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tried to reformat but not I get a black screen

Discussion in 'General Hardware Issues' started by ahinalu, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    Aloha (I'm new here),

    I tried to reformat my HD on a old dell I have. It had a dual boot 98/linux system.
    I followed some online directions from microsoft on how to reformat. After I went
    to fdisk and deleted the secondary partition, restarted and now it shows a blank
    screen, no command prompt nothing. I thought it might be a software issue but
    the hd is pretty new (maxtor, don't know how big), the power supply is new too
    (the new hd was blowing the old ps).

    Anyone know how to get the command prompt back, or do I need to buy new hd?

    Thanks in advance.
    Mahalo Chris
  2. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    Welcome to DAL!

    Just to clarify: where were your respective operating systems?

    What was on the second partition? Did you do anything to the first partition?

    Any other partition?

    It sounds like you removed your operating systems.
  3. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    I know that before restarted there was a partition that was 86%. I'm asssuming
    that that was/is the windows partition. I did delete the smallest partition. I was
    asssssuming that it was the linux partition. I was going to give that comp to a
    friend, and she doesn't do linux.

    There were only two partitions that I know of. One for the linux and one for the
    windows 98.

    My biggest worry is that since there is nothing on the screen, that it is fubar. I
    really don't want to drop $50+shipping (to Hawa$$) for a new hd. :(
  4. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    When you power on the computer do you get any reaction?

    Does the BIOS start up?

    If not does your monitor get any signal? Or does it get a "No Signal" message?

    Do the LED's light up?
  5. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    So, when turn it on:
    The cd light goes on flashes (I have it set to boot to cd 1st, floppy 2nd then hd)
    The floppy drive makes a sound
    The hd spins up and stays on (it is still spinning now).
    The Two green light on the front light up then the little one goes out, but the one
    on the power button stays on.

    I unplugged the monitor from the comp and the no signal message comes on and
    says that there must a cable loose, the monitor is working properly.

    I have no idea if my bios is starting, what would look like?
  6. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    How did it used to start?

    If it is a manufactured computer such as Dell or HP or IBM etc. you usually see their logo. If it is custom built you usually see the motherboard logo. Or else you see a black screen running through all the hardware checks.

    Did you ever see anything like this?

    If you are not seeing this then the BIOS is not starting (if the monitor is OK).

    If you are not seeing any of this are you hearing any BEEPS?

    And just as a preliminary question: are you familiar with working inside the case?
  7. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    No splash screen, just black. So I guess my bios isn't starting?
    I have no issues going inside, I replaced the hd myself, and I was a Aviation
    Electronic tech in the us coast guard (it was a long time ago before ms or apple.
    I don't have the speakers set up, so I don't know if there are any beeps, should
    I do this?
  8. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    The BEEPS we are looking for come from either the motherboard or a case speaker if installed. This has nothing to do with your audio speakers.

    The board usually will BEEP once as soon as the BIOS clears. This is when all is well. Otherwise the BEEPS come in patterns which are error codes.

    Did you ever hear any BEEP(s) when all was well?

    Anyway the first step here (assuming the motherboard and or case speaker is working) is to remove all the RAM and then try to boot.

    If the board or case speaker is working you should get an endless repetition of BEEP BEEP BEEP when you try to boot without RAM installed.

    If the board or case speaker is working and you hear nothing without any RAM installed the integrity of your motherboard is in serious question.

    Also inspect the motherboard for any swollen or leaking capacitors.

    Sorry I missed the fact that this is an old Dell. Many old Dell's also have LED error displays on the rear of the case. Four LEDs that should be in some combination of red and green or off.
  9. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    I and my wife do not remember any beeps when all was well. I did hook up the
    speakers just in case, still no beeps.

    I took out all the ram and started it up and still no beeps.

    There are four "lights" on the back of the computer/MB "A,B,C,D" that are not lit.
    No matter if the ram was in or out. There is a light inside the comp on the MB
    (amber) that goes on when the comp gets turned on and took a while after I
    unhooked the power cord.

    There is no physical evidence of any component issues, but most of the "goodies"
    are on the other side of the MB.
  10. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    Well back to square one.

    1) What instructions from Microsoft were you following?

    Two lights on the monitor? Or is this the tower?

    This is interesting because if the BIOS were not engaged you should get a "No Signal Input" with the monitor plugged in.

  11. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/255867 "how to format your hard drive"
    I got screwed up and I was in a dos prompt when I read restart your computer, I don't know any commands, I tried, quit, end, and some others
    but they were all "bad commands", so I pressed the little restart button, that's
    when all hell broke loose (well nothing happened actually...just a black screen).

    the two lights are the ones on the tower (the power button light and the one
    below it).

    The monitor must think there is a signal...a black scary black hole signal :|
  12. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    The DOS command is EXIT

    What is the exact model of Dell.

    I am wondering if perhaps the BIOS was on that small partition.

    This is rare yet it is a possibility.

    Also just to verify: the tower power light goes out or does it flash amber?
  13. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    Dimension xps t500

    There is a light on the power button, it goes on and stays on.
    There is a light below it (smaller) that goes on when it starts and then goes off.

    So if I have no bios, what do Ido????
  14. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    Just my main thoughts:

    First off Dell does not like Microsoft tools being used on it. Dell (as any manufacturer is proprietary) assumes you would only use Dell recovery CD's etc.

    Perhaps a good chance would be to clear your CMOS. Do you know how to do that? It depends on the computer is why I ask.

    I am looking up your model:


    If you are not familiar with the CMOS jumper I will download the manual.
  15. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    I do not know how clear my cmos, I know how to fry one though ;)

    BTW- thanks for all the help so far.
  16. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    OK. I'll download the manual and see if I can find it.

    It basically resets your motherboard/BIOS to a clear state. Assuming the BIOS is not damaged.

    I'll be back.
  17. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

  18. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    ok, so I shut it down, moved the jumpers over to the 2&3 pins started it and nothing.
    I even tried it without the jumper (thought it was worth a try), still no joy.
    I tried it with and without every combo of boot disk in/out and windows 98 cd in/out
    and with both in/out (again thought it was worth a try).

    I definitely heard something from the mb next to the little battery. Not sure if
    that means anything.
  19. jephree

    jephree ¨*·.¸ «.·°·..·°·.» ¸.·*¨

    Just since we're trying things...

    Unplug the computer and remove that battery for a few minutes.

    Then put it back and try.
  20. ahinalu

    ahinalu Techie7 New Member

    no joy on the battery thing...
    If I put the hd in my xp machine and installed windows 98 and brought it back to the 98 machine, do you think that might work?