My brother-in-law recently reported a problem with his Dell XPS M1530 laptop. When starting the laptop (using the power button), it displayed a greyscale Dell MediaDirect logo for a few seconds, then a Blue Screen of Death relating to a Plug & Play driver.
When I restarted while holding F8 in an attempt to access Windows Vista in safe mode, the boot menu showed only “Windows XP Embedded”, and booting into safe mode just resulted in another blue screen. This is when I began to suspect the MediaDirect feature, which allows users to view media such as DVD movies without having to boot into full Windows.
Sure enough, when I powered off the machine and pressed the “Home” logo button, the laptop attempted to boot into MediaDirect (with a colour logo) and showed the same blue screen as before.
I did some research online and ended up finding a download for a MediaDirect Repair boot CD. This appeared to run successfully, but actually didn’t help. Now when I booted up, I just got a black DOS-type screen with the text “2 active partitions” in the top left-hand corner. It looked like the repair CD had somehow corrupted the partition table by setting two partitions as active – not good news!
Fortunately, I found a forum post by a user of a different model of Dell laptop running Windows XP. This inspired me to try the Vista recovery CD (you can also use your original Vista installation CD if you have it to hand), running the BootRec /FIXMBR and BootRec /FIXBOOT commands as detailed in this knowledge base article.
This fixed the issue and the laptop was now able to boot into Vista as normal.
I then tried my luck with powering off the machine and booting into MediaDirect using the “Home” button. Unfortunately this brought the system back to its earlier, broken state, and turning it off and on again using the power button revealed that I wasn’t able to get back into Vista!
I repeated the BootRec steps and this got the system working once again. Further research showed that Dell have released a new version of MediaDirect which removes the “dual boot” functionality, so I can only imagine they’ve had quite a few problems with it!
I returned the machine it to my brother-in-law with instructions not to touch the Home button for the time being, and to try installing the new MediaDirect software. I’ll report back when I hear the results.