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Troubleshooting (Memory?) Issues on Dell Inspiron 1521

Tags:
  • Dell Inspiron
  • Laptops
  • Memory
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
May 3, 2013 11:36:40 AM

My sister was given an old Inspiron on X-mas for school, etc. It worked fine until a few weeks ago when it suddenly shut off. When rebooted the caps lock light flashes, which, according to Dell's POST notes means "The memory is believed to be good but is about to be exercised such as shadowing the BIOS and zeroing all the memory." It goes on to suggest reseating/replacing the RAM or replacing the motherboard.

Detailed System Specs (System Info and MemTest info):
CPU:AMD Turion 64 X2 798.2 mhz (I believe it actually runs at 1.8 ghz)
L1: 64k @ 3396 mb/s, L2: 256k @ 705 mb/s L3: 0
Chipset: AMD K8 LMC (ECC disabled)
Memory: PNY 4gb (2x 2gb) DDR2 667mhz (PC25300) 5-5-5-15
Memtest shows it as: 3838mb 618 mb/s, 339mhz (DDR 798) 128 bits
Mobo:Not known ATM
OS: Win 7 Pro 64 bit

I went on to unplug some accessories to try to rule them out (apparently that helped other people). I then tried 2 additional power supplies to rule that out as an issue. Finally, I went on to testing the memory.

Here's what I've done so far. Note that I cycled the power before ea. boot:

RAM Testing

A. Tried booting the PC about 4 times. No boot, caps light flashes
B. Removed RAM stick on bottom of MOBO.
1st attempt)boots ok 2nd)no boot 3rd)no boot
C. Removed RAM stick below keyboard
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok
D. Put RAM on the bottom of the motherboard into the keyboard slot
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok
E. Put Ram under the keyboard into the motherboard bottom slot
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok
F. Returned both sticks to their proper slots
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok

It initially seemed that the stick or motherboard slot under the keyboard was bad. However, the system will boot from that stick in either slot, and miraculously, now it seems to be working fine. The OS even recognizes all 4gb.

So I figured that there must be an intermittent issue with the memory, so I loaded Memtest 86+. I ran it on STD overnight. Surprisingly, it made 2 passes without errors. I then ran 2 bit fade tests; no issues. Its currently running test 8, and I plan on also running 5, 9, and 10 and then perhaps Prime 95. It also could use a virus scan (I'm going to run TDSKiller, SAS, Spybot, and MS Essentials), as I doubt she's doing maintenance on it.

I'm thinking that if it passes the remaining memtest procedures, virus scans, and Prime 95, she can just use the laptop and we'll have to keep an eye out for issues. If it fails, I'll buy her some new memory.

I have to wonder if I'm missing something here. I know the machines old and that Dell makes throw away crap, but I'd love to be able to fix it instead of replacing it. If you guys have any suggestions or thoughts, I'd definitely appreciate the help.

More about : troubleshooting memory issues dell inspiron 1521

May 3, 2013 11:53:50 AM

I'm going to try formatting my post to make it more legible

EDIT: Looks a little easier to read with the post formatted.

I forgot to mention that I did initially reseat both RAM sticks to make sure that that was not the issue
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July 1, 2013 12:06:42 PM

bebop460 said:
My sister was given an old Inspiron on X-mas for school, etc. It worked fine until a few weeks ago when it suddenly shut off. When rebooted the caps lock light flashes, which, according to Dell's POST notes means "The memory is believed to be good but is about to be exercised such as shadowing the BIOS and zeroing all the memory." It goes on to suggest reseating/replacing the RAM or replacing the motherboard.

Detailed System Specs (System Info and MemTest info):
CPU:AMD Turion 64 X2 798.2 mhz (I believe it actually runs at 1.8 ghz)
L1: 64k @ 3396 mb/s, L2: 256k @ 705 mb/s L3: 0
Chipset: AMD K8 LMC (ECC disabled)
Memory: PNY 4gb (2x 2gb) DDR2 667mhz (PC25300) 5-5-5-15
Memtest shows it as: 3838mb 618 mb/s, 339mhz (DDR 798) 128 bits
Mobo:Not known ATM
OS: Win 7 Pro 64 bit

I went on to unplug some accessories to try to rule them out (apparently that helped other people). I then tried 2 additional power supplies to rule that out as an issue. Finally, I went on to testing the memory.

Here's what I've done so far. Note that I cycled the power before ea. boot:

RAM Testing

A. Tried booting the PC about 4 times. No boot, caps light flashes
B. Removed RAM stick on bottom of MOBO.
1st attempt)boots ok 2nd)no boot 3rd)no boot
C. Removed RAM stick below keyboard
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok
D. Put RAM on the bottom of the motherboard into the keyboard slot
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok
E. Put Ram under the keyboard into the motherboard bottom slot
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok
F. Returned both sticks to their proper slots
1) boots ok 2) boots ok 3) boots ok

It initially seemed that the stick or motherboard slot under the keyboard was bad. However, the system will boot from that stick in either slot, and miraculously, now it seems to be working fine. The OS even recognizes all 4gb.

So I figured that there must be an intermittent issue with the memory, so I loaded Memtest 86+. I ran it on STD overnight. Surprisingly, it made 2 passes without errors. I then ran 2 bit fade tests; no issues. Its currently running test 8, and I plan on also running 5, 9, and 10 and then perhaps Prime 95. It also could use a virus scan (I'm going to run TDSKiller, SAS, Spybot, and MS Essentials), as I doubt she's doing maintenance on it.

I'm thinking that if it passes the remaining memtest procedures, virus scans, and Prime 95, she can just use the laptop and we'll have to keep an eye out for issues. If it fails, I'll buy her some new memory.

I have to wonder if I'm missing something here. I know the machines old and that Dell makes throw away crap, but I'd love to be able to fix it instead of replacing it. If you guys have any suggestions or thoughts, I'd definitely appreciate the help.


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