Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

XP Home Boot Problem on new Dell


  • Please log in to reply

#1
stromgald30

stromgald30

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
I consider myself a fairly good expert on most computer things. I've built several computers (all XP or Vista based) and have bought a few Dells (a desktop a long time ago, and recently a laptop), but I've never encountered a problem as strange as this.

I'm in graduate school right now and am currently helping to set up and new small lab for a professor. He bought three new Dell Vostro 400 with WinXP Home. I wasn't too thrilled about the XP Home edition since I've always used XP Pro, but after looking up the differences online, I didn't think there would be much of a problem.

Initially, we installed a school-provided antivirus and spyware software. Then, we did Office, Visio, Firefox, Acrobat, etc. While trying to install these common applications, we started running into problems. After installing some pieces of software, the system would hang on reboot. It would get past the XP splash screen (the screen goes black), but the computer just sits there. The HDD activity light blinks very quickly, about once a second (i.e on 1/10th, off 9/10th). This happened after different software installations on different computers, so it's not like one program is causing it.

We were able to boot into safe mode and use the System Restore function. The recent system restore points didn't help, but restoring to before Visio or Office helped get the machines going again. We decided to reboot and run windows update after each install. This worked for one of the machines (we got everything on it) but not the other two. I just spent the better part of a day doing system restores and installations of basic software on two machines over and over. I finally got them all working and decided to move them to their final locations (we had them on one desk to make installation easier). After moving, all the machines are back to the same condition of HDD activity light blinking, black screen after the XP splash screen. I had rebooted prior to moving these machines so I know they worked before I moved them. :)

The machine configurations are 4GB of RAM, Core 2 Duo E6450, DVD-ROM, DVD-RW. It's a 32 bit OS, so only 3GB of RAM is accessible (not sure if this should cause any problems). I did not see any of the regular Dell diagnostic lights on these machines.

I'm hoping someone has run into something similar and may have a quick answer I can try tomorrow morning before I tell the prof. that we need to call Dell.

Edited by stromgald30, 07 February 2008 - 09:18 AM.

  • 0

Advertisements


#2
The Skeptic

The Skeptic

    Trusted Tech

  • Technician
  • 4,075 posts
Try to take out a memory module so that you are left only with two gig of running ram (I assume you have two modules of 2 gig each).
  • 0

#3
snewfeld

snewfeld

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
I am experiencing pretty much identical hangs with 2 of 6 Vostro 400's I recently purchased. I am an experienced tech and had 3 different clients of mine purchase Vostro 400's directly from DELL. I purchased 4 for a non-profit delivered with XP Home that I upgraded with their XP PRO licenses. I installed Office 2003 and Symantec 10.1 Antivirus Corporate edition. They worked for a while, then they will boot in safe mode but hang after the initial XP Splash screen phase.

Another Vostro 400 was purchased with XP PRO. I put same Symantec Antivirus on it, but no Office Suite. I hangs the same way.

I am a little suspicious of the Antivirus but it won't uninstall in safe mode.

I am puzzled and annoyed. DELL tech support suggests XP Repair Installation.
  • 0

#4
JohnAdam

JohnAdam

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
Hello,

I'm new to these forums and I too share this problem with a Vostro 400. The computer worked perfect for a few months. Then, it booted up one morning to a black screen. Booting into safe mode and installing the most recent nvidia drivers fixed the problem for a few weeks, until yesterday.

Yesterday, this computer booted to a black screen. After several driver swaps and no results I contacted Dell support. They had me do all of the usual driver reloads and Startup disabling - no results. Dell next-day delivered a new video card. I tried other options while I waited.

Installing a different PCI video card got me back to a normal boot. Then I realized that we had onboard video. I defaulted to that in the BIOS and it too worked, for the day.

This morning we were again greeted with a black screen. After notifying my support tech of my troubleshooting steps (all with no results, except safe mode) he informed me that I must restore the machine to a previous state. (I doubt the effectiveness)

What is going on with this machine???? Have any of you been able to work through this, or determine the primary cause?
Is some Dell driver, specific to this Vostro model, corrupting video drivers? How do three separate video cards, on three separate video interfaces (onboard video, PCIe 16, PCI legacy) first work for a short while, and then produce the same problem?

Any input would be 'GREATLY' appreciated. :)

TIA
  • 0

#5
The Admiral

The Admiral

    Trusted Tech

  • Technician
  • 1,067 posts
JohnAdam, thanks for your input, and welcome to Geeks to Go!

Unfortunately, posting in an existing topic only confuses the helpers and the original poster. We encourage you to create a new topic in the appropriate forum so that everyone can receive individualized help. Three problems in the same thread is hard to decipher. Please start a new topic if you are having issues, even if the exact same issue as described.

Also, as you can see, this thread has been sitting here since May 9, 2008. Since then and now, there may be many tools we can use, updates that came out, or hardware changes that render this thread obsolete. Posting a new topic will allow a fresh start with this problem, instead of looking through the previous old posts for old information.

Thanks, and again, welcome to Geeks to Go!
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP