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Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50

beachcomber 28 Apr 12 - 07:58 AM
beachcomber 28 Apr 12 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,gillymor 28 Apr 12 - 12:11 PM
Bernard 28 Apr 12 - 12:38 PM
Acme 28 Apr 12 - 01:23 PM
Bernard 28 Apr 12 - 01:53 PM
Acme 28 Apr 12 - 02:14 PM
beachcomber 29 Apr 12 - 06:40 AM
EBarnacle 29 Apr 12 - 11:41 AM
EBarnacle 29 Apr 12 - 11:45 AM
beachcomber 29 Apr 12 - 02:52 PM
JohnInKansas 29 Apr 12 - 05:21 PM
EBarnacle 29 Apr 12 - 11:04 PM
Acme 29 Apr 12 - 11:29 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 12 - 12:40 AM
Acme 30 Apr 12 - 01:06 AM
EBarnacle 30 Apr 12 - 08:09 AM
beachcomber 30 Apr 12 - 09:12 AM
Bernard 30 Apr 12 - 09:40 AM
beachcomber 30 Apr 12 - 10:39 AM
Bernard 30 Apr 12 - 12:05 PM
beachcomber 30 Apr 12 - 12:41 PM
Acme 30 Apr 12 - 01:12 PM
EBarnacle 30 Apr 12 - 01:35 PM
beachcomber 30 Apr 12 - 02:05 PM
EBarnacle 30 Apr 12 - 04:21 PM
beachcomber 30 Apr 12 - 04:51 PM
JohnInKansas 01 May 12 - 12:51 AM
Acme 01 May 12 - 01:15 AM
beachcomber 01 May 12 - 04:25 AM
Bernard 01 May 12 - 07:27 AM
beachcomber 01 May 12 - 10:14 AM
Acme 01 May 12 - 10:31 AM
beachcomber 01 May 12 - 05:45 PM
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Subject: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 07:58 AM

I have an old (C.2000 AD) DELL Home Computer which I haven't used for several months, preferring to use a sleek, fairly new Laptop that I inherited.
This morning, when I switched the old one on (The Model is given above) It will not progress beyond the first Dell Graphic showing the World globe with "Dell" superimposed, all in blue. What can I do to unfreeze and get into the Windows programmes again ? Can anyone help please ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 11:07 AM

I need help on this , so I am taking the liberty of "refreshing it" as I see it sliding, neglected, down the line :)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 12:11 PM

You could try hitting F8 (if that's what Dell uses to get into the Bios) as it boots up and select Last Known Good Configuration which will roll back any malfunctioning drivers.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 12:38 PM

It sounds as if it's not recognising the hard drive, in which case the above advice should help. It may be 'Esc' or F2 to access the BIOS, or you may see a clue on the screen.

If not, the hard drive has died, so you'll need to replace it and use your factory restore disk, if you have one.

I'm in Manchester UK - if you are nearby you're welcome to drop in with it...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 01:23 PM

Dell uses F-8 - keep mashing it as soon as the computer starts and stop when you see the alternate screen. See if it will open in safe mode. Run a scan, see what's up. If you can get to the bios look to see what drives are active. You may be able to boot it from the OS disk or a rescue disk if it knows to look for the CD ROM (you can order the boot drives in the BIOS). It usually is set on C: Hard Drive then A: (floppy - if it is a really old computer), then D: (or whatever your CD ROM is designated).

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 01:53 PM

SRS - that's not BIOS access... if the hard drive isn't booting, which is what the description sounds like, F8 won't be of any help, as it's only available as the OS is starting to boot...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 02:14 PM

You're right. That is to get to safe mode. BIOS is briefly mentioned in the first blink of a message and you get it by mashing F2. After F8 you have several safe mode choice, regular restart, and system restore. Image of the screen here.

Dell info on how to reach BIOS.   

