Getting BSOD with Dell Optiplex 755 with External HDs

Getting a blue screen on boot up with a Dell Optiplex 755. Last stop is Oxoooooo8E.

Have reproduced the problem with both WD My Book Essentials 1TB and Seagate GoFlex 1TB drives. Unplug the external hard drive and it boots normally.

- Have tried plugging into different USB ports.
- Have tried three different USB cables.
- Older WD 80GB external drive works fine.
- OS is Windows XP SP3 with all updates applied.
- Updated the BIOS to the latest version as well as all the Dell drivers.
- Dell ATI driver installed, not the Windows version.
- Can normally boot in safe mode with external drive attached.
- POST has a 10-20 second delay when the drive is attached.
- I have not tried a third party USB card yet but that is probably my next step.

Any ideas?
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fluk3dConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Please go into the BIOS there is an option there labelled AHCI, change it to SATA compatibility mode
psalkiewConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It's a very common issue with Dell computers (Optiplex, Precision) and Windows XP. Change the bios option from AHCI to SATA as mentioned above.
Iain MacMillanIT ManagerCommented:
sometimes not always that easy, doing a BIOS switch of the SATA controller can render the system un-bootable.  You say you updated the bios and drivers, was that the A17 Bios and latest Matrix Storage Manager SATA/AHCI driver (A16), and make sure its loaded by checking the Serial ATA entry under IDE ATA /ATAPI controllers in the Device Manager, date should be around March 08.

if the drives are empty, they may just require a reset/low level format - i normally use the Ultimate Boot CD ( or a Linux Live CD to access the drives and format them to NTFS.

if they have data on them, can you test in another system and see if they BSOD too, if they do, it will be the format issue.  I have had a few Lacie/Seagate ext. drives @ work and offshore that do this if they are not disconnected correctly from the systems, eventually they corrupt.
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Sajen JoseCommented:

I found the following solution that could possibly help you from the Western Digital Website::

The easiest way to resolve this issue is to disable Sonic DLA:

   1. Go to Start -> Run.
   2. Type msconfig in the Open box and click OK. This will launch the System Configuration Utility.
   3. In the System Configuration Utility, choose the Startup tab.
   4. Look for the Startup Item tfswctrl.exe or tfswctrl and uncheck it.
   5. Click Apply and then Close.
   6. A dialog window will open. Choose Restart.
   7. After restarting, a new dialog window will pop up saying your system configuration has changed. Check the box at the end of the message to stop the message from reappearing. Click OK.

If you continue to have issues with crashing, you may want to remove Sonic DLA all together:

   1. Go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs.
   2. Locate and highlight Sonic DLA or Drive Letter Access from the list of applications.
   3. Choose Remove.

If you are unable to startup Windows, try booting into Safe Mode to remove/disable Sonic DLA:

   1. Start your computer and press the F8 key on your keyboard every second or so until a Windows Startup Menu is displayed.
   2. Use the arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode option, and then press Enter. Your computer will now start Windows in Safe Mode.
   3. Follow the instructions above to either remove or disable Sonic DLA.
barrypierceAuthor Commented:
Thanks for responses. Unfortunately, we're still having issues:

1) The BIOS settings are not there. Maybe because we are using RAID. The options are RAID with AHCI, RAID with ATA, or RAID. We have selected RAID.

2) We do not have Sonic DLA installed. We do have the following:
- PowerDVD DX
- Several Roxio apps
- Sonic CinePlayer Decoder Pack

I can try disabling those apps and see what happens. Any ideas about BIOS settings?
Iain MacMillanIT ManagerCommented:
do the external drives work in another system???

if you have SATA drives fitted, the optimal setting would be RAID with AHCI, assuming the drivers are already loaded into the OS, otherwise you won't get far.

you could check with Dell or your chipset manufacturer (Intel or AMD) for an updated chipset/SATA controller driver, in use this is a related issue.

or last choice, as you already said, try an internal USB controller, are any of these drives USB3.0???
barrypierceAuthor Commented:
The external USB drives work fine on other computers. One is a USB 3.0 compatible drive, the other is a USB 2.0 drive.

I had already updated all the drivers.

I changed the BIOS from RAID to "RAID with ATA". The computer did not give a blue screen on boot up when I did that so I'm going to run with that for now.

Iain MacMillanIT ManagerCommented:
well it looks like you have 2 choices then, try a different USB controller, pref one that supports USB3.0 or swap out your HDD's, fit ONE drive and do a quick system build/restore and see if the USB drives like RAID being off.
barrypierceAuthor Commented:
Since it is currently working with the current settings, I'm going to leave it as is for now.
barrypierceAuthor Commented:
Everyones suggestions were helpful. I was able to get it to work by changing the BIOS from RAID to "RAID with ATA".
barrypierceAuthor Commented:
Well, we starting getting bluescreens again. Looks like the "fix" did not really fix it after all.

The computer boots fine when we unplug the USB drive. Planning to try a new USB 3.0 card. Any recommendations for a good USB 3.0 card for the Dell Optiplex 755?
Iain MacMillanIT ManagerCommented:
any Belkin one like this -

check your slots inside the system, and determine whether you can fit the PCIe card.

Iomega, Buffalo and motherboard manufacturers also making PCIe cards available.
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