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dell 8600 shuts off with no warning

I have(my wifes) a Dell Inspiron 8600 that wants to power (hard) with no reason or notice.
CPU: 1.5G;  Ram: 2G;  160G HD;  Windows XP Prof

Its episodes have become more frequent.  During the last week or two, ran Dell Diag, cleaned the fan and fins, added thermal paste to the CPU, and replaced the HD.  Signs somewhat indicated it to be a problem.  Thank God for Ghost.   The PC started getting blue screen on boot up with volume errors.  With as many hard shutdowns as it was getting, no wonder&
I have not been able to isolate the problem any further.  I ran memory test that took over 7 hours and I just finished a HD scan that took 2 hours.  Never had a shutdown during these tests.   I removed the battery (still out) as well as one memory simm (still out) to see if there are issues.  I plan on running multiple apps once I post this problem to look for apps involvement but do not expect to find anything.  The event viewer doesnt catch anything.
In a EE article (ID:22128764) it was mentioned it could be the CMOS battery.  Is there a way to determine if it is the problem?  As for the motherboard, I am not getting any beeps or abnormal flickering in the LEDs.
My wife is going out of town on WED so troubling shooting time is running out.
Can anyone offer advice??
Thank you.

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rwarren99
Asked:
rwarren99
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3 Solutions
 
KaddictCommented:
If the problem really is the CMOS battery, then you should replace it. On common boards, its a CR2030 battery that costs like 50 cents. To get sure you should verify the type of battery on your own board before buying

-kaddict
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KaddictCommented:
I'd also test the memory using MemTest86 since random lockups often comes because of faulty ram
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DMTechGrooupCommented:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins8500/en/8500/sm/reserve.htm#1123661

I don't think it would be the battery.. sounds like it is overheating even though you have cleaned the fans and thermal paste the CPU.

http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/index.html
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KaddictCommented:
Just a comment. I guess you put about the good amount of paste, but too much paste is the same than no paste at all.
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rwarren99Author Commented:
I believe it was MemTest86 that I used.  Are there setting I should set the test to run?  
I look at the link you provided for the heat sink..
thank you gentlemen..
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KaddictCommented:
Memtest86 needs no settings at all... just boot off the CD and wait. The longer you test ensure that your memory is good with more confidence.
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rwarren99Author Commented:
If the memory ran for 7 plus hours with no issue, the memory should be good...  Thanks...
Update...
Running the fan test that DMTechGrooup recommended.  Its been running for 1:15 hours and both fans are working to specs.  I am also running "Heavyload 2.4 with the fan test to max the memory and CPU load..  
With both apps running, the PC has yet to die...
As mentioned earlier the battery and 1 simm are out of the PC.  I'll add them back one at a time to see if they effect the PC..  More to  come..
thanks all...
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KaddictCommented:
You should not run without the battery. Find the model, which should be CR2030, and if you can't find one try to verify your battery's voltage it should be 3.0V
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nobusCommented:
i suspect a bad PS or motherboard. test with another one
check the capacitors, leaking, bulging..etc as per :   www.badcaps.net
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ridCommented:
Sounds like it could be a problem with your O/S. A bad CMOS battery can't cause this as the CMOS gets power from the main battery/AC during operation.
/RID
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Thanks for all the info...
I looked at  www.badcaps.net to see what they had to say. Interesting...
I still am puzzled about everything.   Since I posted this issue and done everything menioned above, the PC has yet to shutoff.  I switched out the memory chips, still running only one and the battery is installed.
I have not used the 2nd simm slot through all of this.  It was my way of testing the simms and not the socket.  I'll do that later...
Right now, I am running a FULL diag. on the unit.  The only issue was a bad block (36457) at 0F00:0244.  I did get this error when I ran recovery disk and chhdsk/r.    All the data it placed in chk files are readable (most of it) and actural data was properly placeded in new blocks.
NOTE:  This (checkdisk)was the first step I took at determining the issues.  Is it possible that the bad block could of cause the shutdown?  
My plan is to give her (wife) the PC once the diag. is done and see if it shuts off again.   I am surprise that through all of the load and fan testing and diag testing, something would of surfaced by now... Not even a shutdown.  
Not getting even log entries does not help in troublshooting the problem.
Any comments recommendations?  
thanks all....
   
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Justed want to run this by you all...
(1) The 2nd simm was not been tested (will do it later) and (2) window applications have not been running (ex: word, excel, outlook, etc).
Can an application or a corrupted OS file cause the shutdown(s)?  Remember, the bad block was the 1st thing that was resolved using Dell/windows's recovery tools.
thanks....
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nobusCommented:
seems like you had a bad ram, or slot. - or it got scared of the experts... :-)
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Right now I am not using the slot.  What to see if it continues to work.  We will see how the rest of the day goes.  It's in my wife hands now....
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KaddictCommented:
...And if your wife don't make it hang then it's stable +)
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rwarren99Author Commented:
That is why the question of (1) corrupted OS file causing the shutdown and (2) the memory slot may be bad.  The slot will be easy to determine.  It will work or not.  Hopefully it will be that simple.  As for the corrupted files, I have not had a shutdown since I ran the recovery disk.  But she has not used the sytem yet.  
So... If it does not hang, then I use the 2nd memory slot and go from there..
thanks...
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Can anyone point me to the Dell document that explains error codes as it relates to the LED's.  The PC has not failed the last 2 days but I like to know the codes.

Also, I noticed the LED is lit (left-green) on the RJ-45 plug with nothing plugged in.  I find this odd.  I always thought when on, means there is a physical connection and the right LED tells you the connection speed/staus.
I am not using the plug currenly.  She is using the wireless for all services...
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Thanks Nobus..
The link was to OptiPlex GX270, not the Inspiron 8600.  It at least points me in the right direction...
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nobusCommented:
they are the same for all models imho
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Please don't close the questions...  
thank you...
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Here an update.
If you last recall.  My wife was leaving town (with laptop).  Iwas able to get it stable by doing a repair on the OS and leaving memory out of the SIMM #1 slot.
Sense she has beem back, I install the memory in the 2ns slot and the PC failed.  Three times in the first few hours.  I know the memory is good.  It ran fine when in the other slot (by itself).  I ran diag. for hours (Dell bootable CD) and the system tested fine with both simms.
The final two (three) options are these (1) simm slot is bad.  (2) The OS is corrupted and is not managing the memory properly or (3) Give up and go with 1 simm.
Because the memory tested fine, I am leading to (2).  Any suggestions as how I can tested it?
thank you all....
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DMTechGrooupCommented:
If you have know good memory and you put it in slot 2 and it fails then it is the slot.  Try blowing some air in the slot and retest.  If you had 1 gig memory but now only have 512 due to 1 slot down then get 1gb memory if it will support it.  www.crucial.com for a memory configuration tool.
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Both are 1G.  The number of times I have re-inserted the memory, I would think, would be just as good as blowing air on it..  But it is worth a shot.
thanks...
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rwarren99Author Commented:
Thank you all for your assistance.  It truly was a team effort and I gained much from your knowledge.  It all points to the slot but your insite and test methods along the way helped in resolving the cause.  That is why each of you received points.
Again...  Thank you....
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