The Dell graphic is a ROM activity - if you don't have a blue screen then it may be the hard drive. Blue screen is often a motherboard issue. Try rebooting with a rescue disk or your OS disc (choose carefully when it starts or you'll layer on a fresh copy of the OS beside the previous one) and see if you can restore to a previous restore point, and if not, are you able to scan the hard drive for errors?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 06:40 AM

Thanks a lot Guest, Sage and Bernard.
(Bernard I believe that we have "corresponded" here before, many years ago ? In connection with Banjoes I think ?))
Unfortunately I do not understand what you mean when you use technical terms and acronyms.
As I seem to gather, you tell me that I should try to:
1. Press key F8 immediately after I have switched the old girl on, right ?
2. If that doesn't work I may try key F2 ?
3. If that doesn't work I may try "Esc" key ?
If those do not solve the problem I will need to get a new Hard Drive ?

I did try to open that Dell Info link on my Laptop but failed to access it.

Will we give it one more try ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: EBarnacle
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 11:41 AM

Beachcomber, you have to restart for each try, otherwise the machine will not respond properly. As to the problem solving links on Dell's site, go directly to www.Dell.com and follow the internal links on the site.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: EBarnacle
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 11:45 AM

I just looked your machine up. With a 6 gb hard drive, operating on a low end Pentium 3, unless there is important data on the hard drive, do you really want to mess with this machine? If you have to pay for any service, the cost will be more than the value of the machine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 02:52 PM

OK, Thanks EBarnacle, I get your drift. It looks like curtains for her. There isn't anything on it that is vital to me so I'll give her the old heave ho . Thanks all once again, for your help.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 05:21 PM

If you have an installation disk, the computer should be set to look at your CD/DVD drive first, before even looking for a hard drive to boot from. From ca. 2000 you might have a disk, or at least a "Recovery Disk" (labels varied) and if it will boot from there it should offer options for whether to "install" or go to a safe boot, with perhaps a few others.

More recently, almost no manufacturers give you a disk of any kind, with all the "recovery" files just in a separate (hidden) partition on the hard drive, so if the hard drive fails you're S.O.L., unless you've made your own "system backup" somewhere other than on the same drive.

If you have another computer (you indicated a laptop) you can download one of the "run from disk" versions of any operating system and burn it to a disk that will "boot" the machine. Ubuntu is a commonly recommended one, and I've made a DVD that's booted a couple of otherwise dead machines, at least far enough to see whether there is a "live" hard drive present. (Some of the versions available can boot from a flash drive, but it's unlikely your old machine would be set up to do that.) You could also use any bootable disk from another Windows version, as long as you don't pick the "install" option when (if) anything comes up.

At the age indicated, hard drive failure is most likely. The other most common possibilities are probably power supply or RAM chip failures, although one can make very long lists of other less probable possibles.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: EBarnacle
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 11:04 PM

If you do scrap the machine, save the RAM chip(s). There are almost certainly electronics recycling sites near you.
Pull the hard drive and make sure it it properly shredded if there is any confidential information on it. That includes passwords that you may still use.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 11:29 PM

You can often repurpose these old machines to do other things. Take a look at this.

I have an older machine in the kitchen that is connected to the Internet (since I don't have a house phone any more I rewired the phone plug to be a data port) and I use it for looking up things when I'm working in the kitchen, for watching movies while I cook, i.e., using Windows Media Center or streaming NetFlix. It's the backup to my main office machine.

There is another computer that belonged to the kids and still has Win XP on it. That machine plays nice with older software and pieces of equipment, so it gets used for specific tasks to do with less vigilant early versions of programs as far as making personal copies of discs I own, etc.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:40 AM

BATTERY - motherboard.

Esp - if over 5years old...and left unconnected.

J in K ...you are losing credibility FAST.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 01:06 AM

In his ham-handed way Gargoyle has pointed at something the rest of us forgot - some of those old laptops need a working battery in order to   run at all, even if you're using them with the charger connected and running. Find a working battery that fits and try cranking up the computer that way. And if it works, go ahead and replace the battery.

I think J in K is still in good standing here at Mudcat central.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: EBarnacle
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 08:09 AM

SRS has a good point here.

If the hard drive is good, the machine can be repurposed. One machine which I had had a bad screen and became the base for a radio repeater system. Another was too small and old for general use and went to work with with a ham radio guy who was also getting one from me for his telescope.

