System hanging and unable to start in "safe" mode - FUBAR

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by Morgan, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Morgan

    Morgan Guest


    Running Vista Home Premium on a Dell laptoop. When I turned on yesterday
    evening, Windows looked like it was starting up ok ("Resuming Windows")
    except that instead of the normal screen where you pick your user to login,
    the screen just had my son's background picture. The mouse worked ok but
    there was no icons or anyway of progressing. I thought maybe my kids had left
    too many sessions logged in - which I have noticed almost hangs the PC
    before. Tried "ctrl alt del" to log out users but no reaction. In fact no
    matter what I did, the stupid Ferrari picture remained.

    Assuming some download may have caused this, I thought I would start in safe
    mode and look to either uninstall or restore to a previous backup point. When
    I manually turned off and on and held F8 on reboot, I just came back to the
    same screen. I was however able to use the F2 and F12 keys on reboot to
    access system setup etc. I also tried rebooting with the system disk in the
    drive - but again got the stupid picture (sensing my frustration here? Gone
    right off Ferraris)

    The last thing I am aware of that was downloaded was an adobe flash update.
    However the PC was rebooted once after that and worked.

    If anyone has any sort of suggestion I would be most grateful. The only
    thing I can think of now is to put my sons fingers in a vice but not sure
    that will solve my PC issue (though it may reduce my frustration level)
    Morgan, Feb 28, 2008
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  2. Morgan

    Mick Murphy Guest

    1. Right when you power on the computer start tapping the F8 Key to get to
    list including Safe Mode; don't hold F8 down, tap it!

    Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Restore.

    Also, look on your keyboard and make sure there is not an F Lock Key in use!

    You have the proper Vista DVD, not Dell recovery disks?

    If 1 does not work, alter your boot order to make the CD/DVD drive 1st in
    the boot order; put disk in drive, reboot, and do a startup repair and/or a
    system restore

    Mick Murphy, Feb 28, 2008
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  3. Morgan

    Morgan Guest


    Had been holding down F8 - will try. Yes I do have the proper Vista DVD but
    just realised about the boot order - stupid but by the time I was trying that
    I may have lost reason and logic :)

    Appreciate the suggestions

    Morgan, Feb 28, 2008
  4. Morgan

    DellCA Guest

    I would also suggest either System Restore or taking the "diagnose
    common problems" option when you boot from the Vista CD.

    Holding the F8 key doesn't work because it takes it as a single
    keystroke, which gets dumped from the buffer right before it goes to
    check for the F8 key being pressed. If you tap it one every second or
    so, starting at the Dell splash screen, you are almost sure to get into
    it. Unfortunately, it only gives you about 2 seconds to hit the key
    from the time it asks before it moves on and tries to boot normally.

    By the way, Dell operating system disks are always "full" Windows disks
    and not recovery CDs. We do have Software Recovery CD (SRCD) sets, but
    they are special built to reinstall the factory image for a specific
    individual system and are not an option when ordering the computer.
    Normally, SRCDs are sent out when tech support determines the OS needs
    to be reinstalled but the PC Restore (aka Image Restore) partition
    doesn't work for whatever reason, but the hard drive itself is not the
    problem. If a customer does not have the Windows CD itself, tech
    support can easily send it out, assuming we still have the correct
    version in stock (e.g., we can't send out WinME CDs any more because we
    literally don't have them).

    Dell Customer Advocate
    DellCA, Feb 28, 2008
  5. Morgan

    Morgan Guest


    You are a gentleman - I hope something good happens to you in this life....
    can you tell your suggestion worked :)

    Appreciate the help.

    Many thanks
    Morgan, Feb 28, 2008
  6. Morgan

    Morgan Guest

    Thanks DellCA

    Actually while I have a dell person - I have an inspiron with problems as
    well - seperate laptop (yep - really having a good time). It shuts down at
    random intervals and after chasing my tail on software, ran a program
    monitoring chip temperature. They were regularly getting into the mid 50's C
    and then the PC would fall over.

    You don't happen to know where the temp should be (think it is in 40-50
    range). Looks like I have a hardware problem.

    Morgan, Feb 28, 2008
  7. Morgan

    DellCA Guest

    Without knowing what model Dell you have, and what CPU and chipset you
    are using I can't list any specifics. However, if it is shutting down
    due to heat then the first things I would check are:

    1) Are the fans spinning?
    2) Is air coming out of the air vents?
    3) Is there anything in or on the air vents that could be blocking

    Checking those three things will usually fix most overheating problems.
    You can check the fans using the Dell Diagnostics program, or the i8k
    fan utility (not a Dell application, but useful for checking the

    If you wish to be really thorough, you can open up the system to make
    sure there isn't any dust on the heatsink assembly for the CPU as that
    could also be preventing proper heat transfer away. The service manual
    for all of the Dell computers is available from the support website
    ( and has instructions for opening up the
    computer and removing parts. That would show you what is needed to get
    to the fans and/or heatsink on your Inspiron to clean them.

    If you have other questions on the system I'll be happy to help.

    Dell Customer Advocate
    DellCA, Feb 29, 2008
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