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Computer won't load past Dell splash screen


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Computer won't load past Dell splash screen

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I put my Inspiron 530 desktop on hibernate last night, woke up this morning, turned it on, and it no longer will load past the initial blue Dell logo splash screen with the F2 and F12 options. I'm running Windows XP.

If I leave it alone long enough, it would load the "Diskette drive 0 seek failure" error. I don't have a floppy disk drive, so I changed the order of devices in Boot Device Configuration. I noticed in BIOS that under the Standard CMOS Features, there's only one SATA drive listed. Looks like this:

SATA -0   None (Auto detect doesn't work)
SATA-1   DVD/CD drive
SATA-2   Unavailable
SATA-3   Unavailable
SATA-4   None (Auto detect doesn't work)
SATA-5   None (Auto detect doesn't work)

I'm assuming while my computer was functioning correctly that my C:/ drive was previously listed here, but it's gone now for reasons unknown.

Eventually I got desperate and attempted to do a Recovery Console with the Windows XP install CD, but I got this error: "Setup did not find any hard disk drives in your computer."

Obviously my computer is no longer acknowledging my hard drive where Windows XP is installed. I don't know the details of the HDD, since the F2 and F12 functions are all I can execute right now. Can't do a boot in Safe Mode either.

I've had the computer for nearly a year and have never experienced a problem like this with it. I didn't mess with the hard drive physically, didn't knock it out of place or anything of that nature.

All my searches online have been fruitless and have left me disheartened. If devices have died mysteriously I'm prepared to deal with that, but any help that will allow me to access my files just one more time so I can back up my data would be appreciated so much!

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  • bm813,

    * Power the PC off
    * Open the PC cover
    * Disconnect the power and data cables from the hard disk drive
    * Power the PC on, then off
    * Reconnect the power and data cables to the hard disk drive
    * Power the PC on
    * Press F2 to enter the Bios System Setup
    * Is the hard disk drive listed?

  • Thanks for the quick response Chris!

    I did what you suggested and BIOS still doesn't recognize the HDD. I noticed there is two sets of cords connecting to the HDD, one initially plugged in labeled P3 and a second wrapped with it unplugged labeled P4. I tried switching them to see if the results were any different, but alas nothing changed, still not recognizing.

    I was able to run Dell Diagnostics via the Utility CD and these are the results I received. The computer passed all the Memory tests, passed the Express Test under System Tests, and under the Custom/Symptom tree Tests it passed everything except the Audio and Diskette tests, which make sense since I lack the hardware for those. I'm running the Extended tests now, I'll edit this post if anything comes up from it.


  • Hi there.  Just curious if you've made any progress.  This is exactly that issue that I'm having.  Good luck!



  • Sorry to report I haven't made any progress.

    I ended up calling Dell and since I'm under warranty, they'll replace the hard drive for me. Best of luck to you though, perhaps chatting with a representative will be able to help you.

  • Had a similar problem:  

    Inspiron 546, Windows 7

    Would not boot.  Stuck at Dell start page.  F2 and F12 not doing anything.

    Found a post online suggesting "static" build up. Sounded crazy.  But simple solution: don't just turn computer on and off.  Unplug the power cord from tower and wall.

    Miracle!  Fixed problem in 2 minutes after 24 hours of frustration.

    Had thought it was the hard drive - always e week spot, but hadn't heard any unusual sounds.