Blank/black screen with blinking cursor/underscore!

By Burblish
Jun 2, 2012
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  1. Hello, members of TechSpot this is my first post rather a urgent first post. (I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section.)
    - My dell Model : Inspiron Model P07F.

    My Stated Problem : My computer was getting really slow so, I decided to restore my computer to it's factory state. As I did that I got too impatient and shut the computer off right at 30% while I regret it after I attempt to turn on the computer. I get the dell logo with F2 and F12 at the bottom of the screen (No Problem at all) but, at I get into further I only get a blinking underscore/cursor. And it seems like forever and I keep restarting and the same problems keep going on and on. Can someone please help me?
  2. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    The same thing happened to my laptop not too long ago.

    Did you by any chance create a system repair disc? I would try that. If you do not have a repair disk, then you can use your Windows installation disc to restore your system. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you have either one of these.

    If you do not have either, you can try creating a new account. But this should only be a last ditch effort, in my opinion. I still prefer repairing with the disk.

    Shut down your laptop. Reboot until you get to the Dell logo where its says "Press F2..." Once there, press Ctrl + F11 simultaneously, and then release both at the same time. This should prompt a Restore Options screen. Follow the directions and wait for the loading bar to finish. You should be able to create a new account after that.

    Please note that I'm not certain the second option will work, but a friend has told me it did for his Dell. Good luck.
  3. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TechSpot Booster Posts: 808   +51

    Hello, Burblish.
    First of all, you are in the right sub-forum. And thanks for the neat and concise information provided.

    Let's begin with this.
    I believe that by "restoring to factory settings" you mean you were re-installing Windows. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Because for that you would need a Windows Installation Disk, and a laptop doesn't come with one usually, so I'm assuming you've bought a genuine disk.
    If that is true, there are a few probabilities. If you selected a Fresh (Clean) Install, your previous OS was formatted. It was halfway through installing when you interrupted it, and obviously it had nothing to fall back on. Even without a disk, System Restore or MS-MBR-Fix warns you that interruptions can render your machine unusable.
    So your solution as I see it now: To get a genuine Windows 7 Disk and restart the installation. I assume you know how to set boot priorities in the BIOS? If not, please ask.
  4. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 399   +41

    Plenty of good advice so far but unless personal files were backed up a factory settings restore will mean you lose everything. I don't think you get disks with laptops nowadays. There's usually a hidden partition for the restore and advice that new the user should first of all create a set of restore CD's - which takes quite some time.

    It's worth trying to get into the BIOS (tapping f8 at start-up is usual although there are differences between computers). If you can do this you could check that the boot order still lists the hard drive as first choice and also see if there are any recovery options available to you. You may be lucky. If not, you'll most likely need to reinstall Windows or use those recovery disks you hopefully made. On the plus side you will probably learn a lot about computers from this.
  5. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TechSpot Booster Posts: 808   +51

    I think it's F2 or Delete usually. F8 would bring up the Advanced Boot Options, if the X:\ is still intact, which is possible, but can hardly repair the whole OS, and personal files are out of the question.
  6. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Dawn1113 - The repair disk is that the restore disk? Also, in the Bios (F2) section the F11 does not work.

    Marnomancer - Well, my Dell has a program already installed called DataSafe Online. And when I chose the Data Safe option for F8 it said I already had a clean data and asked me if, I wanted to restore my data and I put, yes and that's what lead me to the problem where I got inpatient cause it took awfully long (30% - 4 Hours).

    Also, remember I cannot access F8 at all now.
  7. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 399   +41

  8. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I can't use F8. Just blank screen and underscore at top left.
  9. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    "The repair disk is that the restore disk? Also, in the Bios (F2) section the F11 does not work" -- Burblish

    (Sorry, couldn't get "quote" to work this time.)

    Yes -- did you make one when you got your laptop?

    If not, then I assume you tried the link provided by bazz2004? Looks excellent and I was really hoping the instructions there would work for you. Also, I usually tap the key -- be it F8, delete or F2 -- repeatedly at boot for it to work on my system. Just throwing that out there, in case.

