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hardware or software issue?


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#1 millipede

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 04:26 PM

Dell optiplex 740
Windows 7 32bit (originally had vista on the machine)

2Gb memory

80gb hdd
I can probably provide more details if necessary.

 

I'm not sure which.  My wife works helping an elderly gentleman in his house and he has not been able to use his computer for a little while now so they asked me to look at it.  I hate when things don't go smoothly....  that's life though right...

 

The issue to begin with was that it would not finish starting up before shutting down.  One issue they had that was preventing me from even investigating the issues was that the guy's son set up passwords for his account and for an admin account so that nothing would get installed without permission accidentally.  This guy is in his 90's and has a LOT of trouble seeing.  He really only uses the computer for solitaire but he's missing that right now.
I finally got the son to track down what the admin password might be and he suggested two... fortunately one was right.  I was afraid I was going to have to do a fresh install(which I still could do I suppose...)

 

I'm in the process of TRYING to figure some things out with it and not getting very far so far.  The other day while at his house I managed to get into safe mode... and even into windows in the admin account for a while before it just shut down.  This has me leaning towards a hardware issue...  but I don't know.  These things can take SO long sometimes I told him I needed to take it home.  Since then, I haven't made it back into windows yet.  Tried safe mode a little while ago and it shut down before it got all the way in.
One thing I find worth mentioning is the loading of bios... on the DELL loading screen where it lists the bios version and has a progress bar... it seems to take close to half a minute... sort of hangs part way through.  That doesn't seem right to me. 
If I go into setup(bios) it doesn't shut off on me. 
I was hoping to get into safe mode at the least today to run msconfig and see what's starting up... though I doubt it's much.  There is a lot that needs to be updated as you couldn't even do that before because they didn't have the password. 
Anyway... I put in the win 7 cd that it came with to see if it would run startup repair.  It's not shutting down there.  But, it could not repair the issue(if it was actually THE issue) automatically... got this message

Problem Event Name:     StartupRepairOffline
Problem Signature 01:   6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 02:   6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 03:   unknown
Problem Signature 04:   240
Problem Signature 05:   ExternalMedia
Problem Signature 06:   1
Problem Signature 07:   BadPatch
OS Version:             6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.1

I really don't know if that has anything to do with the computer shutting itself off(mostly during startup) or not... but figured it didn't hurt to mention.
I'm going to TRY and dig through this mess of a desk I have and see if I can't find my partedmagic(I think that's what it's called) or my ubuntu flashdrive... 

Anyway... I need to try and track down whether this is hardware or software...  if it's software I should be able to fix it rather easily...  if it's hardware I probably wont waste my time on it as it's not a new machine...  It has two open slots for ram but I don't have any that matches... was hoping I could give it a bit of a boost.

Anyway...  Let me know if you have suggestions on what to try next.  I'm going to try to get into safe mode again I guess...  but currently I can't get into windows at all so keep that in mind.  Thanks in advance.

 

Edit:  My next post shows, I found a Dell Diagnostics CD and there may be hdd trouble...


Edited by millipede, 30 May 2015 - 04:52 PM.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 04:45 PM

The optiplex 740 is supposed to have a set of diagnostic lights of the front panel. See the manual here. Page 52 shows how to access Dell Diagnostics for a set of tests. The power light also changes color to indicate a problem. Edit: Now that Windows 7 is on the computer, the Diagnostic Partition may be gone.

 

Edit Edit: You can download the Dell Diagnostics here.


Edited by JohnC_21, 30 May 2015 - 04:50 PM.


#3 millipede

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 04:51 PM

Interesting, and thanks.  But this tower doesn't have any such lights.
However, while searching through my mess of a desk for other things, I happened upon a Dell Diagnostics CD that I had created at one time or another...  And I ran the faster test on there and it did bring up a hdd error during the short test on it...

Error Code 0F00:065D.

Msg: DISK_0 - Self-test Read error

Then says something about that being a message used by Dell tech support or something.
Perhaps I'll keep the disk in and run JUST the hdd tests and not the system test.
 



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 05:20 PM

I am pretty sure that error code indicated a failing hard drive. Download Gsmartcontrol and run the short test. If it passes run the Long Generic Test. Here is a video on it's use. The video is from BootMed which has Gsmartcontrol on it's rescue disk. Look for any red or pink rows under the attributes tab.



#5 millipede

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 05:22 PM

It's running a read test now and, giving more errors...  At first I was wondering if this was something that checkdisk or something could repair on its own but, not so much now.

Error Code 0F00:0244
Msg: DISK_0 - Block 118468575: Can't read, replace disk or remove write protection....

I then told it to go ahead and continue the read test and it stopped with this message again for a different block.  Will continue with the test but this doesn't sound good to me.
Sure seems I'm dealing with hardware...    Someone can move this to the appropriate forum.

 

I can't download that but if I can find my parted magic cd... it has that on there I believe. 
Maybe I'll stop the Dell Diagnostics read test and move to the parted magic disc if I can find it.



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 05:23 PM

Yes, Parted Magic has Gsmartcontrol. Are there any lights on the back of the computer?

 

Edit: Here is a description of the diagnostic lights based on the year of the optiplex.


Edited by JohnC_21, 30 May 2015 - 05:25 PM.


#7 millipede

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 05:35 PM

anyone want to come clean my computer desk?  :unsure: I found the paper sleeve I had parted magic in but it was empty.  Where on earth did I leave that?  :/

And I've looked the whole tower over and there are no diagnostic lights on it...  front or back...  This thing didn't match any of the pictures on that page either.

I'll keep looking for parted magic for now... or, anything useful on my desk in general.. ha



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 05:52 PM

You can download the iso for it here. You would still need another computer to download and burn the disk though.


Edited by JohnC_21, 30 May 2015 - 05:53 PM.


#9 millipede

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 06:00 PM

Thanks...  that's going to take another 30 minutes apparently...  I have it somewhere, I just can't find it.  Starting to wonder if I ever left it in another computer.  Oh well.

Meanwhile... the dell diagnostics are still running on the hdd... it had skipped the smart short test...  kept bringing up bad blocks on the read test... so, I aborted that one and it moved on... passed the seek test and passed the SMART test.  Since I'm waiting on other things I figured I might as well let it keep on running.



#10 millipede

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 07:01 PM

hmmm...  I just put the parted magic disc in...  it has a message that it's for 1GB+ systems... this has 2GB or memory...  but, it keeps trying and saying that there's not enough memory to load the specified image....  hmmmmmmmm  bummer.
My wife is going to see the owner of the computer tonight... I told her that it might be the hard drive and he'd have to decide between getting a new hdd or a new computer... I mean, this thing may not be worth working on...
He also has the option of getting another used computer from his son that, I'm thinking wont be all that great either...  But, he's in his 90's and uses it for solitaire so it might not be a big deal.  I guess she'll talk to him and see what he thinks. 



#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 07:08 PM

I ran into that problem with the newer Parted Magic iso's but not the one I linked to. Is that the one you are trying to boot? You can choose to run Parted Magic from RAM or disk. There are also a number of safeboot options available when you first boot PartedMagic. Have you tried any of those?


Edited by JohnC_21, 30 May 2015 - 07:08 PM.





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