Bizarre Windows Installation Issue

I’m trying to reinstall windows on an Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop. There is just no point in rescuing the current installation because it was running for several months without patching or an anti-virus installed. I actually ran it through the Dell diagnostics and it passed all the extended tests with flying colors – which suggests that at least according to Dell standards, the hardware is working just fine.

And yet, when I boot it off the Windows CD, the system just powers down when I get to the disk partitioning screen. WTF?

I booted it into safe mode and it’s been running for the last 20 minutes without any problems. What the hell is going on here? I just don’t get it. Normally I would suspect that there is a problem with the mobo or memory, or perhaps the fan (ie system craps out when the temperature spikes). But this behavior should be consistent and the system ought to shut down both in windows, while running the dell diagnostic just the same.

Could it be something with my windows CD? This is bugging the shit out of me! I have been trying this for like an hour now. Sometimes I get a little bit further – for example, I was able to delete the primary partition, but the thing powered down as I was trying to create new partitions…

Anyone ever experienced anything like that before?

Update 01/30/2007 12:07:06 AM

I’m beginning to suspect that this is a DVD drive issue. I ran diagnostics on the fan and system board again and they passed just find. I took out memory dimm and placed it in the other slot. I’m running diagnostics on it now, but they seem fine so far.

Last time when I rant the full diagnostic run I did not have a CD in the drive so all the CD related tests got marked auto-fail. This time when I tried to run a diagnostic on the drive the damn thing powered down on me again during a read test.

But would a drive cause something like this to happen?

Update 01/30/2007 12:13:28 AM

Crap… It crashed during memory test also. It’s probably the fucking power supply which means I will probably need a new mobo… Sigh.

Update 01/30/2007 12:41:14 AM

Ok, this might be a heat issue. The machine was sitting on my bed (because it is just right next to my desk) and my bed covers were really creating some nasty thermal feedback. I touched the metal fan grate on the back of the machine, and it almost burnt my finger.

I gave it few minutes to cool off a bit, and propped it in my lap, giving the fan plenty of space to ensure good circulation and so far it seems to be running fine. Sigh… It’s code 1d10t on me….

In my defense, I do this all the time with my other laptop and I never had heat related issues. But then again my laptop is an old 700 MHz piece of junk. This machine sports a very decent 2 GHz so there is a considerable difference here with respect to head output and required ventilation.

Note that this machine was dropped by the previous owner, and I already drowned some money in it by replacing the broken LCD. If I had to buy a new mobo it would totally piss me off.

Update 01/30/2007 12:58:42 AM

Yep, it was totally a heat problem. Windows is installing as we speak. Problem resolved. I’m an idiot.

[tags]dell, inspiron 1150, dell inspiron 1150, inspiron, windows, installation[/tags]

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5 Responses to Bizarre Windows Installation Issue

  1. hdw UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Too hot to touch, so you put it in your lap… I see a problem there.

    Reply  |  Quote
  2. Miloš UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I was going to suggest overheating, but you got it already. :)

    Reply  |  Quote
  3. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Hdw – LOL. Actually I just balanced it on my leg so that the fan was out in the open. It got much cooler this way. Then I moved it to a table and propped it up so that the fan was not obstructed.

    Funny thing – when I ran full diagnostics on that machine few days ago it was also sitting on my bed. I actually left it running there, ate dinner, came back and it was still fine.

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  4. hdw UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I actually left it running there, ate dinner, came back and it was still fine.

    Different blanket? Set it on a pillow or something?

    Reply  |  Quote
  5. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Not really. It was the same setup. It’s probably why it took me so long to figure out what was happening.

    Reply  |  Quote

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