Blinking Cursor In The Upper Left Corner

I have a c840 dell laptop and when i turn it on the screen lights up and there a blinking cursor in the upper left corner. It never gets to the dell screen and doesn't seem to do much. It does check the dvd drive a few times, but then it just sits there. If i hold down the f12 key and press the power button, it flashes the battery light like the battery is dead, and does nothing else. But when i let go of the f12 key all of the systems fans spin up for a second then the laptop goes quiet. I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas where to start. I'm hopeing the laptop is not dead (the fact that it comes up at all is encouraging). I am free to take the system apart if need be. I have tried pulling the battery out and letting it sit for a while. No change. Any and all ideas are welcome. I see this is in the wrong section at the moment.

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Hyphen ( _ ) Keeps Blinking In The Top Left Corner Of Screen

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