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Can anyone help me? Windows Broke.

By thread grader
May 10, 2007
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  1. I hope this is the right section - I dont ocme here very often and I admit I am VERY noob.

    here is the cliffs notes version:

    I broke my cd-rom drive a while ago, thats important to know. I do have a cd burner drive, but bios doesnt boot off it.

    ok - two days ago I got a "system error" box - the kind with a red X in the top right corner - but couldnt click the box away. manual shut computer off - turned on - all black screen - nothing.

    unplugged my monitor from my video card (i added VC after buyin ocmp) - plugged it back into its original port. now black screen still there, but with a blinking cursor in upper left corner - cant do anything tho

    tried a bunch of stuff... played around in BIOS... got fed up and just started changing mad settings. got into safe mode!

    safe mode was no fun, so i restarted again and it said "windows did not start normally last time" options:
    start normally
    start like last good starting point
    start in safe mode

    starting in safe mode is the only one that works. Did a system restore - nothing good.

    cant run norton in safe mode.

    I only have one hard drive. I dont want to reinstall windows if i dont have to. If I do, I cant find my windows key.

    any thoughts?
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Use Belarc, or CPUID, to get your Windows product ID. www.belarc.com
    Replace your CDROM drive. You will need it no matter what, and they only cost between $24 and $29.
    Tell us your brand and model.
    "Did a system restore - nothing good," doesn't tell us much we can use to help you.
    Most likely your video card has gone bad, or the drivers have. You may have a windows error. The only thing you can do is disable or remove the drivers, then try again. If it still doesn't work, you need to test with a borrowed video graphic driver.
  3. thread grader

    thread grader TS Rookie Topic Starter

    dell something 2350 (inspirion, experion... its at home, im at work)

    my system resotre was to a month ago - but it didnt make my problem go away.

    if it was a problem with the video card, wouldnt putting my monitor back into my original monitor port do the trick?

    how do I know what drivers to remove? should I run windows disk from my e: drive in safe mode? I cant get on the internet fromt hat computer, how will that website help in getting the key?
  4. thread grader

    thread grader TS Rookie Topic Starter

    please help.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The first problem, of course, is your SYSTEM ERROR. That could be the hard drive, motherboard, video graphics port, or a memory failure.
    That is the Dell Dimension 2350. If you do not have the recovery discs, Dell will sell them to you for a very small fee... provided you give them your service tag number and serial number.
    The CD Rom will need to be replaced in any case... you can do nothing for this computer without it. If not good with tools or computer cases, get a friend to help. You can buy an LG or Samsung at Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Best Buy, or Circuit City... among others... for $24 to $29...
    The exisiting drive has two screws on each side that need to be removed, the cables need to be unplugged from the end. Then set the jumper on the new drive to Master with the instructions on the drive case or the paper that comes with it.
    That action gives you a computer that can usually then be further repaired by software.

    If you have a fast internet connection, we can help you go to other sites.

    However, the 2350 is the basic home unit, and is quite fragile... It may have a bad motherboard... The drive with your data is still good, most likely, but you cannot make the repair using the Dell discs without destroying your data.
    So you need somebody's assistance in saving the data... to a flash drive or to the CD on the new drive... which will be a problem.
    Your problem is complex. It will probably take somebody onsite to figger out what it is... unless you can give a much better explanation of what you see... and what is installed.
    It would be helpful to know the amount of memory installed, and whether you have a fast or slow internet connection.... and it sounds as if you have a Symantec security system ... we need to know. It would also be helpful to know the major software you have... the age of the computer.

    At this point, you could have any of the following:
    Bad hard drive
    Bad motherboard
    Bad memory module
    Bad video graphics card
    Bad video graphics driver
    Bad Windows XP caused by damage or by a virus, rootkit, or spyware.

    If you have a friend who has a full version of Windows XP, and not the Dell recovery version you have, you can boot to that disc, then select R for Repair when it gives you that choice.

    If your data is not important, you can use the Dell Disc to reformat the hard drive and reinstall everything, then download all the Microsoft Updates. If you have a slow connection, this will take 11 to 19 hours.

    Please do not ask us to help again until you have the computer next to you.

    Based on the model of computer, I would forget about it, and order a new one that is not the bottom of the line from HP, Dell, Gateway, or Lenovo. We can further advise you there... or buy a good used one from a friend.
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