Dell Dimension 4400 has a boot-up problem

By edwenger ยท 7 replies
Feb 6, 2006
  1. Dell Dimension 4400
    Windows XP Home
    Intel P4 1.6ghz
    256mb Ram

    I have a Dell Dimension 4400 that is about 3 years old. This computer has given me no problem until recently.

    If the computer is off and I start the computer, it will go through the normal start up screens (bios stuff) but when it gets to where the Windows boot screen should appear it is just blank. The computer is still running (fans, etc.) but there is no Windows boot screen. Windows never loads. If I restart the computer and go into the bios to make sure it still recognizes the hard drive (which it does) and just exit without saving any changes, then the computer starts fine. :confused:

    Do you think it is the hard drive, power supply, ????

    I've tinkered with a lot of computers but thought I would post here before I put much money into this aging computer. I would like to get it running though.

    I don't know why this would have anything to do with the current problem, but I had just reformatted the hard drive and did a fresh install of XP Home. I didn't modify any hardware or software other than this reinstall anytime recently.

    Thanks for your help,
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    After you reinstalled windows did you install the motherboard drivers, video drivers, etc? are there any devices in device manager with ayellow question mark or yellow triangle beside them?
  3. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Not sure what your problem is, but I'd check the hard drives SMART status, if available.(You say you can get into windows if you go to the bios first correct?) You can check it with several programs, here's one, speedfan, it can check the drive's smart status. The drive could be starting to fail, and intermittently working. In anycase, make a backup(if you can), of your important data ASAP onto cd or dvd.
  4. wkozey

    wkozey TS Rookie Posts: 17

    I have experienced a simular problem like this before, and it turned out to be the 80 pin hard drive cable. It would seem that due to the small diameter of the cable conductors and when they ends are crimped on the cable the inner conductors are exposed to the air and become tarnished which can cause intermitant problems.
    Try repalcing the cable and see if that works, cheap fix, it was in my case.
  5. edwenger

    edwenger TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your input.

    No, I don't think drivers are the problem. There are no warning signs in Device Manager. Thanks anyway.

    I downloaded that file vnf4ultra. I'll try it soon.

    Otherwise, I'll start looking for a harddrive and cable probably.

    Any other thoughts, let me know.

  6. edwenger

    edwenger TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Now it won't even boot!

    My failure that looked like a hard drive maybe got worse! Now the fan runs and drive spins, but my monitor never comes on and it doesn't even try to display any post or bios info. Any thoughts on direction from here?
  7. wkozey

    wkozey TS Rookie Posts: 17

    you may want to try a diffrent power supply
  8. edwenger

    edwenger TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I guess I solved my own problem. Dell (maybe others?) have lights on the back (sometimes front) of their computers that tell a lot---IF you can interpret them. Finally I found a Dell resource that gave me my answer.

    I took out and reinstalled one of my sticks of RAM and it fired right up. No hard drive trouble or anything. The color code on the back indicated RAM problem. I don't know what it said earlier when it just wouldn't load windows--I never checked. It's a good resource if you can find what you need on Dells website. ;-/

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