Dell Dimension 8400 shuts down - either motherboard or fan issue (I think)

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Dell Dimension 8400 shuts down - either motherboard or fan issue (I think)

  • I'm good with computers normally, but mostly with the operation of them - I'm not super familiar with all the inner workings, but I read through a bunch of these forum posts and hopefully I narrowed down the issue.

    I've had a Dell Dimension 8400 for about 4 years, and I keep it in good condition - all my files are backed up on an external HD, I reformat it every few months, and I keep up to date with virus and spyware protection. It's still been running great, but I thought I noticed my fan wasn't running in the past month or so. All of a sudden, today (figures: right before I was going to buy a new fan) I got THE BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH.
    check it out
    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn82/formanband/error.jpg

    When this happens, I have to restart...the computer works for about 10 minutes, then I get another variation of the same blue screen. I reformatted my compouter and started reinstalling Windows, and everything seemed to be working fine, but then in the middle of the installation the blue screen reappeared! I bought canned air and cleaned out teh whole inside of the computer, tried to reinstall, but now the windows installation isn't even finishing - it's claiming it can't find necessary installation files, even though they're on the installation CD!

    I'm assuming this used to be a fan problem, and then led to a motherboard melty situation, but any input would be appreciated.
  • boxofgeese

    PFN_LIST_CORRUPT errors can be related to memory problems

    Try removing and reseating the memory.

    No difference, install one module at a time in different slots, rebooting the system each time. Run a test on it.

    Google for memtest86, download it and install it to a CD

    Bev.


    ===================================================
    Please don't send me questions about your system by DCF Messenger.
    Post the issue in the appropriate Board, where they will be answered.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Thanks for your quick reply. Which component is the memory? Like I said, I'm somewhat clueless when it comes to the inner workings. Is it the card that is seated in the motherboard? (I installed a wireless receiver by seating it in the motherboard, would it be the other card that looks similar?
    Thanks in advance for all your help!
  • boxofgeese

    See here and here.

    Bev.


    ===================================================
    Please don't send me questions about your system by DCF Messenger.
    Post the issue in the appropriate Board, where they will be answered.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Thank you so much! I'll try it right now.
  • It didn't work! I reformatted again, began the XP installation, and I got another blue screen, this time with:

    "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL"

    I'm about to try using memtest, but in the event it doesn't help, any more suggestions?
  • Just tried to run memtest86 a couple times, and it kept halting in the same spot, at 14%

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn82/formanband/memtest.jpg

    Does this mean my memory is damaged? If this is the case, I'm sure it's easy enough to buy some new RAM off ebay. Should I test anything else before I think about buying RAM? Obviously I don't want to spend the money if it's some other problem.

    Again, sorry for my lack of experience. I really appreciate the help.
  • boxofgeese

    Have you tried removing the memory modules, reinstall one module, and restart the computer, if the system does not boot, try installing in different slots one at a time, rebooting the system each time.

    Still does not boot, then try another module and repeat the process.

    Continue until you have hopefully, identified a faulty module [or slot] or reinstalled all modules without error.

    Bev.


    ===================================================
    Please don't send me questions about your system by DCF Messenger.
    Post the issue in the appropriate Board, where they will be answered.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Ok...I THINK I figured this out, thanks to your advice...

    I had two 512 MB modules in the board, one in slot 1 and one in slot 2, and when I ran the test, it would halt unexpectedly.

    When I removed the module from slot 2 (and left the other module in slot 1), the test halted again. However, I then removed the one remaining module, and plugged the other one in (so the module that was previously in slot 2 was now in slot 1, with the other module not plugged in). The test ran smoothly and everything passed.

    I replaced the other module into slot 2 (so now both modules are plugged in, but switched from their original positions), and the test halted again. I take this to mean that the one module is fried, correct?
  • boxofgeese

    You are correct and the module needs to be replaced.

    But, you need to buy a module that is compatible to the exsisting one.

    A good place to buy the replacement is here and use their memory selector or scanner.

    The 8400 will work with only one module installed, but with a diminished performance.

    Bev.


    ===================================================
    Please don't send me questions about your system by DCF Messenger.
    Post the issue in the appropriate Board, where they will be answered.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • thank you so much for your help...i ordered new memory and it's on its way.. i had two more quick questions..

     

    1. when i get the new memory, do i just plug it in and im good to go? or do i need to download new drivers first?

     

    2. i think my fan is working OK now, but every once in a while when my computer's on for a while it makes a strange sound, like it's struggling to start. is there a fan diagnostic in the boot menu in windows? (or any other one for that matter) and in either case, do you think i should just buy a new fan to be safe?

     

    thank you again!!

  • boxofgeese

    There should be no need to install any drivers for replacing the memory

    The directions for replacing/installing memory are here.

    You could try running Dell Diagnostic's test on the fan.

    How to use Dell's Diagnostic Utility

    Diagnostics can also, be run from the Drivers and Utilities Resource CD.

    Bev.


    ===================================================
    Please don't send me questions about your system by DCF Messenger.
    Post the issue in the appropriate Board, where they will be answered.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • ok, by this point i'm starting to think i'm an idiot...i used the boot to utility partition AND the dell drivers and utilities CD and i can't seem to find a fan test anywhere...i read in a separate post that up to dimension 8400 they didn't have heatsink tests? or fan tests?
  • boxofgeese

    The 8400 fan test is part of Dell Diagnostics. I ran Dell diagnostics on a 8400 this week using the Drivers and Utilities CD and fan test is there. Diagnostics does not have a test for heatsinks.

    Bev.


    ===================================================
    Please don't send me questions about your system by DCF Messenger.
    Post the issue in the appropriate Board, where they will be answered.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Thank you! I FINALLY got everything up and running. I appreciate your help, really!!