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AnotherMom

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Feb 7, 2005
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I've been working on a PC and need some guidance on what to do next. Some background:

This is a Dell Dimension 4400
Pentium 4 Processor 1.7 GHz

It came with 128 MB RAM and we installed an additional 512 MB in the second slot (this was just fine for a long time).

We replaced the video card with a 64 MB ATI Radeon 9000 (and this was fine for a long time too).

The case has been abused, is somewhat warped, and the fan is kind of hanging inside.

We've reinstalled or repaired the operating system a couple of times (Windows XP Home Edition). This last time, CHKDSK wanted to run quite a few times and had lots of corrupt indexes, files, etc. At this point it seems stable in that CHKDSK doesn't seem to be invoking itself anymore... though not so stable in that we get an occasional random reboot; and somewhat frequent messages ("System has recovered from a serious error ... send error report?").

Occasionally, this is accompanied by a message about the error being caused by a driver.

AND at each boot/reboot, we get beeps. I know that means something, and need help here. It's ___ _ _ _ pause _

Oh yeah. When you boot up, it takes forever counting up the RAM, and it doesn't seem to see all the RAM we installed. It counts to 248 MB and feels it's done.

I'd like to keep this computer running for another year, and don't have a lot to put into it.

Can you help? If you need more information and it requires checking something on the computer, please tell me where to look.

thanks!
 

Couriant

James
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The case has been abused, is somewhat warped, and the fan is kind of hanging inside.
Something tells me it's wants to give up lol.

Sounds to me to be a memory issue. Is the memory the same type as the original? The originial seems to be a DDR PC2100 memory.

Next, did you make sure that the BIOS is using optimized settings or if not available, made sure the BIOS is going to read the memory correctly?
 
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1. Take out the original 128mb stick and move the 512mb to slot 1.
- The extra 128mb isn't really helping performance much and there could be compatibility issues between the two sticks of ram.
- See if the BIOS recognizes all of the 512mb by itself. If so, just use that alone.

2. Backup all your important data to CDRs or DVDRs.
- Sounds like your harddrive might be developing issues also. (ie. bad sectors - usually the first signs of a failing harrdrive.)
- Find out who the manufacturer of the harddrive is and go to their website and download their diagnostic software. Scan the HDD with it to make sure there aren't any problems.

3. Have you run a full anti-virus / spyware scan lately?

4. Clean / Fix / replace that hanging fan. :)
 

AnotherMom

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Feb 7, 2005
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1. I've moved the RAM as suggested, but the computer still sees it as 244 MB. Any suggestions?

2. I downloaded and ran the diagnostic software for the hard drive ... 0 errors.

3. I haven't run an anti-virus program, but have run Spybot and Ad-Aware (which cleaned up a lot of Malware).

4. The fan is in its original position.

Any suggestions on the beeps? It's "long short-short-short" (pause while accessing the floppy drive) "short".

If I could get the RAM to behave and know what to do about the beeps, I'd be happy enough.

thanks for your suggestions!
 
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When you start up you have to press a certain key to enter BIOS. The right time is usually right after the Dell splash screen (if it's still there). With Dell's a common choice is "del", but it can be F2 and others. You should see the BIOS manufacturer.
 

AnotherMom

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Feb 7, 2005
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thank you so much!

here's what I know... the beeps are related to the RAM. According to the beep codes, I need to reseat my memory (see below).

I also found if the BIOS settings for quick boot and quiet boot are enabled, I get no beeps and the computer believes it has all 512 MB of RAM.

If these boot options are disabled, more memory testing happens ... I get the beeps and the computer only registers 244 MB of RAM.

So I took the 512 MB out of slot 1, and replaced it with the original 128 MB. Tested OK.

Added the 512 MB in slot 2. Same pattern of beeps, etc.

Any thoughts?
 

Couriant

James
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FlashBIOS update

Only update if the BIOS version is not higher than A06.

You can tell by going into the BIOS and under the first tab (main) it's on the top.
 

Couriant

James
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OK, I have posted what memory he needs. The infomation came from Crucial and Dell.

The Flash BIOS is the update for the BIOS. It's called flashing because it's updates the chips. Note that you cannot uninstall it. Once it's done that's it, but that doesn't mean its bad.

Actually what does it say on the memory? Is there any stickers on the memory to say what memory it is? What does the chips say?
 

AnotherMom

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Feb 7, 2005
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8
thank you all!
Crucial tells me I should have PC2100 RAM, while the 512 we bought is PC2700.
Not sure whether we can exchange, but will try.

I'll be updating the BIOS too. Thanks for the suggestions and links. I never would have found all this good stuff.
 
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