Dell Dimension E521 (Jan 2007) was running ok until I upgraded to 4GB .....

By NamaSamaran ·
Hi, I have Dell Dimension E521 that I bought Jan 2007. Have been running smoothly until 2 months ago. About 2 months ago, I called Dell to buy a printer. After that, the sales person talked me into buying 4 x 1GB RAM (Corsair, XMS2, DDR2). The computer was ok for couple of weeks, then I installed the Dell printer V505. A week later I started to notice some problems.

First, it was Internet Explorer hanging, but I thought it's just IE

Then, after the welcome screen, the icons failed to show up (so it's just showing the blue screen, standard color for WIndows XP). First few times, after hard reboot (or unpligging the power), it's ok.

Finally, on Jun 23 (or so), it just refused to turn on ever (after the welcome screen). Tried diagnostic, nothing. Went to the computer shop, they managed to revive it (after uninstalling ZonaAlarm).

I then reformated the entire HD, reinstalled XP, all the drivers, installed ONLY the necessary software (NO ZoneAlarm). LASTED ONLY 3-4 days before IE not working. Tried to go to previous Restore Point, made the problem worse. Another blue screen (after the welcome screen).

Yesterday try the Repair XP (using disk from Dell when I bought the system), complete failure, just stop mid installation (screen: Restore Point, OK button, nothing happened when hit). Yanked the power.

Now, I'm at loss? What is the cause of the sudden problem? The printer? Or the gigantic memory I installed?

How do I find out if the BIOS can handle that large? Can I return the memory if that's the problem? Remember I did not plan to buy it, I was basically talked into buyin one.

Please help. I'm running out of ideas how to fix this computer (also running to time)

Thank you in advance!

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All Answers

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Do you still have the old RAM?

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Dell Dimension E521 (Jan ...

If so, put it back in. Sounds to me as if at least one of the sticks of RAM you put in is bad.

If you don't have the old RAM any longer, try putting in just 1 stick at a time (or two if they must be installed in pairs) to see if it works better.

As far as IF you can return the RAM... you'll have to discuss that with DELL. We have no say in the matter.

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Have OLD Ram - have not tried

by NamaSamaran In reply to Do you still have the old ...

I have not reformatted the HD with the old memory back. I'm in the middle of moving out of state with 2 boys in tow! The house is listed on the market and we need to "dissapear" from the house whenever prospective buyer(s) come. The weekend is always heavy (as heavy as possible with the current house market condition).

Will do sometimes tonight because my husband will need to use my laptop to formalized the new job.

Will update later

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RE: "installed ONLY the necessary software (NO ZoneAlarm)"..

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Dell Dimension E521 (Jan ...

Did you then go online at any point?

ANY computer that is online without a firewall (don't assume that Windows XP's firewall counts) has a matter of minutes (at best) before the system could be riddled with infection.

I assume your 'necessary software' included an anti-virus scanner?

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Yes anti-virus, no firewall other than XP

by NamaSamaran In reply to RE: "[i]installed ONLY th ...

I did have the anti-virus (AVG Free) but NO firewall (only the XP firewall).

Are you sure that without any firewall, albeit with anti-virus, my computer will be infected that fast?

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Well it may very well be the RAM

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Dell Dimension E521 (Jan ...

Which is not fully compatible with your M'Board. But as you have 4 Modules of it try only fitting 1 or 2 and also try doing a Memory Test with Something like MemTest86


By itself 4 GIG or RAM will not hurt the system but if it isn't fully Compatible or is Mismatched it very well could introduce Timing Issues or other problems.

However generally speaking Corsair RAM is very good so unless there is a major difference in the actual Modules or they have been damaged by Improper Storage or Handling they should work well enough that is of course if they are compatible with the M'Board of course.

but in answer to your Questions at the end

How do I find out if the BIOS can handle that large?

