View Full Version : My computer files in trouble!

01-19-2007, 15:01
Here's the story. Last night, I finished browsing the web and decided to run my US-Army-AKO-provided anti-virus Macaffee (sp) software for a full scan.

About two hours later, my computer screen was black. No problem - must be the screen saver feature. I move the mouse... nothing. I type on the keyboard... nothing. Now, obviously the screen is on (even though it is black, one can tell that the screen is enabled).

Well, I shut the computer down and wait a minute or two. I restart and I can see the usual boot screen appear. So, I figure that the problem is solved since I see activity on the screen. Once it gets past the part of the boot screen that shows you how to reach the SETUP (press DEL during boot up), it goes on to the part where it is supposed to show the familiar Windows XP blue screen. Well, it does not. In fact, it stays black (but obviously on). I let it sit like this for an hour... nothing - still black. I restart it once again... same result. What can it be? What has me mostly worried is that I got my latest files for the book I'm writing (remember my short-story type installments of "A Full Company of Men", AKA "The Experience"? Well, I've been working on it for the last month). Any suggestions, or insight? Thanks in advanced.

PS - I'm not sure how to get it to "SAFE START" as I don't see the option in the SETUP menu. I have already looked.

x SF med
01-19-2007, 15:29
Bas - computer stats? type, drive size, ram, etc... Do you run a firewall? I'm not familiar wit hthe Army AKO versions of utilities, do you regularly update your virus signatures?

Safe start can be accessed from the setup/bios menu (hit del, on startup that you mentioned).

Let's start with this and maybe one of the real computer geeks can help.

01-19-2007, 15:49
Sounds like your computer went to sleep before McAfee finished. To get into the Windows 2000 / XP Safe mode, as the computer is booting press and hold your "F8 Key" which should bring up the "Windows Advanced Options Menu" as shown below. Use your arrow keys to move to "Safe Mode" and press your Enter key.

If after several attempts you are unable to get into Windows 2000 or Windows XP safe mode as the computer is booting into Windows, turn off your computer. When the computer is turned on the next time Windows should notice that the computer did not successfully boot and give you the safe mode screen.

Note: With some computers if you press and hold a key as the computer is booting you will get a stuck key message. If this occurs, instead of pressing and holding the "F8 key", tap the "F8 key" continuously until you get the startup menu.

Once in Safe Mode run last known good configuration.

Hope this helps

01-19-2007, 16:15
Snaquebite is right on the money.

You can also try, next time you power down, to completely remove the power cable for about 30 seconds, then plug it back in.

I don't recommend using the "suspend/hibernate" feature on desktops, or laptops with an external power supply, as it can cause some real "interesting" effects on certain applications--one of which I believed you have experienced.

Edit: Hibernation/Suspend to disk can be configured using the "Power Options" applet in the Control Panel.

01-19-2007, 17:26
Your monitor could be out of range as well. This has happened to me a couple of times. I'm running a 15 inch monitor that has limited display capabilities. After running various update/maintenance programs, XP has occassionally reset my display resolution outside the limit of my monitor. This causes exactly what you are describing.

The advice about safe mode is spot on. You could also try plugging it into a different monitor just to be sure.

Lastly, it doesn't sound like a hard drive issue. Worse comes to worse, you should be able to retrieve your files manually by removing the hard drive and plugging it into another computer. If you need help with this, post back.


01-19-2007, 20:33
Ok, these are the details of my PC:

CPU Type: AMD Athlon XP 2800+
BIOS Version: W6729NMS V5.4 081104 16:50:14
HDD: Maxtor 6L060J3

This is what the screen says when I press "DELETE" upon the boot process as I attempt to access "SAFE MODE":

Phoenix - AwardBIOS CMOS Setup Utility

[The following describes the menu given just underneath in a blue screen - seven options on the left side and seven options on the right side of the screen.]

Standard CMOS Features

Advanced BIOS Features

Advanced Chipset Features

Integrated Peripherals

Power Management Setup

PnP/PCI Configurations

PC Health Status

Frequency/Voltage Control

Load Fail-Safe Defaults

Load Optimized Defaults

Set Supervisor Password

Set User Password

Save & Exit Setup

Exit Without Saving

[PS - I went into the "Advanced BIOS Features" and looked for anything that read "SAFE MODE", or "START IN SAFE MODE" and found nothing. In fact, I found no option with the word "SAFE". Thanks in advanced for all your help.]

The Reaper
01-19-2007, 20:44
Isn't F8 the key for boot-up options, like Safe Mode?


01-19-2007, 21:19
TR's right; try tapping F8 continuously during startup, even a few seconds after the screen goes dark.
Check this out...


01-19-2007, 21:24
Read the Post...F8 NOT Delete should take you to Safe Mode..

01-19-2007, 22:47
In my PC, as it boots up, the bottom of the screen reads "Press DEL to enter SETUP"

I have tried both holding down the F8 key as well as tapping it during boot up. No joy so far. Thanks, though.

The Reaper
01-19-2007, 22:56
In my PC, as it boots up, the bottom of the screen reads "Press DEL to enter SETUP"

I have tried both holding down the F8 key as well as tapping it during boot up. No joy so far. Thanks, though.

You do not want Setup, as you have already discovered.

You want the boot modes normally found at F8, and in this case specifically, the Safe Mode.

If you changed anything in Setup, change it back before proceeding. Make sure that there is no disk in the optical drive.

Power off, cycle the power back on, and then immediately hold the F8 button down for a minute or so. It should give you a list of boot options on the screen. If it starts beeping a stacatto sound, tap the F8 key instead of holding it while waiting for the boot options. Select Safe Mode and proceed from there.

If that fails, let us know.


01-20-2007, 06:49
Did you try a different monitor?

Also, think about getting an "external" HD to store files.

Stay safe.

01-20-2007, 07:04
You need to go through some TS procedures to determine if the problem is hardware or software.

1. Remove or dissconnect all devices; RAM, hard drive, video card, etc. - Turn on the PC and listen carefully for the post codes which is a series of beeps. You should get a lot of them. It's important to note how many you get.

2. Put the RAM back in and reboot. Notice the beeps. Did the number of beeps decrease?

3. Reconnect and turn on the PC after each device and note the beeps. If after all the devices are connected and you get no beeps then you have pretty much eleminated hardware as the problem.

Note that I said pretty much.

This is what your problem sounds like
4. Now look at the mother board, in particular, the capacitors. The capacitors are the canister looking things on the board. The tops of the capacitors should be flat. Look for a buldge on the top. Also look for fluid on the tops of them, it would be orange. If you see either of these things then the system board is bad. NOTE: This problem has turned up in the last couple of years with the advent of faster processors creating more heat in the board. The current models coming out tend not to do this. One more item here; this problem takes a while to manifest its self. It starts out like you have described here and after cooling off, it will operate correctly. Over time, the uptime of the PC decreases as the problem gets worse. Heat is the key here.

There are more steps to take but this should narrow the process down.

01-20-2007, 10:04
Kyo's reminded me of another (last resort type) option.

Worst case, you can pull the hard drive and install in another desk top, as a second hard drive, then pull the files off.

Needless to say, Guy's idea of a back up external hard drive is a good one.

When writing Get Selected, I regularly copied the files onto a thumb drive as a back up...doesn't help much now...

Good luck.

P.S. If you're intersted, drop me a PM ref your future adventures in publishing...
will discuss my [limited] experience....
- getting published vs vanity press vs self publishing
- marketing responsibilities (hint: the publisher won't do it for you)
- how to's of self publishing, etc