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Dell XPS 420

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#1 L-DNA


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Posted 25 February 2010 - 02:57 AM

I purchased a Dell XPS 420 PC about 2 years ago and its been the worst product I have ever purchased. Shortly after I setup the computer from new, I was experiencing problems with it randomly freezing. I have a little computer knowledge so I tried to diagnose.

What happens first is an application such as Internet Explorer will freeze and stop responding. At this point the computer will still allow you to minimise and sometimes tab into a different application already open. Within a few seconds of doing this, that application will also freeze. Within about 30 seconds, the whole system has frozen.

Obviously at this point a hard reboot is required. Nine times out of ten, the system doesn't boot into windows, it hangs shortly after loading the BIOS. It doesn't matter how many times you turn the machine off and on again, even waiting for a day or so, it hangs around the same place during boot.

This is where it gets VERY strange. The only way I can get the system to reboot back into windows is by running the Dell Pre-Boot System Assessment software. To my knowledge this doesn't actually change or fix anything on the system. The software runs several checks on the hardware and comes back with everything being OK. When the system reboots it loads windows just fine and the system is working again. If this software only checks hardware, why does running it fix the problem?

I spoke to someone from Dell technical support, based in India, who was completely useless. He was basically expecting me to diagnose the fault myself. He asked me to run the Pre-Boot diagnostic software and look out for any faults which it lists. I did this several times but everything is OK. He then assumed I had previous computer knowledge and asked me to re-seat the RAM, which I did. This didn't fix the problem. I was then asked to remove all but 1 RAM stick and run the software again, then repeat with all the other sticks. All the memory sticks were fine. I already had removed and checked all the cables and re-seated the Graphics card.

I was even told at one point this was a Operating System issue and that I should re-install windows. This was BS because I have used several operating system on this machine and all have the same issue. I tried Windows Vista, Windows 7, Centos Linux, Ubuntu Linux.

The problem has been on and off for the last 2 years since buying the machine. Even though this was a reported issue from week 1 which went unresolved thanks to Dell's wonderful technical support, the machine is now out of warranty and they refuse to help. Thats good customer service for you!

If you can think of anything that I haven't tried, please let me know.

P.S Anyone wanna buy a Dell PC, I know one going cheap?

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#2 the_patriot11


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Posted 25 February 2010 - 04:10 AM

Do you know the operating temps by any means? My guess would be overheating/bad CPU, or a bad PSU off the top of my head, though it could be a host of different things. I would try removing the heatsink, clean off the old thermal paste, and reapply some arctic silver (not to much, about the amount of a grain of rice) and spread it evenly over the CPU die, and reattach the heatsink, to start off with.



Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.

#3 L-DNA

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:45 AM

My computer has been fine since the 25 Feb and its just crashed on my again. Before I take it back to Dell to throw through their window, is there anything else I can try? When it freezes and after rebooting the hard drive makes a noise in a wierd pattern. It accesses the drive for quarter of a second, then goes silent for 2 seconds, then repeats over and over, forever. I have had everything out and put back in correctly, I have checked the PSU for consistency but no finding.

What is strange is when it freezes up, rebooting it or powering it off does not fix the problem. Resetting BIOS also does nothing. The only way to get it back to a bootable state is by running the Dell Pro-Boot Diagnostics software, which changes absolutely nothing. After running the CPU/MEMORY/HDD test, I can boot and go back to normal. If the CPU, or MEMORY is bust, why do I have to run this software, what is it doing?

WTF is wrong with it?

Edited by L-DNA, 16 March 2010 - 02:48 AM.

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