I have a Dell 8200 with XP Home, which is partitioned with PartitionMagic. I ran into trouble that I terminated by leaning on the off/on button; there seemed to be no other way of ending it. On re-booting I had a normal splash screen followed by a solid blue screen with a mouse arrow that responded properly to mouse movement - nothing more.

Using the Partition Magic boot diskettes I received a 1516 error (Partition Improperly Dismounted), which seems reasonable because of my power-off shutdown. I followed the recommended recovery procedure many times over and I now receive no error message (and in theory can't go after online support, although I tried to do so unsuccessfully twice before reaching this stage), but I still have the blue screen with a mouse pointer that works. None of the standard Windows options will let me use a drive letter, however, which means that PartitionMagic is a prime suspect.

The computer has Recovery Console available at boot, thanks to advice in a previous thread in the Lounge, but both the drive is (80 GB) and the RAM (512 MB) have been recently upgraded, so I really would like to get it running again. I have a fortune in software on the machine that I can't put on a different machine without convincing people like Microsoft that the thing really is toast.

I'd also ask about SMART. PartitionMagic says that SMART can cause this problem and that certain utilities employ it, and my utilities suite is SystemSuite 5, which I think does use it. I don't know beans about SMART, but I wish one or the other of these vendors had told me before I purchased their products that they were incompatible, if that is the case.