Wifes work computer won't start

Hello Everyone,
My wife was using her work computer and for not apparent reason it shut down, like a loss of power. The laptop was plugged in and no other devices in the home lost power. She went to boot it back up and the only thing we can do is get into the BIOS, if we let it run a normal boot sequence it just ends up with a blank screen with a flashing cursor on the top right of the screen.

I have been unable to boot to safe mode (Windows 7) and I don’t have access to a Windows 7 disc, so the easy solutions are a no go. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the thing to boot, or has Windows been corrupted beyond the point of doing anything except a re-install? Thanks in Advance!

Is there an option for diagnostics at boot? Try hitting the F1, F12, Esc, or Delete key during boot if there’s no option on the BIOS screen. What type of PC is this? Make, model, CPU, how old is it?

The computer is an IBM Thinkpad, I cannot tell you specifics about, memory etc… as I never bothered to look prior to this and can’t see it now. The only thing that stuck out to me while in the BIOS was that the hard drive was third in line on the boot up sequence, although I doubt this makes much of a difference. No diagnostics option that I saw at boot. I tried F8 to get into Safe Mode, with no luck. Any advice would be appreciated.

When she returns to work on the 3rd their IT guy can look at it and re-format, but unfortunately he is a contractor and everything seems to take him 3 weeks to do.

Just search on ‘IBM Thinkpad will not boot’ and you’ll see various sources of infolike this. It looks like there are common battery/charger issues. There should be an IBM site somewhere that will tell you about diagnostics.

New information, when I boot up the computer and read the boot messages I see HDD=0, does that mean it isn’t seeing a harddrive?

If this were my computer, I’d boot using a Linux Live CD, and see if it boots from that, and if I could see the hard drive. That will tell you if it’s a hard drive problem, or the rest of the computer. You’d also find out if the hard drive files are accessible. ETA: you’d have to have the ability to boot from CD set in the BIOS.

Hard drive positions are numbered beginning with 0, then 1, then 2, etc. Is there a hard drive description after the HDD=0? (Maxtor, Seagate, etc.)?

I am running a hard drive diagnostic program from the bios at this time, although it is taking forever, been running about an hour now and only 1/2 way through. It says HDD0 : ST9250315AS if that means anything.

That is a Seagate Technology Momentus 5400.6 SATA 3Gb/s 250-GB Hard Drive.

Well, the hard drive diagnostics checked ok, so it looks as if the problem is a corruption of the windows operating system. Looks like it won’t be repairable without the windows 7 disc set. She will have to wait for the IT guy at work to reformat and re-install windows. I hope that she listened to my constant nagging to backup, backup and backup some more.

Are there other diagnostics?

Your data (pictures, documents, music, etc.) can probably be easily recovered from the hard drive by connecting it to another PS as an external hard drive. Your OS is damaged, but your personal files probably aren"t. Ask your IT guy.

You mentioned that the hard disk was 3rd in the boot order. What’s in positions 1 and 2? DVD drive is probably first, but what is second? Is it possible it’s trying to boot from a USB stick or a SD card?

I’ve seen a few (Dell Vostro) computers with this symptom (blank black screen and blinking cursor), and it was always a case of a USB drive interfering with the boot process.

The first in the boot order is a USB HDD, the second the DVD drive and then the HDD. Of course there is no USB HDD and I thought that this might be the problem. I went to change the boot order, but I am not getting and response when I try to do so. The BIOS says to use F5 and F6 to move the selected items in the order, but repeated taps of both keys fail to produce any results. Arggggggggggggg.

Unplug all USB devices except your keyboard and mouse (cameras, printers, MP3 players; anything with flash memory)

It sounds stupid, but try holding down the fn key while pressing F5 and F6? Many laptops have the function keys set to to something else (like adjust volume), primarily.

However, as others have said, it sounds like the OS is shot so this won’t help…

Sometimes on a laptop, you can just remove the battery and reinstall it and the computer will start.

This reminds me I have seen a problem like yours when booting with a USB stick in, and it tries to boot from that and fails. In addition to unplugging all USB stuff, make sure you don’t have a CD or DVD in the drive.