?
Solved

Dell Dimension 2400 freezes at boot time, after full reformat and full reinstallation

Posted on 2006-06-02
15
Medium Priority
?
21,562 Views
Last Modified: 2011-08-18
Gentlemen,

One of my customers has a computer that will freeze/ halt/ hang while Windows is booting.  The computer is a Dell Dimension 2400, OS  = Windows XP.  

On a service visit about a week ago, I found the machine to have a series of strange problems, some of which I could solve, some I could not.  There were enough wierd problems where the best solution was to reformat the hard drive and reinstall all the software.  I did that, starting with hardware diagnostics and a slow format of the hard drive.  I also installed Msft Office 2003, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, OpenBook (it will verbally read printed text on a scanned page), plus an antivirus.  

When I visited yesterday to see how things were going, he eventually mentions this problem with the machine often not wanting to boot.  

I saw several other application icons on the desktop which I did not install or put there.  I restarted the machine, and did not recreate a problem with booting.  But when I restarted the machine again, it became hung.  When hung, there is no response when toggling the capslock or numlock keys.  

When shutting down the machine, I also saw 2 or 3 processes that would not exit on their own, and Windows presented a "do you want to kill the process now or wait" prompt; choice: kill it now.  Note that these hung processes at shutdown were not occurring when I left the machine after the first service call.

He also said that there were times when the machine would not shut down, and eventually resorted to pressing on the front power button to gracelessly force a shutdown.   I think that these hung processes were the cause.

The sequence is:
a) The Dell bios splash screen is displayed,
b) the screen will go black,
c) the disk activity light will flash for about 5 - 7 seconds, then will remain off.  My customer reports that this period of inactivity will last longer than .25H.  
d) I'll force a power off,
e) wait a few seconds,
f) then turn the machine back on.  
g) The bios splash screen is displayed,
h) then a black screen with white text is displayed, reporting that Windows was not shut down nicely and would I like to boot into safe mode or safe mode with networking, or others.  
g1) If I choose Safe Mode, Windows will boot up successfully.  If I restart, the computer will usually (probably) boot into Windows fine.
g2) If I choose Boot Normally, the computer will usually (probably) enter the black and hung state.  

Note that the Windows splash screen is not displayed when the machine becomes hung while booting.

After seeing this problem, I've run disk diagnostics on the computer and the hard drive, including spindisk, and they all completed successfully.

When I left the machine after the reinstall on the first service call, it was rebooting successfully on command without problem.  For whatever reason, now it isn't.  

I think that either the OS got hurt as a byproduct of turning off the machine, because there were multiple processes that would not exit at shutdown time.  But I'm not sure how to measure what or where the hang is, or to at least find a valid work around, other than to say: "don't do that".

Any suggestions on how to study this problem further - and hopefully solve it?


Thank you in advance!

0
Comment
Question by:ChrisEddy
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • +7
15 Comments
 
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 400 total points
ID: 16818824
Doesn't sound like a hardware problem, but why don't you boot with a Knoppix CD and verify that there are no problems with that?  If there aren't any, then it's either a Windows system driver or virus/spyware/adware.  You can run HijackThis http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html and analyze it http://www.hijackthis.de/
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Purple_Sky
ID: 16818840
Hello,

You may need to reset - clear the BIOS. I am suspecting  a cold shutdown caused the problem. ( OS or BIOS settings )

You may consider a repair installation of the OS after uninstalling the softwares that do not shutdown properly.
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

( Friendly recommendation : To eliminate this kind of stress i am usually burning an image of the drive on a dvd. This is eliminating the "OS or hardware" hassle. You can use ezdub the external dvd burner ( backup solution ) from lite-on. I like ghost for imaging. )





0
 
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:bhanukir7
ID: 16818938
hi there

when u have reinstalled the os have u done full format i mean there is a utility partition which contains the disk diagnostics and other hardware testing tools to access that u need to press F12 when u seel the dell logo.

is the hardware diagnostics what ur trying to say is the dell 32bit diagnostics then.

try to see the led status on the computer. please refer to this

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim2400/en/sm_en/advtshoo.htm#1105412

try to check if the usb emulation is set to on in the bios and disable that as usb emulations is for legacy devices so it should not set to no.

this should help

revert back further

bhanu
0
A Cyber Security RX to Protect Your Organization

Join us on December 13th for a webinar to learn how medical providers can defend against malware with a cyber security "Rx" that supports a healthy technology adoption plan for every healthcare organization.

