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#173143 - 05/11/09 07:55 PM I Hate Computers...
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1959
But cannot do what I do without them so...

My existing Dell desktop is continuing to have problems. Dell has been less than helpful in sorting out problems. First they said it was faulty memory and we replaced the 2GB memory. Didn't fix anything. Guess I shouldn't expect it to last more than 3 years 10 months. :-( So far have managed not to put my fist through the wall or toss the computer through the window. <~>

Anyway, I am about fed up with Dell. Looking for suggestions.

Plan to run Win XP which is what I have on all the other computers in the house. DO NOT want Vista

Need a pretty high performance machine as I am doing a lot with it including video and such. Had planned to up RAM to 4 GB, but then started with these problems.

Running dual widescreen monitors. They are fine, don't need to replace them.

Have a 2 drive RAID array, which has worked well to save my butt without interruption when one drive died.

Money is tight, no surprise. ETS Foundation is not exactly swimming in cash. Rather just fix the damn computer, but not having much luck with that. (I am NOT a techie type, computus ignoramus here, can follow directions, but...)

Suggestions welcome.

TIA,
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#173145 - 05/11/09 08:15 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1959
More info in response to a post on another forum:

Sorry, was more looking for new computer suggestions.

Computer was giving me BSOD. After much effort, Dell said replace the memory, that didn't help. Still crashed, often on boot up, sometimes soon after. No patternb. We used the CD and tried a Windwoes Repair, but it won't reboot anymore after that. IOW, it wouldn't reboot at all after we did the repair and it reached the reboot point. Freezes up with the XP screen and the little blue things running across the screen. That's repeatable. At a friend's suggestion we installed a new copy of Windwoes in a new directory and it boots fine, but of course is naked and dosn't even see the second montior. That would seem to suggest Windwoes is corrupted, seems to me. Dell's answer is to reformat the hard drives and start from scratch. Given how much effort that would take, this computer took the better part of 1.5 weeks to get everything loaded and set up, rather just start with a new computer without a history of problems. :-( I do have, supposedly, full back ups, but who knows. My orevious luck withy those has been less than great. It's a Windwoes backup, no floppy, which supposedly means soemthing to someone who knows. Data is backed up online. I can see the C: drive using the new Windwoes and can likely copy it to a USB drive so I guess that's a good thing. <shrug>


Edited by Doug_Ritter (05/11/09 08:15 PM)
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#173149 - 05/11/09 10:12 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

Sounds like your having problems with the power supply and or motherboard not able to deliver enough amperage to the CPU or even possibly memory timings set incorrectly within the motherboard BIOS. Have you tried declocking the processor and the front side bus i.e. going from 266MHz to 166Mhz or from 166MHz to 100MHz etc by going into the BIOS and slowing doing the front side bus speed. The processor multiplier should be kept the same. This may make your system more stable and reduce the power that your PSU can't deliver. Also make sure your BIOS is setup for Plug and Play OS if running Windows XP. Normally you can get into the BIOS by pressing F1 F10 or ESC etc (depends on the motherboard make) just after booting the machine.

Making sure your motherboard drivers are up to date for the motherboard chipset can also help especially if they are defaulting to the generic Microsoft drivers.

There was probably nothing wrong with the memory, more likely the BIOS timings were set to aggressively.





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#173150 - 05/11/09 10:26 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Echo that, I'm leaning towards MoBo. General rule of thumb, if you pull a MoBo or power supply, pull them both out AND the RAM. But try the BIOS settings first.

That being said, I've seen a lot of Dell's just decide they don't like RAM any more. The RAM is usually still OK, but the glitch is on one of the controllers on the MoBo. When I did tech support in college we had them shipping us replacement parts pretty much weekly.

A NEW XP friendly computer is getting harder and harder to do unless you want to build your own. If you are going to buy one, don't do anything with any of the chains and big makers, spend a little more and find an independent who will work with you. The chains and builders is that they have deals with Meglosoft that bar them from putting XP on most machines these days. There was a special waiver for the netbooks and some other small, lower performance machines, and AFAIK, that's it.
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#173153 - 05/11/09 10:38 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1959
Well, all that might mean something to a nerd, <g> but not so much to me. Just recall, it works just fine under the new Windows install. I really don't think there's anything really wrong with the damn hardware, just the frigging Windwoes got screwed up and the Windwoes rebuld made it worse. <shrug> We're working on figuring out how to do some sort of inline restore from an older copy of the backup, pre-FU, bearing in mind I'm computus ignoramus. Some thoughts that there's a corrupted driver involved and that's why the boot stalls. <shrug>

I have gone the independent builder route. Was not a happy experience, ended up in small claims.

You can still get Windwoes XP "downgrade" on business computers. With Dell we have a small business account. Most of the majors do that.
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#173154 - 05/11/09 11:07 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Doug_Ritter]
ame Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Korea
Like it or not, you will have to either

a) reinstall Windows

or

b) buy a new system

Either way you will have to spend another week and a half setting it up. Option (a) saves money, since it seems there is really nothing wrong with the PC.

Unfortunately there is no way to do this without expending any effort. No-one likes to be told that, but they all know it to be the case. You should have a better backup strategy so that if this happens you can quickly restore and get under way again (no-one likes to be told that either). RAID is not a backup strategy. Supposedly having a backup "but who knows?" is also not a backup strategy.

There are a few things you can do to get back to where you were. First, check the RAM. A good way to do this is with the free 'memtest' software. A good way to get this is to get hold of a Linux live CD such as Ubuntu or Mepis (or make your own bootable CD with only memtest on it). Run it overnight and see what it comes up with. Next, the quickest solution I can see is to just start using the new Windows install that you made. It works, so just add all the bits that are missing. Another thing, have you tried rolling back the drivers to a previous state? You might have to boot XP into safe mode, but I have never needed to do this, so I don't know the procedure. These days I run Linux.

HTH,

A

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#173155 - 05/11/09 11:34 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: ame]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1959
Option C: Shut down ETS, Knife Rights and all the rest and go get a job that I don't need a GD MF computer to do, like flipping burgers at McDonalds. Likely pays better as well.

Right now I am leaning towards C...seriously!
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Doug Ritter
Editor
Equipped To SurviveŽ
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www.KnifeRights.org
www.DougRitter.com

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#173157 - 05/11/09 11:48 PM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Henry_Porter Offline
Member

Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 111
Aargh, I feel your pain, having recently run into a similar problem. I wanted to throw the thing against the wall. Wish I could help but it sounds like you know more than I do about these things. I could buy some ETS gear if that'll help fund repairs or replacement of your computer.


Edited by Henry_Porter (05/11/09 11:48 PM)
Edit Reason: typo

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#173160 - 05/12/09 12:03 AM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

Try this;

http://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/page.php?id=5097

If this fails to resolve the problem, you could have permanently damaged sectors on the hard drive. Sometimes these are repairable (if only for a short period of time to allow you to back up the data from the damaged part of the hard drive)

To check for this, many Hard drive manufacturers will have a down-loadable utility such as the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics/health check utility to burn to a bootable CD to check the hard drive health as the hard drive might be approaching the wrong end of the bathtub curve.






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#173161 - 05/12/09 12:04 AM Re: I Hate Computers... [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
ame Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Korea
Don't you have a tame geek nearby?

I'd gladly help, except I am in Korea.

A

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