A friend has a Dell laptop (Inspiron 1545) with Windows 7 that half of the time boots without a problem, but on about half the boot attempts it detects a problem and goes into recovery, and 30 minutes later boots OK. I haven't got the laptop but will have it soon. Is there a known cause of this problem? My first thought is to take the HDD out and back it up, then scan it for viruses as an external HDD to my system, then, assuming it is clean, put it back into the laptop and go from there.
Any ideas where I would start? It's been a while since I've booted up a Windows 7 install disc, but I think there's a repair process I can try, or perhaps a System Restore would work? Thanks for any help anyone can provide.
Most Dells will allow you to run built-in diagnostics by pressing a key during startup when you first see the Dell logo screen. Usually F12. I would start there, making sure to test the hard drive. The symptoms you describe is most common in systems where the hard drive is about to give up the ghost.