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Dell notebook unbootable

Posted on 2004-08-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm helping a friend fix their notebook. It is a Dell Inspiron 5100. The computer said "No OS Found" on boot. Then after I reinstalled windows XP prof. The computer will not even give me an error message, but restarts before the OS loads. Any ideas?

CG
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Question by:cgillet
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27 Comments
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:cooljai1
ID: 11750524
Check if there are any cd's in the cd drive. Also, remove the external devices like floppy drives, printers, if any. then when you see the DELL logo, press F2 to go into the BIOS and press F9 to load the setup defaults. Then press F10 to save the changes and exit. Now try booting the system, If it still does not boot, goto the Bios again, change the boot sequence to boot from the CD, put the XP cd in the drive, and restart  the system. After the system boots into the OS CD, do a repair reinstall.
This could also be caused due to a faulty device like a damaged modem, so follow this link and remove the modem or NIC from the system, and try to boot without these devices.
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins5100/en/i5100-om.pdf
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11750681
To me it sounds like a Memory or hardware Problem. Mabye even the drive going bad. Is it still under warranty. You could try removing the HDD and reseating it. But sounds like bad hardware to me.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 11751246
If it is still under warranty, the best (and only feasible) thing to do is call Dell.  If it is not under warranty you may want to try the Reapir Install at http://www.dougknox.com/xp/tips/xp_repair_install.htm

Have you verified that the fan is working properly?  It should be on the right side in the back.  It will come on whenever it is needed and go off after the components are cool enough.

Have you tried a new battery?  You may also want to try taking the battery out (not the CMOS battery) and unplugging it for a few hours to make sure it is not a battery problem.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 11751884
An installation that reboots in the middle sounds like bad RAM, which you can try testing with www.memtest86.com.  If it fails, you have bad RAM, if not, there is still a small chance  that it is bad, and only a swap with good RAM can tell you for sure.

The other thing to check is a bad installation CD, or your drive may be having problems reading it.  Try another CD, or burn a copy and try using the copy.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 11752149
If the computer started with "No OS found" it may be a hard drive problem. You should boot from a bootable floppy and run the HD manufacturer's diagnostic before doing much else. First check that the computer's BIOS sees the HD with a correct size.
/RID
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11759415
Now it's a new situation.

From a cold boot the computer goes through post and then attempts to load the OS from a PXE server(which is non existent).

displayed:
>
Broadcom UNDI PXE 201 v.1.0.4
PXE - E61: media test failure, check cable
PXR - M0F: exiting Broadcom PXE ROM

Operating system not found
>

Then I pressed CTRL ALT DLT to restart and XP pro loads fine.

So I narrowed it down to the NIC trying to auto load a network OS. Then I disabled boot from LAN and tried a cold boot.
The system just displays "Operating System not found" after POST.

Basically I can't get the OS to load on a cold boot.  Is this a drive error(MBR?)?



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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 11759439
It does sound like it could be a hardware failure.  It could also be infected with a boot virus.  Have you done any virus scans lately?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11759461
I'm doing a virus scan right now but how do I scan the boot sector? do most scanners do that?
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 11759608
"Then I pressed CTRL ALT DLT to restart and XP pro loads fine."

That should indicate the HD and its MBR are OK, I think. Perhaps you should clean out the drive and reload XP, taking care to have "Bootfrom LAN" disabled in BIOS.

Most virus scanners check the boot sectors.
/RID
0
 
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 11759729
Have you bothered to check out the battery yet?
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Blue_Rishi
ID: 11760909
Make sure you've set IDE-0/HDD-0 or 'C' (in older bioses is't mostly 'c') as first boot device. Did you disable the bootrom on the nic (in bios) or disabled booting from it? When you disable the rom and LAN is still primairy boot dev, you'll recieve the error that you did (or similar).

