I Am Fuming!

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Gasp, Mar 17, 2010.

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  1. Gasp

    Gasp Registered Member

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    My Dell XPS is taking some serious hardcore verbal abuse in the last few months because it keeps freezing up on my and its about to get throw down the stairs. I purchased the PC about 2 years ago and its been a complete pain ever since.

    After only a few weeks of having the computer it started to play up on me, freezing while I was surfing the internet, typing a letter / email, playing a game, or just sitting looking at the desktop. The first few times I just ignored it and rebooted. After several weeks of regular freezing up I decided to reinstall Windows Vista to see if that made any difference. I even installed several other operating system including Linux just to make sure this was a hardware issue before reporting it.

    I have been in contact with Dell Technical Support on several occasions regarding this but I get very little assistance. They asked me to run the Dell Pre-Boot Diagnostics Test, which came up with nothing. I was then asked the reseat the memory, which did nothing. I was then asked to remove all but one of the memory sticks and run the diagnostics test again, which came up with nothing. I repeated this will ALL FOUR of the memory sticks, again nothing. I was asked to remove all the drives and check one at a time, still nothing.

    Although the problem was reported to Dell Technical Support within a few weeks of buying the PC and regular phone calls regarding the freezing, they actually did NOTHING to help. Now to make it worse then don't want anything to do with me because it is out of my paid warranty period. Terrible technical support, terrible customer services. At the VERY least they should have booked the computer in for repair and looked at it. If they rely on me fixing the computer myself where is the point in having a return to base policy?!?!

    What happens is I will be using the computer for anything when it will all of a sudden go really slow, as if I was running a 60Mhz CPU. This will last for about 5-15 seconds then freeze completely, although the mouse still works. When this happens the hard drives makes an usual noise in a pattern. Imagine the noise a hard drive makes when you are accessing a large file. Now imagine this on for half a second, then off for 2 seconds, then back on in a repeat pattern. Now here is where it confuses me. When the computer freezes up and I reboot, nine times out of ten it will not come back up, it will hang just after the BIOS screen with the hard drive making that unusual noise. It took me a while to figure this out but the ONLY way to fix this is by running the Dell Pre-Boot Diagnostics Test. This initially checks the memory and cpu. After this has finished, I reboot and the computer is back to normal without any more problems.

    This is getting very annoying now because it has frozen at least 4 times this week and we are only on Wednesday morning.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  2. Watasha

    Watasha Registered Member

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    That sucks.

    But dude, you got a Dell.:thumbd:
     
  3. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Welcome to Dell tech support (and most other brands as well. It's all overseas and all worth crap). Did the unit come with a recovery disk? (most don't these days, and it's ridiculous). If it did, do you have an extra hard drive laying around you can stick in there and reload everything to test?
     
  4. Gasp

    Gasp Registered Member

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    You suspect it might be the hard drive?
     
  5. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

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    Well, if the drive is making weird noises and you are having problems booting, then it could be. You should try replacing the memory if you have any extra sticks lying around, but yeah, I'd look at that drive.
     
  6. Gasp

    Gasp Registered Member

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    I haven't replaced the memory for new, but I did run on 1 stick to check and the freezing occurs on every one.

    I do have two drives so I could swap them around. Is there any way to clone the entire disk onto a new drive? I have Paragon Disk Backup so I could try a backup on Drive 0 and restore on Drive 1. Would this work?
     
  7. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Get a cd or cheap usb stick. Install bartPE or some PE on it. Unplug your hdd. Go into BIOS, turn off everything you can (sound, nic, floppy, parallel, etc etc). Boot into PE. Play.

    Watch for pattern in PE. Could be ram/cpu, could be heat. If no problem, go into BIOS, turn each on one at a time, to verify if it is a peripheral or not. Once all this checks out then plug cd/hdds back in.

    PE via USB is the best for troubleshooting hardware now IMO. It eliminates all the regular hardware but cpu/ram. Then it is easy to find the culprit, as long as it effects PE. If it does not, then perhaps it is all OS/Software.

