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Computer Does Not Start (Windows Vista)

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This document applies to all HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows Vista.
This document provides possible solutions to many common computer startup issues. Select the closest match from the following list of symptoms to find a solution to the problem. If you cannot find a symptom that matches the condition of your system, use the section Standard steps to resolve most startup problems .
NOTE:*IMPORTANT* Before using this document, make sure that all floppy drives, CD/DVD drives, USB ports, and all memory card reader slots are empty and all non-essential devices (printers, scanners, external hard drives and similar) are disconnected. Only the mouse, monitor, and keyboard should be connected.
  • The computer cannot be powered
    There is no noise from the case or processor fans, lights on the front of the computer remain unlit, and the monitor is not receiving a video signal.
    Use the following HP support document: Troubleshooting Power Supply Issues .
  • The computer powers on but makes beeping sounds or locks up at the HP or Compaq logo screen
    Beeps typically sound when a keyboard key is stuck, a memory dimm or hard drive cable is not properly seated, or a hardware component failure has occurred. Disconnect the mouse and keyboard and try to start the computer again. If the computer starts, repair or replace those devices.
    To find out more information about the specific beep pattern, use the following HP support document: BIOS Beep Codes and Error Message Descriptions .
  • Computer starts but monitor is blank or unresponsive.
    The monitor is on but remains blank when you turn on the computer or a message stating that a video signal is not detected appears on the monitor when you turn on both the monitor and computer.
    You need to determine if the issue is related to the monitor, software, or video hardware. Use the following HP support document: The Monitor is Blank after Starting the Computer .
  • A message displays on the screen :
    Select a message that best matches the message that appears on the display. If your message is not listed, use the section Standard steps to resolve most startup problems .
  • All other startup problems
    Use the Standard steps below to resolve the problem.

Standard steps to resolve most startup problems

First, use the following steps to determine if the hard drive is being detected in the BIOS:
  1. Before you begin, remove everything from the computer (such as USB drives, and CD and DVD discs) and connect only the original mouse, monitor and keyboard.
  2. Turn on the computer and press the F10 key repeatedly at the first screen to enter the BIOS Setup utility.
  3. Verify that a hard drive name is listed from the general screen.
    Figure 1: Example of a hard drive name listed in the BIOS (Western Digital)

Hard drive is detected

Use the following procedure to repair the file system on the hard drive:
  1. Turn off the computer and wait at least 5 seconds with the computer in a full off state.
  2. Turn on the computer and press the F8 key repeatedly as the computer starts.
    An "Advanced Boot Options" screen opens if the system partition on the hard drive is still good.
    NOTE:If the "Advanced Boot Options" screen does not open, use a recovery disc. Insert the first recovery disc into the drive and turn on the computer. From the Recovery Manager main screen, select Advanced Options , and select Microsoft Startup Repair , and click Next . Skip to step 8.
  3. Select Repair Your Computer and press Enter .
  4. Select a keyboard layout that matches your country/region and click Next .
  5. When the login prompt appears, select the user name with Administrator rights (not Administrator) from the User Name drop down. The user name with Administrator rights is most likely the first user name that was entered during the initial computer setup.
  6. Type the logon password into the Password field and then click OK .
    NOTE: If you do not know the password, leave the Password field blank and click OK . If you are unable to get past the password window, notify the system administrator for the password or perform a system recovery to restore the system to its previous state.
    A System Recovery Options window opens.
    Figure 2: System Recovery Options
  7. Click Startup Repair .
    A Startup Repair window opens and automatically scans for startup problems.
    Figure 3: Startup Repair
  8. Perform the actions suggested by Startup Repair: system restore, correct damaged or missing files, or other action.
    NOTE:A window may appear stating that Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically. If an Internet connection is active, click Send information about this problem to help Microsoft better understand and react to these issues. Otherwise, continue to the next step.
  9. After Startup Repair has been used, try to open Windows.
    • If Windows Vista opens, you are done.
    • If Windows Vista does not open, perform the first portion of this section again to open the Startup Recovery Options window and continue.
  10. From the Startup Recovery Options window, click Command Prompt .
    NOTE:If you had to use recovery discs to run Startup repair, press ALT + D at the Advanced Recovery Options screen to open a command prompt.
  11. Enter the following at the command prompt:
    bootrec /fixboot
  12. Enter the following at the command prompt:
    bootrec /fixmbr
    Figure 4: Command console
  13. After the bootrec tool has been used, close all open Windows to restart the computer and open Windows.
    • If Windows Vista opens, you are done.
    • If Windows Vista does not open, continue using these steps.
  14. Perform a full system recovery using recovery discs. For more information refer to the HP support document Performing an HP System Recovery in Windows Vista .
  15. If the recovery cannot be completed from recovery discs, replace the hard drive

Hard Drive is not detected

Perform the following steps when the hard drive is not detected:

Step 1: Resetting BIOS

First, reset the BIOS to make sure the BIOS settings are correct:
  1. Turn on the computer and press F10 repeatedly to open the BIOS setup screen.
  2. Press the F5 key to reset the default BIOS settings. Use the arrow keys to select Yes or OK and press Enter .
  3. Press the F10 key to save settings and exit. Use the arrow keys to select Yes or OK and press Enter .
  4. Turn off the computer.
  5. Remove the power cord.
  6. Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
  7. Reconnect the power cord and turn on the computer.
  8. If the startup problem is gone, you are done.
    If the startup problem still exists, continue to the next section.

Step 2: Disconnecting and reconnecting hard drive cable

Use the following steps to remove and reseat the hard drive cables:
WARNING:The edges of metal panels can cut skin. Be careful not to slide skin along any interior metal edge of the computer.
CAUTION:This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a noncarpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.
  1. Remove the side panel by loosening the side panel screws and sliding the panel to the back of the computer.
    Figure 5: Example of one type of side panel. Your PC may be different.
  2. Find the power cable connected to the hard drive. Disconnect and reconnect the power cable.
    IDE power and data cable locationSerial ATA (SATA) power and data cable location
  3. Find the IDE or SATA data cable connection to the hard drive. Disconnect and reconnect the IDE or SATA data cable from the hard drive.
  4. Find the IDE or SATA data cable connection on the motherboard. Disconnect and reconnect the IDE or SATA data cable from the socket on the motherboard.
  5. Replace the side panel.
  6. Plug the power cable back into the computer.
  7. Turn on the computer and wait to see if the startup problem still exists:
  8. If the startup problem still exists, replace the hard drive.

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