Question about Dell Inspiron 3500 Notebook

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Operating System not found

I have an old Inspiron 3500, my daughter has writtena nine chapters of her book in word. She got some error messages that she can't recall, and then powered down the machine when it came up it said operating system not found. I tried to open it in safe mode and could see the screen menu start for choice of safe mode then went to a dark screen with same message of os sys not fnd repeated on the page. Help! I just want to book she wrote. Thank you for any support you can give me. Elaine (the mom)

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Can you boot to CD on the machine? Grab a LiveCD UNIX (easy if the Dell's hard drive is formatted to FAT32, not all will read NTFS), anti-virus recovery CD or other bootable option. (A Windows installation disc can be risky since you might accidently reformat the disc.) You also need an external hard drive (appropriate for the size of the files) or external CD writer. If the hard disc hasn't completely failed, you should be able to open the drive and copy the files to the external media.

Cindy Wells
(F12 during power up works for most computers with a choose boot location feature; it can take a few power on and off cycles to hit the key at the right time. Some external drives can be boot devices but I'm not sure if your Dell will be able to see one at boot.)

Posted on Apr 14, 2009

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There are many ways to recover the data but most require purchasing a product.

If you have the ability to burn a CD I suggest you download BackTrack3 (A CD bootable Operating System)

BT3 will allow you to do at the minimum something with your files, and at the maximum backup to whatever means you have. You could also, depending on your system, email them, print them. Anything, BT3 will give you the ability to do everything similar to windows. It will only look different. While it is not completely user friendly, you can not hurt anything using it and it is much much cheaper, as in free.

Just download the image and burn it using a CD Burning program, selecting Burn disk from Image.

There are other methods to plug your Daugthers old Hard Drive into another machine. These products are called "Hard Drive Docks" or Hard Drive Toasters. This will require that you physically open the machine and find the hard drive, and remove it so you can place it in the dock. The plus is you can connect it to a familiar windows system and read the information that way.

Either boot with BT3
Purchase a Hard Drive Toaster.

Let us know if you need anything else
Good Luck.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009


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