Dell Laptop Vista Boot Disk Problem


Hi everyone. I've been perusing this site all night trying to figure a fix for a co-workers computer. Its a Dell Inspiron 1525 running Vista. When I I start the computer it goes to a wallpaper with no icons and no taskbar. I cant bring up task manager and no combination of buttons seems to do anything. I can, however, move the mouse around. I did research on this and found out the best bet is to download the Windows Vista recovery disk ISO and boot from it.

Download: Windows Vista x64 Recovery Disc The NeoSmart Files

I was able to make this disk and the computer recognized it and comes up with the text 'Loading Windows Files' when i boot from it. Then it goes to a normal start-up status bar. The problem is it never leaves this screen. I let it go for 30 minutes with no progress. I'm stumped on what to try next. None of the F8 Safe Mode etc yields any results and according to the BIOS diagnostics, nothing is wrong with the hardware. If anyone has any ideas I haven't tried yet I would be very grateful. Thank you.


I got Vista to boot off of the self made Vista Recovery Disk. It has the stock Vista Background, but again, there are no icons, ctrl alt del does nothing. control shift escape does nothing. Help still very much appreciated.


Finally got the screen to come up and was able to click "Repair Disk" It took about an hour and said the startup problems should be fixed. I restarted the computer and am now greeted with "Disk read failure. Press ctrl+alt+delete". I think im doing more harm than good.
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Use the "command prompt" option from the booted recovery disk and run chkdsk /r against the partition of the broken OS.
You shouldn't need to "startup repair". It appears to be getting further than that and hanging at a later stage. (the startup repair is just to fix a broken MBR/bootmgr/BCD chain, and you're getting past that if you can see a desktop)

You could also try a scannow

Another Update.

the scannow and checkdisk ideas did not work because the computer will no longer recognize the hard drive. Even in the command prompt I cannot access the C drive. Do you think I've had a hardware failure?
If you're getting to the desktop, the HDD must be accessible.
Are you sure you're using the correct letter for your OS drive ?
Remember each OS letters devices independently. They don't have to agree on what drives are called. Letters aren't "real", just registry entries.
In this context the booted recovery CD is your OS, and it is probably seeing your devices by letters you aren't used to.
Try dir c:
dir d:
dir e:
etc to indentify which drive is your OS.

I think the hard drive has gone bad. The only thing I can do now is boot to a vista recovery disk. without a disk the computer fires up the BIOS and immediately says A hard disk error occured, press ctrl alt delete to restart. I ran the Dell Diagnostic program through a boot CD and it is giving me error messages that google tells me indicate bad sectors on the hard drive. none of the recovery disk methods work. I think the hard drive is bad. Any advice how to go about trying to get the information off of this hard drive?
Eject the HDD and reinsert it a few times in case the contacts have become tarnished and eratic.
I've had "dead" HDDs (in a desktop) that have returned to rude good health with no more attention.
How does the BIOS report the state ? Is it seeing a HDD ?