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Thread: One Dead Dell!

  1. #1
    Silver Member cmputrskillme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    One High Maintenance Broad

    Angry One Dead Dell!

    Hello All, and Happy New Year!

    I need ideas here.......not sure what to do.

    Got a Dell Dimension XPST550 sitting on the bench. The thing sits and spins at the Dell splash screen. Hard drive doesn't move at all, nothing works to get me into bios, no safe mode, 3 1/4 won't work to get a boot disk in it. What the heck do I do?????

    Removed the battery to try to reset cmos/bios and nothing. Anyone have any ideas how I am to rescue this thing? Can't get into bios to change boot sequence, hard drive doesn't even spin up. She said it had a virus they tried to fix, hasn't been the same since. Could her board be bad? My son's board was fried by a nasty one, displayed a nice little message before scrambling the bios. These proprietary monsters drive me nuts!

    Thanks in Advance,

  2. #2
    Hardware Guru TZ Veteran shadow_warez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Question has the case been opened?

    has the chasis been opened and the inerds been tampered with or attemtped to be fixed?

    A Great Sig Done by a Great Artist,

  3. #3
    Titanium Member efc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    North Central Arkansas
    I need some info before offering a lot of suggestions. Otherwise I might send you in the wrong direction.

    Is this computer new to you or have you been using it and now have the problem?

    I assume that you have checked all cables to make sure they are properly seated.

    Can you get to the cmos by tapping the del or f1 key as it attempts to boot? If so change the first boot disk to floppy and boot to a:\ prompt. This will allow you to reinstall examine the c: drive to make sure that it is intact. Once you boot in dos you can reinstall windows or use the dell recovery disk to reestablish the operating system.

    If you can't boot in dos, unplug all cables to your hard drive, then reboot. If the hard drive has failed this will often allow you to boot to dos via the a: drive.

    Remember that the primary reasons any computer will not boot are the following:

    Loose or bad cables.
    Corrupted or defective hard drive.
    Bad memory.
    Bad power supply.
    Bad processor.

    It is fairly easy to test the first two. As you go down the list, it becomes more difficult because most people don't have extra memory, processor or power supply at hand.

    If you are not in a hurry, and don't mind spending a few bucks, you can order from a distributor a PCI Post Diagnostics Test Card (approx. $40). It is similar to performing a computer test on a car. You get a number error code on an LCD screen that indicates the reason for your problem. For $10 more you can get a Power Supply tester. Be sure to choose the Power Supply tester that is appropriate for your computer.

    Another, somewhat drastic measure is to reset motherboard defaults. I recommend that this not be done until you have attempted everything else. UNPLUG POWER CABLE BEFORE PROCEEDING. On recently built motherboards this can be done by changing a pin setting on the board and then turning on the power. UNPLUG POWER CORD AGAIN. Return pin jumper to original setting and replace power cable and attempt to boot.

    To find the jumper, identify the MB and do a Google search for the MB specifications.

  4. #4
    Precision Processor Super Moderator egghead's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    In Your Monitor
    i read a post somewhere and it says press the f8 key to get to the boot screen bios

    i have a friend who has a pentium computer and he was messing with it in the case but on a thick shaggy carpet
    after sliding the case around he booted up
    everything was fine until he tried to enter the bootscreen
    it would say press delet to enter and when he did the video monitor scrambled the video like a bad refresh

    he corrupted his bios and his motherboard is now useless

    i would open the case and take out the battery for a few hours
    remember to leave the power cable unpluggeg

    this should drain the cmos power and reset the bios to defaults

    also disconnect any pci cards that dont need to be there at the moment
    also try a boot cd

    every littlebit helps

  5. #5
    The Beast Master TZ Veteran PIPER's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Thumbs up THE DEAD DELL

    First thing you should do is check the light pattern on the back of your tower. they will indicate what internal component is causing the problem based on the color pattern. Next, what are you getting for beep codes if any? Pull everything from the main board then put power to it and let me know what you see. If you need assistance faster than posting here, go to, click on support and enter the service tag number located on the side of the tower. It is really small print just under where you see You can find all the answers there about that system.
    Last edited by PIPER; January 5th, 2003 at 08:15 AM.

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