When you own a computer there are always things that go wrong. Probably the worst is when you attempt to turn your computer on and all you get is a black screen with an error message. Sometimes you may not even get an error message. You are just left looking at a black screen with a cursor blinking in the top left hand corner of the screen.
These types of situations can be caused by anything from a failing hard drive to a virus. Even having a CD-Rom in the CD drive or a USB connected to your computer when you turn it on may be causing the issue. The first step is to be sure that there are no CD-Roms in the CD drive and that all USB drives have been unplugged from the computer. The computer may be attempting to boot from these other devices first.
How To Troubleshoot a Hard Drive That Won’t Start Windows
As stated above, there are a lot of different reasons why Windows may not start when you turn your computer on. What error is displayed on your screen when the computer is turned on has a lot to do with what type of solutions may work in taking care of the problem. A list of common steps to try:
- Make sure no CD-Rom is in the CD-Rom Drive or USB Drives/Devices are connected
- Try accessing the special boot menu by continuously tapping the F8 key after turning on the computer
- Try using other bootable media such as a Rescue Disk/USB or Windows Disk
Make Sure There Are No External Media Devices Connected
Many computers are setup to check the CD-Rom and USB drives before continuing to attempt to boot from the hard drive. This can cause a computer not to start if the media in these devices are not bootable(Don’t have a boot partition). This may cause different errors from a blank black screen with a blinking cursor to a “Boot Media Not Found” error.
Make sure no USB or Thumb drives are connected and that there is no CD in the CD-Rom drive. Many modern computers also have a “Boot Device” screen that will allow you to choose which device the computer attempts to boot from. Pressing or Tapping the “F9” or “F12” key while your computer are popular ways to get to the Boot Device Selection screen. Different manufacturers have different methods so it is always best to check your computer manufacturer’s website to see what method is available for your model computer.
(It is extremely rare but all things are possible. Your computer may be stuck attempting to boot from an alternate device. Try accessing the “Boot Drive Selection Menu” and manually telling your computer to boot from the hard drive to make sure this is not happening in your case. If your model computer does not have a boot selection screen you can access the BIOS and make sure the boot device is set correctly)
Pressing or Tapping the F8 Key When You Turn On Your Computer Access The Special Boot Menu
If your computer is not attempting to access another media source to boot or your hard drive is not completely dead then tapping the F8 key approximately once per second when you first turn the computer on should allow you to access a special boot menu.
If you are able to access the Advanced(Special) Boot Options Menu it is possible that you can access your hard drive through a special Windows environment called Safe Mode. If you are able to access Windows in Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking then you can attempt to repair the Windows environment and hopefully be able to start Windows normally again. In safe mode you can attempt virus and malware cleaning or use the Windows Restore option to take Windows back to a working condition. The “Repair Your Computer” may also be able to repair any problems that are causing Windows not to be able to start correctly. In some cases you may have to run this option 2 or 3 times before it is successful.
Using Other Boot Media If All Else Fails
If you are not able to gain access to your Windows or hard drive using any of the above methods then attempting to use a different boot source is your next step. An alternate boot source is your Windows CD/USB for example, or a USB or CD-Rom that has been made bootable. In other words it has been made to be able to start a computer outside of your hard drive. This may allow you to be able to access your hard drive and possibly repair it or in the very least backup any files or pictures that are on it. There are special environments available that you can use to make a bootable disk. If you have questions or need help a PC Helper is available to offer more help.
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