I recently offered to help fix up a friends laptop. He has been having problems getting the OS to load. The machine will POST and I can get into the BIOS; however, when I try to load the OS normally I get the XP loading screen which moves for a while and evntually leads to a black screen. When I try to boot to any safe mode the OS hangs on this file:
To me it looks like an issue with a driver, however, I also suspect the HDD may be beginning to go. How can I check his machine for a faulty HDD? (I have an Ubuntu CD on hand?) If it is faulty should I try to make the sectors that are faulty into swap space? How can I do this? If the HDD isn't faulty should I just do a partition delete and re-install or with it being a Dell are there some recovery options I can try first?
On another note his computer requires that it be plugged in to stay on/power up. Would this be as easy as replacing the battery to fix and what could I tell him to do as far as preventing it from happening again?
Dell Inspiron 1501
AMD Athlonx2 64
How do you get to the command line though booting off the OS? I tried booting into safe mode w/ command prompt and it hung on that file.
Also, he is not tech savvy at all. I'm guessing he doesn't have the OS disk. I'm also kindof assuming with it being a Dell and all there's some sort of recovery partition already configured. In the event that the latter is true how would I access it's recovery features? If, in fact, he does not have the OS disk where can I download an ISO file for XP Home? I know he's got his CD-Key because I saw the label on the machine. (Also why I figured they put the recovery features on a partition instead of a CD.)
Go into the BIOS (usually delete key on startup). Change the 1st boot device to the DVD drive. Insert the OS disc. Hit f10 to save and exit the BIOS. On restart, you should see a message to 'press any key.' At that time press something, and it will take you into the screen shots listed in the link above.
To access the recovery partition, if there is one, it's usually f11 on startup.
"WARNING: The AC adapter tpe cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance. Please check AC adapter connect properly, remove AC adapter and plug-in it again, thanks."
He is using the Dell AC adapter too.
Also this laptop requires that it be plugged in to turn on so I'm not quite sure if the battery is just old or if it's somethin more serious. If the latter is true I know drawing the wrong voltages to components can cause them to malfunction.
I am seriously starting to think this is a hardware issue. How can I test the critical hardware?