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Computer won't turn on after new PCI card install

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I just bought and installed a newer USB 2.0 + Firewire PCI card and the computer won't turn on at all. It clicks and an led or two flashes briefly and that's it. No beeps, no nothing--like it has a short. This is the third new card I've tried. I sent the first one back for a replacement thinking it was defective: same result with the second one. Bought a better card (ULTRA brand) and same result, so it's probably not the card. I've switched slots and cards and all combinations of my existing cards/slots work, but the new card shuts the machine down from any slot it is in.

My daughter pulled out to her new life recently and left us with only our old Dell XPS B866 (running XP Pro) that I'm trying to nurse along until we can buy a post-vista laptop next year. I had installed a cheap CompUSA PCI card years ago to upgrade to USB 2.0 and it worked fine for a while, then stopped recognizing my external hard drive. When did it quit? I don't really know; but suddenly everything I plugged in, windows called a "defective device". And they all worked fine on the native USB 1.1 so it's not the devices. I fiddled with the USB 2.0 drivers for a while, downloaded one and then used System Restore to go back to the XP drivers set, then gave up and ordered the new card(s). Now they won't let the machine even turn on. I flashed my Bios a couple of years ago before installing SP2 for XP.

The machine hasn't been over-clocked or hot-rodded at all. I'm not even at the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" level but I'm not ham-fisted either. I've done a bunch of simple drive and burner upgrades on my machine and others. I know how to carefully seat a board so I'm sure I'm not breaking boards or slots. I hope that's enough detail. One more thing: when I put the old CompUSA board (I think it's an "ALi" brand) back in the computer, it starts and works just fine. But all I have is the old USB1.1 because it still won't recognize anything plugged into the old enhanced USB card. All ideas are welcome.
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Do you have a new PCI card to test it with? I would say the problem's either that or the slot on the board...
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