My Dell 9100 is failing me.


Rick Altman

My status as an IT expert is being sorely tested by a six-month-old Dell
Dimension 9100 that has me at wit's end. Here is a laundry list of symptoms,
in the hopes that someone's speculation might help shed light on the
problems that I have been having with this system:

- At least 75% of my attempts to shut down the system fail, requiring that
I power cycle the computer. I have powered down this machine more times
in the past month than I would across the 12-month life of a typical

- External media is often not recognized until I reboot (which, 3 out of 4
as mentioned above, means a power cycle).

- About 50% of the time, iTunes will not run properly. Launching it places
the executable in Task Manager's list of processes, but the interface
does not appear, and all attempts to end its process fails.

- FileMaker repeatedly informs me that another user is using the software,
when there is no chance of that being true.

- Adobe Acrobat 7 is a disaster, constantly freezing up or informing me
that I must be an administrator to perform an update, even though I am
an administrator and I did not ask for an update.

It's as if there are conditions that become latched on this system and
refuse to release their resources or reset themselves. Nonetheless, I can
take Task Manager processes down to the bare essentials and these symptoms

- These symptoms become more pronounced the deeper I am into a Windows
session. They rarely show up right after a restart.

- All of these conditions have persisted despite my repartitioning the
drive and installing a fresh copy of XPPro SP2.

- I am using the latest BIOS version from Dell.

If I can get some clear indication that this is a hardware issue, I can take
this up with Dell. But I don't know what to hang a suspicion on -- faulty
RAM? Bad motherboard?

I'm grateful in advance for any commentary on this puzzling situation...

Rick A.
Pleasanton CA




memtest86 can be used to test memory

Presumably you've used MS config to disable all non ms services, and run the
sys to see if all the problems persist

Cymbal Man Freq.

If you only have 256 MB of RAM and no swap file....expect major problems.

Dell is always suspect. At some point you sound like you need your money back.

What's your firewall/AV?


Go to dell online and do a PC checkup scan. Use the dell diagnostic CD if
you have it, to also run a check.


Just wondering - do IT experts in Pleasanton, CA use Event viewer,
RAM & disk diagnostic tools? <puzzled>




R. McCarty

If you've "Cold" power-cycled the Dell, it's likely the disk drive has
some inconsistencies on it. I would run a Chkdsk and see if it's status
is dirty. Just before proceeding to a Chkdsk C: /F (or) /R be sure to
have your personal data backed up. It would also be a good idea
to monitor the notebook's thermals. I would get Mobile Monitor &
keep an eye on the temps (especially the disk drive).


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