Computer problems - advice needed

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 14:45
ThreadID: 13783 Views:1530 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
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I know that this is not a normal forum question but without my computer I can't get on the site - other than accessing it at work.

My problem is this - I have a Dell Dimension 2350 originally with 256 RAM and 40 Gig hard drive. I am using Windows 2000 XP. About a fortnight ago I replaced the CD burner with a DVD burner and related software. Since then on occasions the computer freezes and I have to turn it off at the power point. Most often this happens when I am trying to use the DVD burner, but not always.

The DVD burner seems to work okay when my kids play games etc but when I try to burn things it freezes. Spoke to the IT guys at work they said to disable certain programs and add extra memory, which I have done, it now has 512 RAM. It still seems to be slow and still freezes occasionally.

Does anyone in the Perth area know someone that might be able to help me without ripping me off. Any advice is appreciated.

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Reply By: Paul's lot - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 16:49

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 16:49
I have seen some burner software conflict and cause this problem as well as computers that wont turn off. try completely uninstalling the burner software and reinstalling it and maybe even try a different burning software borrowed from a mate. One of a thousand possibilities, good luck.
AnswerID: 63257

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:01

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:01
I think your IT guys at work should find other occupations... How adding more memory to your computer was supposed to solve your problem, I have no idea...
Locking up intermitantly and running slow generally means a conflict of some kind, be it hardware or software. Try uninstalling all of the software that came with the DVD burner so the computer is like it was before you started (execept for the DVD burner physically being in there). Then restart the machine and play some DVD's or music cd's, somthing to work the DVD drive (preferably something that would normally lock the computer up). If all goes good then, do a custom install off the CD that came with the burner, install each compononet or program 1 at a time, restart it, check it again until you find the offending program.
If removing the software doesn't help, you may need to try changing the Drive "master/slave" setting or try running it off a seperate IDE channel.
Hope this helps!
PS I spoke to my IT guys here and they told me to put a paperclip over my nose, hope on my left foot and sing "she's comin round the mountain when she comes". LOL
AnswerID: 63259

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:38

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:38
I suggested that paperclip idea to the IT guys here and they reckoned it works best if you chew a mouthful of aluminium foil while you connect the paperclip, something about everything being at the same potential or some other systemic blabber.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:45

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:45
Watch out for the static build up of the siesmic fluff sensor, it could short out and really make your fillings hurt!
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:30

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:30
What burner software are you running, and what are the specs on that software? That would be a start. as others have said it sounds like a conflict.

but you say your running Windows 2000 XP, 1 or the other dude...

Finally What processor is in the 2350?

Have you put the CD burner back in, does it create issues again?? Does that adn DVD burner use the same software?
AnswerID: 63269

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:35

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:35
This is not a normal forum.......

Had a DVD burner problem with one of my friends PC's, he had to download the latest drivers for his motherboard to accomodate the DVD burner correctly, he now has DVD burner, CDRW and CD/DVD ROM reader units in his PC and it works well. Check the site for your motherboards manufacturer and see if this too solves your burning issue.

I am not a normal forumite...
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Reply By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:38

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:38

Further to what Jeff said in regards to the Drive "master/slave" setting

On the back of the drives, there is a little jumper that is used to set where the drive sits on the IDE channel (the 40 pin ribbon cable to plug it into). The options are Master, Slave and Cable Select. Master is usually for the first drive connected to the cable (ie the middle plug on the cable) Slave is usually for the last drive on the cable (the plug at the end). Cable Select allows the computer to determine which of either Master or Slave the drive will be. Make sure that this jumper has the same setting as the CD Burner did. Different computers behave differently when it comes to these jumper settings. The drives usually have a diagram indicating the location of the jumpers.

Also, DMA (Direct Memory Access) may need to be enabled for the device. This is done through the Device Manager (Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager) Got down to IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and Double Click on the Primary IDE Channel.

On the Advanced Settings tab, set the Transfer Mode for both Device 0 and Device 1 to "DMA if available". Repeat this for the Secondary IDE Channel.

You will have to reboot your computer if you needed to change the settings. This should help with any speed problems.

Also check in the Device Manager under DVD/CD-ROM drives to make sure the old Burner is not still listed. If after doing the above you still have problems, it might pay to Uninstall the DVD Burner from the Device Manager. Shut down Windows and then restart to see if it clears up any issues. Also removing the burner software as Paul mentioned wouldn't hurt either.

Also, are the lockups etc happening at any time? or just when using the burning software or accessing the burner? What brand of burner is it too?

If you would like me to knock up a document with more graphical instructions (ie screen dumps etc) just drop me a Member Message and I'll sort one out for you. As Jeff said, simply adding extra RAM is unlikely to have solved the issue, but it wont hurt in the long run anyway as XP runs better on 512MB (1GB is REALLY nice) than it does 256MB.

AnswerID: 63275

Reply By: Foss - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:46

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 17:46
G'Day Karl

You say you have XP. I assume you have up to the current service pack installed. If not you need to do this before anyone will be able to help you further. I also assume you have windows compatible hardware, have a look on the packaging for the "MS Windows compliance" (what a terrrible age we live in) label. If it has one your problems lay elsewhere. Have a look at the documentation that came with the DVD drive for the "master/slave" jumper on the back, it will be near the ide interface, find out which it is set for although these days Ultra-ATA(which it should be) compatible drives should work all this out for themselves. You should have two IDE bus interfaces on your motherboard. Plug the DVD in on the secondary, they will be labelled on the M/Board, probably with just a 1 & 2 next to the pins. If your DVD is on a IDE bus on it's own(no other HDD's or CD drives) the master/slave setting doesn't matter a hoot. If you continue to have lockup problems after you have this sorted you are quite likely to be having a software conflict. Press "Ctrl Alt Del" when the thing locks up next and have a look at taskmanager for the offending application. stop it. you won't do any damage to the software or the O/S by doing this. If the PC then runs OK(which it quite likely will) you need to get in contact with the manufacturer of either or both for a patch or service pack or maybe even a VXD to resolve the conflict. I'll go out on a limb here and make a prediction about your phone call to the tech help. It will be the "other vendors problem" immaterial to whom you make the first call.

The only advise I could proffer is to have your ducks in a row before you get on the phone or you will be run around very badly as no-one will even want to acknowledge your problem let alone help you fix it.

PS. As mentioned above. Your support guys need to reimburse you the cost of the memory upgrade they told you to do. 265 Meg is plenty of ram unless your running CAD or similar.

Good luck.
AnswerID: 63278

Reply By: tdcockers - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 18:10

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 18:10
windows xp seems to be inherently flakey when changing the hardware installed, my solution is to reinstall windows every time i have a problem like you describe or when i change hardware.

if this is not an option, then i am not sure exactly what the problem is - one of the bits of software installed wasnt a region killer was it?
AnswerID: 63286

Reply By: Member - Ivan (ACT) - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 20:36

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 20:36

As mentioned earlier, some sort of conflict between hardware and software..

To identify if hardware, I would either disable the burner in the BIOS (if you are comfortable there), otherwise, just remove the power cable from the burner so that it doesn't initialise.

To resolve software if not hardware, do a search on 'system restore' - it is an XP capability where the system takes snapshots prior to software configuration changes - I've used it on my box a couple of times - takes the registry etc back to a prior 'known' state, so if you have a snapshot from prior to the burner, you could use that. Note that it will also remove anything else added since that time as well.

Hope this helps ;-)

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