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Structural Engineer
513 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Dell Inspiron 6400 crashed. For future reference, here are the symptoms I experienced, and what I had to do to recover:

Laptop would randomly freeze up 3-10 minutes after being turned on. Would work ok in safe mode. When it did freeze, you could still move the mouse pointer around, but couldn't click on anything. Also, the machine would emit a loud beep continuously when it froze.

Recovery process:
1. I thought it was excessive heat at first, so I took it apart and blew the dust out of the fans, screens, and heat sink grids next to the fans.
2. Then I thought memory problem, so I ran memtest86 and disk check. No issues.
3. Then I ran Prevex 3.0, and it found a couple viruses, the worst of which was rootkit.mbr. I knew instantly a reformat and reload was in my future, because that sucker is very hard to clean out.
4. I brought the laptop to Geek Squad to get the hardware checked out by a pro. I told them what viruses were on the machine, and that I wanted them to check the hardware one more time for problems, and that my plan was to go and put a new and larger hard drive in and reload, but I was going to do that myself.
5. Results came back good for the hardware, but the OS was damaged and those viruses in the Windows directory were still there. Cost me $70.
6. I bought a 250 GB hard drive while I was at the store, for $70.
7. I went home, and while in safe mode I pulled all my worthwhile data off the old drive and onto my portable hard drive. Outlook, I-tunes, software setup files, etc.
8. I swapped the drive out, and started reloading the OS.
9. I thought I was back on line, but my wireless adapter wasn't being recognized at all. I went to Dell's website and downloaded the latest drivers (using another machine and a flash drive). Once I loaded the updates, I finally saw my wireless adapter.
10. Once I was able to connect, I continued reloading all of my software and updated drivers, etc. Things are back to normal now. Machine is also noticeably faster than before. I also switched antivirus software. I'm using Webroot now.

317 Posts
Glad you had access to another PC. It always seems to take 2 of them to get 1 working. Very hard to download files and drivers when you cannot get on the net. Congrats and Happy New Year
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