PC Won't Start Up

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Thread Starter
Jan 24, 2007
Hi, the computer with a problem is a 3 or 4 year old Dell Dimension 2300 on Windows XP. It has been working faithfully up until recently. When I would start it previously, it would make a loud humming sound and turn off by itself about an hour after starting up (and everything running well). I cleaned the fan and this problem only repeated once after that.

Last night, it was running very slow, even when I would have most non-essential programs closed, leaving open only the ones I regularly have open with no problems (Kapersky Anti-Virus/Anti-Hacker and Iolo System Mechanic Professional). I would restart the computer, yet it wouldn't speed up. I decided to turn off my system completely, having to turn off the power bar because the computer had froze. After turning it back on, it would stop suddenly at a message I had never seen before:

We apologize for the inconvenience, but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this.

If your computer stopped responding, restarted unexpectedly, or was automatically shut down to protect your files and folders, choose Last Known Good Configuration to revert to the most recent settings that worked.

If a previous startup attempt was interrupted due to a power failure or because the Power or Rest button was pressed, or if you aren't sure what caused the problem, choose Start Windows Normally.

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)

Start Windows Normally
When I choose the last two options, I get the Windows XP start up screen, then a sudden brief blue error screen that disappears before I can read anything, and then the Dell screen, and a noise that sounds like I am trying to access my A:/ floppy disk drive before it returns to the message I just quoted again. When I choose any of the Safe Mode options, it starts loading a lot of files and then repeats the above.

I am posting it here in the Hardware forum because I have no idea of what the problem could be, but because it does have the history with the fan and that A:/ drive noise before it returns to that above error screen, I'm thinking that it might be a hardware problem. I haven't installed or removed any hardware before or during the problems. I haven't done anything to the inside of it other than clean the fans and they are working fine. I am wary of doing anything more than that without guidance because of my limited knowledge in playing operation with the machine.

I would greatly appreciate any help or information you can provide!!


Oct 2, 2003
check all the cables are plugged in fully - also check the memory modules and PCI cards are all seated correctly in the sockets / reseat them
Jul 7, 2006
Which fan did you clean? Did you also blow out the CPU heatsink? A loud whining noise is likely a fan that's dying. Try to figure out where the noise is coming from if you can get it to do it again. The shutdown may have been due to overheating. Use canned air (hold the can upright) and clean out the fins in the heatsink under the fan. Also check that heat sink is secured tightly.

Also do what etaf instructed in the previous post.
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