Dell laptops can be very reliable machines for work or leisure. However, like any well-used computer, they sometimes encounter problems in startup. These problems may appear to be fatal and insurmountable. There are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to attempt to resolve otherwise impassable problems of startup.
Press F12 when the Dell logo appears during startup. This screen appears very briefly, so be ready.
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Run all possible diagnostics tests. This will help determine where the problem lies. If the problem is with your battery, purchasing a new battery will potentially solve the problem. If the problem lies with your RAM, it is possible that you will need physical repairs or replacements.
Back up critical drivers and files you want saved. Use an external hard drive or blank CDs/DVDs for this storage. If your computer restarts before this is possible, your hard drive will likely have to be sent elsewhere for data recovery. Alternatively, you could connect your hard drive to another computer through a USB connection.
Insert the Windows CD into your CD drive before startup.
Turn on your computer.
Follow the onscreen instructions for installing Windows. You may need to format your hard drive beforehand. This will erase all information currently stored on it.
Install the necessary drivers and other resources that allow your laptop to function to your needs.
Hard Drive Recovery
Download boot files or otherwise obtain a boot disc for your hard drive model (see Resources).
Insert the boot disc into your computer.
Run the diagnostic tests for your hard drive. This process will help localize the problem and, in some cases, fix it. If the error is of a more mechanical nature, you may need to order a replacement hard drive or send your hard drive to the manufacturer for repairs.
Things You'll Need
External hard drive
Operating system CD (optional)
Boot CD (optional)
If there is a physical problem with your computer, let an expert technician fix the problem. Your data is likely recoverable, but experimental tinkering will likely cause damage.