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I have a Dell Optiplex GX280 - today the screen was frozen so I had to hold the power button in until it shut down.  After waiting a period of time, I turned the unit back on and now the unit will not boot up.  The light in front is steady amber and the fan sounds like a vacuum cleaner.  Please advise any thoughts on getting the unit back up and functional  OR  is it possible for me to remove the hard drive and add it as a slave drive on another computer so I can attempt to get some of my data.  I do have a backup; however, it is several weeks old.  this unit had Windows XP.  Thank you in advance for your help.

asked 11/29/2011 11:07

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1 ♦♦


18 Answers:
You might be dealing with a bad powersupply or voltage regulation. You can certainly slave the existing drive to another machine and work the problem  this way. While the drive is removed you can then go ahead and troubleshoot the existing system. You dont have to have a HDD in the machine to troubleshoot this problem. First disconnec the machine from power then disconnect all drives including dvd and cd roms from the mother board. Remove all auxillary cards unless - remove cmos battery - or clear cmos via jumper. Remove all memory - and reisnsert at least one. Check power connection to the motherboard. Check powersupply for burned smell and. If all checks out and you dont see any swollen capacitors, try booting up again - if it works great -if not you have narrowed down the problem.
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answered

skarai's gravatar image

skarai

Solid amber led indicates a hardware failure, could be a pci card, motherboard, almost anything. Is the system still under warranty? Yes it is possible to remove the hdd and use as a slave.
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answered 2011-11-29 at 19:22:02

jamietoner's gravatar image

jamietoner

Thanks for the responses.  The unit is not under warranty.  I do anticipate having to purchase a new computer; however, I would like to try and get certain documents from my existing hard drive.  Questiion -- If I have a Dimension 2350 that still runs fine is it possible for me to take the hard drive from the "broken" pc (Optiplex GX280) and put it in the Dimension to see if it will boot and get my documents and files?
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answered 2011-11-29 at 19:24:58

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

Depends on what type of drive you have in the gx280. The 280 support IDE and sata drives, and the 2350 only supports IDE. Another option would be a usb adapter either sata to usb or ide to usb.
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answered 2011-11-29 at 19:48:37

jamietoner's gravatar image

jamietoner

The drive in the gx280 is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80 GB drive model number ST380013AS - I  believe this is a SATA drive - so as you indicate, I can not just switch the drives.  However, please tell me this - I have two other pc's:

1) one is a clone pc (and I think it has a SATA drive) -- if it is -- can I just swap the drives and then boot the pc?  Does it matter if it is not a Dell pc?  

2) Then the second pc I have is a Dell XPS 400  - the hard drive went bad a month or so ago and I have not replaced the drives (actually it has dual hard drives).  The drives in that pc were Western Digital Serial ATA drives.  If option one above does not work - could I try putting the Seagate hard drive in the XPS400?  I would probably prefer to try it in the clone pc since the BIOS settings on this xps400 is probably set to mirror or dual drives and I don't konw how to change that.

I don't want to damage the Seagate drive with my data - so I would rather ask if swapping the drive into one of the pc's I have could damage my Seagate drive in any way -- if so, should I consider trying to slave the drive.
Thank you
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answered 2011-11-29 at 19:52:50

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

I doubt either system would boot from the drive, as the system likely have different hardware configs. This would be the best option. I have a couple of these types of adapters as they come in very handy.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002
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answered 2011-11-29 at 20:31:16

jamietoner's gravatar image

jamietoner

Just so I understand -- if I obtain one of the devices I can connect my Seagate to the device and then to a working pc.  The the drive becomes something like an external drive?  I would be able to see the drive listed in my computer and navigate to find files?

Also, is this type of device sold at Office Depot or do I need to purchase online?

Thank you
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answered 2011-11-29 at 20:51:01

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

If the drive will physically connect to one of your other PCs, then fit it there, as a slave.  That way, the pc will boot with it's normal drive, and you'll just see the other one as E:, for instance.  Then, copy all data.  You won't be able to run any apps directly from the old drive though - the registry on it isn't referenced, so none will work well.

Don't bother trying to boot from it, it only will make it more unstable - it may ask you to re-register Windows, for instance.

On the OLD pc, there are 4 LEDs on the rear of the PC, iirc, and they give a status code that Dell can use to tell you what is wrong.  We had over 100 gx 270 and 280's at work, and the most common failure was motherboards, followed by power supplies, sometimes both.  You might find a cheap donor pc for these parts on eBay.
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answered 2011-11-29 at 20:59:55

DanCh99's gravatar image

DanCh99

these are known to have bad capacitors, they even sell the kit for it :  http://www.badcaps.net/store/product_info.php?products_id=22
so check for leakingor bulging ones around the cpu - or in the power supply see picture :
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answered 2011-11-29 at 23:51:08

nobus's gravatar image

nobus

Could you provide steps as to how to connect as a slave drive?  or would it be easier to buy one of the adapters that was referenced in one of the solutions (from jamietoner)?  I have resolved myself to the fact that I am going to replace the gx280, I really just would like to attempt to retrieve files/folders from the drive.  Also, I did check the capacitors and they do appear to be leaking or bulging -- as you all indicate, I think this is a power supply or motherboard issue.
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answered 2011-11-30 at 01:03:26

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

nobus is correct.  The GX270 and GX280 were notorious as victims of capacitor plague.  I have yet to see a GX270 or GX280 come into the shop that does not have capacitor problems.

The proper solution, if you want to keep the GX280, is to replace all electrolytic capacitors on the board.  There are several companies on the net that do this for about $80.  Admittedly, it is possible to buy a used GX280 motherboard on fleabay for much less, but the probability is that you'll end up with another board with bad caps, and sooner or later it, too, will stab you in the back.
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answered 2011-11-30 at 05:11:52

DrKlahn's gravatar image

DrKlahn

>>  how to connect as a slave drive?  <<  if the drive has an IDE interface (connects wityh flat cable and 40 or80 wire)
then you set the drive to slave with a jumper on the back of the drive, and connect it on the CD drive cable, or remove the cd drive, and connect the drive instead

here a guide :  http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/if/ide/confJumpering-c.html
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answered 2011-11-30 at 05:23:54

nobus's gravatar image

nobus

I was successful in connecting my Seagate SATA hard drive to one of my existing computers and I was able to copy the needed files and folders!!  Thank you.  

Now my next question - if I want to try to access an application I had on the Seagate hard drive - to be exact - I would like to open my Peachtree application - am I able to lauch the application from this drive??  
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answered 2011-11-30 at 07:55:53

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

NO way..you need to install it on the pc first
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answered 2011-11-30 at 08:59:24

nobus's gravatar image

nobus

That was what I thought but I had to ask!  Thank you.
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answered 2011-11-30 at 09:23:58

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

It's worth a shot. So apps won't run unless they have been installed on the system others will run just fine.
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answered 2011-11-30 at 09:43:01

jamietoner's gravatar image

jamietoner

Thanks to all for your help.  I was able to retrieve the data by connecting the drive as a slave on another computer.  Will be replacing the gx280 but very happy to have my files and folders from the gx280 hard drive.  Thanks again for all of your input.
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answered 2011-11-30 at 17:47:19

mmj1's gravatar image

mmj1

tx for feedback
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answered 2011-12-05 at 07:00:39

nobus's gravatar image

nobus

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Asked: 11/29/2011 11:07

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Last updated: 12/04/2011 11:00

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