Bizarre Weekend Stuff – Halloween came early

Ghosts in the machine. Literally. I'm helping out at the Oracle User Group in Birmingham tomorrow and Wednesday (yes, it's also running today), and was planning on demonstrating some of the features in the latest Windows Vista build. However, on Sat morning, Halloween definitely came early - I was answering an email on my big work laptop (Dell 5160) when it hung. 4 secs on the power button, and now it won't get through BIOS startup. Tried swapping out memory chips, removing all peripherals, disk, even running on battery, but it's just one giant paperweight now. Ironic that it's just (by days) out of warranty! Plan B was to get Windows Vista running on my D600 Dell spare machine but with only 1GB. Nowhere near as powerful, much slower disk etc. However, remember I do have 2GB of spare memory in the 5160, so I put that into the D600.

I'd already started the install at the end of last week on the D600 anyway, just needed to complete the driver installation. All was going well until I tried to get the wireless adapter (Dell TrueMobile 1300 which is a rebadged Broadcom adapter by the look of it). I tried no less than 6 different versions of the driver, all of which fail. Some spectacularly (blue-screen), others which just cause the machine to hang until you power it off, others which allude to install until you enable the device. Regardless, no wireless. This was doing my head in. Then I remembered something someone mentioned a few months back about certain drivers don't work if you have more than 1GB of RAM under Windows Vista. No, couldn't be a case of that could it? Yes, that's exactly what it is. Reducing the D600 back to 1GB lets the all varients of the driver install and I'm back on wireless. Strange things indeed. At least I'll have something to demo tomorrow.....

PS - Looks like I'll be ordering a Toshiba M3 to replace the Dell 5160 paperweight. Not what I need (like 64-Bit dual core, 4GB ram.....) but it's the best I'm going to get with the corp budget for now 🙁

Comments (2)

  1. Hi John,

    Sounds like a typical tech weekend to me ;p

    Not to rub salt in your wounds, but I recently got a price on upgrading my Alienware 51 7700 to 4GB. I gave Crucial a call in the UK as my MB wasn’t listed on the site and was really chuffed to discover that a 2GB kit was only going to cost me ~£185.

    Not exactly peanuts, but loads better than I was expecting. Time to up the RAM in my VM’s 🙂

    Keep on playing ….



  2. Michael Bryett says:

    I’ve seen a few dells go like that in the same way (all after warranty periods too) I managed to get one working again after taking it apart and pushing at things 🙂 including replacing the internal battery. Also I have also witnessed the blue scfeen of death with a Dell TruMobile 1300 attached to Fujitsu Siemens Hardware but it only had 512mb of memory. I’m still trying to find a solution to that one, I hadn’t heard about the memory before but I might try a different set of memory modules. You dont still have any links to where you got your info from by any chance?



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