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Listen, Jennie, the best route for you is to simply reinstall the software that came with your Dell or use the backup disks that you were advised to make. Assuming you made them, all you have to do is go into your bios and make sure that your optical drive (cd or dvd) drive is set as the first boot up device. Then pop in the disk and follow the prompts.
Please follow these instruction to predict the possible errors,
Upon powering on the laptop, press and release many time the F8 button of your laptop until this window appear... Select the highligted in yellow... Post the error codes you can see on your screen for the next troubleshooting tip...
If the computer came with the restore "Partition" instead of disks, you can re-set it to the original factory settings. When the computer starts and you see the DELL logo press the CTRL key and the F11 key at the same time, then follow the prompts.
Okay, the driver for the webcam (hal.dll) needs to be reinstalled.
Do the following:
Press the windows key and R
Type in command
In the command prompt that comes up:
Type in cd C:\Windows\System32\
Type in taskkill /f /im "hal.dll"
Type in del hal.dll
Then restart your computer
What taskkill does is kill the webcam application that is using the
driver so you can delete it. After your system restarts, Windows will
automatically reinstall the webcam driver, and the problem will be
Clean the lens with a cleaning disc or open the burner and clean manually with a soft cloth. Check the IDE cable, if possible replace it. If these procedure did not solve, replace the burner with a new one. keep posting.
Please follow this this thread. Its for the Inspiron 1000 but the steps are all the same for the inspiron 1501. http://www.fixya.com/support/t1498433-dell_laptop_inspiron_1000
To reinstall the drivers please read the driver reinstallation guide and this will help you as well. Step by step instructions on how to install the OS and then install the drivers as well. http://tinyurl.com/636evy Post back if you still need help.