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keith_rok
1 Nickel

Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

I have a Dell Dimension 8400 that will not boot. Not a noob, but I am totally stumped. The computer would shut down in Windows because of an unrecoverable error and reboot (unsure of the error, not my computer), was not sure if it was a virus so I went to a early restore point a couple months back. Now the computer will not boot to safe mode/prompt or a previous state of running windows. When booting I get an infinite restart loop. So I tried to do a fresh install of windows, but both cd drives do not show in the bios. I tried multiple hardware configs on either drive, but they won't show in the bios, even the floppy doesn't show up in the bios. 

I removed the Hard drive and did multiple tests on the drive in another computer all came back error free.

I replaced the battery on the mother board.

So I did a different approach a made a bootable flash drive and slip streamed the drivers/sp3 ect on the drive. The computer does recognize the flash drive as a bootable device, but crashes during install. After reading other forums about a SATA issue with this model dell I tried other settings.

SATA Settings
Raid Autodetect AHCI - blue screen of death (default setting)
Raid Autodetect ATA - Blue screen
RAID On - Blue Screen
Combination - Blue Screen

I get the blue screen during installation when it says starting windows.

Looking for any and all options.

Thanks.

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11 Replies
7- Thorium

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

I assume this is Windows XP, correct?

Did you slipstream the SATA driver onto the USB stick along with everything else?

On the 8400, BIOS has to be set to RAID Autodetect/ATA during the install because XP's setup.exe doesn't recognize SATA drives. If you installed the SATA drivers either slip-streamed or from floppy disk during the installation, when Windows says it's rebooting and gives a BSOD, you have to reboot and go into BIOS setup to change the SATA Operations setting back to AHCI.  Otherwise, you just get a 0x0000007B BSOD.

If that doesn't solve it, see what color the 4 diagnostic LEDs are on rear of the tower. They should all be green when it completes the POST. If not all green, look up error codes in the online manual.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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keith_rok
1 Nickel

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

Yes XP.

The 4 Diag Leds are green.

And yes the Sata drives were slip streamed into the install. 

I don't think it is a windows problem, but still get the 0x0000007B BSOD/

Thoughts?

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rdunnill
5 Iridium

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

You can add the drivers with F6 at install time or set up a third-party SATA card the same way.

I've never used slipstreaming in all the XP installs I performed back in the day.

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7- Thorium

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

Did you set SATA Operation to RAID Autodetect/ATA before you started the install?

Did you change SATA Operation back to AHCI after you installed XP, when it tries to reboot itself? When it gives you the BSOD, just reboot, press F2 to go into BIOS setup and make the change. Be sure to save the change before exiting setup and let it reboot.

If you don't make both of those at the right time, you'll get the same 7B error.

I've never slip-streamed SATA drivers into XP for my 8400, but it should be doable. But as rdunnill suggested, you could just load them from a floppy by pressing F6 at the beginning of the install when prompted.

 

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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keith_rok
1 Nickel

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

Got the cds working with changing the bios to ATA, and started the install from the windows xp disk.

Couple of crashes with the install and BSOD

0x00000024 (0x001902FA, 0xF738A2EC, 0xF7389FEC, 0x8053CBB8)
0x00000050 ect

ran chkdsk /r

and now it freezes on the windows xp install on registering components????

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keith_rok
1 Nickel

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

Also got 0x0000008e

I think it maybe a bad RAM.

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7- Thorium

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

0x00000024 may occur if the hard drive has a formatting error. You may need to reformat the drive (NTFS) before installing XP

8e is a typcial RAM error. Are all 4 diagnostic LEDs still green?

You can try this to fix the 8e:

  1. Power off and unplug
  2. Press/hold power button for ~15 sec
  3. Carefully reseat the RAM modules in their slots
  4. Remove motherboard battery and press/hold power button for ~30 sec
  5. Reinstall the battery (right-side-up!) 

BTW: How many optical and hard drives on installed? XP has problems installing when there's more than one optical or hard drive, so disconnect the others, leaving on the CD drive at the end of the ribbon cable to install and only the destination hard drive.

NOTES: 

  1. If the battery is more than ~2-3 years old, this might be the time to install a new CR2032 3-volt lithium ion battery, ~$2-$3 at discount stores
  2. If you need to disconnect a second optical or hard drive, do that before you reinstall the battery.
  3. When you pull the battery, BIOS gets reset to defautls, so confirm that it's still set to RAID Autodetect/ATA before trying to install XP again.
  4. If you're still having problems, use the original Dell Windows Reinstallation CD to install, install the SATA drivers from a floppy, and after it's finally running again, install the free stand-alone XP SP3 installer which you can download from Microsoft

 

 

 

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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keith_rok
1 Nickel

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

All 4 Leds are green.

Already tried the removing the battery.

Currently running memtest68, once complete I will try to install with only 1 of the optical disks plugged in, and I am using an offical win xp disk.

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7 Plutonium

RE: Dell Dimension 8400 Boot Problem, can't reinstall or get to a prompt.

Try installing with 1 Ram chip.  Sounds like there are issues with ram.


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