Is something wrong with my 2400??

Discussion in 'Dell' started by MB, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. MB

    MB Guest

    I purchased a low-cost Dell Dim. 2400 system last Fall.

    It has worked flawlessly and I've been quite pleased (I use it for internet
    stuff + word processor & spreadsheet stuff).

    Today, while I was using the computer, the power went out and then back on
    immediately. (The lights in the house also went off and on, so it wasn't the
    computer itself doing it). But the computer didn't boot up right. The disk
    drive kept whirling for about 15 minutes. Finally, it stopped and seemed to
    be working okay.

    Later in the day, the screen saver was on. When I went to use it, the
    computer again went off and on, but this time booted up correctly (I'm not
    sure if the power went off in the house or it was the computer). Later in
    the day, I just shut the computer down.

    Still later, the toolbar across the bottom of my screen wasn't working
    right. When I right-clicked on anything, it would show the menu and then the
    menu would disappear before I could do anything. I had to use ctrl/alt/del
    and then shutdown. When I rebooted, it kept trying to reboot, saying there
    was a keyboard error. But then it rebooted.

    It has worked fine since then. (I also pushed in the keyboard chord; perhaps
    it was loose). I also then used System Restore so it was reset to a time
    just before the initial power outage.

    I am hoping that this will end up being one of those things that happened
    without explanation but cleared up for good.

    I guess my question to the group is: what can I do to ascertain if I have a
    problem??

    I am not handy with the hardware aspect, so I am very hesitant to get into
    the case. Is there anything I can check via the settings?? If so, please
    advise.

    Finally, can someone recommend a low cost power supply back-up so that my
    computer would still function during a blackout, allowing me to shut it down
    in an orderly manner?

    Thanks,

    Mel
     
    MB, Jul 4, 2004
    #1
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  2. MB

    Hank Arnold Guest

    Chances are good that it was a software problem, not a hardware one (unless,
    of course it was compounded by a loose keyboard cable. If it's working now,
    enjoy it. If any more problems occur, you may have to re-install the OS or
    do a Repair, but wait until you see more problems... Just be sure you have
    backups of important data just in case the hard drive was impacted (not
    likely).

    As to UPS's, I would strongly recommend you not use the words "low cost" and
    "UPS" in the same sentence. This is a perfect example of being penny wise
    and pound foolish. Spend the money required to get a solid UPS. This is your
    PC we are talking about. Kinda silly, IMHO, to save 20-30 USD and trash a
    1,000 USD PC.....

    Go to the web sites for APC and TrippLite and use their configurations to
    configure the appropriate UPS. They will usually include software that will
    gracefully shut down the PC in the event of a power failure. Then either buy
    it on line or go to Staples, Best Buy, Office depot, etc. and buy what you
    need. Then relax and sleep better at night...
     
    Hank Arnold, Jul 4, 2004
    #2
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  3. MB

    MB Guest

    Hank:

    Thanks for the advice. But keep in mind that this is a low-cost system to
    begin with (approx. $500 after rebate!). So, I find it difficult to shell
    out too much for the UPS system!

    Mel
     
    MB, Jul 4, 2004
    #3
  4. You have to consider the systems REPLACEMENT value not what you paid for it.
    So the question becomes can you afford the price of the UPS now or the
    replacement cost later.
     
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Jul 4, 2004
    #4
  5. MB

    MB Guest

    Robert:

    Maybe I'm think wrong. I look upon it as insurance. How much car insurance
    should one pay say for collission? In general, once the car gets at a
    certain point (age-wise) the cost of collission relative to the replacement
    value of the car gets to be too high and then I just drop the collission
    (usually when the car is over 5 years old).

    The replacement value for my computer is maybe $500. But the annoyance might
    be higher if something goes wrong (although I do regularly make backups, it
    would still be a major hassle).

    I am now looking at a few Tripp-lite systems and I will probably get
    something for about $60-$90, street price.

    Mel
     
    MB, Jul 4, 2004
    #5
  6. MB

    Tritium Guest

    Ask yourself these very important questions: Can I survive
    or function, and for how many days, without a working
    computer? And add the following corollary...how much time
    is available to shop and wait for delivery of a replacement
    working system. IOW, there are some very good UPS selling
    for around $200 to $250 and there are some UPS systems
    that are simply over-priced surge protectors. Do as the
    pros do...not the amateurs.
     
    Tritium, Jul 4, 2004
    #6
  7. MB

    Ben Myers Guest

    Right! Now MB needs also to take into account the value of any personal data on
    the hard drive, things like personal and business letters, tax returns, email in
    and out boxes, email address books, and whatever else has been created during
    the life of the computer. Now ask how much it is worth to have all that
    information rather than losing it forever. Or ask how much time it would take
    to recreate all this information, if that is even possible.

