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Dell Optiplex GX 620 will not boot into hard drive with Vista 32 bit


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#1 ummhasan

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:21 PM

Hello all, 

 

We were given a Dell Optiplex GX 620 that wouldn't boot (amber light). The problem was a mangled front USB port. They gave us the computer to keep so instead of taking multiple hours cleaning up the hard drive (this will be used for my young son and it belonged to an adult male with possibly adult content on it), I decided to take an old Vista hard drive from an eMachine with a bad power box and drop it in the Optiplex.

 

Well, I discovered that Dell does not release any Visa drivers for this model but many people are properly running Vista and Win 7 both in 32 and 64 bit versions - so it can be done. Anyway, I'm not sure how to go about getting it to boot into this hard drive. When I start up, it gives me the "Startup Repair" or "Normal Startup" window. I've attempted the startup repair multiple times and each time it fails. Starting up normally does not work either. It just reboots itself and gets me back to the same window.

 

I can enter into the Boot options and get into the diagnostics. I can view restore points but attempting to restore to the most recent restore fails as well.

 

Any ideas or solutions would be great! Thanks



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#2 rotor123

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 06:32 PM

Hi.

Your problem is that Windows does not like to have the hardware changed that it runs on. Therefor You will not find it easy to use that Vista drive in the Dell due to the different hardware.

 

No matter how often You try System Restore or startup repair they will not work. The problem is not a damaged Windows, it is teh changed hardware.

 

I suggest Wiping the Drive and Loading a new copy of Windows on the computer.

 

Slightly off Topic, those Dell GX620 seem to have had weak Front USB ports. I had to fix more than one in the past. What seems to happen is that the plastic piece that the USB connectors sit against breaks, then the pins get a bent up when the next USB device is inserted.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#3 ummhasan

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:12 PM

Okay, that really sucks because I don't have a new Vista activation disc. I'll try to use the activation code I installed on the drive I'm trying to put in there and see if it will let me. Otherwise, I guess the clean up on the XP drive begins!

 

I discovered the same thing in my research (the bad front usb ports), that's how I actually ended up fixing it. I had been unplugging part by part, trying all different memory cards, swapping the hard drives, power boxes, cd players, graphics cards, etc thinking it was a hardware incompatibility or bad memory card. When all else failed, I took to Google to find out it might be the front port so I checked the port and sure enough, the pins were all bent up so I straightened them up a bit and ta da - the pc came on with no hesitation.

 

Thanks for the quick reply.



#4 rotor123

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:26 AM

It isn't an activation code issue. The issue is that hardware has changed.

 

I suggest that You put something such as hot melt glue into the bad USB port. The goal by doing that is ensure that nothing gets plugged into the port again. It is possible for that bad port to kill the motherboard. I had one where the user had kept trying to use the port and eventually killed the motherboard. The others I straightened the pins out so they were not touching anything and filled the port with hot melt. Probably something like Elmers glue would work too.

 

Just a stray thought depending on the age of the E-Machines it may not be just the power supply. Quite common in my experience for the older E-Machines to have a dead power supply and a dead Motherboard.

 

I don't suppose the old owner still has the Dell disks that came with the computer?

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#5 ummhasan

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:39 AM

I understand that in this case it's a hardware change issue but I was referring to wiping the drive and reinstalling vista on it. In order to install Vista on it, I will need to use my activation code. Since I'm not using it on the other hard drive, I may be able to simply use my current activation code once I wipe the drive. I intend on formating and installing Vista on the current drive that came with the dell.

 

I'll ask the old owner if they have the cd's but I'd really like to put Vista or Win 7 it for parental controls. I use Windows parental controls on all my other PC's

 

Here's my major problem - my kids do school online, all my kids have computers ready except this child, he starts school in TWO days and I have no working computer for him.The computer I had seems to have a rootkit infection and I haven't gotten that resolved yet so I set it to the side and started working on this one. Once I got it to boot up and found out I couldnt use the visa hard drive, I dropped the old XP drive back in and it seems to be all out of wack. Whoever had it seems to have been trying to reinstall - they have a corrupted boot sector for another copy of XP on the drive, the countdown to activation is showing, and it seems most drivers are missing.

 

I finally got smart last night and downloaded the driver for my wirelss adapter to a USB drive and got the pc online. I started Dell's diagnostics and after 2 hours, it was still going! Why did I bother doing this if I'm going to reformat? Becuase the CD drive is not reading any CD's (the vista or 7 cd) but its status is working properly in device manager.

 

Now, I have multiple other broken Dells sitting around that I've mostly parted but I only have 2 days to have a working ready computer for my son so I can't start experimenting with building one at this point.

