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chuckssite
1 Nickel

Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

I have been using a 2006 E520 in my church library, and it has been hanging up many times every day.  I think the hangups (for about 35 seconds) are due to having only 1 GB of memory and trying to run Vista Business Version.  I finallly broke down and bought 2 GB more of memory and installed it today.  The computer read 3 GB when I went to "setup".  I could find nothing in "setup" that indicated that I had to make any changes - did I misread it?  When I continued on to start up, the computer returned the first of many "blue screens" that appeared for the briefest of moments before leaving me to try many different ways to get Windows to work.  

 Before I installed them I upgraded the BIOS and audio and video drivers. (I did not download all of the 46 drivers that Dell says are available for the Dimension E520 computer, but I now plan to download those that are applicable to the hardware that is installed.) There was no apparent problem with the installation, as the computer recognized the 3 GB of memory when I rebooted into “setup.” BUT when I tried to start the computer I kept getting errors, blue screens, and more problems than I can remember. I was able to boot into “safe mode with networking” but Google Chrome and Windows Live Mail did not load properly. I tried many of the suggestions on the help screen, tried to run “system restore” (which did not run) and the memory diagnostic program which hung up the computer when it got to 71% of the second run-through or 85% of the complete test. There was a message at the very beginning that said “hardware problems were detected. To identify and repair these problems, you will need to contact the computer manufacturer.”  I have no idea how to proceed to do that, and the memory was from Crucial, not Dell.
The blue screens appeared every time I tried to start the computer when not in “safe mode,” but didn’t stay visible long enough to read them. I think one said that if I had changed configuration to use the installation disk and choose repair. My church office has, I think, the Vista Business Version installation disk. I'll try to get it and try a "repair."
I’m planning to download all of the applicable drivers that Dell says are available. Then I’d like to try to use the Vista installation disk to see if a “repair” will do any good. Then I’ll try to reinstall the new memory. If there is still a problem, I’ll try the memory diagnostic again. If nothing works, I may throw the computer in the trash, shut the library door, and go home. I spent 9.5 hours already today for what should have been a 20 minute job (like all the other computers I have successfully installed memory on).  I didn't have the strength to dump the computer tonight.  Before I regain my strength and dispose of it, I ask (and plead) -  Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
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16 Replies
jackshack
5 Tungsten

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

Try removing the original memory and installing your new 1 GB modules into the slots from which you removed the original memory.  Do Not put the original memory back into the computer until you have run it a while.  Do you get the same symptoms?

My E520 developed this symptom about four months ago; took me a while to find that one of the original modules had an intermittent problem.

Dell Forum member since 2005

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chuckssite
1 Nickel

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

Thanks for the suggestion.  I was planning to do a bunch of memory switching because of the "hardware comment" comment on the memory test.  I was going to try one new memory stick at a time to see if maybe one of the new ones was bad, but I hadn't considered that perhaps one of the old ones might be defective.  Actually, that might explain why the computer hangs up periodically for about 35 seconds and then continues.  I had attributed that to lack of memory, but I suppose it could be defective memory.  But the memory test passes when the original memory is the only memory installed and did not when the new memory was installed.  So, I was thinking that maybe one of the new memory sticks was not fully installed or was defective.  I reinstalled them yesterday (after updating most of the Dell recommended drivers) and still have the problem.  So, the next step was to check operation with various memory combinations.  I'm glad to hear that your problem was fixed, so that offers me some hope.  Since this computer is one I use in my church library, I have to work in stages while still getting some work done.  Again, thanks for the suggestion. Chuck

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chuckssite
1 Nickel

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

Whoops, that should have said "hardware problem" comment on the memory test.  That must be a big clue!

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jackshack
5 Tungsten

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

My E520 developed the problem while only the original memory was installed.  I performed the memory test as well, which passed every time I ran it.  I knew something was wrong, though, so I took out one module and ran the machine for a while to see if Windows would fail.  It did, on the second module, so I replaced both.  I never did get the memory test to show anything.

