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We have a DELL laptop running Windows XP.

When I try and start it, the screen is blank.

When I try it in diagnostic mode the screen works fine. I have ran the diagnostics, including testing the harddisk no errors. Have also connected an external screen with the same result.

Have tried to start it in safe mode with the same result.

I am wondering if it could be due to the harddisk being full? If this could be causing the problem, how can I delete files to get it to start.

Anybody have any idea what it could be?


I have now tried taking out the HD and mounting it in an external case and accessing it, the disk worked ok and it was not full.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

My guess (and it is a guess) would be a bad graphics card or video driver. I'm assuming that since you said you tried it in safe mode, you can get to the point that you can select the boot type. To verify this, try using a Linux Live boot disk. If you can boot into Linux, it's the drver, otherwise it's likely the card.

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Does it work if you connect it to an external monitor? Normally I have said it was an issue with your video driver, but in safe mode you should get a vanilla VGA display no matter what your settings. The fact you can get the set up and diagnostics indicates screen does work. Have you checked to see if there is any video set up info in your CMOS settings?

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The HDD may be problematic - I had a similar issue last week and had to replace the drive.

Have you tried booting from a bootable CD or DVD? Such as a Windows disk or a Linux live CD? Being able to do that would suggest that the problem is indeed the HDD.

Edit: you mention the diagnostic mode. Are you able to get into the system's BIOS? If so, is the HDD listed there?

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