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Old 09-17-2012, 07:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

I'm currently doing all this from my old, almost 10 year old dell inspiron 6000 laptop that zaps me whenever I try to pick it up to move it or rest my hands on part of it to type, so I'll try to include all details as quickly as I can.

Everytime I start up my PC, I get taken to the Startup Repair screen which scans and attempts recover for several minutes, restarts only to go back to the same thing. THe last attempts go through the Startup Recovery scan quicker than usual and end up with a message saying "Windows Cannot Remotely Fix The Problem" or something like that. For the past seven hours or so, I've been trying different ways to get through but without any luck. I've tried different settings within the F8 and F12 menu's but nothing seems to work.

Recently, I have had problems with my HDD and around 60% of the time I restart my pc, I go to the Startup Repair screen but it usually sorts itself out after a few tries. I've suspected something was wrong with my HDD for some time now and I've backed up most important files on my PC. Now that it finally seems to have stopped working, I'd like to know how I can replace it and what my options are.



SPECS: Dell E521 from five or six years ago. Vista Home Basic.
Original HDD 250GB - won't go past Startup Repair.

Backup 1TB internal drive with 113gb free space.

I also have a mouldy dell recovery disk and can get my hands on other os cd's (wink, wink...), depending on what the best option is for bringing this back to life.


First - If I buy a new HDD, is it a simple matter of replacing the old one, inserting the new os disk and following the instructions to install? I've never installed from scratch before, I don't know if there are specific settings like bois stuff or if I need to remove the backup HDD before it will work?



Second - My backup 1TB internal has most of my files and stuff, it has 113gb free space remaining. Is there anyway I can install the new os in the remaining free space without risk of losing other files already on the drive.



Third - As far as the HDD with the os that I can no longer access goes, what are my chances of being able to recover the files within. I backed up most of the important files a few months ago but there are a few others that i have added since then, I would like to get.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

Number 1: I do not recommend trying to fix the laptop.
If it has been shocking you every so often and later cut out on you, it is a power issue and it is on its a way to kicking the bucket over time.
You could go for a more recent newer laptop if you like.
Weather it be used or new.

Number 2: I would recommend you get a hdd 2.5 nclosure cover kit, and put in your laptops hdd and let windows vista/7 have permission to take owenership so you can grab whatever data is on there.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

He's only posting from his defective laptop, he wants to know how to repair/replace/retrieve files from his desktop (Dell E521) hard drive.
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

There is plenty of software that you can burn to a cd or usb drive to boot from which will allow you to access both of your drives and transfer the files you want from the dying one to your 1TB.

As far as the recovery though, are you even sure the HDD is dying? what else gave you that indication? it could just have severe corruption and needs to be formatted.

Also, could you explain what happened when you tried to do a factory restore with the f8 option? Dell has a recovery partition since that is the original drive, so you should be able to access it through f8, unless of course that is corrupt too or the drive actually is faulty.

After you get through the backup thing, I would definitely do what it takes to determine if the drive is actually faulty. If it isn't, then your money would definitely be better spent buying more ram than what that machine comes with (if you haven't already).

If the drive is bad, then yes you should be able to buy a SATA HDD or SSD and replace it, install the OS of your choice. You'll have to worry about drivers and such, so plan accordingly.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

Thanks guys.

@ugoboom -
None of the F8 options would work. When I tried to startup in safe mode the drivers would load up and freeze. I think some time before, I deleted the recovery files in the partition you are talking about.


Actually before I gave up and went out to buy a new one, I tried one last time to start my pc without the gpu and pci wifi card. It started. I tried again with just the wifi card but it did not start. Again with just the gpu card it it worked fine.

I tried using the second pci slot, it worked fine, recognized there was a device but did not know what it was. As I tried to manually sort out the driver details, the pc froze again and crashed and went through the same startup repair loop as before, so I removed the pci card.

After reinstalling the linksys driver, the same one I have been using for several years, it finally starts up again with the wifi card in the slot.


Since I've figured that out, i've been able to work the pc fine, the only thin I notice different is the color scheme goes back to the original aero colors instead of the custom ones I set before.. It did crash once and then looped through the startup repair and started on it's own. This morning, it crashed again, looped several times and did not start up. I was able to go into safe mode where I uninstalled the driver and it worked fine after the restart.

