Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Another Dell 8400 Boot problem

Last response: in Computer Brands
Share
July 25, 2008 11:00:56 PM

I have a 8400 that has been running fine for years, but today if flaked out.

I've spent half the day searching the internett and here at TH to find a clue to my problem.

This is a stock 8400, and today it just jumped to a BLUE screen while sitting idle with just the XP desktop showing. The Blue screen indicated either a page fault or a illegal fault, and instructed me to power-down and restart. This was a BIOS screen, not one from XP.

So I did try to restart and all that comes up on the video is the single X300 (video card) BIOS line. The machine does not even get to the Dell Screen for me to enter into the BIOS, fo F@ is useless.

The rear LEDS are GGGA, which the book says that it couldn't find a boot drive. I reseated all the drive cables, and no change. I removed the "C:" drive and it doesn't even try to boot from the other drives (CD, DVD, and Floppy. All front LEDS are green included those on each drive.

Another person said to reseat the memory. Did that; no change. I also tried moving my 2 memory cards from 1-2 to 3-4 which the book said was OK to do. No change. I fully cleaned the dust out over the machine. No change. I reseted the PCI cards. No change.

The GGGA is suppose to indicate the CPU is fine, so I'm running out of ideas!

Any help is appreciated.

Tom in MN

More about : dell 8400 boot problem

July 27, 2008 1:10:17 PM

It's possible that Windows was trying to read/write something on the hard drive but instead it couldn't because the path was blocked resulting in the page/illegal fault.

This could be a result of maybe the SATA interface on the motherboard having failed which explains why your other devices wouldn't even boot also. In which case, the whole motherboard might be starting to fail anyway.

It's possible the BIOS could be corrupt, resulting in the fault. I think you can replace those but you might need to know soldering.

Like you said, I don't think the CPU is the problem and if you don't hear any POST beeps then we can probably rule out a bad stick of RAM.

Now you just have to figure out how this problem started. Could it have been lightning, old age from wear and tear, possibly a bad PSU causing damage to the board? It might be a good idea to look at the motherboard for any burnt traces, burnt chips, or leaking capacitors.

I could be wrong with my predictions so if I am someone correct me. I hope this helps you out in finding a solution.
July 27, 2008 9:34:52 PM

Thanks for the reply. It has always worked well, and looks clean inside. Since the other drives are not SATA, seems that shouldn't be the problem. The fact that the screen only shows:

"X300 SE 128MB BIOS P/N 113-A33406-100" suggest that the Bios can't even talk to the Video card. You'd think it would put something up there.

I've never replaced the battery - could that be involved?

Where is the bios chip?

What about clearing the cmos?

Thanks in advance.

Related resources
July 27, 2008 10:17:09 PM

Ok, I did a search on what you have displayed and found this http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/544929-dead-ram.html.

It seems like you might have a bad RAM stick after all. The guy used one stick to test out and find the bad one after each boot. I guess maybe Windows bluescreened when it tried reading/writing to the bad RAM stick.

It sure beats out a bad motherboard if that's the case.
July 29, 2008 5:39:58 PM

YES!!!!!

Thanks Dark!

I went and bougth (2) 512MB sticks for $19 each at Circuit City to replace the (2) 256MB sticks and BINGO. - we're back in business. One of the 256MB sticks was bad (but they need to be replaced in pairs).

Cheap fix I'd say!

Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!

Tom in MN
April 20, 2012 12:38:10 PM

DarkNet said:
Ok, I did a search on what you have displayed and found this http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/544929-dead-ram.html.

It seems like you might have a bad RAM stick after all. The guy used one stick to test out and find the bad one after each boot. I guess maybe Windows bluescreened when it tried reading/writing to the bad RAM stick.

It sure beats out a bad motherboard if that's the case.



firesamm wrote:

Thank you for sharing your information. You turned what would have been a 1/2 day job into a 5 minute fix. Thanks again. :wahoo: 
!