Re: Blank screen with blinking cursor
Thanks for taking the time to consider and reply.
CTRL + F11 = didn't work
F8 = also didn't work
Since posting, this is what I have done or found out:
1. The Dell driver files named as xxx.exe are actually self-extracting zips .. so I unziped and loaded those drivers using the repair disk
2. Even though the dialogue box asking me to select the OS for repair was blank, I discovered I could still click to NEXT .. which allowed me access to all the repair options
3. I first tried the option to repair the boot files ... this completed ok after about 2 hours but had no effect
4. I next tried the option to display the command prompt, which then enabled me to type DIR A:\ and see the contents of my 150GB HDD
5. To my shock it displayed only about 20 files ... and no WINDOWS directory at all.
6. I then knew that the repair routines would not work for me because it seemed I had no OS files left on the HDD and also none of my critical data files
7. I showed the problem to a friend who had the HDD out of the notebook in about 5 mins and connected to an adapter into a USB port which allowed him to look at the drives contents on his computer. This gave much the same results as my DIR command
8. He then used a utility called GETDATABACK which I think scans the drive and somehow comes up with a list of files on the drive. After about 2 hours it was able to display a list of several hundred files, including the critical files I thought had been lost (because they were not visible from the DIR command)
9. After the utility displays a list of files, it gives the option to extract/copy those files to another drive ... which we did painlessly and another 2 hours later I had useable copies of my data files
10. This if course did not fix the HDD from my notebook, so next I will
i) check the dive is not damaged (run a utility), then reinstall back to the notebook
ii) reformat the drive
iii) reinstall Vista and all my Dell drivers
iv) reinstall all other programs I need
v) copy the recovered data files back to the Dell
I reckon about a week of evening work.
Its a pain but I am just so grateful to have my data back and I'll be doing daily incremental backups from here onwards.
I have no idea what caused the problem but my assessment is that the NTFS got corrupted so that most of the files on the drive became invisible.
And I now know that the blank/black screen with the flashing cursor is what happens when Windows can not be loaded .... though the cause of the problem and so the rectification process can be any one of numerous options .. some of which are documented elsewhere on the net.
Hope this helps someone else one day who encounters the same problem.
Also, just in case it was the cause, my advice to all is do not close the lid of a notebook while it is in the process of a full normal Windows shutdown.