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Dell Inspiron 1100 Boot Problem


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#1 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:04 AM

Hi All

Ok, rather than jump straight in and tell you the problem, Iíll outline the signs and what action I've taken so as to give you the complete picture.

So, like it says in the title, Iíve got a Dell Inspiron 1100 and when I tried to boot it up it didnít want to play. Basically all that happens is that the fan starts and it makes noises like it was going to start but then it just stops. Thinking that the battery was dead I hooked it up to the mains and tried again. That didnít work either.

Being the sort of interfering chap that I am (and having learned a great deal from the experts on here) I Googled the problem. The first cause I investigated was that the auto-sleep switch thatís activated when someone (my wife!) closes the laptop lid while itís still running had got stuck. So I took the laptop apart and disconnected the touch pad as suggested and then tried to start it again - no joy - but I did find out what it looks like inside a laptop!

The next suggestion I found was that it could be the RAM. So I opened up the RAM hatch and had a look.

Inside there was 2 x 256mb sticks so I took one out and tried the boot up Ė no joy. Then I put the same stick I had just tested into the other bay. Yeeehaaa Ė it booted up! Admittedly, it was a bit on the slow side, which I guess is understandable with only 256mb running it.

Just to make sure, I decided to remove the stick that worked and test out the other stick. I put it in the same bay as the previous one and that worked too. Again, a bit on the slow side but ÖÖ

So as to try all permutations, I then swapped the second stick over into the other bay and tested again. This time it failed showing the same signs as it had before I did anything to it.

So, from this Iíve ascertained that both bits of RAM are Ok and it is something to do with one of the bays.

On the subject of bays, inside the RAM cavity the bays are opposite each other. On one side there is a label saying ĎDIMM Aí and on the other there is a label saying ĎDIMM Bí. Now, logic would have said to me that DIMM A should be the first slot to be filled and if I put a stick of RAM into DIMM B without there being anything in DIMM A, the system would fail. However, thatís not the case. The working bay is the one labelled DIMM B. So my logic is out of the window. So can anyone tell me why Dell have labelled them like this and whether it matters that the working one is DIMM B?

With regards to the greater question, the questions Iíve got are as follows Ė

Is there diagnostic test I can run to find out exactly whatís wrong?

Is the problem likely to be the actual bay that I put the RAM into and, if so, can it be replaced?

If it is the bay that I put the RAM into and it canít be replaced. Does that mean the motherboard is knackered?

Is it possible for me to expect the laptop to continue working with just this one bay in use or will I overload the single bay and have it fail like the other one.

If I can run the laptop with just one bay, is it a feasible option for me to buy a single stick of 512mb RAM and run it off that so I can, at least, keep the old operating speed?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Regards

Paul Eamonn

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#2 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

Oooops, sorry! I forgot to include my system details in my original post.

Dell Inspiron
Windows Xp Home Edition SP3
Intel Celeron 2.00ghz
256mb RAM
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#3 rotor123

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 03:17 PM

According to the memory configurator I looked at you have DDR PC2700, DDR and can go to a total of 1Gb, which is 2 x 512Mb. Or to put it another way 512Mb per slot.

I'm not sure if you have any computer stores near you that would let you try different memory.

If it were mine I would either use one 512Mb in the working slot or try a 1Gb in the working slot. The worst that should happen is it will work as 1Gb or it won't.

Using only one slot will usually make it run a tad slower.

Have you looked at the memory slot to make sure the little clips that hold the memory flush with the motherboard aren't damaged?

If the one slot is truly defective then the motherboard is sort of knackered. It also possible that the two memory are just not working together too. That is why I suggested a computer store to get memory to try.

For future reference memory is the first thing to try since it requires minimal disassembly.

I wish You Good Luck
Roger

Edited by rotor123, 26 May 2012 - 03:18 PM.

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#4 Paul Eamonn

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:26 AM

Hi Roger - thanks for the reply.

I'm not sure if you have any computer stores near you that would let you try different memory.


Sadly they're not that accommodating around here!


If it were mine I would either use one 512Mb in the working slot or try a 1Gb in the working slot. The worst that should happen is it will work as 1Gb or it won't.


It looks like one of these options is the one I'm going to take. Although, to be quite honest, I've been doing some stuff on it this morning and the speed isn't that bad with just the 256 MB in it. It is, after all, just a back up machine that I use rarely.


Have you looked at the memory slot to make sure the little clips that hold the memory flush with the motherboard aren't damaged?


I can't see any damage and they haven't been messed with as far as I know. The first time the RAM has seen the light of day since it was inserted at the Dell factory 8(?) years ago was yesterday morning and it's been fine all these years.


If the one slot is truly defective then the motherboard is sort of knackered. It also possible that the two memory are just not working together too.



As I say above, this machine has been working fine for the last 8 years so it would be a bit odd for the RAM sticks to suddenly decide that they don't like each other wouldn't it?


For future reference memory is the first thing to try since it requires minimal disassembly.


I would have if that had been the first Google post I came across. But as it was the 'latch option' that came up first, that was where I went. Still, the experience did me a lot of good.

Thanks again for you help - I really appreciate it.
Regards

Paul Eamonn

#5 rotor123

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 01:56 PM

One can get by on 256Mb and XP if the computer is not exposed to the Internet and thus does not need to have Antivirus loaded.
Not having to have an Antivirus loaded can reduce the load on memory and speed.

Having said that I would be less likely to go on the internet without a working up to date Antivirus than I would be to stick my head through a Guillotine and trip it to see what it does. Either is likely to end badly.

Cheers

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