I started an old (Dell Inspiron 2200) the startup goes all the way to Microsoft Windows XP Logo then I get a black screen. I am still able to move the cursor but that is about it. I tried running Recovery console (from CD) with chkdsk command. First time it said they were errors. I decided to do a fixboot and see if the errors went away. They did. Restarted and still no luck. If there are commands that I can call either from recovery console or elsewhere to further describe the problem please tell me and I will re-edit the question. srvtag:7XNSG81

Also what are my full range of options before wiping the hard-drive (if that is even the problem) I want to exhaust all options before replacing hardware.



Safe Mode Gets Black Screen with four corners displaying safe mode and the build on the top

Microsoft (R) Windows XP (R) (Build 2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.100216-1514: Service Pack 3)

Should I try the rest of the modes ?

Did a diagnostics test and got there results

--DST Short Status Test--
Test Results : Fail
Error Code : 1000-0142
Msg : Unit 4:Drive Self Test failed. Status byte = 80.

From what it sounds like there are bad sectors in the hard drive. I really really want to get around replacing the hard drive right now until it is my last option

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Any time you have a hard drive problem, the first (and sometimes last) tool you need to use is Spinrite. You can get it from:


It is expensive, but it works a majority of the time. They do have a money back guarantee in case it doesn't work. you basically burn it to disk or write it to a USB stick. Boot to the device and run it in recovery mode. It may take a few weeks to complete if you have a lot of bad sectors.


The only other options you have is wiping the drive or replacing it. Both of which you wanted to avoid. The problem is that you have bad sectors. The only way to recover from that is to either repair the sectors using special tools, or reset the sectors using manufacture provided tools to write zero's to the drive.

It is a fact of all technology is that it eventually degrades to a point that it doesn't work. The hard drive may simply be dead and nothing you do will bring it back if that is the case.

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  • Thanks again I will look into definitely its about the same price as the replacement hard drive so I will have to do a gamble. Just wish there was a way to go to the lowest I/O level and just kill those sectors for good. It sucks that hard drives become unusable like that. – phwd Jun 15 '10 at 18:16
  • If you don't care about the data, you can normally wipe the drive. The hard drive should track bad sectors and avoid them if there is no data on it. Check your hard drive manufacture for free tools, you might be surprised on what you find. – Doltknuckle Jun 15 '10 at 18:40

Try booting up in safe mode. It is possible that a program or driver is bad and is stopping your start-up before your system launches windows explorer. You can generally force launch explorer by hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL and going to task manager. If you go to File> "New Task" , you can generally launch explorer.exe from there.

If Safemode does work, run msconfig and do a selective startup. Uncheck everything you don't recognize in the startup tab. Then restart and try again.

If explorer is corrupt/broken you might be able to try running the following command:

sfc /scannow

This does not work in safe mode unfortunately. You may also need your windows disk for this.

Good luck

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  • Sorry I could not get into Safe Mode I reedited my question with some updates. Does sfc work in recovery console commands ? – phwd Jun 14 '10 at 22:47
  • +1 anyway because I wish it started in Safe Mode so I could do it :( – phwd Jun 14 '10 at 22:49

I had a similar problem last year. My computer randomly started doing that, with only the desktop background color and a cursor. I did everything you did and more. Not even a repair install worked. I eventually had to just reinstall XP and it worked fine.

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  • Yea that was the last option as well. I tried that, the partition was still being occupied by the previous windows XP setup. The install failed regardless due to the bad sectors :( – phwd Jun 15 '10 at 18:11

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