00000130  8CC583C5208EDD66813FFEFDCEEF75A4  .. .f.?u
0x00000140  896F08FF5F06729CEA0402496E76616C  .o.._.r...Inval
0x00000150  696420706172746974696F6E20746162  id partition tab
0x00000160  6C65004572726F72206C6F6164696E67  le.Error loading
0x00000170  206F7065726174696E67207379737465   operating syste
0x00000180  6D004D697373696E67206F7065726174  m.Missing operat
0x00000190  696E672073797374656D000073696E67  ing system..sing
0x000001A0  206F7065726174696E67207379730065   operating sys.e
0x000001B0  6D00000000627A99A3042DA400000001  m....bz..-....
0x000001C0  0100DEFE3F043F000000863901008019  ..?.?....9....
0x000001D0  150507FEFFFF00400100B056A0120000  ......@..V....
0x000001E0  00000000000000000000000000000000  ................
0x000001F0  000000000000000000000000000055AA  ..............U

---------------------------[ MBR ]----------------------------

MBR_CODE        : Unknown MBR Code
MD5             : 7CA86B00B4FC281818E95630DF5EAF81
SHA1            : 0844907528D90083AC084119362627FAEB99C637
PARTITIONS      : 2
DISK_SIGNATURE  : A3042DA4
SIGNATURE_ID    : AA55h

-----------------------[ PARTITION 1 ]------------------------

BOOTABLE        : NO
PARTITION_TYPE  : 0xDE ( Dell Utility )
PARTITION_SIZE  : 39.00 Mo
STARTING_SECTOR : 63
ENDING_SECTOR   : 80325
TOTAL_SECTORS   : 80262

-----------------------[ PARTITION 2 ]------------------------

BOOTABLE        : YES
PARTITION_TYPE  : 0x07 ( NTFS / HPFS)
PARTITION_SIZE  : 149 Go
STARTING_SECTOR : 81920
ENDING_SECTOR   : 312579760
TOTAL_SECTORS   : 312497840

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#12 AustrAlien

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:06 AM

The amended MBR (mbra.bin zipped) is attached to this post.

:step1: Download and save the attached file (mbra.zip) to your working computer.
  • Then right-click on mbra.zip > Extract (or Extract all ...)
    You will end up with the file mbra.bin when extracted.
  • Copy the file mbra.bin to your flashdrive.
The next job will be to write mbra.bin to the hard drive.
  • Remove the flashdrive from the working computer.
:step2: Boot the ailing computer with the xPUD CD.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD/DVD drive.)
    A Welcome to xPUD screen will appear.
    :exclame: Insert the flashdrive with the amended MBR (mbr.bin).
  • Click on File.
  • Expand the mnt icon on the left (click on the little arrow beside the icon).
    • sda1, sda2 etc. ...usually correspond to your HDD partitions
    • sdb1, sdc1 is likely to correspond to a USB flashdrive, external USB hard drive etc.
  • Click on the folder that represents your USB drive (sdb1 ?).

    :exclame: Important: Check to ensure that you see the amended MBR file (mbra.bin) there on the flashdrive.
    • If you do not see it, then DO NOT PROCEED.
  • Click Tool on the top menu, and choose Open Terminal.
  • Type the following at the hash prompt:

    dd if=mbra.bin of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1

    • Note: Leave a space between the following:
      • dd
      • if=mbra.bin
      • of=/dev/sda
      • bs=512
      • count=1
        It is extremely important that the if and of statements are correctly entered.
  • Press the <ENTER> key.
A successful write will result in output similar to the following:
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
512 bytes (512 <img src='http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cool.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> copied, 0.00314681 s, 163 kB/s
  • ... and you will be returned to the hash prompt.
  • If you see anything significantly different, let me know.
If the file was successfully written to the hard drive:
  • Go to Home > Power Off > Turn Off and remove the xPUD CD and the flashdrive as the system shuts down.
Start the computer and boot to the hard drive as normal.
  • Note: If you have had to configure the system to boot from the CD, then you may need to enter the BIOS Setup Menu and change the boot order setting so that the system will boot from the hard drive.
Does Windows load successfully?

Attached Files

  • Attached File  mbra.zip   572bytes   2 downloads

Edited by AustrAlien, 07 December 2012 - 03:25 AM.

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#13 memond13

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:15 AM

I have the mbra file on my flash drive and can see it on the ailing computer, but when I tried to write it, I am missing the:
"512 bytes (512 B) copied, 0.00314681 s, 163 kB/s"
line in the results. The first two are there. I tried normal reboot and still have the issue. I'm assuming it didn't actaully write? Should I try it again?
Thanks for the help!!

#14 AustrAlien

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:20 AM

I'm not sure ...

How about you go back to post #8 and get me another mbr.bin so I can check to see if it has changed.
(Delete the original mbr.bin from the flashdrive before doing this.)
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#15 memond13

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:35 AM

Here's the new file.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  mbr.zip   570bytes   4 downloads





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