PC error? hangs on blinking cursor

By user4u
Dec 26, 2009
  1. PC with windows XP installed.

    When I boot up the PC the bios selection pops up (which is the only way to get to the boot menu as F8 alone wont work) after the short routine (hardware check?) it hangs on a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner of the screen.

    I can hit "Del" to enter set-up at which point pressing F8 will load the boot menu with the available options being:

    Floppy, CDrom and HDD.

    None of these options work. I tried putting in the XP CD and booting the CD, it loads all the necessary components and just before starting up windows it blue screens (and says that a hardware error has occured and that it has shut down to prevent damage).

    On startup it reads "hard disk is not detected", but this has not prevented my computer from working in the past.

    I haven't ventured much into the Bios for fear of destroying everything (but I did change the boot priority menu from Floppy/HDD/CD to Floppy/CD/HDD). This has changed nothing and running the XP CD still has the same effect.

    Help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Try placing the hard drive first in the boot order. If that doesn't help, you might have a failing hard drive.
  3. user4u

    user4u TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your reply.

    Upon turning on my PC a second time a prompt appeared "3rd Master Disk Error, press F1 to continue"

    Google suggested I do exactly as you said. So I tried placing the hard drive first in the boot order to no avail.
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    reseat all components, ensure you have the proper drivers installed if you are using a SATA drive with XP. check cable connections as well.
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,425   +77

    Do you get a beep code during boot, before the bios appears? If so, look up the beep code on the motherboard manufacturers site. It will probably tell you it cannot detect one or more of your drives - most likely the HDD. Everything you have described so far all points to a completely failed HDD.
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