computer boot problem

I have a dell dimension 4250 with 256 MB of RAM.  When I boot the computer
I get the Dell splash screen but then the screen goes dark and I get a flashing
cursor on the upper left corner of the screen.  The computer then stays that way
for about 5 minutes and then Windows finally loads.  This is not normal.
What might be causing this problem and how do I solve the problem?
Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAsked:
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It is possible that this is a hard drive issue.  Once the computer boots up run chkdsk
Run > cmd > chkdsk
if you want it to repair any issues that it finds you can run chkdsk /f

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oh yeah.....  The volume must be locked. If Chkdsk cannot lock the volume, it offers to check it the next time the computer starts.
This can be caused by a couple things the most common are hardware problems, since you have a dell computer, within the BIOS there should be a hardware testing tool that will test the hard drive and memory, you shuold run both to make sure that they are working.  Once both of those hopefully pass, then you will want to run a scan on the drive, since you didnt list which version of windows you are running, the best way to scan it would be to boot from a floppy drive switch to the main drive c:\  and run the command chkdsk c: /f ; like what shadowlesss suggested, but by running it from the floppy, it will allow you to scan the whole drive.  
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For a Dell machine press <F12> when you see the Dell Splash logo at startup and choose Diagnostics
Just Re-Install OS. That'll Fix The problam
Put in some more RAM and try to format and install new.
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