|"It's not a power issue - the computer could stay on for hours."|
The power supply puts out three major voltages - 3.3, 5, and 12v -and two minor ones - -5v and -12v .
If any of those are out of whack you can experience random problems.
"It simply becomes unresponsive - just stays at whatever screen is open and you can't use CaltDel or shut it down using the main button. I have to turn off power."
If Alt-Crtl-Del doesn't work that indicates Windows is completely frozen - when that doesn't work, neither does the Reset button if your case has one (lots of brand name system cases don't have a Reset button despite the fact almost all mboards have the pins to connect one).
However, in most cases you don't have to switch off the power to the case when the computer freezes like that. Usually default mboard bios settings are set such that if you hold the power button in for about 4 seconds, the mboard will shut off.
"How do I check the size of the partition that windows is on?"
How long have you been using a computer? How come you don't already know that?
Sometimes if you simply hold the mouse cursor over the C drive letter in My Computer, a yellow box pops up that says Free Space:xxxgb. Total Size:xxxgb, but that doesn't always work. If you RIGHT click on the C drive letter in My Computer or Windows Explorer, choose Properties, it shows you the figures and a graphical picture.
If you're not familiar with Windows Explorer, you can do things with Windows Explorer you can't do with My Computer, and visa versa.
- If you click on a CD drive that has a CD in it that has an autorun.ini file on it in My Computer, it always starts up the CD.
If you click on the same CD in WindowsExplorer, it shows you the files and folders on the CD.
- there are some things you can RIGHT click on in My Computer and you see the option to Create a shortcut, that you don't see that option for in Windows Explorer.
I always have a shortcut to Windows Explorer on my desktop, and I prefer using it rather than My Computer. Windows Explorer is found in Start - All Programs - Accessories - RIGHT click on it to make a shortcut to it, then drag the shortcut to your desktop screen.
"How do I check the temp of the bios setup (I can't do it after the computer freezes...)"
You would shut down and reboot the computer, then check the temperatures, of course.
Dell™ Dimension™ 2350 Series
Dell™ Dimension™ 2350 Series
Info there about how to open the case, install and remove the ram, etc. etc.
Bios Setup info
"Entering the System Setup Program
Turn on (or restart) your computer.
When the blue DELL™ logo appears, press F2.
If you wait too long and the operating system begins to load into memory, let the computer complete the load operation. Then shut down "
It usually works better to repeatedly press the key, rather than holding it down.
Note that a USB connected keyboard may not work to get you into the bios Setup, depending on settings in the bios Setup, but a PS/2 connected keyboard always will.
A setting in the bios Setup Legacy USB or USB Keyboard or similar must be enabled in order for a USB keyboard to be able to get you into the bios Setup - your mboard is recent enough that is probably enabled by default.
However, I looked at that bios Setup info, and I see nothing in it about current temps (and fan rpms, and voltages).
It might be Dell forgot to include the info online, or it could be some dummy forgot to include it in the Dell bios version on the computer. Your mboard is recent enough it does have the sensors and the capability to provide current temp, rpm, and voltage readings.
What you're looking for is Hardware monitor, or current hardware information, or similar.
If you don't see that in the bios Setup, or if you would rather be able to see the info in Windows at any time, go here, download this program, and install it in Windows:
Intel Active Monitor
A cpu temp of over 50 C or so is too hot.
Over 60 C or so will cause problems, such as freezes and random black screen rebooting.
Over 70 C or so will damage the cpu.
The rpm of the cpu fan should not change much as you watch.
The +3.3v, +5v, and the +12v readings should be within 10% of the nominal value.
If the cpu temp is too hot, or in any case if you have never opened up the computer case, the cpu fan and heatsink, and probably the inside of the power supply, probably have mung on them (dust, lint, etc.).
Unplug the case/power supply.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.
Some Dell cases have a latch you must push one way rather than screws you must remove at the back of the case.
While you're in there, if the cpu fan/heatsink has mung (dust, lint, etc.) on it, clean it off, but DO NOT use a vaccuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. If you have a case fan, clean that too if it needs it.
If the cpu fan and heatsink are dirty, the inside of the power supply is likely to be dirty too. Take a look at the holes or slots on the power supply inside the case, and where the power supply fan blows out of the back of the case.