BSOD everytime I reboot

By jv16823
Jun 9, 2009
  1. I'm working on a friend's computer trying to reinstall XP. The computer is an old Dell that had XP Home Edition preinstalled. I have the reinstallation CD for "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition: Including Service Pack 1a."

    - I changed the BIOS to boot from CD first, but the drive doesn't run during startup.
    - Accessed the boot menu using F8, but the CD drive is not listed.
    - Every time I try to reboot, whether it be normally, in any of the safe modes, or from last known good configuration, I get the blue screen of death immediately after I select how to startup (safe mode, normal, last known good configuration).
    - Replaced the memory and the computer recognized the change in memory, but I still get BSOD.

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    What model of "old Dell" is it?
    First thing to do is trade out the optical drive with another known to be working... Then keep a list of the things you try that work and those that do not... Sometimes are great deal of effort is required to figger out what exactly is wrong...
    With more information on the model and age, we can perhaps help with some suggestions.
  3. jv16823

    jv16823 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It is a Dell 4600. It originally had 256 mb ram and I updgraded it to 512 with some old Crucial ram I had laying around. I know the optical drive works because I pulled it out and tested it in another computer...
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Very good model, as Dells go, without a long history of troubles. The 4600 and 4700 are usually very trouble-free, and not known for motherboard problems.
    Does this also happen when you select <SAFE MODE>? If so, you have a basic hardware problem.
    I would start by temporarilyu disconnecting the floppy drive power and cable, as well as modem, and sound card if it has one... They can all cause problems that resonate through the system.
    According to the BSPD, you likely have a hardware error, but it can be anything, and as you know, difficult to track down... You are faced with a lot of removals and temporary changes of hardware and cables because there is no diagnostic utilty. That Dell came with diagnostic discs that can detect some things.
    You want to make the computer as simple as possibe with only the minimal components connected as it eases trouble shooting. Then test again as you reinstall them one at a time.
    A few more details on your hardware would be useful.
    We would suspect the following:
    Ribbon cable or ribbon cable socket between motherboard and hard drive, and optical drive. They become brittle and shrink a bit as they age... and problems are hard to spot.
    Power cable from power supply to hard drive and optical drive for the same reason as above.
    I would unplug and reseat every cable in the case, replacing any that are suspect... as it is easier to replace them than troubleshoot. Depending on where you live, ribbon cables should be thre or four dollars... though some will try to charge you $19. Often available on eBay for $2.50.
    Hard drive. A lot of the 4600's had worthless Maxtor and Hitachi drives that are infamous for this. But also the silver Western Digital was so bad that they painted the replacements black so techs would know the bad ones had been removed..
    Memory, despite the fact that you did an upgrade. Check also the memory socket for debris or bent socket contacts.
    Video graphics cable, card or driver is the second most common cause of the BSOD in that model.
    CPU fan. Not easy to test, but can be replaced for $7 to $10.
    Power Supply... the power supply was inadequate when new... usually a 230 watt. Only way to test is to change out with a different one. If your friend has money, and upgrade to anything decent over 350 watts would be good.
    Please let us know what you figger out... and what you tried. These mysteries are fun when somebody else has to do all the work.
    Good luck!
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