Windows laptop running under vista suddenly won't boot

Sep 25, 2018
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My older Dell laptop running (please don't laugh) under Vista has suddenly stopped booting (suddenly, as in it worked a day ago). It also can't run startup repair, repair your computer, safe mode with or without networking or command prompt, and boot using last working configuration. It's also tending to get stuck in a vicious circle where it won't boot so goes to the screen for startup repair, which then doesn't work and then attempts to reboot, which leads to the screen for startup repair... You get the idea. That CD/DVD drive no longer works, so I was going to try to create a USB drive with rescue/repair info. I'm trying to avoid a destructive installation because there are still a few files on this hard drive that I needed. I've found a few websites that seem to describe this process but at least one seems to be trying to sell me burning software, so I'd love to hear from someone with knowledge and no vested interests. Thanking the forum in advance!
 

benz.media

Great
Sep 25, 2018
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Dear Minissa2003,

This sounds like an issue with the flash drive.
Try changing the file format on your flash drive to NTFS if it is FAT, or FAT if it is NTFS and try using Rufus again when you have changed the file format.
Do you maybe have another flash drive laying around? If so, try using that. If that doesn't work, it might be a good option to strip the info. You might be able to get the person to install Windows Vista on it but you can also just put the clean hard drive into your laptop and install Vista yourself using the flash drive. I'm sorry for the late reply, I've been busy.

- Benz
 

benz.media

Great
Sep 25, 2018
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Hello,

Creating a recovery USB is a good idea. You should download the Windows Vista installation ISO, and burn it to your USB using Rufus. Rufus is a free software you can use to burn ISO's to a USB drive. If you can not get your system to boot up to your USB drive, try hitting F8 once you start your system up and select your USB flash drive. Then, when you are able to install Windows Vista, there should be a 'Repair your computer' option. Click that and see if it works. Also, what was the last thing you did before it did boot up anymore?
If all else fails, and if you have experience with taking apart a laptop, you might be able to get the hard drive out of your laptop and get the files off.

Benz
 

rgd1101

Polypheme
Moderator
MERGED QUESTION
Question from minissa2003 : "Vista laptop suddenly not booting"





 
Sep 25, 2018
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Responding to benz.media: I have what appears to be the files for Windows Vista on a stick now and did use Rufus for the transfer. I've plugged it into all of my USB drives but still can't get past the black screen where the mouse pointer first appears (the pointer is responsive, not stuck). I found on another thread that the fix for this was to change in BIOS to ATA from AHC1 and have tried that with no success. Previously, diagnostics (F12) determined that the hard drive is OK. When I try to boot from the flash drive, if I hit F8, I have lost the item "Repair Your Computer" (it lists everything else you normally see on this screen). I also can't get the "Start-up repair" unless I try to boot without the flash drive. In both instances, I have tried to get to the screen in question, THEN insert the flash drive to fool the computer, but at that point, nothing loads from the flash drive. If I try to boot from the flash drive, it indicates it's accessing/copying Windows files but then it again hangs on the black screen with pointer. Any further advice?

And on the Dell Inspiron series, the hard drive is very easy to get to (what's the problem is the fan, which is buried way down at the bottom in terms of the order in which you get to system components), so I'm to the point I'm about ready to pull the HD out and find someone I can pay to strip the info. In this case, do I have to find someone who has a Vista program or can that hard drive just be put into another computer that runs any Windows OS (we're mostly in 10 in my household)?

Thanks for responding so quickly. I'm tearing my hair out. Wondering if the problem might be that I did something wrong getting Vista onto my flash drive and the simple solution would be to start that process over.
 

benz.media

Great
Sep 25, 2018
62
3
95
4
Dear Minissa2003,

This sounds like an issue with the flash drive.
Try changing the file format on your flash drive to NTFS if it is FAT, or FAT if it is NTFS and try using Rufus again when you have changed the file format.
Do you maybe have another flash drive laying around? If so, try using that. If that doesn't work, it might be a good option to strip the info. You might be able to get the person to install Windows Vista on it but you can also just put the clean hard drive into your laptop and install Vista yourself using the flash drive. I'm sorry for the late reply, I've been busy.

- Benz
 
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