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If you have a black screen it means the system cannot boot into your master boot record, you should reinstall the system using a bootable Windows XP CD, and perform a repair,( not the Repair Console).
When youre in the Windows XP Wizard screen, press enter , accept the license agreement, and then it will check for existing windows xp partitions, press R to repair the existing Windows XP installation, and wait til it gets your system restored.
When you first boot up the computer press F5 continously until a boot menu shows up. Then choose "start windows in low-res mode". This option will start windows in the lowest resoloution and hopefully it will boot up and you can change the resoloution. If this does not work you can retry the "safe-mode" selection. If that does not work you may have a problem with the on-board video or video card.
try going into your BIOS and changing the boot sequence, it may be set to boot from floppy instead of harddrive. or you could just reinstall windows, but that sucks cuz then you lose all your data and programs. and not to be rude, but you shouldnt have bought a dell, they are full of problems.
Does the system respond to boot keys (F2, F12) when the DELL logo appears? If so the problem is with Windows drivers and probably can be resolved by reinstalling or rolling back the drivers, but how? Do you have access to another keyboard? Does the system have PS/2 ports? Do you have access to a PS/2 keyboard or adapter? If boot keys work, you could also choose F8 for Last Known Good Config (XP) or System Restore (Vista).
Have you tried different ports (front if using back or visa-versa)? Try using just keyboard or mouse to see if one has somehow shorted. Also check the ports for any sign of damage.
Did you recently change or install a program that would affect the resolution and card output? Try booting into safe mode by holding the "shift" key during boot. From there right-click on the desktop and hit 'properties'-> 'display properties' -> 'settings' , check your resolution and drop it to 800x600 and then reboot. If everything goes back in normally make sure you have the right windows drivers for your video card. You can also check the driver version and settings while you're in safe mode. Sometimes the windows update drivers can act screwy and I would recommend getting them directly from your card manufacturer.