 

I finally got a robot reply to my post about the rootkit infection so I'll also be following those instructions and hoping for a solution to one of these problems soon.

 

Thanks so much for your help and replies!



#6 rotor123

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:28 AM

Hi,

Rereading Your Post:

If the drive is indeed a CD drive it will not read the Vista or Windows 7 DVD disks.

 

The acid test for the Optical drive is can You boot a bootable disk from it.

 

As a test put Your bootable Vista install disk in the drive, Restart the computer and when the Dell logo appears start pressing the F12 key, That will bring up the Boot Device list, choose the CD/DVD drive and see if it boot from it. There are things in Windows that can keep a working drive from doing anything in Windows. No infection or other problem can stop a good drive from working before and software is loaded.

 

Did You try the Pre-Loaded Dell Diagnostics from the F12 Boot Device menu. It may not run depending on what was done to the computer.

 

If it were mine at this point in time I would probably put Windows 8 on the computer and install "Classic Shell" to make it work like Windows 7. I run Classic Shell on this computer with Windows 8. Nary a problem. To me it is like a improved Windows 7. I disliked Windows 8, Until I used it for a little while with Classic Shell. Now I like it.

 

As I see it Windows 8 is a improved Windows 7, and Windows 7 is a Improved Windows Vista.

 

Cheers

Roger


Edited by rotor123, 01 September 2013 - 11:29 AM.

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#7 ummhasan

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:36 AM

I did try the f12 boot to cd option with my boot disc in and NO it does NOT work. I did notice now that the device manager is not seeing the SM Bus device and I'm now runing an intel chipset utility which may fix some problems - not sure if this will affect the cd or not.

 

I also ran an onboard diagnostics and didn't find any problems - but, now that I think of it, I only scanned the hard drive. I'll have to go in and check on all the hardware.

 

I have Windows 8 on my machine and I don't like it much either but have gotten used to it. I thought about putting on my kids pc but I don't think kids will adjust well to Windows 8 - WAY to many changes!

 

I wasn't aware of the classic shell version - it's definatly something to think about but on an old pc like this, unles I have a solid large drive with fully expanded ram, I'm not sure if I want to go that route. This also brings the activation issue to the table again. I am not sure if I can resuse my activation codes on other pc's and I can't afford to buy anothr os cd. This is the primary reason why I am trying to make old computers just work using parts I already have - I have no money to get anything new. I've got 6 kids and kids are expensive!

 

Thanks for the suggestions though, I'll rerun the system diagnostics after the intel chipset diagnostics (if this doesn't solve all the problems), then I might just pop in another cd drive if all else fails.

 

I always appreciate help - Thanks Again!

 

EDIT: Actually, I did originally access the dell diagnostics via a CD on boot - so the CD drive DOES for sure work. I just tested it again and it does recognize the cd with dell diagnostics on it (downloaded to cd from the dell web site - not an original cd).


Edited by ummhasan, 01 September 2013 - 11:49 AM.


#8 rotor123

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 12:17 PM

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/start-menu-in-windows-8-with-classic-shell/

Windows 8 no longer includes the traditional Start Menu that Windows users have become associated with using. Instead they replaced it with a new interface called the Windows Start Screen that many people find to be not as intuitive as the traditional Start Menu. This is especially the case if you are not using a touch screen. With this in mind, a free program called Classic Shell has been updated to support the ability to add a Start Menu to Windows 8.

 

 

If you bought the Three computer version of Windows then Yes you can activate.

 

You didn't mention if it is in fact a CD drive or a DVD drive.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#9 ummhasan

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 12:42 PM

I'm pretty sure its a CDRW and is not a DVD drive. But i'm not hardware expert. I have an idea! What do you think about me formatting the drive in dos and then trying to install vista?

 

do you think if i format the drive the CD drive will start recognizing the windows cd?

 

EDIT - It IS a DVD/CD-RW drive


Edited by ummhasan, 01 September 2013 - 12:44 PM.


#10 rotor123

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:44 PM

If the drive is working, and if the disk is bootable then You should not need to do anything else. There is an option in Windows to clear or format a drive during the install.

 

Vista and newer Operating systems typically come on a DVD disk.

 

Now here is something You may not know. The Combo drive that can read CDs and DVDs use different lasers. Thus a bad drive could read CDs only or DVDs only.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#11 ummhasan

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 02:11 PM

Ok, they may be the problem - I burned the diagnostic boot disk onto a cd. The Visa and 7 OS is burned to a DVD.

 

I know the install allows for formatting or actually includes formating but since I couldn't get to the disk to run, I though, (brainstorming) that maybe if something with windows is stopping the drive from reading that formatting it would allow it to read. I guess that's not the case.

 

Thanks again for your help. I'll try another drive.






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