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Hi there, i am new to this website and i dont know if i posted this in the right place, but the machine i have is a dying machine and has the ultimate problem ( its corrupt or something)

almost 2 years ago, I was getting like 4 different types of BSOD ( like the NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, PAGE FAULT and something DUMP, i dont exactly remember each one) and I spent hours a day researching (the internet and talking to people on it) and talking to dell and them telling me new way to save my computer. I was pretty sure that i got malware or a trojan in my system and was getting increasingly smart

ive done (from what i can remember, but i know theres more ive done)

msconfig, run /chksdk, mcafee scan (most up to date), adware scan, system restore, reformat (this is the most promising one, but doesnt work), stress test (but all signs turned out negative),and i try to reinstall via disk (windows xp home), but it wont b/c for some reason, it cant find any drivers or something so it tells me to quit.

I was stumped, i talked to about 10 different Dell techies and they all told me to do a different test/diagnosis and none of them worked. Like i said, reformatting was the most promising, when i do it ( i sometimes double bag it and do it 2wice in a row) it starts off like a brand new comp, but then my programs start to crash more and more frequently(mcafee, internet, any other programs... most programs keep saying that they are corrupt). It eventually got so bad that my safe mode wouldnt start up and it would just turn straight to a blue screen. I felt like Dell was trying to avoid me shipping it back and trying to run out my warrenty time or something. So i gave it to 2 of these Tech Wizards my dad knows, but they couldnt find out a solution. They were the same people who fixed my other badly broken comp that wouldnt even start up, just stay on loading windows. So i gave up on it for awhile b/c that was like months of stressing over my once called "brand new" comp and i could not get any real help b/c this virus thing was far too advanced i guess.


Now.. its 2 years later (roughly, in present time this was last week) and i asked my Dad just to get my computer fixed for my grad present. He bought the 2 year extended warrenty ($240) for it about a year ago because he didnt want to give up on it. He talked to Dell and they told him to reformat (ugh, here it goes again). So he thinks he fixed my computer (i dont know how he was able to reformat that dead comp though) but i kept telling him that it will slowly die day by day. Now, i saw it dying and I saw the newest Mcafee i had to buy (around $80) FAIL and not only fail to find the virus, but the next day stop working and kept getting like and error that it had to stop protecting me. Now... i didnt know what to do, my programs say they were corrupted again and everything started shutting down for me... but yesterday i remembered that I had a brand new Windows Vista CD i can clean install my comp with. Well i tried it out last night, i even reinstalled it twice because vista had to put my old files into a seperate folder and save it for safe keeping, but i deleted them then re-reinstall to make the current new windows files the old ones. After i did that, today it seemed slightly normal, i downloaded the new mozilla then the new adware trial and then mcafee again. Then today my Mcafee started getting blocked,errored, and forced to stop protecting me. My adware 2008 pro couldnt even detect a critical object.

so ATM, i am awaiting my blue screen i guess, or my eventual internet to crash. So far i spent $2,000 on my comp, plus an additional warrenty, plus the newest Mcafee at the time, then an additional 2 year warrenty (which i remember was $240) and the newest Mcafee ($80) up to date. A clean install of windows through the CD couldnt even stop this trojan/malware/ i dont know what.... at 1st i thought bad RAM but the diagnostic/stress test 2 years ago turned out negative. I know you guys are really smart with computers and could hopefully help me out that would save my life. If you cant, do you think i can get a refund of my Mcafee (it obviously did not satisfy me) and an exchange of my computer?

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Last Post by ITSA
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If it's still under warranty you could probably get it replaced by Dell, but that would be all about getting the right person on the phone and saying the right thing. If you pursue this be sure to stress that they system works fine for a few days after a new install and then fails, otherwise they'll just reinstall OS and send it back to you.

To me it sounds like a bad hard drive, only thing I could think of that would cause:
A. trouble with formatting and installation
B. Gradual degradation of the system.
If it were any other hardware problem you'd expect it to be responsive to how long the system has been running (or completely random) but a gradual corruption is most likely HDD issue.

