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When I boot, it goes to a HP splash screen, and then to a blank screen. No beeps. From the HP splash screen, I can hit F10 and get into the Bios. From the Bios, I can I see the HDD. I am able to test the HDD, and it tests good. I also see the Ram. The HDD is first in boot order, but it still doesn't boot.
Nothing is new or different since the last time it worked properly. Do you think the CPU is toast?
From the description you provided, it looks like your OS got corrupted. Our first step is to boot either from a XP CD or from a XP Recovery Console CD and run some repair commands.
If you got a HP OEM XP CD with your laptop you can use that. If you don't have a XP CD, you can use a "Recovery Console CD" instead. Follow the instructions in the below link to create a XP recovery console CD.
After you obtain either XP install disk or recovery console disk, follow the below steps.
To start the Recovery Console directly from the CD you would do the following:
Insert the Windows XP cd or recovery console CD in your computer.
Restart your computer so you are booting off of the CD. (change the boot order in BIOS - f10)
When the Welcome to Setup screen appears, press the R button on your keyboard to start the Recovery Console.
The Recovery Console will start and ask you which Windows installation you would like to log on to. If you have multiple Windows installations, it will list each one, and you would enter the number associated with the installation you would like to work on and press enter. If you have just one Windows installation, type1 and press enter.
It will then prompt you for the Administrator's password. If there is no password, simply press enter. Otherwise type in the password and then press enter. If you do not know your password then see this.
If you entered the correct password you will now be presented with a C:\Windows> prompt and you can start using the Recovery Console.
7. Now enter CHKDSK C: /R in the command prompt to run check disk.
8. After check disk finished, enter the following commands one after another - Fixmbr and Fixboot . Press Y to confirm when it asks for permission.
If the system still refuses to boot, press F8 during startup untill you see "Advanced startup options" menu. From there select "Safe mode" and press enter to boot. Check if the system boot fine in safe mode.
The below video will make you clear how to use recovery console.
When you say you see a blank screen, do you mean a black screen with a flashing cursor in the upper left corner or do you mean something else? Do you have an XP CD? If so, I'd suggest we probably want to do a repair installation.
Did your system supports boot from USB drive ? . You can check it by plugging a USB pen drive while powering on. If the system supports USB booting you will see it in the F12 boot menu as an option. Then we can make a bootable USB drive and stop wasting CD.
Didn't get "press any key to boot from CD." I always get "press F12 to boot from Lan", ESC to change boot order," and "press F10 to enter Setup" on the HP splash screen. It doesn't change when I plug in the USB pen drive, but the pen drive lite flashes.
I just hit ESC and I got "SMART failure predicted on Hard Drive, back up your data ASAP. Press F1 to continue." I pressed F1 and it booted into Win Desktop. I restarted it again, but I had to press ESC to boot. Looks like I need a new HDD. But why won't it boot from the CD-ROM? Maybe that's bad also?
You can change the boot order by pressing "Esc" during startup - not F12. From the boot menu select CD drive using arrow key and press enter to boot from CD. In some other HP models it is the F9 key that changes boot order.
As you are getting SMART failure message, testing HDD is not necessary. Your HDD is definitely bad and it need to be replaced as i suspected. SMART is a built in feature in modern hard drive which monitors HDD internal functions and warn the user when critical error occurs. To know more about SMART read the below link.
1) The reason it will not boot from the cd is due to one of three factors: It is not the first device in the bios boot order or the cd is not bootable or the cd drive is bad. When you change the boot order in bios are you chooseing "save changes & exit"?
2) I agree that the smart failure message would indicate a failing hard drive. Nothing to mess with - save your data and replace the drive.
Thanks for your help Anshad and Allan. I need some help in understanding the boot process in my HP laptop. I went into Bios, via F10, and saved changes to the boot order. Apparently they didn't take, even though I went back into Bios and saw the changes I had made.
Anshad, are you saying that ESC funtion is the only way to change boot order? When I went into the ESC funtion, I only saw the SMART message; not a boot order option; perhaps because of the SMART message. If SMART detected the HDD was failing, and I persume prevented booting up to the HDD, why didn't the laptop default to the DVD/CD (the next device in the Boot process)?