Posted 01 July 2010 - 12:59 PM
Sorry about the long story: My veteranarian (and client) brought me her Dell GX280 computer running Windows XP to be repaired. She said the computer was freezing up because of a thermal problem. Her veteranary software support person told her to buy another computer and put her hard drive into the new computer. So, she got another Dell GX280 on ebay and brought both computers to me. I opened the original computer and found some incredibly dirty fans, so I cleaned it up, turned it on and left it on overnight. It was still running in the morning, so I told her I thought it was fixed. Naturally, it wouldn't boot at her house, so I've got both computers again, and the original computer boots up occasionally. I put the hard drive into the replacement computer and it does not boot up at all. In both computers, when they don't boot, the CPU fan starts slowly and then in a few seconds runs at a very high speed and no image appears on the monitor.
My guess is that either the hard drive is broken or else both computers have the same, or almost the same, problem. I have a lot of obsolete parts, so I tried a couple of things.
1. I tried installing the hard drive into my only (non-Dell) computer that can take a SATA drive. The computer appeared to be booting into Windows and then rebooted and went to the boot-up menu (Safe mode, ..., Last Know Good Configuration, Start Windows Normally, etc.). I tried starting Windows normally and the same thing happened again.
2. I tried plugging an IDE drive that had something like Windows 98 in it, into the IDE port of each of the Optiplex GX280s, with the SATA drive removed. The computers did not boot, just as before (fast fan, no video).
Here are my questions: Is there something in Dell's boot-up sequence that causes the boot-up menu to come up if the hard drive is installed into a non-Dell computer? Can a Dell Optiplex GX280 boot from an IDE drive plugged into the IDE port? What else can I try?
Right now, I am inclined to buy a new hard drive and copy the original hard drive onto it. Whether this fixes anything or not, I'll at least have as good a backup as I can get.