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Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

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  • Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

    Hello, My Dell Inspirion 8600 (circa 2003) w/ Win XP Pro (SP3) 40GB USATA (IDE) HDD, 1.5GB RAM screen failed and I need to know if the problem is with a burned out graphics card. Here's what happened: After an overnight backup, the next morning the laptop's fan could be heard and I turned on the monitor. The monitor stated it wasn't getting a signal. So I disconnected it to see if I could get the 8600's screen to show something and what it showed I had never seen before. The best description is it looked a lot like an out of focus old newspaper. White-ish background with black vertical blotches (looked just like print columns you see in a newspaper) and these blotches would slowly progress into a more out of focus look. I rebooted and the monitor gave the same No Signal statement and I could hear the HDD being accessed. The laptop screen started a fresh newspaper look again. I then guessed right that pressing Enter would put the unseen cursor into the logon box and so I was able to enter my password and logon, although I couldn't see it I could hear the HDD going through it's usual boot up routine. I've removed the HDD and put it into a USB enclosure and there seems to be no problems with it. The graphics card on this laptop is a 128MB nVidia GeForce FX Go 5650 4X AGP Graphics card which is integrated with the motherboard Dell No. CD770. Due the expence of replacing it, I hope the problem is something else. Please advise. Thank you!

  • #2
    Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

    Dunno if a machine from that era will have it, but you can try a diagnostic boot. Hold down Fn and press the power button to enter the Pre-Boot System Assessment. Even if you can't see the screen it will make lots of very loud beeping noises if it finds a fault.

    Sounds like a faulty GPU though, and it'll be cheaper getting a new machine than replacing it. Even if Dell still carry the parts (Unlikely as 5 years is normal EOL on hardware) they charge a fortune for out of warranty calls, even on parts only without installation.
    BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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    • #3
      Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

      Thanks very much cruachan! Would you know where I can get an explanation of what the beeps mean? Also. assuming you're correct but I can find a used one of the same model at a good price - but maybe the screen or HDD in the used one won't be the same: 1- Would swapping out my current HDD and putting it into the used replacement be a simple process to get the replacement to work as mine did - or are there other issues outside of the HDD and in the guts of the laptop that would need major re-configurations? 2- If the replacement came with a lower resolution screen would my current HDD work in it Ok or optionally, could I harvest the motherboard w/ graphics card from the replacement and put it into my machine w/ a higher resolution screen - would that still work (it just has to be viewable enough so I can start migrating programs etc. to a better PC).

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      • #4
        Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

        They aren't beep codes, you get an on screen error but it beeps like crazy if it finds a fault for precisely the sort of issue you are having. A single beep is heard when the colour bar test starts, but you will hear multiple and very loud sounds if a fault is found.

        1. Simple process, shaky ground license wise. OEM windows is tied to the machine it ships with.
        2. Shouldn't be an issue putting a "new" motherboard into your PC except cost and finding one.

        With a machine that old I would write it off and put the HD in another machine (as you already have) to get the data off it personally.
        BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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        Cruachan's Blog

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        • #5
          Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

          Do I understand correctly that this is a laptop and you have tried connecting an external monitor to it? If this is correct, then you may need to press a key combination (Fn + F7 or similar) to get the video signal redirected to the external monitor. The manual will tell you what the correct key combo is to achieve this but it is usually the Fn key plus a Function Key.
          1 1 was a racehorse.
          2 2 was 1 2.
          1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
          2 2 1 1 2

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          • #6
            Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

            Thanks for those pointers. The HDD is now in a USB case and I want to handle it as little as possible. I'm going to try inserting a CD w/ Ubuntu on it to boot Ubuntu from the CD and if so try to get the monitor to connect - but I'd be surprised if it did since that's how it was normally before. I'll report back. Also, my posts here were written before using paragraphs but when I "Submit", they've been posted as one big paragraph. This one has 3 paragraphs now - let's see how it posts ...