    I'd agree with Marnomancer that you should now assume that all your personal files are gone. And, if nothing works, as pointed out by both Marnomancer and bazz2004, the most likely solution is to re-install Windows. And, yes, for that, you'd need a genuine Windows 7 disc. I have to say that there are advantages to owning a copy. All hell can break loose but you'll still have that to fall back on. It's quick and easy to re-install from a disc, too, certainly much faster than only 30% in four hours -- as was what you experienced.

    I would try to get in touch with the vendor to check if you have any other options. I have been told Dell keeps a copy of each Windows installation they sell. Can't be sure as to how accurate that information is, though. Worth a phone call, maybe?
  10. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I did make a recovery disk for the computer but, when I boot it from F12 it just has a windows background and a cursor.

    Delete = F8? Same thing?
  11. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    No loading bar, nothing to indicate an on-going process?

    If need be, turn your system off while the CD is still in it, wait a while -- ten seconds, maybe -- then turn it back on again. You should see "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..." Press any key as soon as you see it. Windows will load the files. Note that this may take some time.

    When it is done you should see the first recovery options up on your monitor.
     
  12. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Load the computer without doing anything or do I have to press F12 as I go?
  13. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 1,753   +163

    You should be able to order a restore disks for your make and model from dell. I have to new laptops one is a dell for work. The other one is Hp. I order restore disks for each one when I bought them. Call dell support. They will be able to help you . If nothing here you have been told works. There is a good possibiltiy. You may have corrupted your. Recovery partion.
  14. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TechSpot Booster Posts: 375   +64

    Yes to the above if repair fails. I think Cobalt006's recommendation is what my friend had meant when he said Dell makes copies of all the Windows installations they sell. Sounds like a good thing. I'm hoping you did not corrupt your recovery partition when you interrupted the initial system restore process, though.

    If you did, then, yeah, I'd make that call.
  15. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Okay, thanks for all this info. I'll look forward into making that call! Thanks all for helping and taking the time to read this!
  16. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 399   +41

    It's certainly looking like you will need assistance from Dell. It's strange though that you can't find a way of entering the BIOS.

    DELL
    • After switching on your computer, let the DELL logo appear before pressing the F2 key until Entering Setup is displayed on the screen.
    • Previous versions of DELL might require you to press CTRL+ALT+ENTER to access the BIOS set up menu.
    • The DELL laptops use the Fn+ESC or Fn+F1 keys to access the BIOS set up.
    Dawn1113 mentions tapping the key contantly. Sometimes I've felt like a woodpecker working away at this. If still no joy, it's a long shot, but do you have a usb keyboard you can plug in to the laptop? Apart from contacting Dell trying to get into the BIOS is worth persisting with. Make sure you have as much information to hand as possible before making the call particularly the Windows key if you have it.
  17. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 1,753   +163

    If you are trying to boot a recovery cd. Remove cd .Then boot laptop to the dell sign. Hit f12 key till the boot screen appears. Set boot screen at cdrom. Then restart with cd back in the cdrom. This should bring your recovery cd up. As long as there are no other problems .
  18. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Bios, before I contact dell? If, so how do I use the bios section?
  19. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 399   +41

    Accessing the BIOS can be very useful and it's worth knowing how to do even if it doesn't sort your present predicament. If you get that far someone on the forum may be able to advise on options. Remember also that there was an initial undiagnosed problem which led you into this situation.
  20. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 1,753   +163

    f2 is your bios key, After bootup and you come to the dell logo hit the f2 key hold it for a seconed . This should let you in to the bios
  21. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 1,753   +163

    Sorry miss read your post. The f12 key will let you set your laptop to boot from the cd. Once you get the boot screen up. Make your cd rom the frist to boot. After reboot the laptop. It should then let your recovery disk boot up.
  22. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Alright I done that. Now what is the section I will use? And how?
  23. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 1,753   +163

    The f12 key is your boot menu. If you have got that to come up. Then Make your cdrom group to be frist boot. Change your hardrive to seconed boot
  24. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 1,753   +163

    Next step is to save changes. Then reboot laptop
  25. Burblish

    Burblish Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    That didn't work. My recovery disk just shows a cursor that I can move and a blue windows background.


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