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January 3, 2009
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  • Mood: Suffering
  • Listening to: NOTHING at all.
  • Reading: Hinterland
  • Watching: my dead PC sitting in a corner of the room.
  • Playing: Fallout 3?
  • Eating: MEH.
  • Drinking: MEH.
MAAAAAAAAaaaan. There is some NASTY nasty stuff going around. I've been neck deep in fixing PC's at our office, and also here at home.
Vundo & Zlob viruses, as well as some Seneka worms and some DJJuan crap that was infesting a couple of PC's at work. (techy guy is just one of a few hats I wear at the day gig, ;) )

Unfortunately, one of my PC's here at the house has died completely, but it's on the hardware side of things, and I'm kind of stuck!

It's a Dell XPS 400. It started with B.S.O.D. (0x00000024) upon start up, some kind of conflict with the hard drive.
I suspect this happened when I ran Daemon Tools to run a 'virtual drive' back up of an old game I wanted to play. The game crashed, and I think what happened to lock the system up in blue screen was that the defragging service was stubbornly looking for these non-existant drives when I rebooted. I was able to enter the bios screen, etc, and tried starting in safe mode (w & w/o networking, and CMD mode) to no avail.

I tried doing a 'restart with last known working good configuration', etc, but still got B.S.O.D'd. On all these attempts, it always crashed before even getting to the desktop screen. Also, I think I'm in the unlucky batch of people that didn't get a recovery disk packaged in with my PC, so I've contacted them and put in a request for a boot disk (Windows XP Media Center Ed.).

But it also gets worse!!!

Now it won't even turn on anymore! (no power, but the LED on the MOBO still turns on, so does the ethernet cable plug)
I took the whole thing apart, and even reseated the Processor, plugging and unplugging as I went along, holding the power button down, etc.
Until I eventually plugged everything back in again, except I left out the 2nd slave HDD, but still no dice.

As far as I can tell, I've narrowed it down to possibly one of 3 things (besides the issue with the harddrive conflict)
power switch or power switch cable
power supply
motherboard

I don't know what to do, but I've been working on it all day yesterday, and all day today, and still nothing.

Any ideas? I am on an extremely tight budget, so I can't just willy nilly jump on to an Alienware or Blackhawk gaming monster rig, and I sure as hell don't want to pay Geek Squad out the nose!

The alternative is just buying another barebones machine from Tiger, plugging in this drive as a secondary, pulling everything I need from it and then just formatting the thing as an extra drive.

These are kind of what I'm looking at (and yeah, looks like I would have to buy a copy of Windows XP, and a cooling unit for these).

www.tigerdirect.com/applicatio…
www.tigerdirect.com/applicatio…

Or if you have some PC suggestions, please do link me.
I would be looking for something with a minimum of 6 USB ports, 4 memory slots (on a mobo that supports at LEAST 4GB of ram or more), AMD or Intel is fine, on the faster end of things (higher than 2.1ghz ideally) and a decent sound card.

I would likely just end up Frankensteining all the extra gear, memory, disk drives, etc, off of the currently dead PC. What do you think?

The choices between repairing the XPS, or buying another machine seem to each have their own hefty pros & cons, too. blargh.

AAaaaaaaah!
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:iconrachelab74:
rachelab74 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009
I am not a techie, but my bro in law is, and when I had numerous problems with my computer: would shut down giving some error message, didnt matter what I was doing, online or not...would just shut down to restart to shut down again and repeat the process, it was a payne in my arse...I think the only way I got it up was to go into safe mode...there were numerous problems.....Actually at the moment I cannot remember everything that was wrong with it, I think I noted it a few journals back...but it gave a system I/o error when I ran linux..another friend of mine said my hard drive was fried...anyways as it turns out, I explaine my problem to the in law...and he did a factory restore from the f6 boot up option(you probably know more about it then I would, plus it is past my bedtime, so I am braindead a little right now...but it did the trick, however if you do go that method, I would see about taking your drive to another computer to back up yer stuff first, for you may lose a bunch a stuff!! I have no idea if this will help or if you already tried it..but I wish you luck...for I hated when my computer was down!! :(
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:icondrumbo:
drumbo Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009
Lucky for you I _do_ do computers. First first (and most important) question is: is the computer POSTing? [link]

Turn on the computer and listen to the beeps that it makes.

*If none, it means it isn't posting and there is something wrong with one (or more) pieces of hardware, but the computer ain't gonna tell you which one.

*If you get a funny beep (like one long beep and two short beeps (which is graphics card)) then we need to find what device that beep code is.

*If you get a normal sounding beep then it's your screen because the computer is booting just fine.

General troubleshooting for this situation:

Do you have one or more chips of RAM? If more than one then try combinations of taking a Chip out, leaving different ones in and see if you can get it to boot. If you only have one chip, try borrowing some from a similar computer.

Its very unlikely that it is the power supply. Normally if these guys die they make sure your aware of it, buy either blowing smoke out the back or just doin' plain nothing.

Try booting it with the absolute minimum nothing. Take out all HDD's, cables, CDROMs, and anything else that's in there. Especially any PCI cards. Leave only the CPU, one chip of RAM and the MOBO. Have a listen to it booting (you don't have any screen at this point) and see if you hear good beeps. If no beeps, game over, if normal beep, great! Start putting your devices back in one by one until you find the bad one, and if a funny beep, look it up online.

Let me know how you go and I'll try to advise further if need be.
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:iconthedarkcloak:
thedarkcloak Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009  Professional General Artist
drumbo!
Cool, firstly, thank you so much for the assistance.
And that is a great wiki resource, I might have to print that out and keep it around handy.

