Black screen on laptop

By macx ยท 11 replies
Feb 19, 2011
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  1. XP Pro sp3, HP Compaq nc8230

    Background: Had not been used for awhile, when I tried to start it I got nothing but a black screen. Would occasionally flicker during attempted startup, maybe one time out of 10 would get the first screen, then would go dark.

    Did some research, someplace I read to try the f10 on startup. The first time I tried that it worked, everything worked normally, did on every startup after that. Figured problem was solved.

    Current situation: The HD was only 60g and I needed a larger HD so bought a new 160g.

    Didn't want to have to reload XP and lose all my XP settings, and lose my Firefox setup and add ons and bookmarks.
    EDIT: Come to think of it, I bought the laptop used and I don't believe I've even got the XP disc, so can't reload it without buying another one if I can't save and transfer this XP from the original HD to the new HD.

    Bought a USB enclosure, took the existing HD out of the laptop, installed it into the USB enclosure, and copied everything onto my desktop, not into the C drive but on another drive. Made sure everything copied, incl Windows. Note that the Windows on the laptop HD was not in use while it was being copied to the desktop.

    Then put the new laptop HD into the USB enclosure, formatted it, then copied everything that I had copied from the original laptop HD into my desktop into the new laptop HD in the USB enclosure. Again made sure everything copied. Checked to make sure it would open on the desktop, everything appeared to open normally (of course did not start that Windows as the one on the desktop was running).

    I thought that should work as everything from the original laptop HD is now on the new laptop HD exactly as it was on the original HD, incl Windows.

    PUt the new HD into the laptop. The HD indicator light on the laptop indicates the HD runs when I start the laptop, but again I'm getting nothing but a black screen. The HD access indicator LED stays lit for maybe 20 seconds then shuts off (don't recall if that's normal or not). I don't know if it's something to do with copying Windows onto the new HD, or if it's the same black screen problem I had before.

    EDIT: Just to try it, I reinstalled the original HD to which I did nothing other than copying the files from it. Same thing, HD access LED stays lit the same amount of time then goes off, nothing at all on the screen. Made sure the little button pops up when I open the lid, tried respositioning the display in a variety of ways in case there's a break in the display cable but nothing. I guess next step is to open it up and see if there's anything obvious such as a break in the display cable or bad/loose connector or something. I have found good used displays and cables, but hate to just start throwing parts at it without knowing. Per the manual, it could also be a board problem.

    Only possibility I can think of is this: When I formatted the new laptop HD while it was in the USB enclosure & hooked into my desktop, I had to give it a drive letter other than C. (gave it F) (That may be the drive itself, or just the USB enclosure.) Is that maybe why the drive won't run in the laptop?

    I've found a complete service manual for the laptop online so I could go back into it and check the display connections which I'll probly do. Other than a bad connection, why would it have worked before and not now? I'm hoping the display itself isn't bad now. Or maybe it's not the display and is something resulting from the HD switch?

    I don't suppose there's any way to test the display itself? I'll try to test the cable for continuity to see if there's maybe a break.

    Thanks for any suggestions!!
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Copying files from one drive to another fresh drive won't work in this situation. You would have to "clone" the old drive contents to the new drive, making an exact copy of the old drive... in order for the new drive to boot the laptop properly. It is possible that you have a corrupted Windows copy on the old hard drive and only a fresh install of XP will fix the problem
  3. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    I'm quite sure my XP on the old drive is OK, been using it for quite awhile.

    I had asked previously if something like the old "Drive to Drive" app was available.
    I had used that with Win98 to copy a running Windows from one drive to another.

    Could you point me to a "cloning" app so I could try that?

  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Free Clonezilla i486... stable version. The needed iso file is what you burn to a CD or DVD and boot from the disk after the drives are configured properly in the bios. You will clone the existing C drive to the new drive. It is done automatically and fairly quickly too
  5. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    To make sure I'm doing this right -

    I start out with the existing HD in the laptop and Clonezilla then clones the drive to a CD?

    Then - - ? I can swap the new drive in, boot off the CD, and then ??

    Or can Clonezilla clone the existing drive onto the new drive in the remote USB encl?

    I've done the cloning thing with CD's, but not directly from a running drive.

    With Win 98, I had a program that sounds like a similar thing - called "Drive to Drive" which
    would clone the running C drive directly onto another drive. I did a search in many places,
    and asked on this forum, and couldn't find anything like that. Was hoping they had a new
    version out that would work with Firefox.
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I've only used Clonezilla on desktop computers, but it may work similar on a laptop. Put the "new" drive in a USB enclosure and attach it to the laptop with the "old" hard drive installed as the C drive. Boot with the Clonezilla CD/DVD and follow the on-screen prompts. Use the default answers. Hopefully Clonezilla will "see" the external "new" drive and clone the contents of C to the external drive
  7. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    I guess we overlapped posts.

    I'll try that, now I see exactly what to do.


    I'll try it tomorrow and report back.
  8. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    Question - I just did a search for Free Clonezilla i486 and all the sites that came
    up makes it sound like it's for Linux?

    Will it work with XP Pro?
  9. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    OK, got that part figured out.

    Downloaded the tool to burn Clonezilla to a CD.

    Then went to the Clonezilla download site and got this

    What do I download off of that? The link they call the "latest version"?


    Started that download, it has stalled at under 50%.

    Should I have instead tried to download the "1.2.6-59"?

    EDIT: Opened up the 1.2.6-59 and finally found what appears to be the correct file

    Is that the right one? I've got a Pentium P4 Northwoods CPU -

    EDIT: AFter reading all the things about Debian and all the other things that I don't have a clue about,
    AND all the FAQ's talking about all sort of problems from people who have attempted to do this, I'm
    very apprehensive about getting in even further over my head and ending up losing everything.

    Does this thing really work, or is it likely to cause a lot of very technical problems?
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "Opened up the 1.2.6-59 and finally found what appears to be the correct file

    Yes this is the one I use. It is a shame you can't experiment with Clonezilla before you have to use it for real. I was able to try it out on a clean install of Vista transferred or cloned to another hard drive and then installed the cloned drive as the only C drive, and it booted and ran fine. I can only relate my own experience here. Take it or leave it
  11. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    I may have run into a snag where I won't have time to work with it at this time.

    I have been laid off for several months and just had a long call this afternoon about 2 different jobs
    available so am having to scramble to get ready to go. I work away from home on large power
    plant projects, so there's a lot of preparation for setting up temp housekeeping in the job area.

    We're leaving later this evening for a quick trip and won't be back till later next week. One of the 2 jobs
    starts 3rd week in March so had to make this trip to get something done while I'm still around to do it.

    I'll hang onto the CD I burned and maybe have time to try it after I get all settled in whichever of the 2 jobs I end up with - same company, one starts later than the other but the ink isn't dry on the contract yet so have to take the first one if the 2nd one doesn't get finalized by the time the first one is ready to start.

    I put my original HD back into the laptop, been having some startup problems but have been able to get it to work. I suppose the poor thing is confused from all the messing around with different drives, etc!

    I'll use the 160g in the enclosure as my data storage and the existing 60g in the laptop as my app and current work drive.

    Thanks for the info, anyway, I'll post on here about it if I do get a chance to try it, but that might be
    as much as a couple months.
  12. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Okay good luck with the jobs and hopefully Clonezilla will work well for you sometime in the future

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