I'd suggest two things:

Find an Old hard drive and install on that, see if it degrades the same way.

or

Let it run for a couple days without an internet connection, this would COMPLETELY rule out viruses, since there would be no opportunity to become infected.


As far as McCafee, they're not going to give you your money back for buying software you didn't need. It's not their fault you didn't have a virus. I'd suggest just using it on another computer if you need it somewhere else (or this one if you get it fixed) or just completely scratch McCaffe and go with AVG Free or Avast.

If you send it back to Dell for a repair and they don't properly test it you'll have A LOT of leverage to demand a replacement, or at least escalate to higher level techs and get some special attention.

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thanks, heres something too i tried out right now too.

http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?articleId=21707&rhtml=true

it shows my drivers are most likely corrupted (maybe thats why reinstalling Windows Home didnt work b/c it couldnt find a driver, or the corruption wouldnt let me detect it)

thanks for the response but im not sure of 2 things


how do i install another hard drive? do you mean install vista on another hard drive? b/c im using vista on my labtop for 1 or 2 months now and its ok, the CD i got came from its box. i bought a brand new external hard drive recently too if that helps

and im confused on how closing my internet will rule out viruses b/c i thought if you catch a virus, its in your system

edit: more info if it helps. i havent gotten a blue screen so far today or my internet has yet to crash... but we will see tomorrow.

also i cant even chkdsk anymore, when i issue run->chkdsk, the command prompt opens up relaly briefly and then closes

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thanks, heres something too i tried out right now too.

http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?articleId=21707&rhtml=true

it shows my drivers are most likely corrupted (maybe thats why reinstalling Windows Home didnt work b/c it couldnt find a driver, or the corruption wouldnt let me detect it)

thanks for the response but im not sure of 2 things


how do i install another hard drive? do you mean install vista on another hard drive? b/c im using vista on my labtop for 1 or 2 months now and its ok, the CD i got came from its box. i bought a brand new external hard drive recently too if that helps

and im confused on how closing my internet will rule out viruses b/c i thought if you catch a virus, its in your system

edit: more info if it helps. i havent gotten a blue screen so far today or my internet has yet to crash... but we will see tomorrow.

also i cant even chkdsk anymore, when i issue run->chkdsk, the command prompt opens up relaly briefly and then closes

nm, i had to scan disk and restart and chkdsk booted up

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ok heres what i did


I have a toshiba external hard drive and i ran a game program from it


it worked and was running smoothly for a couple of hours where as my C drive instantly crashed. So this external hard drive worked but then started to crash like 2 hours later. I HOPE the corruption did not spread to my external hard drive, but I think this proves

not only is it a bad Drive, but i also might have a virus still in it or somewhere in my computer
I have done like a 4 hour long thorough chkdsk/scandisk and it found nothing wrong with my comp

I NEED MORE HELP, PLEASE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO RESPOND!!!

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External hard drive should be fine, file corruption shouldn't spread from one drive to another, and if there were a virus infection on it it would be benign unless there's an OS installed or another system accessing the file. A virus scan would remove any infected files from a data drive without incident.

If the file crashed immediately off of the C drive, but ran smoothly for a couple hours from the external I'd say the issue is with the C drive, the crash when running from external was probably due to unrelated system files.

If you're comfortable and familiar with drive partitioning you could install the OS on the External drive as a test (this should work, but I know older dells could be temperamental about these things. Not sure about 06 models) if you're not up for putting a seperate partition on the external drive see if you can scratch up a HDD from an old computer, plug it in (ideally using the cable from that systems incase it's the cable on the new system that's damaged) and install windows on that side.

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scratch up a HDD from an old computer, plug it in (ideally using the cable from that systems incase it's the cable on the new system that's damaged) and install windows on that side

im not familiar with drive partitioning, but i would gladly do it if i knew how to do it and install the OS on my external drive (my external has 160gb)

as for the old computer HDD, i do have a really old comp, but its still a dell (dell celeron like 10 years old). Are you saying like opening it up and taking out the HDD? how would i come to find it, unplug it, and install it if you dont mind? >.<

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The new drive is very simple, open the old computers case and find the drive. It will be a 3-1/2 inch drive, meaning it's roughly the side of a floppy disk drive, 3.5"x5(ish)x1. unplug the cords and hook it up to their counterparts in the new computer. You'll probably want to remove unhook the current drive to avoid any confusion during the install.