I did like you said (and a variation of it yesterday), but unfortunately, I am not hearing any beeps, nor is there any activity coming from the power button whatsoever. No blinking lights, no amber lights, no red, nothing at all. The fans aren't turning on either.
The only thing that is happening is - the LED inside the PC on the motherboard IS lighting up green, and so does the ethernet port if I plug it in. Could it be possible the power supply is just not churning out as much power as it should, but only enough to spit out some 'flea power'?

I've tried holing the button down as I reconnect, tried holding it down after I unplug it, etc. I've done various cycles of removing absolutely everything, but it seems quite dead.

The other thing I'm going to try, is I'm going to connect the main drive from that machine into the machine I'm typing to you from now - and see if it boots up fine. At least this way I can find out if the HDD is dead (and wether I WILL need an OS or not, if I snatch up one of those barebones kits). *SIGH

If it helps, the PC model is a Dell XPS 400 (I think they're also called Dimension 9150).

I'll let you know what happens with the HDD when I run it on this machine. Hopefully it's something minor, and wont cost me an enormous amount of dough to get up and running...

If it's the power supply only, I think I can take the hit. If it's the mobo... *flinch, for $200 bucks I may as well buy a barebones.

What do you think, thinking ahead in the worst case scenarios?

Thanks again, Ian!
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:icondrumbo:
drumbo Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
>"What do you think, thinking ahead in the worst case scenarios?"

We'll obviously the worst case scenario would be that it continues to not boot like it is :P

From the further information in your reply, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to say your pretty much stuffed. I think its motherboard.

As a last ditch effort lets try a couple more things:

Follow the cable running from the power button to the mobo. Make sure that this is plugged in the correct way around (not backwards as is easy to do). Even if you think it is the right way around, try turning it around the other way (you could be wrong about having it right). Now try boot.

Lastly, unplug the PSU from the wall power, take out the battery and press the power button on the case a few times. Now put the battery back in and plug in the PSU and try boot.

If not, I think we are about at breaking point. And when I say breaking point I don't mean your head I mean the machine itself! PC + floor + Large Hammer = FUN! :mwahaha:

If you can find a good deal (try a local independent computer shop rather than Dell, etc) then you should be able to get something pretty cheap. Don't worry about buying Windows, you can use the license from the dead PC. I recently got this computer:

AMD 62 x2 4000+ (dual core)
1GB RAM
80GB HDD
Case/PSU
Good enough Mobo

NZ$300 / US$170.

Low end AMD chips are a great way to save money. I run this PC on debian Linux as a server, and it takes everything I throw at it noo problems, even does Virtual machines with relative ease.

In comparison Dell computers start from about US$4-5 hundred.

If you are only basically using the computer for Web browsing and the like (no graphics) then I would heavily recommend Ubuntu Linux. Its Free, it works (really well) everything is just a couple of clicks away, it does fancy-cool graphical stuff, doesn't get viruses and is overall just wicked. Get it or find out more here: [link]. The other great thing is you can try the entire system on your computer before you use it simply by booting off the CD. Keep in mind that running off the CD = slow as opposed to installed which is much faster.
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:iconaluminum-falcon:
aluminum-falcon Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009
sorry, i fix cars, not computers. did you try kicking it and using some creative, colorful language? :thumbsup: sometimes that works.
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:iconthedarkcloak:
thedarkcloak Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009  Professional General Artist
Gah!

I didn't kick it, no, but I did give it a decent backhand, if that's any use. ;)

And you're right, sometimes things WILL work that way. I can think of at least 2 times I've fixed an xbox that way. ;)
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:iconsyxx:
syxx Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
We just had that "Zlob" virus as of last night *le sigh*
Why do these things always strike at a time of the year when I have no money left from buying xmas presents and none left to spend on asking someone to fix my puter who knows more about it than me *wails*
Im constantly shouting at mine "I control you, not the other way round ARRRRGH!"
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:iconthedarkcloak:
thedarkcloak Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2009  Professional General Artist
UGH, zlob. all those things are such a pain to get rid of.
And yeah, it does seem weird. So many PC's here at the day gig have been slammed with these bugs, one of the machines at home (aside from this broken one) got infected with something pretty insidious too...

Hey, at least you know someone who can do that stuff for you, having other people do it for you is VERY expensive.
Don't be afraid to tinker around and read up on this stuff, it's definitely worth learning how to do as much as you can on your own; making repair shops a last resort.
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:iconexplodingzombies:
Explodingzombies Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2009
I had no idea you were into fixing computers n' stuff, that's awesome!!
I wish I could help, but I don't know much about this machine I'm using. =(
Good luck with everything, I hope you can fix it!
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:iconthedarkcloak:
thedarkcloak Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2009  Professional General Artist
Yeah, it's good to be as self-sufficient with all this stuff as possible, you know? It's not what I do for a living, but I do plenty of it here at the day gig (we all wear mutliple 'hats' here - being at a smallish fun company is really awesome for that, no sarcasm intended!) and for myself. Like my old man always says, everything you can learn is good for you, so learn everything you can. Plus, it's a good way to save money... holy crap, just looking at the kinds of rates people charge for PC repair has me wondering if I shouldn't consider doing that as yet another side gig (along with freelancing, and all the other entrepeneurial shtuff).

I wish you could help, too!

I'm working on it, turns out one of my friends is A+ certified computer tech! and my other friend (her partner) is C++ certified (she's on the programming & networking side of things) too, so between all those ++++'s, surely something will turn out! :shakefist:
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