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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From personal Experience I've found IE8 works better

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Memtest and reinstallatio ...

When you upgrade from IE6 and on a clean install. If you had IE7 and then go to IE8 things are just downright flaky.

I personally download things like SP3 and IE8 so I don't have to waste lots of Bandwidth downloading them over and over again not to mention that it's also much faster to install them from a File than it is to download Install and reboot. If you think that adding the drivers is a slow process you have yet to experience Updating the System. I have Slipstreamed SP3 to a Install Disc and after that is loaded and Office with all of the Service Packs installed I still have several downloads well in excess of 150 MEG to install. I see this as a complete Joke needing to install just about as big a Updates as the Original OS took but I may just be Cynical.

In answer to all of the other questions Yes the BIOS can correctly see the RAM as it is showing it but you do need to Save the Changes as you exit the BIOS or the system will most likely still think it has the smaller RAM Load and not be mapping the installed RAM correctly.

Lets know how you get on with the new install.


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

Tried F8, can not go to Safe Boot mode?
Any other way?

The F2 setup under Fast Boot is On: Boot Quickly.

Should I change it to Off?

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by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to F8

Sorry but it has to work as this is part of Windows. It's not like the BIOS where you press the F@ Key and are taken to the CMOS Setup Pages you have to wait with the Key held down till the screen appears. But if the Windows Splash Screen with the Blue Moving Bar at the Bottom Appears you didn't press the F8 Key soon Enough so you need to repeat the process, and press and hold the key down earlier. I show people to hold the F8 Key down till the internal Speakers start going Nuts and then to release it and wait for the Different options.

As for the Fast Boot Option this will not hurt anything at all and will speed up the time that the POST takes Power On Self Test. So leave it switched on.


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Yes it works (really have to hold it loooooong)

by NamaSamaran In reply to F8

Ok, yes, I did not hold it long enough. Last time I just pressed it repeatedly until the internal speaker started to beep. Obviously it was not enough.


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Your Welcome. < NT >

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Yes it works (really have ...
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by balge In reply to Dell Dimension E521 (Jan ...

your PC should be compatible with that RAM, check BIOS settings to ensure proper speed is selected (pc26400,800MHz) test it with e.g. Memtest - http://www.memtest.org/

or substution one stick at a time to check or replace with original to discount RAM problems
With there being a week between upgrade and problems it seems unlikely to be the cause unless the hardware has become faulty
Does the printer work?
check this lot for |Dell diagnostics


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Printer works, how to use memtest

by NamaSamaran In reply to problem

Hi printer works fine.

Now that my PC is completely busted, I guess I need to re-install XP before I can do any memtest, right?

Now the question is re-install with old memory, or new one (all 4 or only 2).

You're right, that fact that the problem does not show up few days later, maybe it's not memory chip itself (physical) but more like a conflict of BIOS/jumper/etc (now I'm talking jibberish here, I'm not a computer expert here, just stay at home mom)


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another PC

by balge In reply to Printer works, how to use ...

well if you have another PC you could download the iso.zip, unzip it then burn a CD, the CD should boot the PC then you can test the RAM
Easiest is put known good sticks in - because you know they are good
As you say reinstalling is more important as we dont know if the RAM is duff or not
personally I would clean install -


unless you need the data particularly.
otherwise try - http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?c=us&dl=false&l=en&s=gen&docid=26B720E7D596B89DE040A68F5B280867&doclang=en&cs=#1

let us know how you go

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by NamaSamaran In reply to problem

Are you reading the other answer to my question, or only the reply to your suggestion?

Just in case: please read what I did last night and this morning.


I did the reformatting and plan to do the same steps from last week. Not sure if this is a smart move. The only difference will be the fact that I had run the Memtest, which, I think, a PASS for the memory chip.

Oh here is the result from the Memtest:

Sempron (0.09) 1804 MHz
L1 cache: 64 kB 140** MB/s
L2 cache: 256 kB 3522 MB/s

Memory: 4031 MB 2485 MB/s
Chipset: AMD K8 (ESC: Disabled)
Settings: RAM: 451 MHz (DDR 902) / CAS: 5-5-5-18 / DDR2 (128 bits)

Does this mean that according to the Memtest, the speed for the memory chip is 451 MHz (as opposed as the 800 MHz reported when I did F2, see my other posting)?

Please advise further....


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by balge In reply to Update

ref speeds, the RAM is capable of higher speeds than your PC could handle, but should run at your PC's best speed automatically - if the BIOS tries to run them too fast it can cause lots of problems - but from your other post BIOS seems to have it right, Memtest is saying the the possible top speed of the RAM is all
Otherwise the only possible problem is the 'Dual Channel' mode - possibility of problems with some hardware, however if there is still a problem, you should be able to turn Dual Channel off in the BIOS
whew think thats up to date now
did you boot it up yet?

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