Won't boot or go to Safe Mode

Posted on 2007-10-14
Last Modified: 2008-06-14
I came down to find the BSOD on my Dell Desktop screen.  I have tried to reboot and it just goes back to the BSOD.  If I try to boot into Safe Mode, it scrolls through the processes, stops, and then reboots again. It keeps up this cycle, but never gets into safe mode.  I have tried to un-attach each peripherial to see if that item is causing a problem during boot, and had no luck there.  I went into the Bios and reset to factory defaults, and got it to boot into XP and then it blue screened in a few seconds.  I have had this dell for about 16 months and have never had one issue. I clean the registry and defrag weekly as run all of the preventative software.
In your opinion, am I looking at hard drive failure here?  I can find nothing else to pin it to.  If it is HD failure, can you point me to a procedure to possibly copy my HD to an external HD and boot and run my computer from that until I can replace the HD?  If that will work, can I image the external HD back to the new HD.

Thank you in advance for any help or ideas you can give me.

Best regards,

Question by:trapper99
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    Run Dell Diagnostics to determine if there is a hardware issue
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Try the safemode with networking option often times helps get in that way
    check your keyboard some manufacturerd keyboard alocate the F8 key to other actions, try using a generic one.
    Have you re-installed any other versions of xp this problem can also occur if you have installed a copy of xp that is not validated. And your shutout.

    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    One more option can help you to differentiate between hardware and software problems. Get Knoppix CD (Linux) it is a whole operating system on CD and boot your computer with it and observe carefully if it detects all your hardware correctly or not if yes then it is a windows problem that we can fix later.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    what is the BSOD message? post it - it contains info.
    otherwise, you can run a ram and disk test.
    Ram - use memtest86+ from
    disk -      
    both can be found on the ubcd :
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

     If your PC is blue screening with a unmountable boot volume error use the chkdsk fix
    Boot up your XP cd and when you see the Welcome to setup press the letter R
    You will get a dos prompt
    Then type "chkdsk /p" without the quotes and hit enter
    When that is done type "fixboot" and hit enter
    "Y" and enter at the prompt
    Then type "exit" and hit enter
    The system will now reboot into Windows

    There are a lot more articles on this fix if you need more info. Do a search for Unmountable boot volume.


    Author Comment

    Thanks for the help.  I ran Dell Diagnostics and it was a RAM problem.  I swapped out the RAM and was back up in good shape.  I have never had RAM go bad in the middle of a session.  I just assumed it was the HD because it wouldn't boot into anything.
    Thanks for the help.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    strange - i was the first to mention RAm and was not credited . .

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