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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    My wife's notebook (Dell Inspiron 8200 - purchased 4/2002) is not booting.

    I went in search of "The Ultimate Boot Disk" as I'd had success with one in 2004 using one to restart my optiPlex GX200 when it was 'sick.' I could not find the 'source' I'd used then, http://www.startdisk.com. The URL is for sale. I found other possibilities. Paranoia regarding 'look-a-likes' sent me here.

    Can anyone recommend a safe place to download a boot floppy or a boot CD to try?

    Thanks,

    baumgrenze
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  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    DELL?
    BOB
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  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    Since you posted in the Win XP forum I have to ask - if this computer came with XP installed, isn't there a Dell provided CD for booting or restoration? You might also look here to see if there's anything you can use: Bootdisk.Com

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    Can you expand on the statement "is not booting." ???
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  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    The boot sequence ends with statements saying that the hard disk is not found nor is the optical disk found.

    A Dell livechat tech just said, reseat the HDD. When that did not work, he said, get another HDD. Asked about a bootable floopy/CD that was part of the package, he replied "Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

    Does it make sense that in the absence of a CD in the optical drive it would not be detected?

    This machine is old enough to still have a floppy drive. Is a floppy big enough to hold the files needed to boot XP?

    My experience in dealing with problems like this to date has been with Win98 SE2.

    I quickly checked the "bootdisk.com" website. I will take a long hard look to see what I can learn there.

    Thanks,

    baumgrenze
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  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    Here's a quick update.

    We downloaded Xpquick.exe from bootdisk.com and created a floppy.

    With the floppy inserted, the computer responds with a Dell splash that resolves to the following message on a DOS-like screen. (FWIW, the Dell splash does not come up if the floppy inserted; we just see the message that the HDD and the CD drive cannot be found. In Setup they are indicated as 'not installed.'

    Message:

    Windows could not start because of computer disk hardware configuration problems.

    Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.

    Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.


    Does this perhaps sound like a BIOS problem? Remember it says that it cannot find the HDD and the CD Drive (Setup says that they are not installed.)

    Might a boot to DOS be a simpler task for the machine? If the BIOS is corrupted, there must be a way to reflash it without getting booted, no?

    thanks again

    baumgrenze
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  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    I was just given a bit more information.

    The boot failure has been happening periodically over the last two weeks. The battery icon had been flashing orange and green for a month, even though the machine was docked and running on AC. The laptop seemed to be running hot to the touch. The HDD seemed to be getting noisier. Yesterday, after yet another boot failure, we removed the battery altogether, hypothesizing that it might be part of the 'running hot' phenomenon. The next reboot failed, but just after that the machine rebooted fine and a virus check was run. It was clean except for 2 adwares that were moved to the chest. The machine was left running. After a time it displayed the following error message:

    "kernal_data_inpage_error"

    with parameters which were not recorded.

    Since this involuntary shutdown, the machine refuses to boot and displays the error messages noted elsewhere in this thread.

    thanks

    baumgrenze
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  8. #8
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    Sure seems like a disk problem. Hope you have a good backup of at least the data you need on that PC. If not and you can get it booted you ought to back it up ASAP.

    Joe
    Joe

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows is widely recommended -- including by both PCMag (12/26/06 & 2/20/07) and PCWorld (March 2007).

  10. #10
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    I'd like to interject yet another question. Could this behavior be being caused by a failing CMOS battery?

    thanks

    baumgrenze
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  11. #11
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    No good news for you. Usually such behavior (random failures of different devices) is caused by faulting power supply or motherboard itself. It's a pity to say, you most likely have to visit a repair shop.

  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    We made a copy of the "ultimate boot CD" and tried it on the laptop. It does not boot.

    We made a 'diagnostic tools' set on 5 floppies (a Dell download) and, among other things, the tests of the optical drive (a DVD/CD reader) show that it works fine; it played both and audio CD and a data CD. This utility loads Win95 to run. I also have an "Ultimate boot disk" (Win98 flavor) I made in 2004. The source, startdisk.com, is no longer accessible. The machine boots with this disk, too, but I cannot navigate to the DVD/CD drive or the HDD in DOS here. The machine does not recognize C: or D: or any other letter above A and B.

    Could this be a corrupted BIOS? It seems to test out OK with the diagnostic tools.

    Are there motherboard components that could have failed that would produce this result?

    Thanks,
    Baumgrenze
    Hier sind wir tief eingewurzelt.

  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    Have you LOOKED in the BIOS to check the configuration?
    AND see if the BIOS is recognizing the HD and CD?
    I think Dell needs F2 at startup to go into the BIOS. A Dell user can check me on this?
    BOB
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  14. #14
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    As Bob said, you need to boot the machine into the BIOS and see what it shows about the hard drive. I agree with what Joe said earlier that it sure sounds like you've got a failed hard drive on your hands. Trying to look at the drive with a Win98 or DOS routine will be fruitless if the hard drive is formatted with NTFS. You really need to boot, press F2 to go to BIOS and see what it reports about the drive. I'd forget the "optical drive" for now - the crux of your problem is the status of the hard drive.

  15. #15
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Boot Disk/CD (Home)

    I believe that the Dell tech was correct. Get a new HD. If the data on the system is important, after you've installed the new HD and setup your system, put the old drive in an external enclosure and see if you can recover the data from it. If it's not a complete failure of the hardware, you should be able to get your data back. HTH.
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