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My computer will boot up to the login screen, then after a few seconds I get the blue screen of death and my computer restarts. This continues until I perform a hard shutdown. F8 won't bring up advanced boot options. I believe this is due to malware. Upon some research, I believe the malware deleted the advanced boot options.

Is there a way to reinstall the advanced boot options if that is the case? Is there another way to enter safe mode? Is there any other option besides reformatting my computer? Any help is appreciated.

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  • I'm... not really sure that malware can disable a BIOS process that is Advanced Boot Options... – Kaizerwolf May 5 '17 at 15:20
  • I really don't have much experience doing this. Haha. My computer doesn't have an F8 option. If I hit F12, I can enter boot options, but I'm not sure how/if I can enter safe mode from there. – Michael May 5 '17 at 15:25
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    Do you have a Windows 7 disk? Could try running repair from the disk – LSxCPU May 5 '17 at 15:26
  • Windows 7 will have an F8 option by default on any hardware it's installed on. Once you see your machine's BIOS splash screen, begin tapping F8 from there. – Kaizerwolf May 5 '17 at 15:26
  • If I can find my Windows 7 disk, I'll try that out. Also, I'm not sure what a BIOS splash screen is. It has a screen with the Dell logo with F2 for setup and F12 for boot up options. – Michael May 5 '17 at 15:36
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Blue Screen of Death issues are usually caused by two things: Bad memory, or corrupted kernel processes.

Keep in mind that most OS's (including Windows) operate in two modes. User Mode has all the user-level programs running, which include the desktop, any apps, and drivers for USB devices. Kernel Mode is all the operating system processes, things that are running in protected memory.

When a User Mode process crashes, the OS simply stops it and pops up a "Sorry, had to shut down MisBehavingProgram.exe". However, sometimes, if a memory chip fails or if a program is written badly and doesn't release memory it no longer needs, you'll get situations where something will try and grab protected memory. At that point, the OS blows the whistle, and EVERYTHING comes to a halt. This is when you see the blue screen.

If your OS is configured to "Halt" when this happens, that screen will stay up until an operator comes along and reboots the machine. However, many are configured to "Restart", which doesn't give anyone the opportunity to see what went wrong.

At this point, I would recommend going into the BIOS (F2) and setting it as "Fast Boot OFF". This disables the DELL splash screen, and instead enumerates memory and drivers as it boots. Then, when you reboot, watch the memory counter as the memory is tested. If it doesn't display the amount of RAM you have installed, then you've a bad memory DIMM and that's likely the cause.

Also, as the system reboots, you'll have more opportunities to invoke F8 (Safe Mode) once the system tests and initial device driver load are complete.

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  • I'm in the F2 menu, but can't seem to find the fast boot off option. Also, if it is malware as suspected, would installing new hardware help anything? I feel like I could fix this if I can somehow remove the file that caused this. – Michael May 5 '17 at 16:39
  • If malware has rewritten your system-level drivers and routines such that it's causing a protected-memory fault on OS load, the only way you are going to be able to clean is to reinstall the OS. Not just repair it, but reformat the hard drive, and reinstall. "Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure." – George Erhard May 8 '17 at 17:14

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