Dell Vostro 1500 Laptop boots but when it loads screen is black with just a cursor

As the title says, the laptop appears to boot fine, but when it loads it is just a blank screen with a cursor visible.
It is running vista.
I have tried (at a very long shot) removing and replacing the RAM to no avail.
I also went into BIOS to boot from a disc to hopefully reinstall the OS, although I don't know if I would have had to format the HDD first. Unfortunately I was unable to try this as there is an admin password which is unknown.
The only thing I can get the PC to do once it boots is press WINDOWS+U and get ease of access up, but pressing CTL+ALT+DEL does nothing, can't open the start menu or anything. This seems odd that I can still view ease of access but virtually nothing ease.
Is there some display setting the user of the laptop might have selected accidentally, or is it a driver issue (seems unlikely)?
Thanks in advance for your help.
- Finn
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  1. I was being stupid.
    It is possible to boot from a disc without the admin password, I was trying to change the boot priority through BIOS, but I didn't realise I could just directly open the boot menu.
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