    First rule, disable everything then turn on one at a time. Simple process of elimination.

    Sul.
     
  8. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    "all" overseas and "all" worth crap....not true.
    With their home grade computers and laptops....yes. With their business grade models..which are superior in components, quality, reliability, etc....not true..you get local support...and naturally for a much longer period of time.

    Based on symptoms described above, my money is on a failing hard drive.
     
  9. Escalader

    Escalader Registered Member

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    I can certainly relate to the Dell non support for home systems. I've had my own issues with them on my 64bit W7 notebook. They refuse to supply customers with TPM chip.

    On your issue it does sound like the drive but before doing anything drastic suggest.

    1) Turn off MS indexing service if it is on that fixed a similar issue I had on my desk top

    2) Go to Dell support site and download the latest BIOS for your os and model.

    Hope th
    is helps. Otherwise claim a failed drive from Dell and push it up their support chart till you get help.
    Mention you post regularly on the PC support forums in passing they fear bad publicity.
     
  10. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Sorry to hear of your problems but the lack of support is no surprise to me. Years ago I bought a Dell (just before they off shored tech support) and at first support was excellent. Then the support went to India (or somewhere) and it became terrible. I vowed never to purchase another Dell and have stuck by my vow.

    I must admit that I do owe Dell one debt of gratitude........the support was so terrible I had to begin to learn to trouble shoot and repair my PC myself. I am by no means an expert but I am a darn sight better than the folks on the Dell support line.

    I would push up the support chain as mentioned above and demand/request a replacement PC. Dell keeps (or used to) a log of all support calls and if you have been calling regularly on this issue you may be able to get someone there to do something for you.
     
  11. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Gasp, sorry also to hear of your troubles. We had a large batch of "business grade" machines (forget the model) at work, purchased 4 yrs ago and they were failing, due to raid/harddrive issues, an average of 1/month. The latest ones are much better.

    BTW, I'd follow Sully's advice :thumb:
     
  12. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    Sully's reply should be included into a troubleshooting post and stickied to this forum.
     
  13. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Once when I encountered a similar problem, I traced the problem to the onboard audio card. Like you the problem at first was only occuring occasionaly but then it got to freezing every day.
    Installing a 10.00 PCI soundcard fixed the problem for me.

    If your drives are corrupted, that will also cause problems.
     
  14. Gasp

    Gasp Registered Member

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    I think its time to move my computer down stairs, don't you?
     
  15. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Haha! Be careful!;)
     
  16. hierophant

    hierophant Registered Member

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    I ran into a similar problem, and it turned out to be a memory leak. I logged all counters in Performance, and looked for patterns. Uninstalling the offending app (anti-malware, FWIW) solved the problem.
     
  17. Gasp

    Gasp Registered Member

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    I have two drives on this PC. A for Windows 7, and B for storage & backup. What I would like to do is switch all the data on a to b and vise-versa. I have Paragon Drive Backup, in this there is a feature called drive copy.

    All the data on B is backed up online to start with. So if I copy A to B, then switch the primary/slave settings of the drives around, would this mean it would boot from drive B as it originally did drive A?
     
  18. Comp01

    Comp01 Registered Member

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    If you really want to move from drive to another find some drive mirroring software, I can check on the burned disk I use and recommend it (its been a while since I've had to use it, so I forget the name, sorry)

    but this problem sounds like it could be hard drive OR power supply related, I've had a bad PSU before that made the drivers act up because they weren't getting proper power on that rail. But also the locking up, pretty much everything, could also point to PSU. have you checked the voltages on the board/in the bios?
     
  19. Gasp

    Gasp Registered Member

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    I have cloned drive A onto B and corrected the partition information so the computer now boots from drive B. Drive A is also disabled in the BIOS. I'll run with this for a few days to see if I get any crashes.

    I ordered an ammeter from ebay which will take a few days to reach me. Is it just a case of pulling it in and watching the voltage outputs on the PSU? If so, thats a lot of monitoring :/
     
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