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My laptop won't boot up - "Operating System Not Found"

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My laptop won't boot up - "Operating System Not Found"

Old 02-22-04, 08:20 PM
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My laptop won't boot up - "Operating System Not Found"

In November, my brother-in-law gave me a barely-used Dell laptop, which I just started using on a regular basis less than a month ago. This evening, when I turned it on, it won't boot and I get an error message saying "operating system not found." And there's a weird ticking-like sound coming out of one of the compartments on the bottom of the unit - so I'm thinking that has something to do with it. I'm going to borrow my friend's screwdriver tomorrow to open that compartment and see if I can fix it. In the meantime, does anyone know what's wrong, and/or what I can do to fix it? If I have to re-install or get a new OS, it's no big deal since I just started using it - the only important thing I would lose is the resume I've been working on, but I can re-type if I have to. Any help would be great.

Computer specs:
Dell Latitude L400
700 mHz Pentium 3 processor
256 MB RAM
30 GB hard drive
Windows XP (Professional, I believe)

Unfortunately, I don't have the manual, OS disks, etc. He may, I'll have to call him and find out. Thanks for any help anyone can give.

Last edited by scott27; 02-22-04 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 02-22-04, 08:30 PM
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My friend had a similar problem with his Dell notebook.

It turned out that the fan on the processor was not working correctly. The fan was not going on/off properly so the chip would overheat, and the PC would shut down - he would get similar "no hard disk" or "no os errors" - i am not sure which though.

The ticking leads me to beleive it is a fan or a harddrive trying to spin.

After he let it cool off, the PC would start up fine. He had to send it back to dell and get it replaced.
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Old 02-22-04, 08:46 PM
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or it could be a harddisk failure.
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Old 02-22-04, 09:01 PM
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Sounds like a hard disk failure to me (that would be one explanation for the clicking sound).
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Old 02-22-04, 09:10 PM
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Ticking sound out of a notebook.......that can't be good. Sounds kinda like a harddisk failure if you just started it up and got that message.

When I was looking to buy a new notebook about a year ago I remember reading some reviews by people that had dell laptops that had to be returned due to their motherboards cracking after a period of time if I remember correctly., don't remember the model(s) though.

Good luck! Hope you find the problem soon.
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Old 02-22-04, 09:53 PM
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goto http://support.dell.com and download the diagnostics, run the hard drive diags (or run all of them) and see what happens


or it could be as simple as booting off the XP install CD and running a repair

or boot into the recovery console and run fixboot
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Old 02-23-04, 11:19 AM
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remove the hard drive, and smack it really hard (im not kidding) then pu tit back in, get your data off, then get a new hard drive.
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Old 02-23-04, 11:24 AM
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if that doesnt work
and the harddrive continues to tick by not boot

put it in the freezer.. (THE HARDDRIVE NOT THE LAPTOP!!!)
and then put it back in, boot it up, recover your data.. replace the drive
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Old 02-23-04, 01:33 PM
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Take the floppy disk out of it. If it doesn't have one then it's the hard drive and it's bad.
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Old 02-23-04, 02:54 PM
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Originally posted by icondude
Take the floppy disk out of it. If it doesn't have one then it's the hard drive and it's bad.


floppy was my first thought.. but i didnt want to insult him with that suggestion

and if as he said, he is hearing a knocking from the harddrive.. thats not very uncommon with laptop drives as they go bad.. although, normally you will get some sort of smart warning before the drive goes bad.
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Old 02-23-04, 05:32 PM
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Thanks twikoff. No floppy drive on the notebook. Thanks for the help, guys. From the responses here and over at the HTF where I also posted this thread, it appears to be the hard drive. Looks like I'll have to get another one.
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Old 02-24-04, 11:36 AM
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Originally posted by Doug Heffernan
remove the hard drive, and smack it really hard (im not kidding) then pu tit back in, get your data off, then get a new hard drive.
This is not as silly a 'fix' as one would think but this might be the case if it were a hd for a desktop. The "Emmit's Fix-it shop" repair was need on WD3100's. Years ago, Western Digital changed the lubricant for the hard drive. It would gel up after some number of days (in my case it was about a week) of inactivity. I would have to smack the HD case in order to loosen it up so that it would boot.

Sometimes brute force is the best remedy.
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Old 03-03-04, 04:23 PM
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My HD for my DELL just started that hard clicking sound and will not boot up anymore....now I need a new HD.

Problem is I don't want to send my HD intact to DELL...I have too much porn on it . Not backed up

UGH...
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Old 03-03-04, 06:30 PM
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I had my Dell Inspiron 8100 replaced also.The ticking sound is the HDD.Get it backed up and then get a new one.A faster drive and a bigger capacity.Since mine was under warranty I got it replaced by Dell.
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