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My rather old Dell C840 started behaving strangely. When I try to start it up, it doesn't do anything, just shows a blank screen with the cursor flashing. It has nothing to do with booting. It doesn't show a single message, neither does it beep.

Fortunately, after a few to several restarts, it does start, but it is rather annoying and worrying.

Does anyone know what may be the reason behind this? Many things are possible of course, but somebody more experienced may have seen exactly the same behaviour.

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When it does work, what is the next thing you see on the screen? – Majenko Apr 23 '11 at 9:28
The BIOS messages that it's starting up the system. You know, the RAM check, whatever. Nothing unusual. Thanks! – Albus Dumbledore Apr 23 '11 at 9:34
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is a hardware failure. Diagnosing these kinds of failures remotely is nigh-on impossible.

Unfortunately, repairs to laptops, especially older ones made by people like Dell, are often very expensive and sometimes not possible unless you are the manufacturer.

As you can get some very reasonable laptops these days for good prices I'd live with it a little longer while saving up for a new laptop.

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Thanks! You know, it seems the audio is not working either. I did a fresh install with the audio drivers and all but it's still not working. Thought it may be a virus but it seems that it is indeed a hw problem. :-| – Albus Dumbledore Apr 23 '11 at 9:42
Anything that happens before even the memory checks is either a hardware problem or a corrupted BIOS. In the latter case I'd expect it to never work. The fact that it's intermittent tells me it's hardware. I know of no viruses that affect a computer before the BIOS checks. – Majenko Apr 23 '11 at 9:44
Yeah, sure. I was talking about the fact that audio is not working either. You see, initially, it was only the audio that got wrong. So I made a reinstall and hoped it would fix it. Meanwhile, the laptop-not-starting problem started occuring. – Albus Dumbledore Apr 23 '11 at 9:48
It could all stem from the same hardware fault. It's all integrated into one circuit board in laptops. – Majenko Apr 23 '11 at 9:54
O.K. Thanks a lot, Matt! :-) – Albus Dumbledore Apr 23 '11 at 10:00

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