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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I'm having great problems with my laptop which has years of work on it which stupidly I haven't entirely backed up. I'd be very grateful if anyone can advise/assist me in resolving the problems.

It first went wrong about a week ago when restarting immediately after having uninstalled about 10 programs using "add/remove programs". I got the error message on start up saying "file not found: hal.dll", and it would just go into a restart loop if I pressed anything. Adding to the problem, i'd been using the laptop with a monitor as the lcd screen was cracked, but the first few characters of whatever the laptop was saying were cut off because the lcd screen is a widescreen one (this only happens on startup).

I looked on the net and this forum and found that a windows xp disc is required in order to use a recovery console to sort it out. I've now got a dell windows xp reinstallation disk, but this doesnt seem to be what I need. What's now made this problem a nightmare is that in order to see the first characters etc (ie the left hand side) of the screen I managed to get into the bios setup and switch to lcd screen as the diagonal crack meant i'd be able to see the top and left half which is what i wawnted to see. However what I didnt realise is that the screen has now completely gone, leaving me totally blind to whatevers going on on the laptop.

Ideally I want to be able to use the laptop again rather than just recover the files (though that would be a bonus in itself). I have access to another laptop and was wondering if a usb hard drive docking station would allow me to resolve the problem if i plug the problem hard drive into it and connect it to another laptop. I'm on a very tight budget but could afford one of those (£17), but will it help, I really don't know if i'm looking at the right thing, and if not then how do i go about restoring the laptop, or at least my files?

Seriously if you can help you would be doing me a huge favour.
 

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The harddrive dock would make sure you can access your files, but it won't help with the dead screen problem.

That will be a bit more tricky, if possible. Some laptop manufacturers have software with which you can change BIOS settings. You could possibly recover your files on the harddrive, then install THAT drive as the main one in the other laptop or temporarily in another computer in some way. Then you install a blank copy of Windows on that one, not bothering with anything but a basic install (no drivers, no updates) AND the software for accessing BIOS (if one exists). Put that disk back in the laptop with the broken screen and try to boot into Fail Safe (big chance of blue screens in normal mode) which MAY work. If it does, use the software to change the settings back, then reinstall Windows again on the disk.

Not exactly a smooth operation, but it could work, a lot of "if" there though.
 

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Hi :wave:

Docking would indeed allow access to get the data off the drive. From there, you could use the recovery discs to format and reinstall XP on the laptop without any worries that you will lose your data.
 

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Good point. But if he puts it in another laptop, it might not install at all, as some OEM disks are 'locked' to specific hardware.

Reseting CMOS by taking out the battery is one possible solution, but I'm not sure how easy that would be on a laptop.
 

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Hello and welcome to TSF

First thing, can you tell us a little about the laptop (like the manufacturer and model etc.).

it seems like that if you have a dell, then the reinstall disc should work.

or do you have another laptop or computer? coz you need to first get all the data off of laptop by using the dock. then you reinstall the OS. otherwise you can get another hard drive and install that onto the laptop and connect the current drive via the dock and ecover the data.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much for your replies. I've gone ahead and bought a docking station, so with your advice will hopefully at least recover the files.
The laptop is an Asus A6. The dell cd was the only one i could borrow, but i'm hoping today to borrow a different one.
 
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