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Constant Restarts

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:51 AM

Hello everyone,
I bought a rebuilt dell t3400 on ebay. ($600 buy it now.)
I first noticed that it would restart randomly, loosing work and just basically annoying.
the computer apparently was a reject from dell for some reason, (seller said it may have been to do with the case) so the service tag does not work on dell's site.
It has a duo2core 2.33 mgz processor (dual core), 4 gigs ram, 2 identical 80 gb hard drives, lightscribe dvd, nvidia 512mb video card and a corsair hx520 power supply.
apparently original dell motherboard.
The seller started installing the xp operating system, I finished it.
I then decided to do a raid 0 on the hard drives, seems to have worked, it saw 1 drive (doubled in size) said it was normal and bootable.
Then I reinstalled everthing, flashed the bios to a04, upgraded the internet explorer to 7.0 (mistake) and procedded to install autocad, word, works, some surveying software, ect..
Computer seemed ok except for the restarts. sometimes it would do it 4 or 5 times right in a row and then be ok for the rest of the day.
It started getting worse and worse to the point where it would restart anywhere at anytime.
I ran fdisk from a win me startup floppy and did a basic format. (ME was the only startup floppy I had that would work.)
I never made an xp start up disk.
I deleted the raid and formatted again from the floppy.
I think that should have gotten rid of the raid.
I try again and again to get to the xp recoverery console, after many attempts I finally get there and format the c: drive.
I finally get to the install from xp cd and it wants to format the c: drive with ntfs, I let it. I now have c: drive formatted with ntfs and d drive is fat32, i think.
I try to get back to install xp from cd, after 250 restarts, and I just can't get there.
Computer restarts anywhere at anytime. Dell screen, dos A: prompt, windows checking your hardware screen, windows trying to install minimal files to get to the repair or install screen or even on restart it will crash and restart. anywhere at anytime.
I have disabled all ports, usb serial parallel, and plugged in a basic keyboard, It's pretty stripped down now.
I reseated the ram and video card, checked all my cables, (hard to tell with cables) removed ram and started with 1 gb dimm and then another 1gb dimm to see if I had bad ram. No difference.
I flashed the bios back to a02, only difference I see is that it now wants me to press a key to reboot from CD.
Very few messages comming from this machine. The first one I saw was "corrupt windows\system32\config\system
But I don't think that matters now with two reformatted hard drives.
The only message I see now is NTLDR missing cntrl alt del to restart.
Sometimes I get that sometimes not.
Try to reboot to cd, somtimes it starts inspecting my computer hardware, somtimes not.
Restarts anywhere at anytime, constantly.
It will even crash at the a: prompt when I can get to it.
It may be that the raid 0 left enough bits in the root sector to create a pocket??? or something like that.
I did try to download bcupdate.exe to address this but it said it was not a dos command.
When I boot to floppy and get an A: prompt, I did a dir c: and it says "invalid media type reading drive c:
Any help here would be greatly appreciated as my seller on ebay, who says he is a certified dell tech, is out of ideas and will not fix this faulty system.
thank you,

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:46 AM

Use the XP CD to delete existing partitions...do a clean install of XP from the CD. Attach only one hard drive and one optical drive to do the install.

There's no reason to use a boot floppy.

Format/partition the second hard drive for storage...after you get the first drive settled.

There's no reason to format either drive with FAT32, use NTFS for each.

Seems to me that you are trying to build a house out of rubbish...IMO, no point in wasting time on what went wrong, just do a clean install right.

If you still have problems then, you have fewer items to troubleshoot.


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