I worked on a dell dimension 2400 that had lost the onboard video, Start Menu, Task Bar, internet and it only had PCI slots no AGP or PCI express slots. I work on family and friends computers for free, so I looked around the basement and came up with an old PCI 3dfx Voodoo 3 card, I really wondered if XP the OS on the computer would even have drivers for it. I put it in the number one PCI slot, that slot is always reserved for a video card and hooked the monitor cable to it and it worked. I tried booting the computer and was able to get into the BIOS. I was going to disable the onboard video but it only gave me the option for Auto or Onboard, so it got set to Auto. So now I had a monitor to see what was going on with the computer. The owner said she had no Start Menu or Task Bar and could not get online, that she kept getting error messages, the first one I got was a IPmon.exe error message. I did a search on Google and most sites indicated it was a malicious Trojan. I rebooted into Safe Mode and download Malwarebytes on my flash drive and then dragged it onto the wounded computers Desktop. It installed but gave a message error when I tried to open it. I tried booting back into XP and tried running it there but got the same error message. I tried opening the Task Manager and ran explorer.exe it opened so I looked for any suspicious folders, just the usual like Web Search, etc. Then I opened the Control Panel, Add/Remove, with appwiz.cpl and looked for any malicious programs, removed the normal ones, toolbars, web search, etc. Nothing I tried would bring back the Start menu and Task Bar and IE was gone, there was no exe file. There were 2 accounts setup and both were having the same problems, mainly because they were both Administrator Accounts, if they had been regular User Accounts they could just been deleted and new ones created and XP would not have been affected by whatever the computer had been infected with.
I tried using the CD-Rom to boot to Recovery Console, lol, the CD-Rom was not functioning. So the onboard video, Network, sound and the CD-Rom were all not working, plan B, I booted up into Safe Mode and saved all their stuff to my 8 gig Flash drive. I tried hooking up an old CD-Rom to the IDE and Power cable then I booted into the BIOS to make sure it was recognized, earlier I had tried resetting the BIOS by taking the Mobo Battery out, I even replaced it to see if that would fix anything, not, so anyways the CD-Rom was recognized and worked. So I booted into the Recovery Console and tried running some commands, nada!! OK it was time to try fixing XP. I booted to the XP install disk and did a repair of XP, that just replaces the OS back to when it was first installed, but leaves all your data. Everything went fine XP installed and I booted to the Windows Logon Screen clicked one of the User Accts and Windows informed me that I would need to Activate Windows before I start using it, I naturally said yes Windows lets do that, hmm!! But then a small problem occurred as soon as I would click the lets activate Windows OK button the computer would Blue Screen to a Physical Memory Dump Error screen, great, getting even more interesting, lol.
So, had no video, solved that by using the Voodoo card, no CD-Rom fixed that by hanging a CD-Rom off the computer. Well every time I tried to get into XP I got the Activate and dump error, I tried booting into Safe Mode and guess what, no no no naughty boy, you need to activate Windows first, THEN we will let you into the Safe Mode Acct, lol. I am like yelling at the message, come on MS, lol. Hmmm, so next I tried putting in a Network card, then went into the BIOS and disabled the onboard one, dang it worked, the next time I booted up I was actually able to log in and activated windows...... and then the blue screen, lol. Well MS should be happy, now will windows let me back into Safe Mode, yep, woot. I was in Safe Mode WITH Network Support, cool! OK, I tried running Malwarebytes it ran and found 214 infections, on the way to fixing this poor little computer. Next I downloaded AVG Free and ran that in command line mode, it removed another 84 infections. So I figured I would boot back to the logon screen, click on one of the accts and ........ blue screen again. Ok, still getting the dump error and when I tried other approaches I would get Kernal errors, that is very bad news, the Kernal is the core files of an OS, with Windows they are not open for the anyone to fix, it means it is time to reformat the drive and reinstall XP.
I used her Dell Restore Disk and reformatted the drive and reinstalled XP. After it reinstalled it booted right up smooth as silk, was able to get on the internet, the whole shebang. So before I reformatted I tried:
- Disconnecting everything but the mouse and keyboard, set the BIOS to not respond to keyboard errors.
- Tried a working stick of new ram.
- Tried disabling the onboard sound, network, serial port, put in a larger Power Supply.