Good luck

Blue Rishi
 
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:DoTheDEW335
ID: 11762854
You can also try (after you try the above) to boot to the recovery console from the XP Pro CD and goto the C: and type FIXBOOT and see if that helps at all. Sounds like the boot order is wrong in the BIOS or possibly a HDD issue.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:riparius
ID: 11763358
I have seen this before and Blue_Rishi has it right....Broadcoms have a habit of behaving like they own the boot order (in BIOS) .  Try to disable any boot from LAN  options in BIOS and set CD and ide drive 0 as the boot devices.  If you loaded XP I have to assume the current boot order is CD,Floppy?,  LAN, hdd-0.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11763948
Let's recap,

The computer no longer gives broadcom Lan boot error because I've disabled it in BIOS

The "Operating System not found" error only show's up when starting from a power off state.
If I restart or CTRL,ALT,DLT XP will load normally from the Hard disk.

My goal is to start the computer from a power off state and not receive an error message.

I've run virus scan: no infection
I've run scan disk and defrag

I've set the boot order in every way I can think of
CD,HDD,floppy
HDD,CD,floppy
floppy, CD, HDD
HDD,floppy,CD

What's next?
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 11764145
This is a Dell laptop, right?
When yhou get the "No OS found" do you get something like "press F1 to retry and F2 to enter setup"? Try entering setup and see if you have a HD at all (according to BIOS). If "No", the HD was not found and your O/S could not load beacuse of that.

You could try changing the BIOS POST to "thorough" or similar, to give the HD more time to rev up or whatever. You should disable "quiet POST" in BIOS setup.
/RID
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11764266
yes it is a dell laptop.

It does not give me the option to press f1 or f2 when the error message is displayed.
But I can enter setup before it gets to that point.

And I've already disabled quiet boot.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 11765276
It sounds like the hard drive is not starting up or the power is flaky going to it.  If it is not available when the computer is first powered up it will not be seen (and unbootable).  By the time you CTRL-ALT-DEL it has had time to power up and report for duty.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:riparius
ID: 11765938
Some Bios versions allow your to set a hard disk boot up delay of several seconds.  If you have that option in yours, you can give it an extra second or two.

Also:  Does your 5100 have the proprietary DELL partition on it?    If you did a clean install without the original Dell disks, this could be a problem (I have seen these symptoms on a Compaq Armada without the proprietary Partition).  This is also known to be an issue with Linux instals and dual booting on the 5100.

here is a quote from one user :
"It appears the Dell BIOS is set to boot from the hard drive before the CD-ROM and loads the license screen from a separate 30MB partition. The BIOS can be changed to boot from CD, and computer configured to bypass the license partition (drive reformatted, or whatever)"

If this is accurate, it could be the source of the first error.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:cooljai1
ID: 11768576
Enter system BIOS, first enable the onboard NIC,then goto the boot page and set the first boot device to HDD. It might be set to "boot to LAN". Highlight thr HDD and use the  F6 key to make that as the first option.
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
skwajee earned 2000 total points
ID: 11783160
It's a Dell... have you tryed to upgrade bios.. download a newer bios version from Dell's website, you can run it  in Windows, you do not need to make a floppy.. Had several Dell notebooks and some troubles like you have where resolved with new bios.

Example : my old Lattitude c600 was not booting when dvd-cdrw was inserted, nothing wrong with the drive because tested with my Dell C840. Its hot-pluggable and working fine once Windows Xp was started and inserted after boot.  After bios upgrade it never fails again while booting

Grtz
Skwajee
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11785578
The Dell BIOS upgrade will not install. The flash utility says it's running on an unsupported system.

ideas?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11785623
false alarm I found a thread on dell forums that says I need to upgrade to version a22 before I can upgrade to version a29.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:skwajee
ID: 11786004
Wich bios revision do you have now?
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cgillet
ID: 11786051
Thanks for the help all.  The BIOS update worked miracles.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:skwajee
ID: 11786513
Great...

0
 

Expert Comment

by:ktobiano
ID: 15118467
This solution seems to be the answer to my problem with my dell inspiron 5100, however my technical experience is somewhat less advanced.  How do I disable boot from lan?  I've gone to the solution and downloaded the bios updates however my computer isn't able to locate the cd drive so I need to take all the other steps listed above.  The problem with my computer is exactly the same.  Can you help?
kmp
0
 

Expert Comment

by:ktobiano
ID: 15118679
Got it, figured it out, thank you!
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