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Dell Poweredge 2800 Server Running 2003 Locks Unexpectedly

Posted on 2008-10-25
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a Dell Poweredge 2800 server running Server 2003.  About 2 weeks ago the server was crashing because of faulty memory modules which all were replaced.  After the memory was replaced, the server worked fine as it had before for about 2-3 days and then started randomly locking up with no error messages at all approximately once a day (no specific time), sometimes every other day.  I can't find anything in the event logs and suspect the problem is hardware related.  No updates have been installed since the memory was installed and no new hardware or software was added either.  Indicator light on the front of the server flashes amber indicating something is wrong but I'm not sure what.  I plan to run the Dell Open Manage system diagnostics this evening once all users are off the server but just wondering if anyone has other suggestions I can try or if there is something else I can check.  I've never had random lock ups like this without any error message or entry in the event logs to explain the problem so this is sort of new territory for me.
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Question by:rohnlawadmin
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Expert Comment

by:wct296
ID: 22805194
The indicator light generally only displays when there is a hardware error.. I would take the server down and do a memory test (boot up with a diagnostic CD such as hirem's boot cd). I dare say even tho you have replaced the RAM, you either replaced the wrong chip or that the new RAm is also fault (it does happen).. Once you verify that its the RAM you need to isolate it by starting with only one chip - checking pass - if pass then keep adding sticks and re-testing until you get a failure.. you then know which stick it is..

The other way - and sometimes faster way - is just to replace all the RAM in the machine... or see how it runs on just the old RAM sticks.
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Expert Comment

by:wct296
ID: 22805199
Also - if its covered by Dell Warranty/support.. their service is fantastic.. Just log a job and get a Dell tech out to help you diagnose the problem..
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Author Comment

by:rohnlawadmin
ID: 22805240
I figured as much about the indicator light.  The RAM sticks in the machine are all brand new (bought from 4allmemory.com).  I didn't even bother testing the old ones, I just replaced them.  I'll try your suggestion this evening and report the results.  Unfortunately the server isn't under warranty any longer (it expired last December).
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wct296 earned 500 total points
ID: 22805257
OK - the only problem is how long the memory tests take to run... (to do it properly).. Another way is to use the Dell diag light to help diagnose.. Just take out all the ram.. except one of the new sticks... boot.. see if the dell diag light comes on after 5 mins (or it locks up). If not - add another stick.. repeat... This isnt as definitive as the memory test, but much faster.. which means less server downtime
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Author Closing Comment

by:rohnlawadmin
ID: 31510013
I reseated the memory sticks and ran complete diagnostics and it seems to be fine.  Front indicator light is now blue and it passed all the diagnostics.  Thanks!
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