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Strange problem


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#1 godzilla1347

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 06:32 PM

I'm running a Dell XPS 410 Desktop with Vista. I originally had posted this in the forum that dealt with crashed systems and was referred to this forum. What has happened was that the system started crashing or freezing up, most of the time when trying to go online. I did have a virus at the time that was quarantined by McAffee and upon running Sea Tools for Windows software to check the hard drive sectors, the system had passed.

 

Upon a crash, I would have to cold boot. What I had noticed that brings me to a hardware question is that 50% of the time, upon cold booting, the fan would take off like a jet engine and I would have to shut down the system by holding the power button until the system shut down.  The other 50% of the time, the system started fine and worked fine until it froze or crashed.

 

Now the thing is, it's not that the fan is accelerating because the system is overheating because it only accelerates intermittently and only when the system starts. When the system starts, the fan runs at normal speed and continues to.

 

Someone had mentioned to me that if the BIOS is not engaging properly or is corrupted that the fan might not be getting the proper signal. All this is beyond me and I don't have a clue.

 

I will say that the system wouldn't start and that prompted the Windows Start Fix tool which prompted the system to start. Afterwards I had installed the new Windows update and the system hasn't crashed since (I am writing this on another computer that works fine).  When it was crashing significantly, I would come back to the computer in the morning (I leave it in sleep mode) and the system have to be restarted.  that hasn't happened since the Start Fix Tool was used and the new Windows update was installed. 

 

My concern, however, is what was causing the fan to accelerate upon startup only and only intermittantly.  The thoughts I had were a Bios problem or a registry corruption that would only be fixed by reinstalling Windows but I simply don't know enough to assess this.



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#2 markba633csi

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 12:05 PM

Can you give a little more information about the problem and the machine itself? When did it start, how long have you had the machine etc.?

Mark S.



#3 dc3

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 12:24 PM

The fan is powered up as soon as the PSU is turned on which is immediately after pressing the power button.  This occurs before the BIOS loads any real time controllers, so the fans runs faster than normal.  You have posted that you recognize the fact that the speed returns to normal after Windows starts to load, this is proof that this is what is occurring.

 

Are there any other issue unassociated with the fan speed?


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#4 godzilla1347

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 12:46 PM

I probably wasn't clear. As indicated in the first post, the machine is a Dell XPS410 desktop running vista.  The problem with the fan is that when starting from a cold boot, one or two things happen: 1) either the system starts normally 2) The system doesn't start but the fan starts to accelerate like a jet engine and I have to hold the power button to shut it off.  The fan never accelerates like that if Windows loads and this only happens when Windows doesn't load. 

 

Also, this issue happened at the same time that I had noticed system crashes. I would be using the computer that worked normally and suddenly the mouse would freeze or the mouse would move but I couldn't shut down programs, files or activate anything. Eventually, the mouse would freeze.  Sometimes, I would get a message that Windows was shutting down and I'd get a blue screen with an explanation that would run so fast, I couldn't read it and the system would reboot, asking me what startup options I wanted.

 

Now MacAfee did find an infection that it quarantined at this time and after running a thorough scan, there were no infections. I did run Sea Tools for Windows and the system passed but when running the chkdsk utility, it wouldn't complete twice.

So it's very confusing. I don't see why the fan accelerates at certain startups and not at others. Once the system is up, the fan continues to run normally.

 

And even when the computer is in sleep mode, something causes it to reboot intermittently and the user log in screen comes up. The system was working for the last two days without interruption and that just happened last night because coming out of sleep mode right now, i notice the system doesn't go back to where it was before going into sleep mode but must have crashed and rebooted.

 

This problem had started about 3 weeks ago and never had happened before.  Now I know some people were saying that there were some issues with the new Windows updates but I'm not sure if they impacted my system or not.

 

But the fan acceleration upon boot is surprising. And again, it only happens sometimes. Once Windows starts, the fan runs normally yet the system continues to crash.

