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Please Help - Very Frustrated with Dell 4600


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#1
JMitch

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Hello,

To provide some background with my problem, directly below is an explanation of the initial problem I was having with my computer (from an earlier post on this forum):


"I am posting here hoping someone will be able to help me with a problem that began with my Dell Precision 4600 (XP) computer yesterday. I've done some reading online, but so far nothing has fixed my problem. It began with a freezing of the computer. After restarting, I got the error message (B&W screen)that says Performing Automatic IDE Configuration. After hitting to continue the computer loaded Windows up and within a minute the screen went black. My monitor power button went from Green to Amber. The fan in the tower continued to run, but that was all. I restarted and would get the same thing happening over and over. I did some reading (not a computer expert at all) and found out about the indicator lights on the back. I checked those out and A, B, and C were green with D being yellow. Restarted again, this time going into setup menu and saw the date as Oct 8, 2003. Didn't change date, but recorded all other settings. Comp died again. I went out to Radio Shack and purchased a new battery for the motherboard. Followed Dell directions and changed the battery to a new one. Restarted computer went through setup and all settings were the same. Hit continue and Windows loaded. Checked the indicator lights on back and all were green. Thought all was well and less than 1 minute later the screen went black again. Waited 5 minutes and tried to restart and couldn't get very far before black screen of death.

If anyone can recommend my next steps towards fixing this I would greatly appreciate it. I am really hoping at the least I will be able to get back on long enough to transfer to another computer all of our pictures saved on the comp (if it is dying). Thanks in advance for any tips / suggestions for fixing this. Mentioned previously I am not very knowledgeable in computers so a step by step on how to fix would be very much appreciated."


Fast forward to the present - I've bought a new Dell power supply unit and tried to install it last night. I hooked it up just as the old one had been set up. I was hoping that my problem had finally been solved...however it seems now I have a new problem. After sealing up the Comp and turning on, I get a black screen and amber power light on the monitor and nothing else. The tower can be heard making some noises, but it doesn't seem that the power supply fan is coming on. Also, now my indicator lights are as follows: A = Amber, B = Green, C = Amber, D = Green. This is different from my initial problem's indicator light setup. I looked this up on Dell's manual and it says that the video card should be removed and reinstalled. I did this twice. No change. I unhooked the cables to the video card to no avail.

If anyone could provide me with some advice as to what I need to do to fix this problem I would be greatly appreciative.

Thank you,

Mitch
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#2
Macboatmaster

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To eliminate the possible power supply error, I presume from the post that visiting Radio Shack means you are in the States.
Most Power Supplies are auto slecting for the input voltage, but some are still manually switched, as per the example here. In case the one you bought is so, I presume you have selected the correct voltage.

Power Supplies > 500W +
Ultra LSP550 550-Watt Power Supply - ATX, SATA-Ready, SLI-Ready, 135mm Fan, Lifetime Warranty w/ Registration
Ultra LSP550 550-Watt Power Supply
Item Number: ULT-LSP550
Model: LSP5
Ultra LSP550 550-Watt Power Supply
Specifications
Form Factor: ATX

Wattage: 550-Watt

SLI/Crossfire: SLI Ready

Modular Cabling: No

Special Features: SLI Ready
Manual 130v & 220v Switching
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#3
Macboatmaster

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Further to the above
Error message Invalid configuration. Performing automatic IDE configuration

I would recommend replacing the motherboard battery. Loss of time and the hardware configuration settings at boot up are classic signs that battery has failed.

Once you have replaced the battery, go into your BIOS Setup and make sure the option for AC Power Recovery is set to OFF. That option can be found in the Power Management sub-menu of the BIOS Setup.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 09 September 2010 - 01:43 PM.

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#4
JMitch

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The power supply that I tried to install last night was a Dell original and the same product has had been used previously on this computer. As I mentioned in my post, I already purchased and installed a new motherboard battery. I can't get into the BIOS setup (not that I know how to) because the computer won't start - all I get is a blank screen and the indicator lights indicating that something is off with my video card now.

Does anyone have any ideas how to tackle the video card issue?
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#5
Macboatmaster

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Do you have the manual for this computer?
If not it is here.
I apologise, my post was badly worded, I knew you had replaced the motherboard battery,, that post was a lift from the Dell Community Site but the message "Performing automatic IDE configuration" is either caused by not resetting as shown in my post OR a failed hard drive. There are other reasons but these are the most common.
If you do have the 4600 manual then I presume you have read it, before attempting replacement of the CMOS battery.
Does the 4600 you have come with the Nvidia card or the ATi card and what cables were connected, as usually I think on that computer the card had no cable connection.

http://www.andovercg...4600-series.pdf
NOTICE: Ground yourself by touching an unpainted metal surface on the back of the computer
Standard anti-static precautions if you do not have a wrist grounding strap, a lift from your manual, did you do this before touching any electronic parts, ie: the graphics card - any part of the pcb. (printed circuit board)

Edited by Macboatmaster, 09 September 2010 - 03:55 PM.

