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Dimension 4300 won't hot boot


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#1 BrettC

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:47 PM

I have a Dell Dimension 4300 that appears to work well, with one exception.
If I attempt to reboot or power cycle when it has been powered up a long time,
it will fail.

It beeps 6 times, and the LEDs are lit in the following manner:
A - green
B,C,D - yellow

The dimension 4300 manual does not show this led error condition, and 6 beeps
indicate "8042 Gate A20 cannot be toggled."

I just fixed virus problem that was causing a blue screen. I do not know if
there is a chance that a component got damaged while the viruses were active.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Brett

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:45 AM

Hello and welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

Lets see what this error means.

Here are the two results this error is related to.

No.1) 8042 Gate-A20 failure: BIOS cannot switch the CPU into protected mode.

No.2) Keyboard controller Gate A20 error


You can check the codes on this page for reference.

http://www.technick.net/public/code/cp_dpage.php?aiocp_dp=guide_beep_codes

Do you have another keyboard handy that you can try to see if this error goes away?

You should also boot your computer into the BIOS setup utility and check around in your menus for GATE A20 OPTION to see if it is disabled. It should be either set to FAST or NORMAL.

Because BIOS menus are set up differently,(specially with Dell computers) I can not tell you exactly where in your BIOS menu you will find Gate A20, but if you look around a bit, you'll find it.

Let me know if trying another keyboard, or at least making sure this one is properly plugged in, resolves this error.

Bruce.
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#3 BrettC

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 10:15 AM

First, I just noticed that the pc is really a Dimension 4700,
not a 4300. I think I need to check if MY memory is seated properly!

I went through the bios setup, and could find no setting related
to A20. I will look again. swapped out the keyboard. Now I
need to let it warm up a few hours to try a reboot.

I am curious about the problem only occurring when the pc is warmed
up. It runs fine warm or cold, and boots fine when cold. I would
assume the problem is related to a component that is now sensitive
to heat.

I will report the results later today.

Thanks for your help.

Brett

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:07 PM

I will watch for the results.

I was thinking perhaps a BIOS setting may have been changed along the line with either the virus or its removal.

There is a possibility the keyboard or its driver was the issue.

If you feel heat is a factor here, you should download and try a program that monitors motherboard temperatures and see what your various temps are.

Here is two programs.

HWMonitor http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php

Speed Fan http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

If you see a sensor is displaying a rather high temp. you should consider checking your computer for dust accumulation, specially in the CPU heat sink cooling fins.

You should also consider replacing your CMOS battery if it has been in the computer for a few years.
http://www.liverepair.com/encyclopedia/articles/cmosreplace.asp

Recheck all connections to make sure that oxidation on the electrical contacts is not causing this problem.
These usually start off as intermittent problems, but will eventually get progressively worse over time.
An easy fix is just going through the computer and disconnecting the various plugs from their ports and re-connecting them again.

Please keep me updated.

Bruce.
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#5 BrettC

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 11:49 PM

Hi Mr Bruce,

Well, it looks like swapping out the keyboard did the trick. It's interesting that the pc worked fine when hot, until a reboot. I would have expected that thermal problems in the keyboard would have affected more than reboot. I will try it for a few days, to make sure it is consistantly working. Then I need to decide if I can live with a beige keyboard with my dark grey pc!

I wonder if the controller boards in the keyboards are interchangable... Hmmm.....

Thanks Bruce. I will check back after I try it a few more times.

Merry Christmas!
Brett

#6 MrBruce1959

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 03:22 AM

You're welcome and I am hoping for the best.

As for swapping out the keyboard controllor boards go, I'd like to say that all keyboards are created equal, but if I did I would be lieing. :notanangel:

Sadly though, you'll find that its like a 2 out of 10 chance swapping one controllor with another would work. Each has its own embedded firmware and its not too often you'll find a perfect match that does not create keyboard errors.

Don't you just love technology? :ranting:

Please keep me updated and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS! :santa:

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 24 December 2010 - 03:23 AM.

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
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