 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ASW3382
ID: 16819340
If the computer will POST have you tried running a full set of dell diagnostics (press F12)?  Also try unplugging any USB storage items (yes all in one printers count).  
If so,  how does the house look electrically,  power fluctuations may have fried the MoBo. Any storms lately?  Those are the things I would be checking into with a computer that flakey.
0
 
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

by:
willcomp earned 800 total points
ID: 16819369
First thought is that customer installed some nice "free" software from the internet and now has adware/spyware trying to take over.  That would explain processes.  In addition to Callandor's recommendations regarding spyware, install update and run Spybot S&D.

http://www.download.com/Spybot-Search-Destroy/3000-8022_4-10122137.html

Locking up on boot could be a driver issue, but that usually does not come and go.  PC consistently won't boot.
0
 
LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 800 total points
ID: 16819672
Download the latest version of HijackThis

http://www.hijackthis.de

(Click on the „Directdownload“ link).

run it and save the log. Paste the log to the following website

http://www.hijackthis.de/en

Follow the following exactly:

At the bottom of the page you'll see a "ANALYZE" button. Click it and you will have an analysis of your log. Now a new button, "SAVE ANALYSIS" will show up at the bottom. Your analyzed log will be saved to a page on that homepage, of which you can post the URL here. I should then be able to see if there is any software causing problems.
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:simpswr
ID: 16819903
0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:venom96737
ID: 16821173
You know I had a customer that had a funny problem just like this and I was sitting there thinking what in the world could the problem be.  I came to the conclusion that maybe I shuld try to refresh the RAM so I opened the system popped the RAM out popped it right back in and WHAM no more problems since.  To rule out software got msconfig and turn off some things that look suspicious also run hijack this to see what all is going on inside the machine.  Really at this point its very vauge as to what the issue could be if it is the OS try running SFC /scannow from the run box see if that can clear it up.  Also you can goto recovery console and run chkdsk see if it finds any errors.  It is a possibility that the boot.ini file has a bad entry in it that could be hanging with the description given there can be many paths to follow to lead to the answer.  Try refreshing the RAM first see if you can get anywhere with that then move on to bigger and better things.
0
 
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:venom96737
ID: 16821196
NOTE: The RAM in their machine still passed all test before the refresh but windows was having trouble accessing the higher blocks of the RAM after refresh it had no problem.
0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16822620
is it hanging during the post or afterwards when loading the o/s?

go into the bios & change an option like Quick Post to disabled, & maybe another option that hides everything behind logo - this way you'll see your post screens & be able to tell if there is a hardware issue

if it hangs while loading the o/s in normal mode, but not safe mode, then run in safe mode & perform a full antivirus & spyware scan
(adaware)    http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

online virus scanning
http://security.symantec.com/sscv6/default.asp?langid=ie&venid=sym
http://ts.mcafeehelp.com/?siteID=1&resolution=&cid=13048
http://www.pandasoftware.com/products/activescan
http://onlinescan.avast.com/
0
 
LVL 3

Author Comment

by:ChrisEddy
ID: 16824330
Gentlemen,

Thank you all for your cogent responses!

I am in the process of trying to schedule an appointment at the customer site, preferably later today.

0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16887768
hey chris, plz keep us updated & let us know if you need more help
0
 
LVL 3

Author Comment

by:ChrisEddy
ID: 16984751
Gentlemen,

I returned to the site and believe the problem is now solved.  

I did run scans for software infections and found the machine to the be clean.  On a previous visit, I ran extended diagnostics on the hard drive and the disk passed all of them.

I also incrementally (decrementally?) uninstalled optional products that were installed after I first left the site, and rebooting the computer after each test.  The last two things that were ininstalled were a TV Tuner product and a filesystem defragmentation product.   Although the TV Tuner product was installed during my initial visit and rebuild, since the product could not be made to work within a reasonable length of time, I uninstalled it because it was not a functional functioning part.  

Currently the machine is performing well, and it's performance remains snappy.  

Thank you!  


0
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 16984839
your welcome.
0
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:willcomp
ID: 16985132
Glad to help.
0

Featured Post

A Cyber Security RX to Protect Your Organization

Join us on December 13th for a webinar to learn how medical providers can defend against malware with a cyber security "Rx" that supports a healthy technology adoption plan for every healthcare organization.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

This is about my first experience with programming Arduino.
Employees depend heavily on their PCs, and new threats like ransomware make it even more critical to protect their important data.
The viewer will learn how to successfully download and install the SARDU utility on Windows 8, without downloading adware.
The viewer will learn how to successfully download and install the SARDU utility on Windows 7, without downloading adware.
Suggested Courses
Course of the Month14 days, 7 hours left to enroll

839 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question