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Hanging on Dell startup screen.

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Tech for Glory, Nov 20, 2003.

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  1. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    My computer ever so often (and too often) hangs when I turn on my computer at the Dell startup screen. This is before it tells me to hit any buttons to enter setup or any of that kind of stuff.

    I tried defragging my hard drive, which seemed to help a little; it didn't do it as often, but it still does it quite a bit. I also have turned my computer off, unplugged it, and held down the power button to get rid of any charge.

    It hangs for about ten or fifiteen minutes, then when I restart my computer, it works. Sometimes when I restart it at this point, it will hang for thirty seconds to a couple minutes and then proceed as usual.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. stod73

    stod73

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    Are there any bios updates for your system? You could also try reseting your bios.
     
  3. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    What does that do and how do I do that?
     
  4. Miz

    Miz

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    The usual suspects are:
    1. Anti-virus scanning everything at boot and hanging
    2. Unnecessary services starting up and hanging
    3. Spyware starting up and hanging
    4. Most likely, some combination of the first three

    For spyware, download, install, immediately update and then run Spybot and/or AdAware. I recommend you use them both since each tends to find things the other misses. Let them clean up any spyware found.

    For shutting down unnecessary services, a good gude is on Black Viper's site.

    See if taking care of spyware and services does the trick.
     
  5. zephyr

    zephyr

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    It sounds more like it's hanging at POST instead of while loading Windows. That might indicate some problem like the cmos battery for example. How old is this machine and has the battery ever been replaced?
     
  6. mobo

    mobo

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    have you ever seen the option to hit f1 to load defaults ?
     
  7. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    I do have Spybot and I am spyware free according to that program. I am usually pretty cautious when it comes to downloading and installing stuff, so I doubt it is that, though I will be sure to try Adaware, too.

    Likewise with unnecessary startup services, I try to keep those under control, though I may still have something running of which I am unaware.

    Still, the hanging is occuring before Windows even begins to load. It's like I turn on the computer, and then it freezes.

    As for the machine age, it is about three and a half years old and I have never replaced the battery.

    And lastly, I have never seen the option to hit F1 to load defaults, much less before the Dell screen.

    Thanks for the help and advice, please keep it coming.
     
  8. zephyr

    zephyr

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    Obviously this is a BIOS and/or hardware problem so you really should start by replacing the CMOS battery. Then enter SETUP by hitting the appropriate key at POST (I think it's f2 on most dells) and check out the basics. Pay particular attention to the hard drive controller channels (Primary and Secondary IDE) and be sure that if you have no hard drive installed on a particular channel, set it to OFF, rather than AUTO.

    Check for and disable any legacy support that is not needed.

    Save those changes before exiting (normally press f10) and see if that helped.

    If not, go back into setup again and select the "Restore Default Settings" and exit while saving that. Then test again.

    If still no joy, visit the Dell site and check for any bios update they may offer for your model. Flashing the bios can cause problem if not done properly so be sure to follow directions to the tee. Post back here if any ??

    Good luck.
     
  9. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    Okay, just to confirm, the CMOS battery is a piece of hardware that looks like an oversized watch battery, right?

    Second, I poked around in the BIOS a bit and this is what I found:

    Advanced --> Peripheral Configuration --> Serial Port A [Auto]
    Advanced --> Peripheral Configuration --> Parallel Port [Auto] - Mode: [Bi-directional]

    Advanced --> Peripheral Configuration --> Legacy USB Support [Enabled]

    Advanced --> IDE Configuration --> IDE Controller [Both]

    Then under Advanced --> IDE Configuration, all IDE devices, Primary IDE Master, Primary IDE Slave, Secondary IDE Master, and Secondary IDE Slave are all set to the hardware I have installed (hard drive, zip disk, CD-ROM, CD-RW)

    Are these right or do they need to be switched?
     
  10. zephyr

    zephyr

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    Yes, that's what the cmos battery looks like. It's the shiniest item in the neighborhood so it's easy to spot.

    Now check back in the SETUP and see what the boot sequence is set for. If it has the cd-rom drive listed first (top) change the order so it reads; floppy - Hard Drive - cd-rom and save that change. Try that for a time to see if it helped.

    If that doesn't give any joy, then you may want to change the setup of your two optical drives to switch them so the cd-rw is the Master and the cd-rom is the slave. That will require some jumper changes and perhaps (but not necessarily) some cable connector swapping.

    As a test, if you're up to it, you could unplug both optical drive data cables and run without them for a time. If that cures the problem, then it reinforces the former solution.

    Incidentally, has the boot worked well with this same configuration in the past and just started this problem recently without you having made any changes that you recall? That could be pointing to a bios or mobo or perhaps an impending drive failure.

    Regards.
     
  11. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    Right now it boots from the floppy, CD-ROM, then hard drive. I'll switch the last two around. It has worked in the past with all the settings as they are now, though this previous summer it really started acting up. It has gotten better since then (particularly after I defragged the hard rive, as I said earlier) but it still gives me problems only too often.
     
  12. zephyr

    zephyr

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    Yep, good idea, switch 'em around. It could be the cd-dom drive is going south and isn't easily recognized by the BIOS. Also leaving a cd in the drive will not usually be a good idea and might explain the sparodic nature of your problem.

    Post back results.
     
  13. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    I don't usually leave CDs in the drive, so that shouldn't be the problem.

    I just yanked out my ROM drive and stuck the RW drive with its settings, including Cable Select as the setting; not master or slave.

    Also, I switched around the boot order, from floppy to hard drive to CD-ROM. The first time I loaded Windows, it worked in a flash. However, the second time I loaded it, it took longer, freezing on the Dell screen for longer than normal, but it eventually loaded Windows properly.

    Wait a second...

    I went into the setup again and this time I noticed that the Secondary Slave Device was listed as not installed. I think this was my CD-RW Drive. The device listed for Secondary Master was something like Samsung CD-ROM while the RW is a Phillips Magnavox.

    Of course, being in the distressed mood I was, I thought the ROM wasn't showing up, so that is why I switched everything around.

    So could it be that my CD-RW is having problems? It is not part of the boot order at all, at least as far as I know.
    Should the ROM be on Master instead of Cable Select and the RW be on Slave?
     
  14. zephyr

    zephyr

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    ATAPI cd-rom drives are often not listed in the CMOS settings so not to worry.

    If the drive works, enjoy the moment! :)

    IMHO the burner should be the Secondary Master and the cd-rom the Slave but I'll not quarrel with winning points. If it works, let it rest in peace.

    Refer back to my last post and give it a shot if you still have issues.

     
  15. Tech for Glory

    Tech for Glory Thread Starter

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    Update: I switched around again, so I yanked out the CD-RW drive and put in the CD-ROM with all its original settings. It started up perfectly. I will have to restart a few times to make sure this is correct, but it is a promising sign.

    I am not going to do that now, however, as I am very busy and have a lot of work to do, so as you say I am going to enjoy the moment.

    Many thanks for your help, zephyr and all the rest. I hope this solved the problem for good (and may my poor CD-RW drive rest in peace!).
     
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