For installation on the external drive you'd need to use a third party program, there are free ones but I'm not really familiar enough with any of them to give a recommendation so I'd suggest searching this site and google for "disk management" or "partition resize" to get a suggestion.

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wow, its been awhile since ive posted...but this computer wore me out so much that i just put it aside for awhile to get some schooling done. anyways, i still havent done the hard drive transfer yet cause im scared i might mess it up, but i think im going to need this computer very soon

i cant believe i havent told my specs, mine was the top of the line 2006 Dell XPS 400, but now its not so top of the line lol...but the money spent still was

so recently i had a friend who thought he knew A LOT about computers and he was stumped aswell, he also said just try a new hard drive...anyone else have any opinions and some easy solutions an amateur can get done?

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I think the original advice is still sound, if cost is an issue on replacing the hard drive ask one of these computer guys if they have an old drive you can use for a couple weeks as a test and if it turns out to be a solution buy a permanent drive after.

Let us know how it turns out.

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ah thanks! ya i watched a tutorial on installing a new HDD so ill try this out with my celeron to my XPS right now

may i ask what is a good HDD and an affordable one? i saw the hitachi deskstar 1TB is only like $70, is it a reliable hard drive and worth the money? reliability is my main focus rather than space. 250GB is what my system has (had) and that was more than enough from what i remember

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lol wow, i think I almost took out the CD drive and tried to replace that. ok so the harddrive for the XPS desktops are on a slider on the bottom..ok, umm lets see if i can do this

ok my old 2350 dell has a harddrive and its plugs dont correspond with my xps ones...

my xps harddrive has sata cables where my old one im trying to install uses jumper (though my xps comes with the old school jumper) and some sor of grey tape data strip thing that i can't plug in anywhere on my xps (there is a rectangular slot near it but it doesnt fit and i dont think it is meant for it)... is this a common issue or should i post an image or my comp

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ok so i now know my old 60gb hard drive is IDE where my 250gb one is SATA.

there was no IDE connector so i took off my DVD drive's IDE and plugged it into my Hard drive one + boot connector. I tried running off my old hard drive (it was really quiet and wasnt clicking so much like when it runs off of my 250gb newer one) but then the computer fails and reboots itself really quickly...

i think i put my specs on here before, but it got erased, but just incase it isnt a hard drive problem, heres my info

" original: Dell XPS 400 9150
1 CC299 Display, Flat Panel Display, 19 1907FPC, Midnight Gray, Dell Americas Organization
0 149DF INFORMATION..., PREPARATION MATERIAL..., DEVIATION..., PRECISION WORKSTATION..., INCREASE..., #2
2 C6844 Dual In-Line Memory Module, 1G 533M, 128X64, 8, 240, 2RX8
1 X8764 Card, Graphic, 256, 7800, GTX UHMGA13
1 TF811 Processor, 80551, Pentium D Smithfield For Desktops, 820 2.8, BO, Server
1 J4628 Keyboard, 104, Universal Serial Bus, United States, Entry, Liteon
1 KJ920 Assembly, Dvd+/-rw, 16X, Ide Nec Corporation, CHASSIS 2005...
1 JF495 Modem, V.92, Data Fax, Internal SON2, Lead Free, Dell Americas Organization
1 RG240 KIT..., Software, Mcafee, 7, COMPACT DISK DRIVE..., ENGLAND/ENGLISH...
1 U8468 Hard Drive, 250GB, S2, 7.2K, 16M Lead Free, SGT-T
1 YD320 PLACEMAT..., GETTING STARTED..., XPS-400, ENGLAND/ENGLISH...
1 CJ781 ASSEMBLY..., CHASSIS..., 9150/400, PWA INTEGRATED..., V2
0 01323 INFORMATION..., NO ITEM
1 H9002 Assembly, Panel, FILLER..., FDD TANK
1 J8461 Assembly, Cable, Video, Lead Free
1 X9535 TECHNICAL SHEET..., REMOVE..., COMPACT DISKETTE..., MEDIA REDUCTION INITIATIVE..., ENGLAND/ENGLISH...
1 X9694

Assembly, Heatsink, Performance Shroud, Tank"

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This sounds like what I'd expect, What happens when the system crashes on the new (old) drive? If it makes it to the loading windows screen and then restarts or BSODs then it sounds like you already had a copy of windows on that drive that's not able to boot on this system (probably doesn't have the right drivers) sometimes booting in safemode once will install the necesary drivers but the best solution is to install a fresh copy of windows on the drive and see how it functions.