- Tried different IDE cables.
- Tried repairing Windows.
- Ran anti virus and malware programs.
- Tried running CHKDSK and some other commands in the Recovery Console, nada.
None of those worked, the reformat and installed fixed it. Ok we have a working XP again, next I installed all the Dell Drivers from the Dell driver cd. Then I went to the Device Manager to see if there were any errors, none everything seemed fine. So I removed the Network card that I had installed from the Device Manager and shut down removed it and plugged the RJ45 cable into the onboard Network, rebooted went into the BIOS and turned the onboard Network on, saved and exited. Once it booted into XP I tried going online and it worked, cool! Next I removed the Voodoo card from the Device Manager and shut down, removed the voodoo card and hooked the video cable to the onboard video connector, no go the monitor would not recognize the video connection. So I put the voodoo back in and connected the cable to it and the monitor recognized it, booted back into windows and it installed the voodoo. So the onboard video is corrupted, broken, who knows but is not going to work so I disabled it in the Device Manager. Next I hooked up speakers to the computers onboard sound and went into the BIOS and turned on the onboard sound, rebooted into windows and the sound worked. Next I hooked up her CD-Rom drive and booted into Windows and that worked. Well this is going good!! I spent the next few hours downloading all the windows updates, sp2, sp3 then another 59 and then some more, lol, 5 am and finally all updated. So everything is working now, just that when I get online and scroll down a page it is really slow and lags. Hmm that means the voodoo has a problem, tried finding updated drivers, none, so then I checked for IRQ conflicts, yep the network card and the Voodoo were sharing the same IRQ address, bad, so I remove the voodoo from the Device Manger and moved it to different PCI slots. I finally got windows to assign it and the Network card different IRQ addresses with the Voodoo in the first PCI slot. Now there was no more lag when scrolling down a web page or very little anyways, it is a rather old card, lol. You may wonder why I think it is funny that XP had drivers for the Voodoo card, it is a really old video card, lol, really old, I bought it in 1999 to get better frame rates when I played DOOM, yep that old. It has 16 MB of onboard memory here are some of the specs for the Voodoo 3 2000:
- 128-bit 2D/3D Video Accelerator
- 16MB SDRAM
- 166MHz graphics core/memory clock speed
- 350 MHz RAMDAC
- DVD Hardware Assist
- 2D Resolution up to 2046x1536 @ 75Hz
- Direct 3D, Open GL, and Glide compatible
If you notice there is only 16 MB of ram/memory on this card, today's video cards start at 256 MB of ram, so this card is not any gaming card, lol. Her son in law is a Tech so she is going to see if he has a better PCI video card laying around. Also most cards are PCI-Express now days and some have an AGP slot, I was surprised though that they still do sell Video or Graphics cards for PCI. She only uses her computer to get on Facebook, email or do online banking so it works good for what she uses the computer for. I thought I would share this because of all the questions online about the Memory Dump issue, when I was researching it I noticed quite a few people were have this problem. What I did fixed that computer but if it happening to yours I would first try switching out your ram, see if a finds computer has the same ram as yours and borrow a stick to check yours. Also if you have just recently install new hardware that might be the problem. It also could be that the Power Supply is going bad or to weak if you have upgraded your computer. Hers had a 200 watt power supply which is min for any computer, I put in a 300 watt I had taken out of a computer, generally now days you should have a 350 or bigger power supply. Big Box store computers are built with just the bare minimums to keep the price down, like my wifes Emachine was only $298.00 for the computer, no monitor, mouse just the box, I took out the Power Supply and put in a 600 watt, they seem to have a lot of problems with their power supplies going out and taking the Mobo with it. She ran it for a good year with no problems but before I upgraded it from XP to Windows 7, I put in the 600 watt Power Supply, 1 GB of RAM and put in a PCI-Express graphics card all for under $100.00 at Newegg. I had an extra monitor so now she has 2 monitors connected to the PCI-Express card, not sure if she likes have 2 yet, lol. That is the nice thing about the newer cards is that you can run two monitors, I would be lost just using one monitor, lol, but I code on one and then use the other one to see what the page looks like as I code. Ok I am rambling on here, hope this was informative and or helpful to someone, if you have a question use the Contact Mike link in the Java menu.