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.