[SWLUG] Dell boot problem

Phillip Evans phillip at phillipevans.mail1.co.uk
Thu Aug 20 17:48:14 UTC 2009

Hi All,

This is not strictly a Linux problem although I am trying to use Linux 
to sort it.

Basically, I have a friend with a Dell Inspiron which has a problem with 
windows (XP) (surprise, surprise) and will not boot. This can usually be 
fixed with a factory reset from the recovery partition which is 
effectively a reinstall of windows. We need to rescue some important 
data files & we have tried booting from a live Linux CD to copy off the 
data before the reset procedure, a technique I have successfully used on 
many other computers (not Dells)

However, the Inspiron will not boot from the CD, I have tried both 
altering the BIOS settings so that the CD is the first boot device and 
hitting F12 to go to the startup menu to try booting the CD from there & 
in both cases, it ignores the CD completely and tries & fails to boot 

I think the CD drive is OK as when the machine is switched on, the CD 
light flashes a few times as the system finds it & it also flashes & 
whirs for a few seconds when a disk is inserted all seemingly as normal.

I have emailed Dell tech support, no reply after 2 days in spite of 
their pledge to reply in 24 hrs and browsing the Dell users' forum, I 
found many reports of exactly the same problem reported on many Dell 
models. Unfortunately no one there seems to have much of a clue on a 
fix. There were also a few whinges that Dell support was not much help 

The last resort will be to remove the hd & put it into another computer 
& copy off the files that way but looking at the hd, I cannot see the 
jumper panel to switch between master & slave which makes me nervous.

I would be grateful for any ideas.


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