Dell generally does not need a battery, either CMOS or main operating, to work. As long as there is a power source, they run. If you don't care about the date and time, don't even bother to replace the CMOS battery.

The primary criterion, however, is the hard drive unless you get a working one cheap.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 09:12 AM

Holy S---, You guys are fantastic, I only wish I could understand what you are telling me to do, finally.
What I have is one of those old Dell Computers with a huge fat monitor unit and an equally large Processor Unit that sits on the floor underneath. I haven't used it to access the internet for the past 6/7 years since I got a laptop (several over that time, all inherited from my kids as they grow and discard for the latest version)
I wanted to use this old PC just as a Word Processor and for scanning and storing documents and photos (I write a good deal) I hadn't used it for some months and found it wouldn't go beyond that initial "DELL" Screen . If there is some way that I can get it up and running again I will be very happy. I have all the "stuff" that it contains on an external Hard Drive so it isn't a matter of life and death.
I am most grateful for all the advice and I am now going to start rollowing it. I'll let you good people know if I get it going.
(You won't be holding your breaths I presume :))


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 09:40 AM

The PC in question is not a laptop, but an old Dell Dimension Mini-Tower, so the only 'battery' is likely to be a CR2032 coin cell for CMOS backup.

If the coin cell has discharged, which is quite probable in an old machine after a few weeks without use, the CMOS could have defaulted to its factory settings (not necessarily the settings the PC was shipped with!), but you'd get a message saying so with the option to go into the BIOS setup to change them.

In practice, the BIOS would normally default to auto-detect the hard drive (and CD Rom), so the machine should still boot if the drive is healthy and bootable. The fact that it doesn't means the drive (or less likely the main board) is faulty.

The usual cause of a hard drive failing after a period without use is 'stiction' (short for 'static friction') - the motor is prevented from spinning up because the heads have literally stuck to the platter(s). Heating, freezing (or even patience!) can sometimes rescue such a drive, though it should be backed up and even replaced as soon as possible if it can be coaxed back to life.

BIOS = Basic Input Output System - the information the mainboard needs to be able to find the hard drive, amongst other things

CMOS = Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor, which refers to the chips which store the BIOS setup information.

;o)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 10:39 AM

Good man Bernard, well I tried each of those keys , F2 , F8 and Esc immediately after starting up the PC , I also tried F12, but I still cannot get beyond that Blue DELL Logo screen.
Now , I have found an envelope with all the original CDs that came with the PC (back in 2000). Could I try to get one of those to work it ?
It'll be my final attempt.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:05 PM

I know this might not be obvious, but sometimes you have to simply sit it out for a while until the PC has  e v e r  s o  s l o w l y  checked to see what's working... then it may just deign to respond to a key press.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:41 PM

Bernard, should I switch off while awaiting a possible response from the machine ?
I found some CDs as follows :
1.DELL Dimension Resource Discs 1 and 2.
2.DELL Operating System(Already installed on your PC)
Can I use one or more of those to get going again, if my patience runs out ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 01:12 PM

If you switch it off it can't respond. It would be the Operating System disc you would try to restore it. If you end up installing the OS again you can usually get into the previous version and the data (though you have to "give yourself permission" - there are sites that describe how to get there from here).

I think Bernard is simply telling you to push a button and let it sit for a while and see if it eventually responds. It could make each operation take a while. When you first turn it on, decide which F key you're going to mash, mash it, then see if eventually something happens.

I didn't look up the original model, so when someone started talking about laptops, that battery came to mind. But you can find the round little battery (about the size of a 25 cent piece and thicker) it wouldn't hurt to replace it. Probably won't make a difference in starting the machine.

