Posted by on Feb 11, 2008 in Tech Fixes | 0 comments

I have done a lot of things in my IT life (including things I am not proud of), but this little problem took the cake.

I have a client who has a Dell OptiPlex 745.  For the past couple of months, when he would restart his machine, it would sometimes fail on start up.  Right after the Windows XP splash screen (and before the “Applying computer settings” screen), the screen would go black and would freeze.  Easy answer, right?  Had to be the video card.


Called Dell.  Installed new drivers.  Updated the BIOS.  Even ran a patch from Symantec, since there is apparently a problem between the 10.1 of the corporate edition of Symantec Antivirus and this version of the Optiplex.


Finally, we tried the old tried and true method (besides a complete re-install of the OS): unplug all non-essential internal and external peripherals,  including the video card (there is one on the motherboard) and the optical drive.  Old school time; hard drive, keyboard and mouse.

The problem disappears.  Aha!  It is the video card!


Turns out, it was the optical (CD/DVD) drive!  The minute it was plugged in, the computer froze.  Unplug it, and it works fine (except for the annoying “Cannot find SATA-1 drive” error).  Call Dell, have them swap out the drive, and I am done.  Phew!