I was hoping to avoid reinstalling windows and if it's a hardware problem, reinstalling Windows would solve nothing. I'm not sure if a BIOS corruption from that virus is possible. I simply don't know.

 

Fortunately, I am running a Windows 10 computer which I am writing this on so I can communicate online even if the Vista system crashes. Not sure how to troubleshoot this.



#5 dc3

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 01:11 PM

One of the first things that crossed my mind after reading this last reply was that there could be a problem with the BIOS.

 

If you have your imported data backed up to removable media (external hdd, flash drive...) and have the installation disc it may be well worth reinstalling the operating system.  Vista is still supported, so you should be able too get the needed updates.  I would do this and then see what is happening.


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#6 godzilla1347

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 01:47 PM

Now if I reinstall windows, i wasn't aware that would fix a corrupted BIOS . . . or would it? Wouldn't I have to flash the BIOS to repair it? If so, one of my concerns is that if the system crashes in the process, I'm told that you can't start the system anymore. Not sure what to do.



#7 dc3

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 02:01 PM

I was suggesting reinstalling Vista and then see what happens.  This way we may get your computer working properly and not have to try flashing the BIOS.

 

Flashing the BIOS use to be a risky thing, it still is, but not like it use to be.


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#8 mjd420nova

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 03:13 PM

This intermittent boot with jet and boot okay without the jet.  That points at a reset state on some device is not allowing the BIOS to "kick" it off on the first power on event.  I would remove the AC cord, try to boot, to drain the PS, and insert cord and boot to the BIOS.  Do  a factory reset to default settings.  Double check the date and time and if you have a spare "coin" type battery, replace the one on the MOBO.  Boot to the OS installation disk and do a REPAIR.   This will find all needed drivers and programs to support the hardware it finds present and will not affect any files or programs already loaded.



#9 godzilla1347

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 06:25 PM

A couple of questions as I am not familiar with some of the protocols.  Now this may appear to be a stupid question but I assume you mean to remove the AC cord and press the power button. As the system has no power, it won't boot, but I think you are saying that by pressing the power button with the AC cord disengaged, that would drain the PS of residual charges. Is that correct?  Secondly, how do I do a factory reset? Once that is done, I assume you mean that I should get into the BIOS to change the boot sequence order so that the computer boots to the Dell Recovery disk that contains the operating system and then click on the repair option. I haven't had the experience doing these things so I just wanted confirm that my interpretation of your instructions was correct.  Fortunately, I have the new computer I am typing this on that runs Windows 10 so I can fool around with the Vista computer without risk and it will give me the opportunity to learn.  I have backup up my data files on travel drives.



#10 mjd420nova

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 09:33 PM

The factory default settings is on the first page of the BIOS.  Yes, boot to the recovery partition and that should be all you need.  Yes. unplugged, switched on will essentially reset every hardware device in the machine.   This would indicate a MOBO fault if the fault persists.



#11 dc3

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 09:24 AM

You can revert the BIOS to the default settings by using the CMOS jumper to clear settings which resets the BIOS to the default setting.  In the image below you can see where this jumper is located on your motherboard.  There are three pins at this location.  The two pins you will see when you look at them have a jumper connecting two of the pins, this is the normal setting.  To revert the BIOS to the default settings move the jumper so that it connects the center pin and the other outer pin.  Leave this for about 30 - 40 seconds, then return the jumper to its original position.

 

motherboard1_zpspl8fvieh.png

 

One of the other problems with motherboards as they get older is the electrolytic capacitors will breakdown.  That's the problem with this type of capacitors.  You should look on the motherboard for bulging and or leaking capacitors.  You can see an example of what these look like below.

 

motherboard2_zpsz7b1tqpb.png

 

Notice the capacitors to the right of the two circled in red.  See that the tops are flat and the ones circled are bulging and leaking?  That's the difference between good caps and failing or failed capacitors.


Edited by dc3, 12 April 2016 - 09:28 AM.

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