Question about Dell Dimension 4700 PC Desktop

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Bad Desriptors??? I am not sure what that even means, but everytime I ask for some suggestions or a little advice, I have to pay out. I turn on my computer. It boots up. Then I get to the Window screen and boom. I have a black screen and it reads...bad pbr descriptors. What the heck is that. I called tech support and they wouldn't even give me a clue without paying for it. They didn't have a clue either. They were more interested in where the computer came from then helping me. Now I have a computer that doesn't want to welcome me at the welcome screen. Can anyone help me out, give me some suggestions, maybe even help the cause. Searching help topics doesn't do much either... Lost & Not Welcome

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  • M. Ky Gee
    M. Ky Gee Jun 02, 2008

    Thank you all for your time and energy on this...I just read all the suggestions...and I have to say thank you again because it let me know that you actually wanted to help instead of taking the lint out of my pocket...I am about to start my little journey and I will be back with progesses, failures, and analysts & observations.


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This seems to be a Dell-related problem only because of their terminology.
'Partition Boot Record' = PBR and is the equivalent of the File Allocation Table (FAT) that tells the system where to go to find needed files.
If this is corrupted, it's kind of like having a road map of Chicago with the indexing offset by one street; it doesn't make sense anymore.

I would suggest you look at Dell's website (on a working system of course) and do a search on correcting the problem, you really shouldn't need to pay for this information.

There is also a discussion of this here:

It is perhaps too technical but it might be of assistance.

Restoring the boot record was once pretty simple:

fdisk /MBR

Works fine on NON-Dell systems but must be run from the command line and a removable disk that can boot to it.
It restores the damaged table.

Posted on Jun 02, 2008

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Well from the sounds of things sems you have a bad boot record. try one of these,
the partition table is corrupted so that the descriptor points to the wrong place (i.e., says the partition is one place when it's really somewhere else);
the partition table descriptor points to the right place, but the boot record there is corrupted or has been erased;
the hard disk is failing and having trouble reading the sector with the boot record.
To check (1), visit and download my dsrfix utility. Use it to capture a logfile and email the logifle to me for review. In short, if dsrfix reports a clean bill of health, then (1) isn't the problem.

To check (3), run hard disk diagnostic tests. Press F12 when the machine is starting and see if the bios boot menu offers you a hard disk diagnostic test that you can run. Or even better, if you know the brand of the hard disk, most manufacturers should have a free diagnostic utility you can download to test the hard disk.
if neither of these works, then you will have to re-install windows.

~let me know how it works~

Posted on Jun 02, 2008

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Ooops! That usually happens only on DELL systems. This is because they have 3partitions:
- A Hidden Dell Utility Partition
- The OS Partition (Windows)
- A hidden Dell PC Restore Partition

The error you are getting is due to a corrupt boot record.

Try this:
1- Start up the computer and click F12 to give you the boot-up options.
2- Insert Windows Installation/Recovery CD into CDROM, choose CDROM boot option and click enter.
3- Let the installation process continue until it prompts you "Press R to repair". . .this should then take you into the DOS mode.
4- Type in FIXBOOT and when prompted, press "Y" to start creating the new boot partition. If everything goes right, you should get a message saying the partition was corrupted and a new one was created successfully.
5- Remove the CD and reboot your system, everything SHOULD be ok now.

N.B: Dont try a FIXMBR or you'll loose you hidden dell partitions, meaning if you haven't backed it up onto DVD, you can't go back to the original factory settings if you ever need to

Hope this will help...

Posted on Jun 02, 2008

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Boot the pC in the recovery console using the WIN XP CD and then run FIXMBR on the command prompt. also try to disconnect any USB device and see if that helps before trying the above said command.

Posted on Jun 02, 2008

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