Released May 2002, Identified by the GX260 marking around the power button.

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Why will it not get past "Dell" screen?

This computer was given to me with a viral infection. When I first got it, I was actually able to boot into safe mode and scan or w/e before it would cut off. It would do this while the green power light stayed on along with fans and working CD drive. Now all of a sudden, I can't get past the first screen without it exhibiting this behavior. I can't even get to the bios menu or start from Windows disk before this happens.

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I checked everything over, tried a reboot, and got this message "Previous boot attempts failed at checkpoint [PnP7]" According to my research, this would indicate I need a new motherboard correct?

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As previously suggested, prior to mention of an error code, I would look for faulty capacitors on the motherboard and replace them. There is a correlation between the error code and bad capacitors on the logic board. - You are correct Kirn the motherboard is bad. It needs replaced or repaired. Ultimately that choice is yours. With the computer's age I would consider repairing it. I would replace the entire computer before replacing the motherboard. Finding a new motherboard with IDE drive controller boards on it will be hard. That means you will also need to buy a bootable PCI IDE controller card to go with your new motherboard or an undependable SATA to IDE converter card. You could buy a used motherboard and risk the same problem occurring in a short amount of time, electrolytic capacitors have a life span.

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Thanks ABCellars (helped me out once again!) and everyone who chimed in. I'm going to attempt to repair the motherboard.

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Thank you for your kind words kirn. I have a couple of suggestions for you, I would look for your problematic capacitors to be between or around the Southbridge and the Northbridge. That means they will be away from the power circuits behind the CPU and towards the center of the board. Electrolytic capacitors blow out or bulge on the bottom too - makes it hard to get a visual, if they look good, doesn't mean they are. Use rosin flux (you can make it yourself - cheap) and add some low temp melt solder to remove the capacitors - get yourself some 63/37 solder - paste is best. The rosin flux is active and will get rid of the contaminates. Adding low temp solder to the joint will make the existing solder melt at a lower temperature. Many of the online "experts" claim you need a 60 watt soldering iron, with a large tip. for this kind of work. If you use the products I suggested, you can do the work just as fast with a 35 - 40 watt iron (average iron) with an average to smaller tip.

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Check for bad capacitor(s) (bulging or burst) on your motherboard. Also, verify your RAM sticks and/or slots are good - Take a known good RAM stick and move it between slots to confirm the slot. Move the RAM sticks into a working computer to confirm the sticks if you can. Bad power supplies can exhibit this kind of behavior also - They have enough to get things going, but after they reach temperature they can't handle the load.

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I'd take out the CMOS battery and reset the CMOS to defaults.

Unplug the PC from the power before opening the system up

Look HERE at the service manual - specifically the Battery section.

Remove battery and leave it out for a few minutes. Might be worth testing the battery voltage while its out. replace as required.

This may get you past the Dell screen and allow access to BIOS.

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Thanks for responding. I have done this, but to no avail. Would a dead battery cause this behavior?

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I would not have thought so but for a couple dollars it may be worth replacing it anyway. Are you able to get into system setup (F2 at start up) Refer this LINK

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THIS THREAD suggests that ABC is on the money - bad capacitors on the MOBO

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When you boot up hit ESC and see what message is on the screen. Also, simple enough, try a different keyboard. On systems with PS/2 ports check to make sure the mouse/keyboard is hooked to the correct (green/purple) port. Also try unplugging everything except your keyboard -- I've seen some systems where the keyboard just won't work on certain USB ports.

A system will actually run without a battery, but, you have to reset the time, settings, etc, each boot.

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Kirn will be eternally grateful.
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