Follow-up to Dell problem

Follow-up to Dell problem

Derek
Derek

August 16th, 2011, 12:05 am #1

I continue to have problems booting this ancient pile of... Well, you get the picture. I ran hardware diagnostics, and the HDDs check out. However, the CD drive doesn't support diagnostics, which struck me (a merely intermediate user) as odd. Then, when attempting to boot from the CD drive in the boot menu with a newly acquired OS disk, it fails on me completely. I don't remember the message it gave, exactly, but let it suffice to say that something may well be wrong with the drive itself. I wish I had more to go on... Any help would be greatly appreciated. All I want is a little computer for my brother to work with, and some justification for the new mouse and keyboard I just bought.
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secretweaponevan
secretweaponevan

August 16th, 2011, 12:19 am #2

Also, if you could post the error it gives it would be most helpful.
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Derek
Derek

August 16th, 2011, 12:47 am #3

I did. And it says "selected boot device not available"
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secretweaponevan
secretweaponevan

August 16th, 2011, 1:12 am #4

If not any of those, or you don't know jumpers yet(master/slave), post back.
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Derek
Derek

August 16th, 2011, 2:58 am #5

:/ this one really has me stumped.
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MildBill
MildBill

August 16th, 2011, 3:21 am #6

I continue to have problems booting this ancient pile of... Well, you get the picture. I ran hardware diagnostics, and the HDDs check out. However, the CD drive doesn't support diagnostics, which struck me (a merely intermediate user) as odd. Then, when attempting to boot from the CD drive in the boot menu with a newly acquired OS disk, it fails on me completely. I don't remember the message it gave, exactly, but let it suffice to say that something may well be wrong with the drive itself. I wish I had more to go on... Any help would be greatly appreciated. All I want is a little computer for my brother to work with, and some justification for the new mouse and keyboard I just bought.
Disconnect the CD drive from the system, put it at the bottom of the BIOS boot order, then try the machine.
Sounds, from what you say, like the CD drive is seen by the BIOS, but dead. BIOS tries to boot from it, and gets no response. If there is nothing on the HD, then you should get the typical 'OS not found' error, but not the 'selected boot device not available' one. If you still get that error, then you may have a dead controller on the MB.
OTOH, if you have a spare CD drive hanging around... But then, if you did, you'd probably already have tried it.

MildBill
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Derek
Derek

August 16th, 2011, 3:28 am #7

this thing is worse than the XPS 400 I'm using now.
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Semi Technically Literate Lurker
Semi Technically Literate Lurker

August 16th, 2011, 3:40 am #8

I continue to have problems booting this ancient pile of... Well, you get the picture. I ran hardware diagnostics, and the HDDs check out. However, the CD drive doesn't support diagnostics, which struck me (a merely intermediate user) as odd. Then, when attempting to boot from the CD drive in the boot menu with a newly acquired OS disk, it fails on me completely. I don't remember the message it gave, exactly, but let it suffice to say that something may well be wrong with the drive itself. I wish I had more to go on... Any help would be greatly appreciated. All I want is a little computer for my brother to work with, and some justification for the new mouse and keyboard I just bought.
I'm a Dell hardware tech and my employers had a few hundred of these gems. They kept me busy. Depending on the form factor and CPU combination these things can run hot enough to crack the motherboard which results in some really odd behaviors. We had our entire order get a free warranty extension because our desktop form factor machines were cracking boards from a severe temperature gradient by the CPU socket. The early production runs also had capacitor plague which could be a culprit.

A few things to consider:

1) Make sure the CPU heatsink and everything is clean! GX280s are prone to overheating especially when worked hard. As one of their engineers told me on a conference call "they don't have a thermal problem, they just run a bit hot." It's not a coincidence the next model was completely overhauled with new cooling.

2) Depending on the age of the OS CD you're using, the Intel 915 chipset could require secondary drivers to see the drive controllers. Without knowing the error you're seeing I'm not sure if that could be the problem.

3) If you have an old USB stick handy there are a few free utilities that can copy the XP setup image to the USB flash drive and you can start the computer from that. It's been a while since I've messed with a 280 but I'm almost positive they can boot from USB without any hassle. That'll eliminate a faulty CD drive as a possibility.

4) Get the latest BIOS on it, in that period there were some really crazy BIOS issues - it's available from Dell's website and you can make a boot disk easy enough - including some rare issues I've seen a couple of times where the hardware states would get "stuck" even through a jumper clear until the BIOS was overwritten by flash. Nothing like having to dig out a graphics card to flash the BIOS 'cause the onboard graphics got stuck in power saver mode and wouldn't come back up.

Good luck and if you've got any questions feel free to ask, I've been in Dell service for years and know their quirks pretty well.
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secretweaponevan
secretweaponevan

August 16th, 2011, 9:51 am #9

:/ this one really has me stumped.
I can't (don't want to) tell you how many times I've forgotten to attach the molex power connector to an IDE drive. BIOS sees it, but can't access it.

Anyway...

Have you tried resetting CMOS? Some boards get stupid after a while. My current AM2 Asus loses ethernet every now and again and I have to reset CMOS. Just a thought.
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Derek
Derek

August 16th, 2011, 12:46 pm #10

Speaking of IDE drives, either I don't have one, or the BIOS doesn't recognize it.
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