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            • #7
              Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

              One para...
              what browser are you using?
              Have you tried adding a blank line between paras?
              Tom Jones
              MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
              PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
              IT Trainer / Consultant
              Ossian Ltd
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              • #8
                Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                Creating the paragraphs is no problem in the "Reply to thread" text box. Whatever I write there all comes together into one text block. I'll indicte w/ (par) when I try to create one. I'm using FF 3.6 and hitting return 2x to create them.

                GOOD NEWS in regard to my screen problem, although I I'm still lost as to why. I first inserted the Ubuntu disc into the disc drive and booted up. The Dell's screen look normal with te Ubuntu logo showing fine with a menu window. No weird vertical stripes or newspaper look. I connected the monitor and it showed the same except it didn't show the menu window for some reason. (par) I then shut down and re-inserted the HDD into the Dell 8600 laptop and booted up and got the weird display screen again. Shut down, booted up w/ the Ubuntu disc in the drive and got a normal display.

                At least I know the expensive graphics card is not burned out after all now. Could corrupted graphics card drivers be the problem? I have a UBCD4Win boot up diagnostic CD I can try.
                Last edited by Wired; 4th March 2011, 19:00. Reason: fixed

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                • #9
                  Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                  fixed post. Update java, and then FF (3.6.13 is the latest IIRC).
                  ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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                  • #10
                    Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                    Thanks for the paragraph adjustment. My Java was updated a couple days ago and I'm now using FF 3.6.15. Let's see how this post looks.

                    After many hours of research and another weekend trying to resolve my problem, I was able to find a workaround solution.

                    I tried the UBCD4Win disc and it was able to not only access itself at boot up but also displayed itself on the screen in a lower resolution. How can that be if the graphics card it shot? I performed a number of checks with it including checkdisk and RAM check and the results were OK. But I couldn't run any programs on my HDD with it or figure out how to use it to get into Safe Mode. So I then created an Ubuntu install CD which also booted itself up and displayed its menu just fine in lower resolution. I looked for a way for it to access and run my windows programs but it couldn't do that. I just wanted to a least backup my FF and TB with specific backup programs so I could migrate them.

                    Eventually I couldn't get UBCD to display at all and Ubuntu would start to develop some display stripes. A curiosity check on YouTube showed what a failed graphics card looks like and mine was similar in some ways and worst in most ways. I then remembered that it was after I turned the PC on, when it was cold, that the lower res. display worked. Then I remembered what I had learned about tin whiskers a couple years ago. Therefore, the contracting effect of cold on metal may be making enough connections in the card to get me by and if so, if I could get into Safe Mode, I should be able to do what I need.

                    So with nothing left to lose, I put the PC in my freezer for 1 hour. This worked great! After powering on I immediately got the Dell logo w/ progress bar and F8-ed into Safe Mode. graphics were fine at that resolution. I ran the MSC Diagnostics (Extended) and everything was ok except for Error Code: 5300:0119, which I got many times at different resolution checks and the code relates to video graphics motherboard. As the PC warms up condensation develops but that didn't seem to effect any functions but the vertical stripes started up again but i could still make out most of the display. To reduce the size of the display so I could fully see the programs opened and find others out of the screen's frame, I tried changing the screen resolution, and executing that adjustment, wiped out the display to a full white screen.

                    Turning it off and putting it back into the freezer for an hour, got it "fixed" again enough to do some backups and other migrations are in process.

                    I still wonder what exactly the problem is that allows this fix to happen (???)
                    Last edited by Wired; 9th March 2011, 03:18. Reason: fixed

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                    • #11
                      Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                      have you tried booting in either Last Known Good, or Safe Mode ?
                      Please do show your appreciation to those who assist you by leaving Rep Point https://www.petri.com/forums/core/im.../icon_beer.gif

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                      • #12
                        Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                        I guess you missed my last post ...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                          Are you using Quick Reply or Post Reply?
                          ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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                          • #14
                            Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                            I think Post reply. At least for sure this one.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Need Diagnosis help - Dell Inspirion 8600

                              For the benefit of us old farts with intercoursed eyes, any chance of putting a paragraph or 5 in your post to make it easier to read. Ta.
                              1 1 was a racehorse.
                              2 2 was 1 2.
                              1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                              2 2 1 1 2

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