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Dimension 4400 Windows Installation Problem

Posted on 2006-07-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Very odd - When I do the "press any key" option as the Windows XP install CD starts up, it loads the initial set of files,
 but it always sticks at "Windows is Starting Up."

 I've tried a lot of different things to try to correct this:

 BIOS flash from A2 to A6, loading setup defaults, different hard drive, different CDROM,
 different RAM.

 Any other ideas?  Is the motherboard possibly shot?

 
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Question by:finalascent
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by:garycase
ID: 17140137
This is almost certainly either the motherboard or the power supply.   You've tried all of the other "culprits" :-)
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 17140148
... it COULD also be the CPU, but that's the least likely of the remaining candidates.

... one other thing:  Unplug the motherboard battery;  leave it out for at least a minute; and then plug it back in.   This will fully clear CMOS -- more than a BIOS "setup defaults" does.

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by:garycase
ID: 17140151
(be sure, of course, that the system is unplugged when you remove/replace the battery)
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by:ilaird
ID: 17140467
Did you check out the hard drive, if ide just run diagnostics off the resource cd, express test should be fine..
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by:garycase
ID: 17140495
... in the question he noted that he has tried a different hard drive;  different memory;  updated BIOS; different CDROM drive; etc. => as I noted, "all of the other 'culprits' ..."
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by:finalascent
ID: 17141330

Folks,

Thanks for the input, I'll try the CMOS battery thing, and let you know what happens.

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by:garycase
ID: 17141407
... One lucky thing => the 4400 does not (like many Dells) use a proprietary power supply; so you can test whether or not it's the power supply with any standard ATX power supply :-)

But if the battery doesn't help; and a better power supply doesn't change the symptoms; then it's almost certainly the motherboard.   If you get to that point, look at the motherboard carefully and see if there are any signs of swelling or leaking on the capacitors.  A mother with bad caps can be repaired fairly reasonably -- and that avoids any need to reinstall the OS, software, etc.
(http://www.badcaps.com/)

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by:willcomp
ID: 17142429
Before throwing the mobo in the trash, also try these:

Completely erase hard disk (unless one was a new drive or had been wiped) using Darik's Boot and Nuke.  I've seen instances of old partitions causing similar problems.

Although you changed RAM, run memtest 86+ on memory.  A common cause of your error is memory whether it's the memory itself or the memory controller.

If these don't work, swap power supply as well (per garycase also).  Power supplies can cause strange behavior.

http://dban.sourceforge.net/     DBAN
http://www.memtest.org/         Memtest 86+
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