Open the BIOS and look to see what is reported. If you have On Board Video like Most Dell's do whatever is set aside for the Video will not show so you'll need to add that in.

Can I return the memory if that's the problem?

This is between you and Dell and whatever State laws are applicable but I would speak to Dell nicely/reasonably on this issue to try to resolve it as it is in their Best Interests to help you solve this problem, but of course if you jump on them they are quite within their rights to tell you to go away.


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How do I open the BIOS

by NamaSamaran In reply to Well it may very well be ...

How exactly you "open" the BIOS?

Open the physical desktop and see the printed text or try to go to Setup screen (F2 in the case of my computer).

BTW, another different question, why don't I have an option to Safe Boot? Some forums seem to suggest that it should be an option somewhere along the screen BEFORE the Welcome screen (usually F8?)


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Yes the F2 Option is what you need here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to How do I open the BIOS

It allows you to open the BIOS/CMOS and look at the Installed Components as well as settings. You need to Save the Changes as you Exit the BIOS to allow the system to set the New Memory. If you didn't do this the New RAM will not be getting correctly Mapped and could cause problems.

As for the Safe Boot Option you need to press the F8 Key and I recommend holding it down between the time that the Makers Logo Disappears and the Windows Splash Screen Appears. So I suggest pressing and holding the F8 Key down while the Logo is on the screen till a White on Black Screen Appears and then using the Arrow Keys highlight the Safe Mode option and then press Enter.


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F2 - BIOS setting - how to interpret

by NamaSamaran In reply to Yes the F2 Option is what ...

I did F2 but not much reported under BIOS:
System Info: Dimension E521
BIOS Version 1.1.4 (12/09/06)
Processor: AMD Sempron Processor 3400+
Clock Speed: 1.8 GHz
Bus Speed: 800 MHz
L2 cache: 256 kB
Processor I OFF2
64-bit technology: yes

Memory: Installed: 4.0 GB
Speed: 800 MHz
Channel Mode: Dual
Memory Tech: DDR2 SDRAM
Then a table with info for each momory chip:
Memory Slot, Size, Ecc (all No), Rank (all 1), Type (all unbuffered), Organization (x9)

QUESTION: Can the BIOS handle 4 GB?
Since it's reported installed memory of 4 GB, does it mean, the BIOS recognizes it?

Last night, ran the Memtest86+, no failure. Does that mean that the new chips are physically goood?

Just did reformat of the HD WITH all new memory installed (this morning), will proceed with installing drivers and minimal software.

QUESTION: Should I upgrade the included IE6 to IE8, or should I hold of until I know that the system is running (meaning: is it possible that IE8 crashed my system, before all this problem I was running IE7)

QUESTION: How about Google Chrome?


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by balge In reply to F2 - BIOS setting - how t ...

think I may have cross posted somewhat..not sure where we are so Ill answer this first
>Can the BIOS handle 4 GB - yes, it seems to be happy with everything there, speeds OK, if Memtest passed them all (RAM) then they should be fine - did you test all four at the same time then?

>Should I upgrade the included IE6 to IE8? get it running first if it boots after your reformat then its sorted - could IE8/ MS update have caused problems? oh yes, easily..
as to Chrome I use almost exclusively on Windows boxes - because IE8 has been so flakey, plus Chrome is really fast and simple

have you got PC to boot then?

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Memtest and reinstallation

by NamaSamaran In reply to F2

I did the Memtest with all 4 chips in (standard test) it took a while, so I left it on at 1am, pass all test in the morning, but the Memtest is still running, and repeating the test??, so I did the Esc button (it was written at the bottom, all tests pass, press ecs to reboot)

I just did the reinstallation of the OS, in the middle of installing drivers. Oh what a slow process!

Plan: After the driver, will do the MS update (to SP3, from SP2), get the AVG Free, ZoneAlarm Free, installed MS Office, then I will just wait for a couple of days.
Will stay with IE6 for a while

Sound like a good plan??

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