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  1. #1
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    Cold boot problems

    I recently aquired a Dell Inspiron 6400 Notebook with Centrino Duo Processors and 1GB RAM.

    Since new, I have had the problem that it won't boot properly when it is cold (i.e. it has not been running for a while).

    Within a couple of seconds of pressing the power button, the fan starts running flat out and the computer slowly boots. The fan does not quieten down, and the CPU usage stays at or close to 100%. If I try to do anything else it takes for ever. Sometimes the symptoms are worse: the taskbar is black, or parts of it are black, or the screen is pale blue.

    If I turn it off and reboot everything is fine.

    Naturally I have spoken to Dell support many times. They have replace the motherboard and the fan. The have got me to update the BIOS, and now just today to go back to an earlier version.
    I have done a Restore back to the original factory settings. I have used MSConfig to disable all startup options.

    Everytime I try anything, I can't test it until the next day (or much later the same day iff I turn it off for a few hours) because the problem does not happen when the computer has been already running.

    I think that when I next ring them tomorrow (if the problem is not fixed by today's change of BIOS) they are going to give up on trying to fix it, and offer to replace it.

    I would still prefer to fix it and so avoid having to install everything a third time.

    Any suggestions?
    Regards
    John



  2. #2
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    I think if they are willing to replace it, let them and get rid of a lemon.

    Does it matter if you are running on battery or plugged in?

    After they replaced the motherboard, did it work right?

    It would seem to me to be heat related - only the opposite of what most people experience. That is, in your case, it works fine once heated whereas the usual problems are that things go bad once heated. This actually says to me that you may have a bad solder joint or some other connection that only makes sure contact once the materials have expanded when warm. These type problems can be very difficult to troubleshoot. A technician would have to open the case and have a can of air handy, blasting and cooling components in the attempt to duplicate the problem. I'm back to my opening statement; let them give you a new system.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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  3. #3
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Thanks

    I agree that it makes sense to "get rid of the lemon" if I can, but at the moment I am just sick of installing things and so on. I actually have some work to do.

    I does not make any difference whether it is on battery or power. Replacing the motherboard/fan did not make any difference.

    After I restored back to initial factory setup, I probably should have turned it off for a few hours before starting again, but I did not. I updated McAfee, updated windows, installed office 2003 and updated that then turned it off. Next time in rebooted the problem was still there.

    I just turned it off for about one hour, and it rebooted OK.
    Regards
    John



  4. #4
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    The black you refer to has to do with your video card and/or driver. You did not mention if you had the ATI or Intel video. Either way I would return for a refund if you are in the first 30 days. I would then buy the comparable (and somewhat superior) Latitude notebook. You will have a choice of Nvidia (my personal choice) or Intel for graphics. If you have the Intel setup there is a new driver on the Dell site posted on 7/7/06. If you update the driver uninstall the old one first and if it refuses to uninstall use "Driver Cleaner Pro" (just google it). Dell designs their notebooks as Latiudes then reconfigures the BIOS to turn it into an Inspiron. Good Luck.

  5. #5
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Thanks

    I am now past 30 days, because this has dragged on for quite a while.

    I have Intel (Media Accelerator 950 Graphics) video. When it boots normally the graphics are fine by me- but I am largely indifferent to the qualityy of the graphics - but I don't play games or watch videos.

    I will look into changing the video driver. The driver posted on 7/7 says it is for : Intel 945GM Graphics Controller.
    Regards
    John



  6. #6
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    It should not matter that it is past 30 days if you reported the same problem initially within the first 30 day period.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    As Bill said, the 30 day expiration should not apply since you reported the problem sooner. Get a replacement now or you will spend unknown number of daysweeks trying to fix something and probably never succeed.
    It's better to install your apps again on a good machine than just getting stressed out trying to shovel "it" against the tide.
    BOB
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  8. #8
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Yesterday, for the first time ever, I think, it booted normally, so I thought maybe it was just a software issue after all.

    But today it is back to normal, so I have just started the process of having it replaced with another new one.
    Regards
    John



  9. #9
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Yesterday afternoon my replacement 6400 arrived. It started OK, then I spent some time letting both Windows and McAfee do all the updates they wanted to do.

    Then I changed a few settings, and removed a few bloatware programmes that I don't need and turned it off.

    Turned it on again today to start installing all the other software I use and "guess what?" - Fan came on straight way, computer booted slowly and needed to be rebooted before it was useable. Exactly the same problem as with the other laptop.

    It seems unlikely that this machine has the same hardware problem as the previous one. So is it something I have done?
    So I have started again. This time I am doing all the Windows updates before the McAfee ones, and I will leave all the default software in place. I wont touch a thing until I am sure it works OK.
    Regards
    John



  10. #10
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    My fairly new Dell is a desktop and I didn't have your problem, but I'd like to ask a question. Your revised strategy sounds like a good one and I'd run as bare as you can for a couple or three days just to make sure. Is the McAfee you got one of the trial things and do you plan to pay to keep it? I think if you don't plan to use it, I would remove it first when you're satisfied the machine runs OK. My plan was to use Avast and so after Windows was up to date, the only thing I did was remove McAfee (not easy, by the way!) and install Avast. I ran that way for several days before I started removing other stuff.

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Also to add to what Al said,
    Are you sure McAfee is not doing a virus check on start up?
    That will take some time to do and will slow things down to a crawl. Check the options if you insist on keeping McAfee.
    BOB
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  12. #12
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    The McAfee is actually a 24 month subscription that was bundled with the computer. My household has two other Dell laptops that run McAfee without problems so I was quite happy to keep it.
    I have rebooted this morning and the same problem has reappeared. As always, goes away when I reboot.

    McAfee is not set to do a scan when I boot the computer. I will try to remove McAfee and see what that does. My dilemma is that if I ring Dell about this (again) I need the computer to be as close as possbile to the original configuration, or they will blame the problem on the changes I have made.
    Regards
    John



  13. #13
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    I have now done yet another Restore back to factory settings. This time I did as little as possible when rebooting - no windows updates, no McAfee etc. Just a time zone, keyboard and language. But the problem has not gone away.

    I have looked around at Google and found two other people describing the same problem. One has just come to accept that he has to turn it on twice every day. He thought it was related to wireless networking, so I turned that off (on both machines - I have two of them at the moment) but that did not make any difference.

    It is time to ring Dell I think.
    Regards
    John



  14. #14
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Yesterday I spoke to Dell tech support. They thought that yet another update to the BIOS might fix the problem. But it did not help.

    Rang back today and they had nothing else to suggest, so it has been agreed that they will take back both machines and give me a full refund.

    So I am back in the market for a new laptop.
    Regards
    John



  15. #15
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    Re: Cold boot problems

    Not an encouraging saga in the least, John. I wish you luck in your hunt. If you "only" found two people via Google, it must not be a "red alert" situation at Dell. I can't help but wonder what would have happened had the machine had nothing but the OS installed - trying to pin down whether it's hardware or software. Surely to goodness with as many laptops as they sell, this can't be a global problem. Which makes me wonder - where do they actually manufacture machines sold in Oz? Could there be some manufacturing glitch, localized at a particular assembly plant? I'm grinning as I write because I have a friend here (Kentucky) who's right on the verge of ordering from them...

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