• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Gray Screen on Startup... please help

I'm trying to fix my friend's Toshiba Satellite A215-S5818 laptop. Vista Home Premium 32 bit. no changes to pre-installed product.

I'm not sure what caused this, but when she (and I) turn on the computer there is a gray screen and then it won't do anything else. If I try to go into Safe Mode by pressing F8, same thing. If I try to press F2 or F10, same thing. I did try to boot into safe mode and normal mode using her password, and it was acting like it was loading windows, but the gray screen won't go away. I can't see anything on it.

She doesn't have boot CDs or anything like that. If anyone can help me that would be great. I am really good with computers, so I can take things apart and put them back together if I need to.

I do know that it was fine and this started suddenly. Also, it may be important to note that it won't go into hibernate/sleep mode.

I'm going to take a look tomorrow to make sure the video connections are secure, and then later I will take it to a family member's house so I can see if it will behave on an external monitor.

My Computer


Staff member
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Fairfield County, CT
You may want to try these steps
If you create a recovery DVD, you may be able to boot to recovery options
Create Recovery DVD

The Vista recovery disk is used to boot Vista when it won't boot - to run Startup Repair, System Restore, access a Command Line, Recover using a Vista Backup Image, etc.
System Recovery Options

If Vista will not start now, boot the Recovery CD to run Startup Repair which automates System Restore as well as numerous other tests including System File Checker which can repair system files which are not corrupted beyond repair.

If Vista still will not start, try booting into Safe Mode to run sfc /scannow to repair System files.
Special Thanks Given to Seven Forums.

Below is a bulletin distributed by MS to explain the start up procedure when Windows will not boot.
  • Startup Repair. Startup Repair is a Windows recovery tool that can fix certain problems, such as missing or damaged system files, that might prevent Windows from starting. Startup Repair is located on the System Recovery Options menu, which is on the Windows Vista installation disc. If your computer has preinstalled recovery options, it might also be stored on your computer's hard disk. For more information, see Startup Repair: frequently asked questions and What are the system recovery options in Windows Vista? If your computer does not include Startup Repair, your computer manufacturer might have customized or replaced the tool. Check the information that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer's website.
  • Change restart settings in safe mode. If your computer is stuck in a loop where Windows fails, attempts to restart, and then fails again repeatedly, restart your computer in safe mode and select the Disable automatic restart on system failure checkbox. For more information, see Advanced startup options (including safe mode).
  • Reinstall. If no other options have solved the problem, and you are sure that your computer's hardware is functioning normally, you might need to reinstall Windows. A custom (clean) installation of Windows will permanently delete all of the files on your computer and reinstall Windows, so only use this option if all other recovery options have been unsuccessful. After the installation, you will need to reinstall your programs and restore your files from backup copies. For more information, see Installing and reinstalling Windows**.
If these steps do not work are there any beep sounds on boot?
Does the computer seem to turn on?
Based upon your description it sounds like it may even be hardware. The beeps that you hear at boot will help us diagnose.

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS420
    6 gig
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon HD3650 256 MB
    Sound Card
    Intergrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell SP2009W 20 inch Flat Panel w Webcam
    Hard Drives
    640 gb
    Dell USB 4 button optical
    Dell USB
    Other Info
    DSL provided by ATT

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)