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#6
Macboatmaster

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I have now read your earlier post on 15 August, not noticing earlier that the current post was in the main a reprint of the earlier one.
RShaffer61 a Trusted Tech on this forum replied twice his last advice was:
Your best option is to enter the bios and click on Use default settings and see if that will return everything to factory settings for you.
to which you did not bother replying.
Please do not be offended but it is no help to anyone to start a thread and then just leave it.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 09 September 2010 - 04:01 PM.

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#7
JMitch

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Macboatmaster,

Thank you for responding to my questions. The reason I didn't respond to RShaffer is that I went on vacation. When I returned I have had issues getting a power supply delivered and last night was the first night I resumed working on my computer. Thus, the reason for the additional post. Also, if you look back to my first post, I was clear that my biggest concern is losing pictures and other personal items from my computer's hard drive. That is why to date I have been wary about restoring anything to factory settings as I don't want to lose my documents. Also, as I've mentioned I am not a techie by any means and to this point I don't know how to enter bios (especially since the computer won't seem to start at all now), so perhaps this forum is better suited for very computer tech savvy people and you are all speaking over my head so I may have to just end up taking it to a professional.

Thanks,

Mitch

Edited by JMitch, 09 September 2010 - 05:32 PM.

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#8
The Skeptic

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First, reopen the box and double check all the connectors of the power supply unit. Pay special attention to the large connector and to the four-lead one that supply the motherboard with 12V.

If that doesn't help then try to reconnect the old PSU and see if it makes any difference.

There is a possibility that the new PSU is defective but that doesn't happen very often.

If, after that, the computer is still dead (no sound, no beeps, no nothing) then I suspect that either the motherboard, or PCU, or both are damaged.
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#9
Macboatmaster

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Resetting the BIOS to its default does not effect any data on the computer.
I am still concerned about you stating that you disconnected the CABLES to the graphics card. There would I think on this computer not be one apart from the connection for the monitor cable on the rear of the case.
Follow the advice from "The Skeptic" but please do have another look at this as well.
Also, is the computer power lead connected via a surge bar, they can go wrong, connect straight to a socket just to test it.
If the power supply is not receiving the proper voltage on the input that COULD cause the faults you have.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 10 September 2010 - 11:37 AM.

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#10
JMitch

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Thanks to both for your input. I should mention that a few years back I upgraded my video card to get better graphics. This is the reason why I have a cable going into the video card because there is a fan on the card. I'm not sure if this could be causing the problem, since it wasn't an original video card, but since I haven't altered the BIOS at all, I'm not sure that would be the case. I will give a last ditch effort this weekend by rechecking all of my connections, and if still failing I may have to take to a professional. Again, thanks for the input.
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#11
Macboatmaster

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Was this computer supplied with a separate card OR an integrated video on the motherboard.
If it has an integrated video card there will be a connection for the monitor on the back of the computer below the mouse and keyboard connections, you will recognise it as the same connection you use for the separate card which will be further down on the horizontal plane. The integrated one will be on the vertical plane.
The new card will from its spec be in the AGP slot frequently coloured brown, but not always, it is very easy on the AGP slot which has a clip fastening not to fully insert the card.
See the details on the link I sent for your manual

Edited by Macboatmaster, 10 September 2010 - 01:41 PM.

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#12
rosiesdad

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I would look up the Dell service manual online, and download the pdf and save it to your other computer. Pay close attention to those lights ABCD, they are for trouble shooting and there is a very good description of what to check.

If you cant get to bios (when the computer first tries to boot, your onboard video wont work (I think) so you may have to try a different vid card.

I would suggest unplugging the hard drive, RAM and vid card, then reseat one stick of ram, and try to boot up. IF you get to a screen to choose f2 or f12, start adding one component at a time. One bad one can dork the computer.
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#13
123Runner

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F2 is the key to get you in to the bios/ cmos setup. You continue to tap F2 after you turn the power on. If you can't get to setup then it could be a board or bad PSU.
The bios is stored in flash on the main board.
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#14
Macboatmaster

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The manual for this computer was provided by me back on my post 5.
I recommend you read it.
I have just now taken the time to do that and what RShaffer61 and now 123Runner is telling you, quite correctly, regarding BIOS setup via F2 key on first post is IN THE MANUAL.
Also the AGP slot is in the manual, as is the Dell Diagnostics set-up.
I strongly recommend YOU READ it, that is why I sent it you and then post if you have further queries, after you have tried some of the MANY suggestions in the manual.

Moving to your recovery of your personal data, if it comes to that. There are a number of ways to do this.
One is to remove the HDD and place it in an enclosure. Connect it to another computer and the computer will see it as an external drive you can then access your data and save it to a DVD or to a folder on that computer. UNLIKELY but possibly, by saving it to that computer you may unwittingly trnasfer to that computer a virus you have on yours, not that there is any reason to suspect that.
As, at this time the computer will not boot this is your easiest method.
There are other ways to do the same thing.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 10 September 2010 - 02:04 PM.

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