PC won't start up

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Martini

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Nov 11, 2006
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I talked to my sister on the phone and she was complaining that her Dell running Windows XP wouldn't start up. When she pushed the start button a screen would come up that said her PC was a Dell DXP051 and what sounded like a beep code would emit. It sounded like 1-3-2 which I Googled and I found that that is a RAM problem.

I went to her house today to see if I could help. The PC started right up and it worked fine. We spent some time on the internet and then shut it down. A littler later I wanted to go back on it and now it wouldn't start up again. I tried several times and got the same beep code. I tried removing both sticks of RAM and re-seating them and removing the battery on the motherboard and putting it back and it still wouldn't work. Any ideas?
 
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Dec 6, 2011
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Run memtest86+, if it fails, get new RAM, it's bad bro.

Also, ask her if she's had any power surges recently.
 
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OK....if you can count the beeps and see they are all the same length or not and tell us what you hear.

does the screen have anything on it and do the fans spin up?
 
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If it's not currently starting up at all (i.e. it won't POST), then you won't be able to run Memtest86+. To run Memtest86+ you'll need to boot from a disc or USB flash drive. You did indicate however in your original post that the system starts some times but doesn't stay running. Bad RAM can do that and can cause intermittent issues. The beep codes are telling you it's bad RAM, so that's most likely, however Memtest86+ can confirm 100% whether or not the memory is bad if you can get the system to boot from the disc.
 

Martini

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 11, 2006
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97
I'm not at her house right now, but IIRC, the beeps were a bit long and they were the same length. The screen was mostly black but in the center it said Dell, DXP051 and probably a few other things, but nothing that mentioned a problem.

One thing I forgot to mention- after pressing the button to start it up, it sounds like it's starting normally for a split second, then sounds like it's shutting off but then kicks back in and the screen just displays what I mentioned above.
 
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Depending on the chipset (I'm not personally familiar with that specific Dell model) it uses, it's not unusual for it to spin all the fans and then power off before powering on again to begin POST. This is fairly common with P35 and later Intel chipsets, including all of the current generation chipsets. I believe AMD started doing something similar in the 800 series chipsets (880G, 890GX, 890FX).

The beep codes indicate that it's a RAM issue, but it's not really possible to troubleshoot further without you having physical access to the system. I'd recommend burning a copy of Memtest86+ to a CD and taking it over there the next opportunity you have available. Start off by powering the system off completely and unplugging it from wall power. Then plug it in, power it on, and attempt to initiate a boot from disc. The fact that it shows video (that's the BIOS splash screen you are seeing with the Dell logo in the center with the model number and BIOS revision below) indicates that it may be capable of starting up fully again.
 
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