Dell Inspiron 8200 Freezes at startup

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Dell Inspiron 8200 Freezes at startup

  • Hi,

    This is a cry for help! Eversince I bought Insp 8200, I have the problem of system hanging up/freezing at various stages of startup. Everytime it does so, I have to restart until the system logs in ( usually4-8 times). Once it is logged in, it usually is not a problem. Now I never shut down.

    I have called dell support multiple times and I always find someone with minimal knowledge. I have been asked many times to do the usual good stuff (like defragment, check hard drives, cleanup, update bios etc)

    Any suggestions!

    Dell Inspiron 8200, Windows XP pro, 256 MB RAM

  • The freeze could be a hardware problem or a software problem.

    Try running your Dell Diagnostics (booting from the Dell CD) to see if it can detect any hardware problems.  (you can run it in a looping mode for as many hours a you want)

    The freeze could be caused by a messed up version of your OS installation.  Try to get a spare hard drive and try a clean install of Windows to see if you can still replicate the freeze problem on a clean OS install.

    Hope this helps,
    -tom

     

  • Ran the Diagnostics...no error.....

    Any other ideas.....

  • I've been having similar problems, and nothing I have tried thus far has worked. A quick summary of what I've tried:

    1. Updating the system BIOS (now at version A11, up from A08).
    2. Replacing the video card. Original was an nVidia GeForce2 Go, the new one is an nVidia GeForce4 440 Go. Video performance is much improved, but no effect on the lockups.
    3. Updating the video BIOS (now at version A05, if I'm not mistaken).
    4. Reinstalling Windows XP Home Edition. (This is the version that came with my computer.) Patched it with Service Pack 1 and all the latest updates from Microsoft. Did this a number of times, actually. One time, it even froze at the "Installing Devices" setup stage!
    5. Installing Windows XP Professional. Also patched it all the way.
    6. Downgrading to Windows 2000. Realized how bloated XP was in comparison. Didn't help, though.
    7. Booting Knoppix (Linux-on-a-CD). Froze at the hardware autodetection phase.
    8. Replacing the hard drive. Pros: much more room. Cons: no effect on the freezing, of course.
    9. Tearing down and rebuilding the machine at least three times. I can say for sure that nothing is loose connection-wise!
    10. Removing and re-seating the RAM modules. Swapped them as well.
    11. Replacing the DC power board. Expensive bloody part, and no effect. On the bright side, I have a spare. I hear these things blow out like Independence Day fireworks.
    12. Running the Dell Diagnostics program. Absolutely no errors reported. Just like my borderline alcoholic friends: in denial. (FYI, I ran the "thorough" test, or whatever it's called. Didn't skimp, that's for sure.)
    13. Running the memtest86 program to test the RAM. Again, no errors.
    14. Disabling BIOS power management.
    15. Disabling SpeedStep.
    16. Disconnecting all external devices (USB mouse and CardBus wireless network adapter).

    The only things I haven't tried are downgrading the BIOS (maybe the A11 revision is to blame?) or replacing the motherboard. Hesitant to do the former unless I'm sure it's worth the risk. The latter is just bloody expensive; it's $400 for a "refurbished" unit on eBay. At that price, I might as well put that money towards the price of a new laptop! (The conspiracy theorist in me suspects that that's intentional. Much better for Dell if their customers just buy new hardware--given that it's also a Dell system--instead of bugging them about their old stuff, no?)

    Anybody know anything else I can try? I'm fairly close to scuttling this thing for parts, selling whatever works on eBay, then buying myself a new machine (NOT a Dell). I'd love to get this thing working properly, if at all possible.

  • Almost forgot to mention: I also sent an email to Dell technical support. Haven't received as much as an automated reply!

    The machine's warranty ran out last June. No chance of a warranty repair here.

  • Hey....this is very interesting....I have certainly not tried a whole bunch of stuff that you did....

    I have been this close to throwing the notebook out on the garbage day. Now I never turn it off...unless I have to take it to somewhere where I absolutely have to turn it off.

    I ll just buy a new NON-DELL in next few months.

     

  • Check the following thread:

    http://forums.us.dell.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=insp_general&message.id=97076&highlight=#M97076

    I stumbled upon this and took another look at my RAM. One thing I didn't think to try was using only one RAM module at a time. I took one out, and the system booted fine. Took that out, put the other one in. Crash! It was bad RAM after all. Note that Dell Diagnostics will not catch this; it told me everything was fine.

    Anyway, I took the opportunity to upgrade. I bought a new 512 MB module from crucial.com and installed in a couple days ago. So far, my system has been solid as a rock. Theoretically, I could have just replaced the faulty 128 MB module and saved myself a lot of money (the original configuration had 2 x 128 MB modules, for a total of 256 MB), but I figured that the additional boost would be worth it. (Also, having all 512 MB on one module means that I can easily drop in another 512 MB module in the second slot to max out the machine at 1 GB.) And believe me, it has. I do audio editing and mastering on my machine, and it's a lot less sluggish now.

    Try checking your RAM modules this way and see what happens. Given that your memory configuration is comparable to my original one, you'll probably spend about $40 at most, and installation is dead simple. Hope this helps!
  • Hmmm...

    I ll definitely try this....what RAM did you buy from crucial.com?

    Thanks

  • Crucial has a nice little system selection feature on their front page. Just select manufacturer (Dell), product line (Inspiron), then specific model (Inspiron 8200). And then you'll wind up here:

    http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.asp?Mfr%2BProductline=Dell%2BInspiron&mfr=Dell&cat=RAM&model=Inspiron+8200+Series&submit=Go

    I bought the 512 MB module, which goes for $122.99. Shipping is free, but you might have to pay sales tax depending on what state you live in.
  • Did you try a  a clean install of Windows to see if you can still replicate the freeze problem on a clean OS installation?

    -tom

     

  • In my case, I tried several clean installs! (That was the first thing I thought of.) Tried three different flavors too (XP Home, XP Pro, 2000), even tried Linux (Knoppix), just to see if Windows was to blame in any way. Nope, Linux also crashed. But that's just me. Your mileage may vary.
  • Hi,

    I tried your suggestion.....I initially took one memory out and restarted the computer...success....then I did the same with other memory....success....I switched the modules. It worked. I don't know why??

    Then I took the opportunity like you and bought the new memory 512MB from All4memory.com....for 109$. Now I have 640 MB memory, computer reboots just fine and much faster.

    Thanks a million for great solution!!