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Old 04-13-2009, 07:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question PC hardware failure! Help please!!


I have a Dell Dimension 5150, yesterday I returned to my pc (which was turned on and downloading files from the net) to find it had a flashing amber light on the front. Searching through forums, this is usually a hard drive or motherboard problem.
I have tried booting with the hard drive plugged in, but this fails. (flashing amber lights).
When the hard drive isnt plugged in however, i can boot to a usb key (with windows 98 boot files on it).
When i plug in the DVD-RW drive, the bios doesn't recognise this drive (i have 2 DVD drives and have tried both) although i can insert disks into these drives and can hear the disk being read.

I'm assuming this means that my hard drive has given up, but at the same time i am mystified as to why the DVD drives wont work?

Thanks a bunch in advance,


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Old 04-13-2009, 08:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC hardware failure! Help please!!

Is your hard drive ATA/PATA/IDE (all the same thing)? In other words, does it use the flat ribbon like your DVD drive? If so, your IDE slots may have died on you.


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Old 04-13-2009, 08:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC hardware failure! Help please!!

You're most likely SOL mate.

Dell Dimension ? Flashing orange power light at Random Fix - Computer Help

The amber light seems to affect the Dimension 5100 series and the OptiPlex GX150 series the most. Almost always it means a form of motherboard failure. Check the motherboard to see if there's any corrosion or odd looking capacitors. Either way, it's probably time to grab a new machine.

If you're taking that route, you can give us a budget and we can help you price out a nice build.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC hardware failure! Help please!!

Thanks for the quick responses guys,

I found that article yesterday abot corrosion but there is non visible on the mobo. Since the pc can start up using the usb key, would that not indicate no mobo error?

The hard drive is SATA (i think) (the cable is thinner and different to the other hard drives which i have on my other pcs), unsure if this is a Dell specific thing though?

I just tried plugging another systems hard drive (IDE) into the IDE cables but it blue screened, after beginning to load.
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: PC hardware failure! Help please!!

I have just managed to load up ubuntu after burning it to a cd (now the drives appear to be working!) and will run diagnostic tools to hopefully isolate the problem (altho i am unable to actually plug in the hard drive because that stops the pc turning on still!

Any programs you can recommend?
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