Please register or login. There are 0 registered and 1696 anonymous users currently online. Current bandwidth usage: 326.30 kbit/s October 27 - 02:46pm EDT 
Hardware Analysis
Forums Product Prices

  Latest Topics 

More >>


  You Are Here: 
/ Forums / Motherboards /

  System freezes after startup.... 
 Date Written 
Jake Alexander Jul 02, 2011, 06:15pm EDT Report Abuse
System is a Dell Dimension 2400 running Windows XP. The problem I'm running into is that the system will freeze after booting up or if I just leave it sitting at the login screen. I have tried booting into safe mode with no luck, always hangs while loading.

At first I thought it was a HDD issue since I found several bad sectors on the original, but I have replaced it and now have a fresh clean installation of XP on the new drive and I am still getting the same problem.

Any thoughts on what could be the issue? My next guess is a faulty mobo. Any thoughts/help would be greatly appreciated and if you all need any other information let me know. Thanks. :)

EDIT: I just removed the cmos battery and replaced it and it worked for a minute or two longer before freezing. Before that a few times it freezes at the windows splash screen. Just more info to help :)

EDIT 2: Was just able to boot into safe mode but was met with yet another freeze.

Want to enjoy fewer advertisements and more features? Click here to become a Hardware Analysis registered user.
john albrich Jul 02, 2011, 06:49pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....

Use self-booting freeware UBCD to get totally out of the Windows software environment AND to test your memory (and if it passes, use other options to test your CPU, etc).

To use UBCD, you first download the .iso image, then burn the image file to CD or DVD, then BOOT from that CD/DVD. Assuming it boots up ok, you then select what you want to do and run it.

If the self-booting UBCD disc does NOT boot on your Dell, but DOES boot OK on another system, then your Dell system likely has a hardware problem which someone here can help you debug.

If you need help with how to do those things and you can't find or understand the info on the UBCD website, the help files, the various tutorials that are out there...let us know and someone can likely help you with more details.

Download of the .iso image from here is probably easiest overall:
Other download locations:

Info about UBCD is here:

edit to add:
added a few more download URLs, and provided HASH data calculated from mrbass and majorgeeks actual downloads (today) (which agrees with MD5/SHA-1 hash info listed on webpage
ubcd503_iso file
(the reason I checked multiple downloads is that I've found download websites sometimes don't provide the same file versions (either higher or lower than what it claims to be providing or what author claims is "latest" version. Sometimes a simple typo, sometimes a file archive error on either author's or download provider's websites))

Jake Alexander Jul 02, 2011, 06:58pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
Downloading now, and will post results shortly.

Jake Alexander Jul 02, 2011, 07:58pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
UBCD is up and running on the problem pc. I'm poking around on their forums but any info on what particular tests I should run on this thing would be great.

Jake Alexander Jul 02, 2011, 08:10pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
Could definitely be sitting here for days reading up on this...anyone able to point me in the right direction?

Jake Alexander Jul 02, 2011, 08:11pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
I'm also not seeing anything to test the CPU, I've ran the memory and hard drive tests and they all passed. Am I just not seeing the option to test the mobo or CPU?

john albrich Jul 02, 2011, 08:30pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
Jake Alexander said:
I'm also not seeing anything to test the CPU, I've ran the memory and hard drive tests and they all passed. Am I just not seeing the option to test the mobo or CPU?

See the screenshots at
The CPU is the 2nd item from the top (unless they changed the order between 5.0.0 and 5.0.3 (unlikely). The motherboard pretty much gets tested as you run the various specific tests.

If the memory and HDD tests run for good period of time, then it's more than likely your software/installation is flawed. There's not a whole lot of super-sophisticated or stressful CPU/memory hardware usage going on when your system is freezing during or just before the Windows login screen pops up (which is when you reported your system has been freezing).

I'm also assuming you've not got a RAID hardware setup going as UBCD might not test some hardware elements (e.g. firmware) active during RAID startup that are not used in non-RAID configurations.

Jake Alexander Jul 02, 2011, 09:08pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
Just tried to reinstall the os multiple times with different cds/OSs and it freezes halfway through everytime. Thoughts?

john albrich Jul 03, 2011, 07:33am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
Jake Alexander said:
Just tried to reinstall the os multiple times with different cds/OSs and it freezes halfway through everytime. Thoughts?

Can you specify which OS's you tried to install?

If desired, you could start with the "Basic System POST Debug Preparation" I point to at the bottom of this post, but keep needed hardware to deal with your OS installation issue (e.g. HDD and CD/DVD drives, keyboard, and mouse). It's up to you. But what follows is what I'd look at in your situation.

I was assuming you are NOT using a SATA card and SATA HDD since the Dimension 2400 is IDE only desktop, right? You should also make sure whether you've got at LEAST WinXP SP1 and I'd recommend SP2 to avoid problems that can pop-up due to HDD size and other installation issues.

It would also be interesting to see how well the system operates using a "live" distro of Ubuntu, Knoppix, etc. can try an actual installation of a non-Windows OS. This is something that would take about an hour or so (download and all), but is minimally invasive to the current hardware configuration.

If you didn't try any non-Windows OS (Ubuntu, Knoppix, etc), it would be interesting to see how things go trying to install a non-Windows OS...mainly because Windows installation can be so arbitrary sometimes and what SHOULD be minor issues can cause unpredictable results. This would take more time than trying the live distro.

It's also possible some malware has become resident on your HDD and is surviving multiple install attempts. Again, a non-Windows OS install could be informative here as Windows-specific malware likely wouldn't survive a Linux install and shouldn't impact operations. But then again, a virgin (or re-virgined) HDD on the WinXP install attempt would also be instructive. Basically do whatever you have to do to ensure you aren't trying to install to an infected HDD (or with infected install media. If the install software was downloaded or the install media were created on an infected system, they too could be infected).

From a hardware perspective:
At any rate, in your situation the most significant run-time difference between the UBCD testing and OS installation appears to be the HDD. That now would be my initial hardware suspect, and easy enough to isolate if you have another HDD.

I'd also re-try the OS install with ONLY 1 RAM module in the system. I've read that people have problems installing and running a system for the first time when more than one module is installed. It was an initial configuration problem involving hardware and firmware. AFAIK the problem was OS independent, but it wouldn't hurt to try it.

And, if you have the HDD and the CD/DVD drive connected to the same cable...use two cables so they are running off separate IDE ports.

Of course, it could also be something in the HDD subsystem circuitry on the motherboard.

A pretty much standard system debug, which is covered in other threads on HWA
One of my posts talking to this in general is which contains a link to my more detailed procedures post at (I recommend reading my general discussion post first then click to the detailed post)

edit to add:
Something I'm going to add to my "basic" debug procedure is if you have used a BIOS setting to "unlock" additional CPU cores, then "re-lock" them and go back to the default CPU configuration for the basic debugging and/or installation attempt. Same thing for OC settings of ALL hardware (e.g. CPU, RAM, Video, Southbridge, PCI, etc.). Take them ALL back to default values.

Jake Alexander Jul 03, 2011, 12:24pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: System freezes after startup....
It's a brand new hard drive that hasn't been connected to the internet. I will try to install some kind of linux based OS I have a few sitting around here.

And yes it is an IDE drive, I'll try resetting the bios settings after I try the linux install also there is only one RAM stick installed and that's been tested.

Thanks for the help though! :)



  Topic Tools 
RSS UpdatesRSS Updates

  Related Articles 

A weekly newsletter featuring an editorial and a roundup of the latest articles, news and other interesting topics.

Please enter your email address below and click Subscribe.