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Turning 3 Old, Broken Computers Into 1 Working One - Advice For A Begi


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#1
Deliverance77

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Howdy. After having a problem solved by one of your team today, I thought I'd go for something a little more ambitious.

I've got 3 fairly old computers, each with problems meaning they are practically unusable. Two are Dell computers and the other is a Compaq, all with Windows XP and just basic hardware. Problems are as follows:
- One powers up but doesn't show any signs of booting at all.
- One boots up fine, but plays no sound and is unable to connect to the internet (suspected problem with drivers).
- One boots up, but powers off whilst loading Windows.
I've pretty much given up trying to make them work, and they were inexpensive so I'm considering ripping them apart and trying to "build" one functioning computer out of the three. My knowledge of computer building is minimal. For instance, I know where to install RAM cards, but I'm unsure as to whether there are compatibility issues or you can just throw any RAM card in.

So I just wanted to know what kind of things I need to take into account when throwing these computer bits together. I certainly don't want to waste a bunch of computer parts that may be of some use.

Any advice/right-direction-pointing will be greatly appreciated.
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#2
iammykyl

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Gday.
Please give the brand/model number of each computer and the specific problem each has.
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#3
Deliverance77

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Hi, thanks for responding.
Here's what I know. I cannot give specific problems as I'm not 100% sure what they are, but I'll try to give as much as I know.
- Dell Dimension 3000 - This one powers on, but nothing displays on the screen. Haven't used this one before so I'm unsure as to how it came to be broken.
- Dell Optiplex GX260 - This one is usable, as you can boot it up fine. I'm not very technically proficient but I think we lost the drivers needed to connect to the internet via ethernet cable, as well as audio. From what I remember, our efforts to retrieve the drivers proved useless.
- Compaq Evo (http://www.used-it.o.../Compaq Evo.jpg) - This one puzzles me. Booting the startup screen is fine. I am greeted with the "safe mode/start Windows normally" options. No matter what I do, when Windows starts to load up, after about 10 seconds the computer goes 'blip' (like a very quiet electrical pop) and immediately restarts itself, cycling endlessly until I switch it off manually. I can access the boot menu (F10) with no problems, so if any information from there will help, let me know and I'll look it up. Also, the Compaq recieved a RAM upgrade (and I think processor too), if that makes any difference.

That's all I really know. I'm wondering whether switching some components around may make a difference but again, I don't know if compatibility would be an issue or not, and that's where I need some guidance.

Really appreciate the help.
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#4
phillpower2

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Hello folks

The Dell Dimension 3000 only has PCI expansion slots so unless this type of add on video card is present the MBs integrated video chip is being used.
Do you get any error beeps when the computer is powered on, if yes please tell us how many you hear and whether they are long or short in duration.

Try removing the Ram, blowing out the slots, replacing the Ram and checking to see if the computer will boot up, a guide to help with thisHere

The Dell Optiplex GX260 drivers can be found Here if you have a wireless router you could also use a USB adapter such as This and use the Dell system analyse tool to update the computer.

There are various models of the Compaq Evo such as the D510 and the N610 so we need to know which particular model it is that you have, many of these computers used the dated AGP type video card so if there is a video card present it may be of no use in either of the other two computers.
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#5
Deliverance77

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I ran the Dell Dimension 3000 again and I get the boot-up screen, which informs me - "Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program". It gives me the option to continue (which gives me nothing but a black screen) and run setup utility. I may still have the Dell discs hidden away somewhere if they'll help?

Thanks for the links to the drivers. I will try them out and let you know what happens.

Bizarrely, I can't find the model number on the Compaq. It simply says 'Evo' on the front, and none of the sticky labels on the casing give any indication of the model number. I even checked the system boot menu, and it simply says 'Compaq EVO' under the product name. It was a refurbished purchase so I don't know if that makes any difference? Otherwise, any info on how I can find the model number would be helpful.
Additionally, I did recieve an error message about the internal battery running dry. Could this be the problem?

Many thanks.
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#6
iammykyl

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Gday.

I ran the Dell Dimension 3000 again and I get the boot-up screen, which informs me - "Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program". It gives me the option to continue (which gives me nothing but a black screen) and run setup utility. I may still have the Dell discs hidden away somewhere if they'll help


First I would change the CMOS battery first, then when you start the computer the default BIOS setting, results?
Second, to see if there is a factory restore image, restart the computer and press ctrl + F11.
Some links.


Dimension 3000.
Service Manual, (change the CMOS battery/resets BIOS to defaults. > http://downloads.del...anual_en-us.pdf
User manual (includes problem solving) > https://docs.google....anual_en-us.pdf

^^^^^^^
Optiplex. Support page, > http://www.dell.com/.../optiplex-gx260

Four models, user guides, clear password/CMOS, change battery. > http://downloads.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_optiplex_desktop/optiplex-gx260_User's%20Guide_en-us.pdf?c=us&l=en&cs=19&s=dhs

Ways to do a factory restore,
> http://www.dell.com/...ew?docid=613772

^^^^^

Is this your Compaq Evo > http://h20000.www2.h...5&swEnvOID=1093
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#7
Deliverance77

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That appears to be my Compaq Evo, yes.

Update on the Compaq Evo: I replaced the internal CMOS battery and re-installed the image using the reboot discs given to me by the store I bought the computer from. The computer no longer restarts itself during the Windows loading screen. Windows will load up, the screen goes black, the cursor will appear against the black background and that's as far as it goes. Nothing else loads, it just remains on the black screen with the mouse cursor in the middle. The mouse and keyboard are unresponsive. The same thing happens if I try to run on safe mode.

Step in the right direction but still problematic.
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#8
iammykyl

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Thanks for the Update.

Compaq Evo
It now sounds like windows has a problem.
Restart and enter BIOS,(Del?) make sure the Boot settings are correct.
Restart, Press F8, Windows recovery options.
Also try the F12 for other options.
If you are not 100% sure of the model, select here, > https://h50203.www5....b/wclentry.aspx
*******
OptiPlex GX260
This is the page I am following links on. > http://www.dell.com/.../optiplex-gx260
Hard drive trouble shooting, Go to Issue 4 > http://www.dell.com/...ew?docid=605413
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#9
Deliverance77

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Compaq Evo

I have had a fiddle around this morning and came across a message telling me that system32/config/system was missing, which I can gather is not a good thing. I am wondering if it may solve the problem if I re-purchased Windows XP software? The discs I currently have are not official Windows discs, just a couple of copied reboot discs which re-install an "image" of Windows using Norton Ghost. Not sure if this is standard practice when selling a refurbished computer to not provide the Windows disc, but either way, I don't have the Windows disc to repair the files.

Thanks!
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#10
iammykyl

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Gday.

The discs I currently have are not official Windows discs

They may not be Windows discs but may still be OK, lets's check first before you go out spending money.
Please take a couple of photos of the discs and upload in your next reply.


What options did you get with the F8 and F12 keys?
Did you restore the BIOS to defaults?
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