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Dell dimension 8400 takes forever to start


hollisterbulldaw's Avatar
hollisterbulldaw hollisterbulldaw is offline
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Junior Member with 4 posts.
Join Date: Mar 2009
Experience: Intermediate
29-Mar-2009, 10:58 PM #1
Dell dimension 8400 takes forever to start
I have a three year old Dell Dimension 8400 desktop running XP that I hate to restart or shutdown and reboot. It boots fine up through the command prompt for the password sign-on. Then it sits and sits and sits. After anywhere from 5 minutes to eight hours it will then continue cycling through the rest of the boot up to the Windows XP users screen. Occasionally I get ticked off, shut the machine down, disconnect all wires from the back of it, depress the start button to discharge all capacitance, then reassemble everything. Even then it is a 50/50 chance that it will go through the bootup cycle without hanging. Any ideas on what is causing this problem? It's been going on for all three years I've owned it. Thanks for any help you can offer.
Elvandil's Avatar
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Member with 51,991 posts.
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Vermont
29-Mar-2009, 11:06 PM #2
Have you used any registry cleaners?

Try to minimize programs that start with your computer using a startup manager:

Startup Control Panel
MZ Startup Manager
Startup Control Panel (Exe version for Vista)
Emsa Startup Manager
EM Startup Manager
WheresJames Startup Manager

Startup Programs Reference


Remove large files and folders from your desktop.

Run chkdsk /f on all drives to be sure there are no errors. Every time you shut the machine down with the switch, there is damage to the file system. Trying to get it to shutdown when there are no disk writes going on is like running between raindrops.

You can use BootVis to analyze and optimize the boot process.


Check all your connections inside the machine. If you get other, seemingly random errors, try testing memory.

MemScope (Floppy and CD images.)
Roadkil's RAM Test
Microsoft Memory Test (floppy or CD ISO image)

If you have enough memory sticks, you can test them by removing one at a time and see if the problem disappears.

If you are running Vista, tap F8 on boot and choose the memory diagnostic, or if you can boot up, go to Start > Search and type:


Choose to run a memory diagnostic on next boot. Or, you can boot from the DVD and run it from there.


It probably wouldn't hurt to test the drive, either. But do memory first because errors there make all other tests false.

Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:

Manufacturer's Tests
Victoria for DOS
Victoria for Windows (Both versions of Victoria are among the best and most thorough tests available.)
HD Tune
CheckDisk 1.03 (Marks bad sectors as unusable.)
HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:



If you have other accounts on the machine, and they boot all right, try creating a new account for yourself and copying the profile from the old one.
Microsoft MVP
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Last edited by Elvandil; 29-Mar-2009 at 11:16 PM..
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