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Dell Inspiron Boot Problem

Posted on 2010-11-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi All... I've got a Dell Inspiron Laptop with a boot problem. On boot-up I get the Dell logo...then some text appears for a flash at the top. I caught it with my digital camera. It says "Loading PBR for discriptor 2...." then the screen stays dark. I think the "PBR" stands for Partition Boot Record...What kind of fix am I looking at. The laptop belongs to a friends college student daughter...of course she dosen't want to loose anything on the machine.......Thanks for any help                                                           Don
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Question by:Oklahawkfan
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Expert Comment

by:snailcat
ID: 34141317
Any chance you have external drives plugged into the laptop?

Unplug all peripherals and try to boot up.  USB drives plugged into Dells have been reported to do this.

Otherwise this may be the Dell trying to load the Image Restore Partition if the OS partition is damaged.  

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Expert Comment

by:macentrap
ID: 34141325
Is  USB drive plugged onto the USB port while restarting the PC.... try to remove that and then restart.


give this a try too:
http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/document?c=us&l=en&s=gen&docid=289265
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Expert Comment

by:snailcat
ID: 34141348
As the link from macentrap describes if making the USB changes doesn't work it may require restoring the OS but remember that this will wipe the personal files that are on the laptop.  
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Author Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34141594
Hi Ya ...
             Thanks for the quick answers. There are no peripherals plugged in. I got into the BIOS and there is no USB Controller under Onboard Devices to disable. Could be a different BIOS version....So, I think Im looking at a complete system restore.............bummer. Any other ideas?    
                                                                                                                                   Don
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by:
dbrunton earned 300 total points
ID: 34141597
And presumably she doesn't have a backup.

Get a Live Linux CD such as Knoppix http://www.knoppix.org/ or Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/

Make the CD and boot from it.  If you can see the hard disk get an external USB drive and copy all of the data from this machine across to it.

Now if you play with it the data won't be lost.

There may be a restore partition on this laptop.  You could use that to do a restore but check with friend's daughter first in case there is something that can't be recovered.

----------------------------------------------

Or get the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Download links are the icons at the top of the page above Overview.  Browse the page and see what utils are there for you.

Make the CD and boot from it.  You'll find manufacturer's utils for testing hard disks on this CD.  You can use the appropriate one to test the hard disk but Dell might have one built into the BIOS.

Use TestDisk on the CD to examine the partition table and MBR.

Tutorial http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

See if it recognises the partition tables on the disk and what it thinks of the MBR.

You could have a corrupt partition table or even a virus sitting in there.
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by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34141983
Time to do some thinking on this.....
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by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34141994
I have the ability to connect (USB) the laptop drive to another computer to recover data if needed...
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 300 total points
ID: 34142027
>>  I have the ability to connect (USB) the laptop drive to another computer to recover data if needed...

That will work.  It will also enable you to determine if the drive is working properly if you can access it.  Also look at doing a virus scan (preferably first) before you copy over the data.  Could well be a nasty stopping this computer from working.

You may need to Take Ownership of this drive.  See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308421 for more information.

Oh, if data comes across okay try running a chkdsk on this drive.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 34144897
since the error points to a bad disk, i suggest :
-backup your data
-run a disk diag on the drive ; here a bootable cd with all diags  : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      
-if the disk is bad, you' ll have to replace it  - and reinstall OS + applications

post results !
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Author Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34171906
Ok peeps!
                  Thanks for the responses. I finally talked to the owner last night...we are on hold until they can find the installation disks from Dell. This computer doesn't have the Restore partition...
                                                                                       Thanks ....   Don
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Author Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34183262
Ok...the owner gave me the wrong disk....the disk he gave me is an OEM XP Home from an EMachine. They have no idea where the Dell Disks are and could not remember if they even created any recovery disk. I did create the UBCD Disk but Im not sure what to do with it. I will boot with it and look for the disk utilities to run.....help..lol
                                                                                           Thanks    Don
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by:nobus
nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 34183378
>>   I did create the UBCD Disk but Im not sure what to do with it   <<  boot from it, and run diags !
for troubleshooting; this may help :
http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/Storage/Hard_Drives/The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
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Author Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34183528
Can the PBR be rebuilt to fix this?
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34183629
You can rebuild the PBR using the UBCD but no guarantee that this is going to work.

But first use the UBCD to test the hard disk and see if it is OK.

If the disk is OK then use TestDisk to check that the file system is OK.  TestDisk can also rebuild the PBR or MBR.

If you need help or guidance then post.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 34183631
best test your disk first -before trying to fix...it makes things worse then..
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Author Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34184609
Thanks...I've got TestDisk up and going ...not real sure what to do with it....lol. I'm going to look online for a tutorial
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 300 total points
ID: 34184694
Tutorial http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

Recovery Examples http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Data_Recovery_Examples

As long as you don't save you'll be OK.  Saving is for when you are definitely certain you are doing the right thing and alteration of disk is what you want.
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Author Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34218500
Happy Thanksgiving Experts!
                                                  Well........I ran HD scan and the drive passed....I ran CHKDSK...no luck. FIXBOOT...no luck. FIXMBR....no luck. However,  I did find the Restore Partition....so I Restored back to factory. Then I ran Recuva and got most of the pictures, music and documents back. So all is good there. I had been trying to contact the owner for 4 days...when he finally called back and told me not to worry about it, they decided to buy her a new laptop, I was a little PO'd.......Thank you all for your time and knowledge.                                                 Don
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Author Closing Comment

by:Oklahawkfan
ID: 34218528
Excellent advice as usual
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