Question Boot Problem with Inspiron 5481

Nov 26, 2021
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My daughter's laptop began getting stuck on the Dell Logo (not getting to the spinning circle). I reinstalled Windows 10 Home to no avail. If hold down F10 on a cold boot, it will come up normally. If I select restart, then it gets stuck again. If I shut it down and then turn it on, it comes up normally as well. If I hold F12 while bringing it up, it brings up the boot menu. I can select Windows Boot Manager and it will start up normally. If I select the UEFI: PC (etc), it will not. (I will admit that I don't know anything about those options, so that may be normal.)

I've worked on this for three weeks, and I have no idea what the problem is. If it were my laptop, I could actually live with it, but my daughter wouldn't be able to handle it in this state. Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

mrmike16

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Mar 10, 2016
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I see that no one has responded, so I'll give it shot.
I can only guess, but I think the cause of the issue is from a corrupt MBR. When you reinstalled Windows 10 Home, did you do the Reset option from Windows, or did you do a clean installation (From a USB)? Clean installations are more effective at solving problems than the included Reset option.
 

AlHuneke

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Jul 7, 2020
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I'm catching up also. I agree with MrMike. Master Boot Record is suspect. This can be repaired, but is not a simple task. I would first run a diagnostic to check the machine hardware. I expect Dell has one but don't know first hand. If diagnostic is OK the I would do a clean install from a USB stick. This will wipe out EVERYTHING on the disk. Make sure you have a backup of your data and the means to reinstall programs (other that Windows). I use BelArc Advisor to print out a list of installed programs (most of them anyway). Here is a good guide for reinstalling Windows. Do a CLEAN install. Expect to spend several hours!

https://www.howtogeek.com/714130/how-to-install-windows-10-from-a-usb-drive
 
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mrmike16

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Mar 10, 2016
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After reading the OP again, I noticed this:
. I can select Windows Boot Manager and it will start up normally
I think the solution is actually quite simple. Go into the BIOS (I believe F2 on startup) and change the boot order so that Windows Boot Manager is first, although I don't know if it shows up with that name in the boot order. If that doesn't work then yes I think it is the MBR.
 
Nov 26, 2021
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Thank you for all the replies. I am booting from the Windows Boot Manager, so that appears to be correct. I tried to reinstall windows through a clean installation, but apparently did it wrong and it saved my old data. I'll try again to do a clean installation. Thanks again for all the responses.
 
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mrmike16

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Mar 10, 2016
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Thank you for all the replies. I am booting from the Windows Boot Manager, so that appears to be correct. I tried to reinstall windows through a clean installation, but apparently did it wrong and it saved my old data. I'll try again to do a clean installation. Thanks again for all the responses.
Please keep us updated for future readers and mark the question as solved (once it is solved).
 

Crimsom_247

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Sep 19, 2016
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Hi JimmyPurdue there are no reported error beeps or light codes during POST, and it is possible to boot and enter the operating system. This suggests a minor problem that is frustrating. Lets see if laptop will say why it is unhappy.

To check hardware: at splash screen, hold down F12 key to get into boot menu, use up and down keys to select Diagnostics and press Enter key. The ePSA application will open, this is Dell's improved POST application. This defaults to run a full diagnostic check which can take about 30 minutes, so run this ePSA Diagnostic when laptop is not being used. When finished, a summary will appear, look in bottom right hand corner and click on icon to enter results window. Results window is in two parts, LH column has icons to test specific hardware, RH column presents detail of diagnostic checks. Look at results to see if there are any reported hardware problems, click on save report.

To check software: when in Windows 10 operating system's local admin account, go to This PC and right click on OS(C) drive icon, click on Properties, click on Tools, Run Error checking, select run Check Disk to find and fix any file system errors. This will say if any faults found and fixed.

To check if there are any system critical faults: when in Windows 10 operating system's local admin account, type Reliability Monitor into Search (in bottom LH corner of screen), enter and wait for Events to be loaded into timeline. Look for recent Red Critical Events and click on these to get more information.

Sorry if you are now in diagnostic information overload. Please share what you have found.

PS: Master Boot Record (MBR) format of OS(C) drive does not use UEFI (BIOS) boot list option. MBR is the old drive format and has been replaced by the more reliable GPT format which requires the UEFI (BIOS) boot list option. However, Hard Disk boot drives still use MBR format, whereas Solid State NVMe boot drive use the GPT format.
 
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