Black screen with a blinking underscore

By ici
Jan 18, 2011
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  1. I have an HP Pavilion dv2618ca laptop. It came with a pre-installed version of Vista Home, and I recently did a clean install to Windows 7 32bits. After installation, Windows 7 was running fine, but I think the laptop was overheating as there were a few incidents of computer shutting down unexpectedly and restarting. Then a few weeks after that, it suddenly rebooted itself and the graphic card seemed to stop woring (the aero view was not showing and the color and resolution were not correct). When I restarted the computer again, I suddenly got the black screen with a blinking underscore.

    Since then Windows 7 was not able to boot at all. I have managed to backup all my important files, but when I tried to reinstall Windows, my laptop was unable to format the hard drive. I tried with W7, Vista and XP respectively, none of it worked. I also tried to use command prompt to manually format, didn't work. But I was able to run Unbuntu from USB drive and format the hardrive with Unbuntu. Then I switched back to Windows and it still gave me a message about unable to partition the drive.

    So I changed the hard drive, reinstalled XP, and got the same error message. Now Windows wouldn't boot, my HD is wiped clean. Does anyone have an idea what could be wrong with my laptop? Or at least if there's a way to run a diagnostic test for the hardware to find the problem?

    My laptop specs are here:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core TK-55
    250GB HD
    2G RAM
    I'm not sure what graphic card it was... I think it's the standard Intel one...
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,677   +153

    The CMOS battery may be weak causing the bios information to be lost. See if you can get into the laptops bios and check to see if the boot device list shows the hard drive. Check the date and time too
  3. ici

    ici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I checked in BIOS, Boot Options only shows CD-ROM Boot, Floppy Boot and Internal Network Adapter Boot.

    But In Boot Order I do see Notebook Hard Drive...

    The System Time and Date is correct...

    (Also the error code that Windows 7 gives me when clean installing is: Windows could not format a partition disc 1. The error occurred while preparing the partition for installation. Error code:0x80070057)
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,677   +153

    Still looks like the hard drive is bad. Replace it with another if you can
  5. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,177

    Download Hitachi's drive fitness test and see if the drive comes back good.
  6. ici

    ici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I've tried the HItachi Drive Fitness Test and it stops at Starting PC DOS...

    What does that mean?
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,677   +153

    Have the hard drive replaced...
  8. ici

    ici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Ok so I replaced the hard drive with a brand new one, and this time the new HDD passed the hitachi drive test. But when installing windows XP, i still get the same message:

    Setup was unable to format the partition. The disk may be damaged.

    And same error message as the old drive on Windows 7 installation. And BIOS Boot options still shows the same thing, no hard drive.

    Could it be something else on top of the hard drive?
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,677   +153

    The laptops motherboard may be damaged. Have you made sure the bios is set for it's default values?
  10. ici

    ici Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Yeah, BIOS is set at default values. Is there anyway to check and fix the motherboard? Since it's a laptop, I don't know if I'd can replace the motherboard, and if it's even worth replacing...
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,677   +153

    It is possible that the CD/DVD drive is also bad. Laptop motherboards can be repaired but only by professional/experienced component-level techs, with the proper equipment... Replacement is the best option, if the laptop is still useful
     


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