The fact that you were getting excessive clicking on the newer drive screams HDD failure, but if it's doing something other than I indicated post the details and I'll try to help.

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yes my old(er) computer drive has windows already on it and we still use the old celeron computer its hooked up too, i just wanted to test and im happy that it sounds like everything goes as planned.

i will probably buy a brand new hitachi deskstar 1TB (b/c my older hard drive is also a deskstar, but a 60gb version, but at least i know its reliable)and replace my XPS hard drive, then i will boot windows XP home and install it, and we will see what happens, thank you, if there is anymore insight on what it may be, i accept all possibilities

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ok guys, i just recieved the deskstar 1tb hard drive

i plugged it in using the new sata cord (red) it came with and the sata data cord and when i tried to install windows, it said could not find the hard drive

then i used the old plugs my xps came with (blue sata) and it still said couldnt find hard drive

now i ran diagnostics from F12, then it found the hitachi and passed it, now im trying to install windows and it still says did not find any hard drives installed in your computer...exact same as my old hard drive


could it be the BIOS? It would make sense because maybe i had a trojan that messed up my BIOS and from there wrecked havok with all the BSOD i had in the past, and i had like every type of BSOD when this computer 1st started crashing. i mean it let my external hard drive pretty far via usb cord (it recognized it and everything, but couldnt install OS b/c didnt have permission to access), but my sata ones it can see it from diagnostics, but cant find it if im trying to install something so there has to be some error somewhere.


if its the BIOS, how can i reinstall it if i cant even log in b/c i dont have an OS, i dont even think i still have the CDs...


UPDATE: umm, remember i have a windows xp sp 2 home and a vista (from my laptop). I tried SP2 installation for my hard drives, and that one came out negative. I tried vista for my new hard drive and vista was able to find my new hard drive. Or maybe my xp home sp 2 is messed up and maybe too old to read sata lol? but it cant be because the main problem is stuff waay before this, this is just the recent issue, im out $82....

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( http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/p/19339416/19724697.aspx#19724697 ) this is the official dell forum im asking for help aswell


at 1st my HD wasnt recognized in F2 until after i ran F12 hard drive diagnostics test, then i checked F2 and it said i had a drive in SATA 3 (so i guess it was to make my computer aware of it)

i dont think i have an internal floppy drive

my SATA operation was on "RAID autodetect/ACHI" or something with the "I" at the end, i just changed it to "ATA"

" format partition using the NTFS file system (quick) "

"format partition using NTFS file system"

"leave the current file system intact (no changes)"

im picking the 2nd option, i will come back on to report back later

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ok i tried installing windows, halfway through installation i get a blue screen of death.

i think is was the page not fault one or something...but still a blue screen on a brand new hard drive clean install... there has to be something wrong deeper than the hard drive... ughh im going to give upppp

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ok so some local IT guy came to fix the computer and he is 100% sure that he fixed it. he ran the memory test 386 or something and found out 1 of my RAMs were bad. He said that was the reason why i got multiple blue screens and everything.


i was able to install win xp sp2 successfully and now my desktop is blank with only a recycle bin. I cant access the internet to update my drivers and everything aswell b/c i dont really know how to set that up (even though i have a direct ethernet cable to my modem, but the set up wizard is not helping at all). I guess it is now At&t's job to set that up and when my internet starts up, and i download the updates, hopefully everything will be good and ill update this if there are any further issues


thank you so much for the help!

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God dude, that sounded like a nightmare. Even being an IT, i would have just sent in for a new comp after the first 12 hours of trouble shooting lol.

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