Solved Dell 4700 difficult start-up

February 9, 2012 at 10:06:57
Specs: Windows XP, Pent 4 / 4 GB
My old Dell is being a little contrary on start-up; sometimes takes up to 3 attempts before it loads up properly. I suspected the power supply, changed same but no joy. I added memory pending a conversion to Windows 7 and all seems to be well there; still using XP for a while longer. The hard drive is the original 85 GB. Is it getting tired? Some thoughts please.

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✔ Best Answer
February 9, 2012 at 20:07:05
"I discovered the fan was mounted backward (at the factory); turned it 90 degrees but to no effect." That actually would be 180 degrees if you turned it completely around from blowing in to blowing out of your case (the fan should be set as exhaust to get rid of the heat).

Run Memtest86 from bootable CD to test your memory.
Test if you purchaed the correct memory by running test from crucial.com.
Run Seatools from Seagate via a bootable CD to test your hard drive if you still think it is an issue, but you will probably need a larger hard drive when you switch over to Windows 7.
Run Malwarebytes to test for an infection that may have slipped past your antivirus program.
Uninstall any program you do not use.
Do a disk clean up.
Do a disk defragment.
Blow dust out of your system using a can of compressed air and make sure that your front and rear vents as well as your heat sinks are clear of dust. Vacuum only outside, after you reclose the case.
Run msconfig, start tab and uncheck all except Microsoft and your antivirus program, Apply and restart the machine.
I agree that adding a video card would be an advantage if you switch to W7
.
On power supplies, look for ones that have all of their 12Volt amperage on a single rail and is certified 80% efficient. These are not your $20. ones, they are usually $40 or $50 or more. The cheaper power supplies fake their wattage by pushing the amperage of the 5 Volt rail higher, but you can never use this since all of the high draw components rely on the 12Volt rail for their main power requirements. You can in practice get a 350 Watt power supply that is not really an upgrade from a 275 Watt model. If you do not plan on gaming, then an inexpensive modern graphics card will do as will a decent 350 Watt power supply, but if you do plan on gaming, plan on a gaming grade graphics card and a power supply that is appropriate for it.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.



#1
February 9, 2012 at 10:43:53
Tired? Probably. Could be a number of things going on, OS corruption, malware, failing HDD (hard disk drive), other failing hardware (motherboard, video, power supply etc).

Try running the Dell Diagnostics; D/L & make a set of bootable floppies to run that:
http://www.dell.com/support/drivers...

Also - check the motherboard for bad capacitors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_ca...

MOOOOooove! OH and you're welcome!


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#2
February 9, 2012 at 11:19:47
Hard drives don't get tired, they either work or don't work.

Does it refuse to boot os or to post?

Install a cheap video card for win aero to run smooth if u are going to jump ship.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.


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#3
February 9, 2012 at 14:18:41
"I suspected the power supply, changed same but no joy"

You provided no info about the old or the new. If you bought a cheapie, you may have actually downgraded. Did this problem start after upgrading the RAM? How much did you have & how much did you add? Did you try taking it out? Could it be you disturbed something while adding the RAM? I highly doubt the HDD is the problem.


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Related Solutions

#4
February 9, 2012 at 15:45:51
Power supply not a cheapie; slight power increase. Now 350W. Start-up problem has been with me for a while. That is what led me to change the power supply. Memory upgrade from 512 to 2GB is to make the machine Win 7 compatible. I also get fan surges (?) from time to time. I discovered the fan was mounted backward (at the factory); turned it 90 degrees but to no effect.

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#5
February 9, 2012 at 20:07:05
✔ Best Answer
"I discovered the fan was mounted backward (at the factory); turned it 90 degrees but to no effect." That actually would be 180 degrees if you turned it completely around from blowing in to blowing out of your case (the fan should be set as exhaust to get rid of the heat).

Run Memtest86 from bootable CD to test your memory.
Test if you purchaed the correct memory by running test from crucial.com.
Run Seatools from Seagate via a bootable CD to test your hard drive if you still think it is an issue, but you will probably need a larger hard drive when you switch over to Windows 7.
Run Malwarebytes to test for an infection that may have slipped past your antivirus program.
Uninstall any program you do not use.
Do a disk clean up.
Do a disk defragment.
Blow dust out of your system using a can of compressed air and make sure that your front and rear vents as well as your heat sinks are clear of dust. Vacuum only outside, after you reclose the case.
Run msconfig, start tab and uncheck all except Microsoft and your antivirus program, Apply and restart the machine.
I agree that adding a video card would be an advantage if you switch to W7
.
On power supplies, look for ones that have all of their 12Volt amperage on a single rail and is certified 80% efficient. These are not your $20. ones, they are usually $40 or $50 or more. The cheaper power supplies fake their wattage by pushing the amperage of the 5 Volt rail higher, but you can never use this since all of the high draw components rely on the 12Volt rail for their main power requirements. You can in practice get a 350 Watt power supply that is not really an upgrade from a 275 Watt model. If you do not plan on gaming, then an inexpensive modern graphics card will do as will a decent 350 Watt power supply, but if you do plan on gaming, plan on a gaming grade graphics card and a power supply that is appropriate for it.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#6
February 9, 2012 at 21:38:25
Thanks for all of your help. And yes, that would be 180 degrees (brain cramp). This is getting interesting. Memory and hard drive check out OK. I run Malware screens on a regular basis and cleaned and defraged the disk just the other day; I thought possibly it was all cobbled up causing the problem. Inside is clean but it was a bit on the dusty side when I added mem. My new power supply was in the $50 range as I recall; its a Star Tech ATX12V designed for Dells. I didn't have a lot of extra stuff on Start Up; just Kodak and HP. Total of 3 non-windows. You most likely saved me some $$$ with your guide to the Seagate tool. I was pretty sure a new hard drive was in my future. My current system does have a video card.
Thanks again.

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#7
February 10, 2012 at 12:13:28
Look:
+3.3V@30A, +5V@28A, +12V1@14A, +12V2@15A, -12V@1A, +5VSB@2.5A
You do not need 30Amps on the 3.3Volt or 28 Amps on the 5Volt rails and the two 12Volt rails are 14Amp and 15Amp but your graphics card may be able to only access one of those rails and depending on the graphics card, that might not be enough. A better 400Watt power supply would look like this:
+3.3V@24A, +5V@15A, +12V@35A, -12V@0.3A, +5VSB@2.5A
That would have a full 35Amps available for all of your high draw components and would allow power for a reasonably decent graphics card (though many gaming cards would need even more). Those specs are from this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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