Dell Forum member since 2005

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chuckssite
1 Nickel

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

I guess I have good news and really bad news, with the bad news at the end.  I decided to try to determine if the two new 1 GB memory sticks were good.  At this point the computer was working with one 512 MB in DIMM 1 & 2. I added the new 1GB in DIMM 3 & 4 - didn't work.  Emptied DIMM 3 and it worked with better response/speed.  Replaced the 1 GB in DIMM 4 with the other 1 GB, and it worked again.  (For what it may be worth, the computer said that the old memory had a rank of1 and the new memory had a rank of 2.)  At this point it looked like DIMM 3 had a problem.  Then I moved each 1 GB stick to DIMM 3 in turn, leaving DIMM 4 empty, and both tests failed.  So, again it looked like the DIMM 3 socket was the problem.  Then, I decided to try other combinations, thinking that if the DIMM 3 was bad, I could use the 1 GB in DIMM 1 & 2 and the 512 MB in DIMM 4 giving me 2.5 GB.  I begin with 1 GB in DIMM 1 - didn't work.  Then, added 1GB to DIMM 2 - didn't work and I was worried.  Removed 1GB from DIMM 1 leaving 1 GB in DIMM 2 - didn't work.  Tried other combinations of 512 MB and 1 GB sticks - nothing worked.  Then back to 512 MB in DIMM 1 & 2 with 1 GB in DIMM 4 which had worked earlier - didn't work.  Finally, I removed the 1 GB leaving the two 512 MB in DIMM 1 & 2 which was the

original installation - didn't work.  I reversed the two modules - still didn't work.  No combination works at this time.  All of the combinations now have a blue screen with STOP - 0X000000F4 that gets lots of treatment on the internet, but most discussion seems to be software related and solutions involve downloading some "fix it" software. Obviously, I can't do software fixes if I can boot the computer.  I suppose that something could have loosened with all of the memory changing, so I guess I can remove all devices and reseat them.  I probably will clean contacts and sockets at the same time.  I'll disconnect all devices not needed.  But I'm just guessing.  I've gone from bad to worse.  I don't think I have any static damage as I touched the metal case often, but something drastic seems to have happened.  But I have no idea how to check for that or how to get this computer back to operation.  Do you?

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jackshack
5 Tungsten

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

You should try installing whichever memory you want into the first paired slots; this should be slot 1 and slot 3.  See the section on installing memory in this excerpt from the E520 Service Manual:  E520 Service Manual - Removing and Installing Parts.  Once you have the memory installed, remove the CMOS back-up cell from the motherboard for about five minutes.  While you still have everything unplugged and the cell is out, push the power button and hold it in for about fifteen seconds to discharge the capacitors and ensure that the CMOS memory has no power.  This will reset the CMOS and cause the computer to re-inventory its devices.  If things are still functional this action should bring it back to life.

After installing and removing things repeatedly it is possible for the stored configuration to get out of sync with the actual configuration of the computer.  Resetting the CMOS sometimes remedies this situation.  Don't forget to watch out for static electricity while working on your computer.  Static can permanently disable it.  Before touching anything in the computer you should make contact with the metal can of the power supply and repeat that action frequently to make sure you don't build up a static charge.

Dell Forum member since 2005

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chuckssite
1 Nickel

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

Your suggestion makes sense.  I just reread the section of the Owners Manual that you referenced.  Apparently, I forgot this instruction:  "Be sure to install a single memory module in DIMM connector 1, the connector closest to the processor, before you install modules in the other connectors."  I know that I didn't always do this, so your suggestion that the computer was confused is probably correct.  I cannot locate a "CMOS Backup Cell" on the diagram of the inside of the computer.  I'm assuming that this is the battery shown as item 6.  Before I remove anything else, can you confirm that.  Thanks.

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jackshack
5 Tungsten

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

Yes, you've found it.  Most of Dell's manuals give a procedure for replacing that battery, but I don't see it on the page in the link I gave you.  It isn't too difficult, however.  If you look at the holder you will see a protrusion from the generally round shape.  In that protrusion you should see a bit of metal that is part of the spring contacts that holds the battery in place.  That bit of spring must be pushed away from the battery to release it from its holder.  I generally do this by flipping the computer to face the main board toward my table and pushing the clip away from the battery using my fingernail.  Done this way the battery falls out of the holder and doesn't fall into something to cause trouble.  Dell's instructions mention that you can use a tool to assist you in this process, but the tool must be non-conductive to avoid shorting out the battery and possibly causing it to vent.

Once you have accomplished the objective of resetting the CMOS memory you can simply place the battery in the holder and gently press to allow the retaining clip to snap into place.  Before doing that make sure you have the battery correctly oriented; the polarity marking on the battery, a big "+" symbol usually, should be facing you as you click it into place.

Dell Forum member since 2005

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rdunnill
5 Rhenium

Re: Added 2GB Memory to Dimension E520 and It Will Not Boot Into Windows

I had a similar memory problem with my 2350 ... removing the CMOS battery (as in Jack's advice) fixed it. Now the 2350 runs Windows 7 like a champ, with all 2gb recognized.

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