Freeze - hardware or software?

By Odyssey
Jul 30, 2010
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  1. I have acquired a Dell Dimension 8300 desktop which came with a clean install of XP Home, but I do not think that the drivers were updated. I tried to update the drivers from the Dell site, but found that a lot of the information regarding updating was either contradictory, confusing, or otherwise out of date, and gave up after attempting to install one.

    Firstly, when it boots up, there is a message that the system battery voltage is low, and to press FK1 to continue. So I assume that it needs a new battery. After pressing FK1, it starts normally.

    When it does boot up, it is really slow at everything. Then while I am using it, without warning the screen goes dark (not blue) as if it had been turned off, but the fan is still running. There does not appear to be any output from the video port as the monitor brand name comes up as if it had been turned off.

    It does not respond to the keyboard, or CTRL-ALT-DEL, or anything else and must be manually shut down by holding the power button in for several seconds, and rebooted.

    So far I have installed Firefox, Opera, Norton AV, ZoneAlarm, and Open Office.

    How do I determine if this is a hardware problem or an operating system issue, or another software issue, or some combination?

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