    A decent quality UPS from APC or another well-regarded manufacturer with surge
    protection and battery backup for a short outage, suitable for use with a
    smallish single computer can be had for $200 or less, often a lot less.

    Ya pays yer money and ya makes yer choice... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Jul 4, 2004
    #7
  8. MB

    MB Guest

    Ben:

    I'm wrestling with all of that. It is hard for me to think of spending $200
    when the system is roughly $500!!!

    Yes, there is very important stuff on my computer. In fact, I do back it up.
    So, I would not lose the valuable stuff forever, but it definitely would be
    a major hassle, with a lot of aggravation. By that criteria, I do need a
    worthwhile UPS.

    I checked at Staples and they have an APC ES series (450) for $59. They
    have a 350 for $39.
    Now, I know that is low priced and people are warning me against it. But,
    wouldn't that cover my rather modest needs. My understanding is it (the 450
    one) would give me 5-10 minutes for an orderly shutdown. If I'm not there, I
    believe it will shut it down.

    Would it be a mistake to buy it?

    Mel
     
    MB, Jul 4, 2004
    #8
  9. MB

    Ben Myers Guest

    I think I would go with the slightly more expensive APC unit. Inexpensive, but
    better protection than a surge suppressor/power strip, and less protection than
    the sturdier business class models... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Jul 4, 2004
    #9
  10. MB

    Pen Guest

    Pen, Jul 4, 2004
    #10
  11. MB

    BoyatHeart Guest

    Office Depot sells APC UPS model 350 for about $30-35. It will provide
    you with about 5 minutes backup during these short outages. I have power
    blips all the time where I live. I own about 6 of these UPSs and they
    work fine.
     
    BoyatHeart, Jul 5, 2004
    #11
  12. Forget the hardware - what's your data worth? I'd be dead if I lost my
    computer completely, so I take regular backups of docs, spreadsheets &
    Quicken files to a separate HDD. I also clone HDD partitions to an
    external HDD at least weekly and put the external HDD with current
    backups in external storage, i.e., offsite, monthly.
     
    Vince McGowan, Jul 5, 2004
    #12
  13. MB

    Ted Guest

    Running chkdsk ("chkdsk /f" from the command prompt) wouldn't hurt.
    I see many have already commented on the subject. I would only add
    that it doesn't hurt to to spend some time googling for technical articles
    on protecting your equipment/data from power problems and lightening
    strikes. I know quite a few people who went out and spent their budget
    on the best UPS they could afford, but then plugged it into an improperly
    grounded outlet (assumed it was good) or only plugged some things into
    it (leaving hard wired, non-surge protected peripheral devices connected
    to the computer). A holistic approach is called for... one adjusted to fit
    a person's situation and setup. Do you do frequent backups? Power the
    computer off when you aren't using it and during storms? Are brown-outs
    and/or lightening strikes common where you live? How is your computer
    connected to the internet, and is that connection something that should
    be surge protected? Yadda.
     
    Ted, Jul 5, 2004
    #13
  14. MB

    w_tom Guest

    A plug-in UPS provides ineffective hardware protection. All one need
    do is claim to protect from one type of destructive event. Then let
    the tehcnically naive *assume* that is protection from all types of
    destructive events. The plug-in UPS protects from a type of surge
    that typically does not exist. It makes no claims to protect from the
    type of surge that typically damaged hardware. And yet, even here, we
    have some making that wild assumption that a plug-in UPS provides
    hardware protection - without even a single numerical or technical
    fact from the manufactuer.

    You want hardware protection? To quickly identify ineffective
    protectors: 1) no dedicated connection 'less than 10 feet' to earth
    ground AND 2) avoids all discussion about earthing. They fear you
    might learn that a protector is ineffective without being connected to
    protection. Protector and protection being two completely different
    components of a surge protection 'system'. All protection 'systems'
    must have protection. Some also use protectors to make that earthing
    connection. Protector may or may not be needed. But the protection
    is always required in a protection 'system'.

    So where is the so critical earth ground connection on that plug-in
    protector? It all but does not exist. No earth ground means no
    effective protection. So instead, they claim to protect from an
    irrelevant type of surge. Let the naive *assume* that is protection
    from 'all' types of surges.

    The plug-in UPS is only for protection of data from blackouts and
    brownouts. You want effective hardware protection? Then learn about
    earth ground AND 'whole house' protectors. Would you pay $40 or $60
    per appliance for a protector that does not even claim to provide
    protection? Or would you instead pay $1 per protected appliance for
    well proven and effective protectors? Bottom line - no earth ground
    means no effective protection. A surge protector is only as effective
    as its earth ground. Therefore the plug-in UPSes avoid all discussion
    about earthing to encourge the above posted myths.


    What is another important feature to protecting data? The NTFS
    filesystem. If using the FAT filesystem, then blackouts can erase
    data from the hard drive.
     
    w_tom, Jul 6, 2004
    #14
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