There is an old trick, one to give careful thought to, but that sometimes works. Bernard probably will cringe - give the CPU a thump on the side or pick it up about a half inch on one side and let it drop. Jar things without breaking anything loose.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: EBarnacle
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 01:35 PM

Agreed.
Sometimes you just have to get its attentoin.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 02:05 PM

Ah hey, you blokes, yer havin'a laff now ?no ?   Thump it, By Jeeeeez I'll try it. Then after that I'm putting in the Operating System Disc. Hold tight.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: EBarnacle
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 04:21 PM

We don't laugh at people who are trying to do the right thing. We just hope our help helps.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 04:51 PM

No, no only joking EBarnacle, I am grateful for any help whatever, perhaps a little embarrassed that I misunderstood Bernard's advice . I thought that he meant I should give the old PC a "rest" after trying each of the keys mentioned. In any case I've tried all now and that includes inserting the Operating Systems Disc which didn't start either. (It's actually not the disc that came with the PC but it is a DELL XP type.) Could I try the first DELL Resource Disk - which DID come with the PC in question ?
Thanks again for your help and the others as well.
Beachcomber.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 May 12 - 12:51 AM

I got curious about whether Dell might have a manual for your computer. When I picked "Dimension XPS" for the model, they showed "T_" for the subtype (no choice for the T50 or anything else) and then insisted I pick an operating system. The last choice listed was Windows ME. (They didn't even allow choosing WinXP, implying that the machine wasn't expected to run it(?).)

Unfortunately, I didn't find operator manuals or maintenance manuals listed as available for any machines in the general category.

Sometimes you can get deeper with a serial number than I could without one, but finding specs on what you've actually got looks like a dry hole, as far as Dell is concerned. If you can find the paperwork that came with the machine, there might be some useful information in it, but the "basic" stuff included is usually pretty skimpy.

(If you might ever want the mainenance/repair manual you usually have to download it within a short time after getting a new machine, so the result wasn't unexpected.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 01 May 12 - 01:15 AM

Thumping it is a time-honored approach to some things, and I have had to thump electronic equipment on occasion, but it isn't a big move, it's just a little jolt.

The other thing you could do is have a 12-year-old come in and take a look at it. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 01 May 12 - 04:25 AM

Thanks all, wherever you were posting from, It's just unfortunate that the old machine has probably experienced her last boot-up -Doesn't it happen to us all eventually ? It's been some years since my own :)- I've tried everything with absolutely no effect - not a GEEKS !
Please accept my thanks for your efforts to help and your humour as well. By good chance there is a nine year old living next door SRS and I'm off now to try to bribe him to "Fix it" :)
Good health .
Beachcomber.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Bernard
Date: 01 May 12 - 07:27 AM

If you're brave enough (or maybe suggest it to next-door's 9 year-old!), open the case and disconnect the hard drive's ribbon cable (wide, flat with 40 pin connector at each end), then see if the PC will initialise to the point where it complains there is no hard drive.

If it does, replace the drive and use your CDs to set it up again.

If it doesn't, scrap it!

Sometimes a dead IDE drive (hard drive, CD or Zip drive) can drag the IDE ports down so the machine won't initialise and just sits there as you described...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 01 May 12 - 10:14 AM

Thanks Bernard and if you get no further expression of gratitude from me, then you'll know what happened :)
Good man SÁR FHEAR !


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: Acme
Date: 01 May 12 - 10:31 AM

When my kids were young I did all of the computer maintenance at our house, and their computer was in the living room as a way to keep an eye on their activity. As they got older, I taught them how to take care of them and when my daughter graduated from high school we got her college computer in time so she could install all software, open it up and install any extra bits we had ordered for it, and on campus she has worked for years in a computer lab.

My son was in middle school when he started using his allowance to buy computer games, faster bigger video card, gaming mouse, etc., and as we've negotiated how expensive vs the existing power of the computer, it has been interesting to watch. As soon as we walk in the door from the electronics store the CPU is opened up and discarded boxes and wrapping all around. Before leaving for college he built his own computer and it's no surprise he's a computer science major. It has been an interesting process to watch/mentor!

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Frozen Screen on DELL :Dimension XPS T50
From: beachcomber
Date: 01 May 12 - 05:45 PM

Boy, you must feel very proud of your offspring SRS and why not ? It must indeed have been very rewarding for you to observe their progress. My own kids were not gifted in that way but their musical ability does the same for me as you obviously get from your own family.
God bless them all and thanks again.
Beachcomber.


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