Start by running a full hard drive diagnostic - F12 at powerup.
i did. and still doesn't start. i get this message, Error code: 0146 Msg Error Code 2000-0146
The reason the system won't start is that the hard drive is faulty - that error code refers to a drive that fails its self-test. You'll need a new, 2.5" 9.5 mm SATA notebook hard drive, and then to reload everything once you replace the faulty drive with the new one.
I have a similar problem.
When I attempt to reboot with the Windows Installation CD inserted so that I can repair, it does not appear to attempt to boot using the CD. When I press F12 on startup to enter the Multi Boot menu I get only the following options:
When I run the system tests in the Diagnostics everything passes except the following:
Test Results : Device Initialization Error
Error Code 4600:0009
Msg: DEVICE_INITIALIZATION_FAILURE SmBios structure 33 has illegal 0-length.
I have tried to enter setup but am prompted for a password. I have tried everything I can think of for the password without success. I guess perhaps the fact that the BIOS contains a structure of incorrect length may mean that my stored password has been corrupted.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks for your attention,
In my case, I eventually resolved the problem by removing the coin battery and re-inserting it. In the process I broke the part of the battery housing that holds the battery down. For now a piece of electrical tape is holding it down.
After reassembling the computer, when I pressed F12 on startup, as well as the Hard Drive and Diagnostics options, I also had CD / DVD drive, USB and external device. I was therefore able to use my Windows installation disk to repair, as the system had originally been asking me to do (although when I asked Windows to repair the Startup, it said it did nothing).
I had been cautious about removing the coin battery, as I'd read some horror stories about the effect that could have, but so far, the laptop seems to be working fine (although due to the battery removal, it had forgotten the time). I haven't yet got round to testing whether or not it will retain the time after I shut the computer down.
To open up the laptop and get to the coin battery, I followed the instructions here: support.dell.com/.../index.htm