I was presented with a laptop this afternoon by a customer whose Dell laptop wouldn't turn on. When I pressed the power button, I saw the BIOS post and Dell logo, but as soon as the computer should have started loading Windows it stopped on a blinking cursor. Even control + alt + del wouldn't restart it; you had to use the power switch to perform a hard shutdown.
I'm not saying it was the prettiest solution, but I have a solution that worked and her computer is turning back on. Please don't get mad at me if you attempt this and it somehow causes you to lose files that you haven't backed up. I developed this solution with information I already knew and tips I picked up from the forums at Tech Support Forum.
I initially suspected that it was a problem with the hard drive because the computer was getting power, it came on when I pressed the power button, and it made it past the logo screen. First I removed the SATA hard drive and placed it in another desktop computer I have, then turned that machine on. During the boot process, Windows detected errors on the disk and prompted to run Check Disk, which I allowed to run its course. It took 2 hours or more to run, but located and replaced errors with the security IDs of almost 300,000 files. Then I shut down the desktop computer and removed the hard drive, and put it back into the laptop computer. I pressed the button, and was very displeased when nothing had changed at all.
After hitting the books again, I inserted my Windows Vista install CD and chose "Repair my computer" so I could get to a DOS prompt. From the prompt, I entered these 2 commands:
After these I restarted the computer and it loaded up fine. It took awhile, but Windows loaded and my client was able to backup critical files. This is why it is always important to have a backup.