I've had problems before with the card and driver missing or not being recognized upon startup but I've never had it cause the pc to crash or not be able to start up. Initially I thought it was the HDD but the fact that the pc works without the card installed leads me to believe it's related to the card, I just don't know if it's hardware or software related.
How do I narrow it down or do a definitive test of what is wrong?
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

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Originally Posted by guinness1983 View Post
Thanks guys.
I've had problems before with the card and driver missing or not being recognized upon startup but I've never had it cause the pc to crash or not be able to start up. Initially I thought it was the HDD but the fact that the pc works without the card installed leads me to believe it's related to the card, I just don't know if it's hardware or software related.
How do I narrow it down or do a definitive test of what is wrong?
On the wifi card itself, look on the back of it and get the serial number and model number for it.
Bring it back here and I'll run a search to see what is compatible with your current os and what nots.
To be perfectly honest if its giving you that much hassle, I would look into a new usb wifi card.

Not the expensive depending on your needs.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

Thanks for the quick response mike. It's a linksys WMP54g pci card. It's hardware version 4 and I have the specific drivers for it running on vista home basic. It's the same one I used on my dell optiplex 110 and used in my e521 when I purchased it around 2006. It's been running fine since then apart from a few times I started up and for some reason, it was not detected or the driver had to be uninstalled and reinstalled before it would work again. Not much else I can tell you in my current drunken state...


Last year I had problems with my pc restarting which I also thought was a HDD problem, turned out to be the gpu heating up. I've also been wanting to replace the card and router since then but I do kind of enjoy trying to find out what's wrong with my system, even if I choose to buy a whole new pc or replace the parts later on, I would still like to figure out what exactly is wrong with my system right now.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

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Originally Posted by guinness1983 View Post
Thanks for the quick response mike. It's a linksys WMP54g pci card. It's hardware version 4 and I have the specific drivers for it running on vista home basic. It's the same one I used on my dell optiplex 110 and used in my e521 when I purchased it around 2006. It's been running fine since then apart from a few times I started up and for some reason, it was not detected or the driver had to be uninstalled and reinstalled before it would work again. Not much else I can tell you in my current drunken state...


Last year I had problems with my pc restarting which I also thought was a HDD problem, turned out to be the gpu heating up. I've also been wanting to replace the card and router since then but I do kind of enjoy trying to find out what's wrong with my system, even if I choose to buy a whole new pc or replace the parts later on, I would still like to figure out what exactly is wrong with my system right now.

Click start, type in the search bar, system event viewer....
The problems that you had recently, look at what windows is saying.
If you see any exclamation points or any red xs and windows is having a hard time repairing...
Jot down what its saying and bring it back, bout your router and card, if you feel like its a good time to move on, I would do so soon.
Ask the internetHelp sub-forum group for help, if your thinking about upgrading.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

Thanks. I had a quick look, it says 40k+ events. Off recent dates on Administrative Events it has TCIP, Server and nvstor32 among the top ones, don't really know what I'm looking for here though.

Lots of errors. lol.

EDIT: Just wanted to add, it happened again today. After I woke up the wifi signal had disconnected, something that occurs with some regularity, so I right click the icon and click on Diagnose and Repair as i usually do when this happens. This time the screen turned black and it went through the whole startup repair loop once again. Fortunately i was able to go into safe mode and disable the driver to get it working again.


I'm still going to try and figure this out if I can but I'll probably get a new wifi card later in the week when I have the time. I guess it's not a problem with the HDD that's causing this but all these restarts can't be good for it....
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC won't start - how to install from scratch and other questions

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Lots of errors. lol.
EDIT: Just wanted to add, it happened again today. After I woke up the wifi signal had disconnected, something that occurs with some regularity, so I right click the icon and click on Diagnose and Repair as i usually do when this happens. This time the screen turned black and it went through the whole startup repair loop once again. Fortunately i was able to go into safe mode and disable the driver to get it working again.
To be perfectly honest with you and blunt, if hardware is giving you alot of problems and it will not stop and you cannot rma, I would get rid of it and get something more recent.

Theres just so much people can take with computer problems similiar to yours, but there comes a time when something needs to be tossed out.
I've had to do that many times, when the issue just wont stop and I can't do anything for it.

Good luck and let me know what happens, you might want to look into a windows pc utilitie suit and see if somethings can be fixed.
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