HP laptop will not boot past HP splash screen.

A clients' HP laptop will not boot to the desktop. You turn on the machine, and it immediately displays the HP logo in white on black. Beneath this it says:

"Press ESC to change boot order
Press<F2> to enter setup, <F12> to boot from LAN"

None of these options work. Whatever keys are pressed before or after turning on the power, this screen is all you can get.
I really don't want it to be a hardware issue, because there is a limit to what you can do on laptops.
The reason I suspect that it may be software/OS related is that the client's teenage kids have apparently used his machine to download music, presumabely via peer-to-peer file sharing.

How can I get to his desktop? I have tried removing the battery and booting to safe mode. I've tried to boot from a Bart PE disk. I've tried to boot from an XP disk. Anyone got any insight into this. I've already spent too much time on it, but I feel like I'm missing something.
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phototropicAuthor Commented:
I forgot to mention:

It is an HP Pavilion ze4200

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
You have tried booting to safe mode? So you mean you did get past the HP screen?

One thing to try is to change the boot order, Press Esc to change the boot order, and make sure that your primary hard-disk (HDD0 or C: or Disk1) is at the first priority.
Remove all external devices.

Remove the HDD and check if you can enter BIOS. If that doesnt work either it's a hardware fault for sure.
phototropicAuthor Commented:
Cannot change the boot order. The HP splash screen is all you get. Cannot enter BIOS. Cannot go anywhere.
Test with an external keyboard or reseat the keyboard.

If no change; remove harddrive, optical drive and any unnessary memory module (if you have more then one), mini-pci cards (like wireless nic) and try again.

If that doesnt work either, the motherboard is likely the cause.


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