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Black Screen/White Dash Sign Upper Left Hand Corner

Last response: in Windows 7
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March 3, 2013 10:53:50 PM

Hello,
I'm having some trouble with my Dell Inspiron 1545/Windows 7 laptop. I was on the Perez Hilton tabloid website and all of a sudden every application on my computer began to shut down and my computer turned off by itself. Since then I've tried to turn it on numerous times and Windows won't load. It shows the Dell logo/ F2 and F12 options and goes to those two pages depending on which one I press but then I'm lost from there. (I don't have an OS disk) Can someone help? All I have is the same black screen for days now.
a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 3, 2013 10:58:32 PM

It actually sounds like you may have a hard drive problem.

Start the system. Press F2. Verify that the hard drive shows up properly. Report back with your results.
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March 3, 2013 11:59:05 PM

So I pressed F2 upon turning on my computer, it took me to a Settings, System Config, Video, Security, Performance, Power Management, POST Behavior, Wireless and Maintenance screen. Now, do what? :) 
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 10:00:12 AM

Look at both settings and system config. You should "see" your HDD info on one of them. What you are looking for is the drive itself.

The maintenance section will also allow you to run some diagnostics to check the system out.
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March 4, 2013 4:35:07 PM

What I see when I go to System Config is Integrated NIC, SATA Operation, Miscellaneous Devices, Function Key Behavior. Furthermore, under Maintanance, all I see is Service Tag, Asset Tag.
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March 4, 2013 4:41:09 PM

Now when I try pressing F12, it takes me to a Internal HDD, CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive, Onboard NIC, BIOS Setup/Disagnostics; however when I press Internal HDD or CD/DVD it takes me right back to the black screen with the blinking dash sign.
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 4:51:22 PM

F12 is to select a boot device. The internal HDD or CD/DVD should be the default.

What does your system indicate under SATA Operation?
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 4:53:19 PM

Also, if you have a bootable CD/DVD in the optical drive, you should be able to select it and boot from that media. Are you saying this doesn't happen?

If so, I suspect your problem is the SATA controller on the motherboard. Is this system under warranty? If so, time to contact Dell.
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March 4, 2013 5:21:41 PM

No, my product is no longer under warranty. I don't have any disk in the cd-rom, nor do I have a reboot disk.
As for the SATA Operation, it shows Disabled, ATA and AHCI, AHCI is currently the one selected.
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 5:52:12 PM

Are any details of attached SATA devices shown? Usually, right on the first BIOS page is a system summary that will show the attached devices.
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March 4, 2013 6:07:21 PM

No, there are no SATA devices shown. Boy, would it be nice to have your brain here now! Haha. No, nothing under BIOS which I can only get to BIOS Setup through pressinf F12.
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 7:03:16 PM

So, neither the HDD nor the CD/DVD are listed?
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March 4, 2013 7:19:34 PM

When I click on F12, I come to a black screen, I can click on Internal HDD or CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive which both bring me back to the black screen with the blinking dash sign.
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 7:22:33 PM

F12 only lets you select the boot device. You need to press F2 to enter the BIOS.
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March 4, 2013 7:44:19 PM

When I press F2, I get the following:

Settings
General
-System Info
-Battery Info
-Boot Sequence
-Date/Time

System Configuration
-Integrated NIC
-SATA Operation
-Miscellaneous Devices
-Function Key Behavior

Video
LCD Brightness

Security
-Admin Password
-System Password
-Internal HDD Password
-Password Bypass
-Password Change
-Compututrace

Performance
-Intel SpeedStep

Power Management
-USB Wake Support
-Wake on LAN

POST Behavior
-Adapter Warnings
-Fn Key Emulation
Wireless
-Wireless Switch
-Wireless Devices

Maintenance
-Service Tag
-Asset Tag
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 9:45:49 PM

On your Settings page, what information is provided under Boot Sequence and General Info? Are any HDD or CD/DVD devices listed?
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March 4, 2013 9:58:39 PM

Under Boot Sequence I have
Diskette Drive, Internal HDD, USB Storage Device, CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive which are all checked, except for Onboard NIC.
To the right of all that is the same thing only with up and down keys.
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 10:57:08 PM

Change the boot sequence to list the HDD first, then the CD/DVD. Be sure to save the change afterward.
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March 4, 2013 11:10:56 PM

I did that, but it's still loading the black page. Any other ideas? Should USB Storage Device be 3rd and Diskette Drive 4th?
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2013 11:46:07 PM

That indicates a problem with either the HDD or the SATA controller. Do you have a Windows DVD that you could boot from? If so, try it in the DVD and try it. If that doesn't work, I suspect the on-board SATA controller is the problem. Fixing that requires a new motherboard.
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March 5, 2013 12:00:02 AM

I dont have a cd. I'm guessing a Vistas cd wouldnt work for a Windows 7 laptop?
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 5, 2013 12:02:18 AM

Sure, it will work. The idea is to see if the system will try to boot from it. You won't continue beyond that.
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March 14, 2013 11:11:41 PM

So, I located a Windows Vista OS cd for my Windows 7 laptop. It tried to boot up and install, took me through all the steps but continues to load to the black page with the dash than does the whole installation process all over. Any other ideas?
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
March 16, 2013 9:02:51 AM

Sounds like the HDD is possibly defective. The boot sector is definitely not right. When you booted with the Vista CD, did you actually install Vista (and reformat the drive)?
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April 2, 2013 6:02:48 PM

When I booted Vista no, I don't believe I actually installed Vista, just booted it.
Futhermore, what I was able to purchase from Amazon was a Emergency BOOT Cd For Windows. Of course when i put it in the cd drive, I still get the black screen, but when I press F12, I'm able to press CD/DVD Boot Drive and it boots up, then right when Windows is about to start I get a blue screen with white letters stating "A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer. If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen..." etc. STOP: 0x0000007B (0xC0000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000) ANY IDEAS?
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a b \ Driver
a c 255 $ Windows 7
April 3, 2013 6:15:12 AM

BSODs can be caused by many things. In your case, it could by HDD corruption or a driver issue. Will the system boot into Safe Mode?
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April 3, 2013 5:03:22 PM

No, I'm only able to press F2 or F12 upon start up and neither one of those buttons leads me to Safe Mode.
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April 13, 2013 11:17:59 AM

That doesn't help because I'm only able to press F2 or F12, I'm not able to press any other keys unless it goes back to the black screen with the blinking dash sign. And none of these two keys lead me into safe mode.
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!