White blinking dash on Windows boot?

By mrjust ยท 11 replies
Sep 20, 2011
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  1. I recently re-installed Windows Xp pro sp3 on my desktop (hp pavillion a700n).
    And once I restarted there is a white blinking dash and a black screen.
    So I re-installed over again and got same problem. I couldn't access safe mode with f8. So I figure I give windows vista a try but the same problem arises- cant access safe mode and trying the repair option when booting from the vista cd- doesn't find any problems.

    Before I re-installed the OS, the desktop was working. Can I fix these?
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    SP3 can cause problems. It can affect certain PC's for example HP pc's with an AMD processore but HP installed an XP version for Intel by mistake !! HP has a fix for that - before installing SP3

    See here for a selection http://www.google.co.uk/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=problems+after+xp+sp3+install

    Many times, people install whilst still running anti-virus, which can cause many critical files to not be updated. It is essntial to research SP3 before installing.
  3. mrjust

    mrjust TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Thanks for the reply gbhall. I install windows xp pro sp3 from cd. And since that didn't work I tried windows vista but that didn't work either. Can it be that I have a problem with my hdd?
  4. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

  5. mrjust

    mrjust TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Thanks for the links! Those links only apply if I am updating to sp3- they dont mention the error I am having. Do you think its a Hardware issue?
    What I mean by It doesn't work is: When I power on the machine all I get is a black screen with a white blinking dash. I tried reinstalling windows xp but the same error occurs when I turn it on. I tried installing windows vista to see if windows xp was the problem but when it finished installing and the computer restarts- the black screen and white dash show up again.

    I ran a diagnostic test on my hdd with a cd my friend let me use- and the results were that the "read test" on hard disk Failed, "internal cash test" Failed, the stress test on the "system" Failed, and the "hard disk test" Failed.

    What I don't understand is, prior to reinstalling windows xp or windows vista the desktop was working fine.
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Possibly just the bios needs resetting, or the motherboard battery needs replacing. There may be nothing wrong with the HDD.

    You have an obliging friend, who could take your HDD out and put it into his/her PC in place of say a CD or DVD reader, long enough to test your HDD and so prove the matter one way or another.

    Assuming it works, then resetting the bios is next. For that, go to HP site, find your PC manual and read it.
  7. mrjust

    mrjust TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    How do I reset the bios? Remove the cmos battery and place it back in? I have done this and doesn't solve the issue.
    I found and obliging neighbor and placed the HDD in place of his CD/DVD reader. I booted into his system- went into COMPUTER and can see the HDD their. So I'm running a "Check Now" test.

    Prior to doing the above I tried to reinstall Windows Xp for the hundredth time and this time I wouldn't even see the hdd. I'm thinking the the Cable that connect the HDD to the mobo is damaged?
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    After resetting the bios (which you say you have done) you will need to reset the date, time, APCI setting if required, and boot order. Have you done that?
  9. mrjust

    mrjust TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Yes I have. I still get the same problem. I am using Ubuntu Rescue CD with TestDisc and it tells me the heads/cylinder are wrong? I already tried fixing MBR a few times and nothing? It seems as if it can't find the location of the HDD.
  10. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Your post is too vague - on WHICH pc does TestDisc report geometry errors on your drive - you earlier mentioned running 'check now' (Chkdsk?) - on a second PC. Did that particular test say anything?

    On the assumption you are running TestDisk on your OWN pc now, it still does not clearly indicate any particular problem. If your PC were in front of me, I would be testing with a known working drive of known geometry. A problem then might implicate the bios or the cable or the motherboard.

    Tell me, when booting directly into the bios, what does it say about the HDD. It should correctly describe the make, model and size of the HDD

    See here for your manual, assuming you have lost it http://www8.hp.com/uk/en/hp-search/...s.html&uf=1&regionStatus=ACTIVE&cc=uk&lang=en and specifically about SP3, you have this http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...en&jumpid=reg_r1002_uken&lc=en&product=431075 It is the AMD processor with an Intel install I already told you about in post#2 and can affect your product number.
  11. mrjust

    mrjust TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    I am running TestDisc on the pc I'm having this problem with. When I ran "check now" (Chksdk) the test passed successfully with no errors.

    BIOS describes the HDD as follows: make ST380011A, capacity 80 GB, cylinder 38309, Head 16, PreComp 0 , Landing zone 38308, Sector 255, Smart Status- Enabled, Transfer Mode 5.
  12. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    The HDD seems fine, On the whole I would suspect your problem is down to the AMD/Intel problem. As you have integrated graphics, the processor will not work correctly for video either. Look at the last link I gave in post#10 (spot the 'alerts for this product' link?), and see if you can perform the corrective actions you need to make before SP3 will work properly.

    You will need to run recovery console for this, which means either starting in safe mode, or having a retail install CD of XP. Whatever, you need to just rename (or delete) one system file. This can equally well be done by booting from a Linux CD or mounting the HDD in your friends PC.

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