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Problems with booting up

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I am trying to fix a computer for a friend. I have gotten different stories either it was hit by lightening or virus. I am pretty computer savvy but I have no clue on this one.

When you turn it on everything appears to be right. The Compaq comes across the screen and then it goes to a black screen with the cursor. Does not let you type anything. Does anyone have any ideas? I have switched out the hard drive and that did not work. The fan is running and the cdrom drive is running.

Please help.

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What happens when you boot from a floppy or a bootable CD like Knoppix?

If the hard drive makes no difference, it may be a corrupt or mis-set BIOS. Use the jumper to do a BIOS reset and then restore the settings as needed. BIOS settings can be corrupted by a power surge or EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) induced by a nearby lightning strike. The BIOS code itself may even have been damaged; the flash memory used for BIOS storage is rather sensitive.

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What type of cursor is it? Is it the Microsoft Windows cursor indicating that Windows is trying to load? Try booting to a DOS floppy and see if you have access to the C:\ drive.

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