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Hi,

The Dell logo appears and BIOS begins to load but when I try to enter setup from that screen or just let it boot normally it just goes black. (I can only see this for 5 seconds or so.) The computer is plugged in and is still turned on and running but there is nothing on the screen for about 5 minutes. After that time, a blinking white underscore (as though I could start typing) appears on the top left hand corner of the black screen.

Still, I can't do anything. What can I do to login to Windows or get into setup or something?

Ultimately, I'd like to reinstall the OS.

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!
 

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When DELL logo appears, there's usually a message at the bottom part that says 'Press F1 for BIOS Setup' or something similar. Have you tried going into BIOS setup? If you can go into BIOS setup, try to boot from CD/DVD drive using a bootable CD (xp installer or Ubuntu or any linux liveCD). However if you cannot enter BIOS setup check your CMOS battery.

Also try the steps below:

  1. Power OFF the computer
  2. Remove the battery
  3. Unplug AC
  4. Press and hold Power ON button for 30 secs. at least
  5. Put back the battery
  6. Plug back AC
  7. Power ON as normal
 
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