Dell Laptops, Summer 2013

Checking out another Dell for a friend.

I want a laptop and docking bay.

If a Dell, it needs to be a Latitude, they’re the only machines they ship with the old fashioned docking bay interface. We don’t want to connect a screen using USB and we want the machine to be closed while using the desktop periherals.

Here is the Dell E6530 configure page. Here is the docking station link. The laptop needs the E-Series Legacy Expansion Port added in the “Accessorize my Dell” section.

It also needs the O/S version upgraded to 64 bit. It comes without MS Office, soi this’ll need to be added. Wonder if the still do educational discounts, looks like not, since Office 365 seems about the same price.

Maybe the docking station isn’t worth it. Get a cheaper laptop, with a screen port, and buy a new screen with a newer interface standard.

How big is it, how much does it weigh?

Do Laptop Power sell docking stations?

Hitachi Travelstar disk,

Dan’s Dell Inspiron has a Hitachi Travelstar disk. Given that the computer won’t boot, it’s a bit tricky to recover the data.

I have inserted an Ubuntu Live CD into the CD player, and it still won’t boot. I have plugged an external screen into the VGA port, no go.

Questions

  • Do we need to fix the computer before we can recover the disk? Disking say they can read the disk and cut a DVD for us.

Answers

  • My colleague, Jim Barrett has lent me Magic Bridge II which is pretty awesome. I have recovered Danny’s disk, now onto Sue’s.

Links

ooOOOoo

It seems that USB to disk adapters are more common than I thought, I have added the Newertech and IOMEGA links to this page today. DFL 20 May 2011

Dell Dimension 5150c

This was originally entitled “Our New XP Box”. I changed the title when I copied the snip across to WordPress in July 2013.

The snip is called our new box. It isn’t so new anymore, but is about the Dell Dimension 5150c.

As of 30th Dec 2008, the User Manual is available as a .pdf. You might need to be logged into the site to read/get this.

Archiving the Pictures

Some years ago, I bought a Freecom DVD writer and decided to back up the pictures to DVD. XP did not originally support DVD writing and I have no idea if that’s changed so I needed to use Roxio Creator to do this.

Making Videos

In the Spring 2008, I decided to try and make some talking heads videos. My endeavours are documented on below Spring 2008

AMCAP

I am not sure where this comes from, but I have been trying to use it to make videos with a USB webcam. Basicaly I can’t get the sound to work. Google helped me find this FAQ.

I can now hear the sound on a Video. The key is to use the volume control to turn up the Recording volume.

Dell Forums

The mucked around with the forums again in Dec 2008. I am not sure the links below work any longer.

They now have an XP Support Centre & self help forum. They also have an all my posts page.

Dell Forums and Safe Mode

I also had reason to create  Windows Boot Menu page on this site. I was doing some housekeeping on my Dell Dimension 5150c and discovered that yet again the Dell Support site had been improved. There used to be tech support articles about the various systems they sold and are in use, but I finally found a reference on to how to bring the system up in Safe Mode, which I have documented. It implies that this is no longer different for each model and that Dell have standardised on F8. Anyway that’s what works on my machine. Interestingly hard to find I tried both Google and Exalead, but eventually found it using Google, of course.

External Disk

I installed an external disk to hold the pictures, music and maybe videos, i.e. the home directories.

Using the Fax

On 14th Sept 2009, I tried to send a Fax to Spain. This was after the new hub/router line was set up. The fax failed several times; I had tried to enter the hotel into the windows address book with a phone compatible fax number i.e. +34… I solved the problem by entering the destination as a one-off and specifying the destination country using a pull down menu. The fax console reported the destination number as 00 34 …., not +34. I used hyperterminal to test the line. This is a nuisance. It seems I need to store the fax numbers as UK specific, although I don’t use the phone much as a fax transmission device.

Action: The computer modem external wiring needs tidying up when the old btconnect line is terminated. i.e. It is currently using the old data line.

Desktop Icons

XP does not have “My Documents”, “My Computer” or “My Network Places” on the desktop. They can be placed their using

        Desktop -> Properties -> Customize Desktop

Security Center (sic) on XP aka the state of my box!

Written shortly after purchase, dated 7th Feb

It seems that XP can only have one security centre solution. The system comes with McAfee and I need Norton. Sadly I didn’t understand this and have had to restart the rebuild.

I have therefore had to trash certain pieces of work. With help I have managed to resolve my W98 systems network problems. (This was caused by one of the auto exec programs blocking the port on the W98 system). The W98 system is now acting as the print server. This came back OK.

I misread the screen configuration parameters and the drivers work out of the box. I have a lovely 19″ flat screen, which seems to be working fine.

Paintshop Pro is now owned by Corel and I have a trial licence. I wonder if my one & one subscription still entitles me to a PSP right-to-use. I need to track this down. Otherwise I need to discover the best way to obtain a right-to-use, otherwise maybe I should bite the bullet and buy Photoshop.

I expect I shall put OpenOffice on the box first, since some of the .doc files I have are too old for MS`Works’ word processor to read. (I shall be installing MS Office Educational Edition, in order to ensure that the MS file types have default methods that invoke the Microsoft programs.)

I need to go back to http://art.gnome.org in order to download some more wall papers.

I have also lost some of the file transfers from the laptop and old W98 system.

Other snips here

See also Help & Support, &  I now have an Audio snip, which deals with installing a Microphone, and the CTMBHA.DLL driver issues as well. Xmas 2006

Alienware

At about the same time that I bought the Dell I also bought an Alienware Aurora, which worked fine for two and half years and then developed a frustrating problem

ooOOOoo

Audio on the Dell

Microphone

I tried to use the microphone to make video’s on the Dell and the sound track is inaudible. Sound Recorder also creats inaudible tracks. I have tried to discover how to audit the sound drivers. There is a Dell Community thread. 17th January 2009

I have just attempted to use both a Creative & Trust microphone on both the rear and front microphone ports of my Dimension 5150C & the Alienware. I am having zero success on the Dell. I bought a new labtec microphone and this works fine on the Dell.

CTMBHA.DLL

I get an intermittent error with CTMBHA.DLL on system boot. I have investigated this in the Dell forums and via google. This seems to be a ‘feature’.

Dell Studio 15 Laptop

I bought a Dell Studio 15 from PC World in August. It runs Vista.

Norton Anti-Virus

I bought and installed Norton Anti-Virus. I didn’t renew when the subscribtion ran out

Applications

I downloaded

  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • Opera
  • Pidgin, I downloaded this from the http://www.pidgin.im. My experience with versions post v 2.0.1 are quite poor, so this is not installed, but I must ensure v2.0.1 is on the machine. I am advised by a Vista user that this experience is also the case on Vista.

Microsoft Office

I installed Microsoft Office Student Edition 2003. (Do I need Star/Open Office, or the ODF). I tried to run Office Update from the Microsoft site and got the ‘You are not using a sufficiently up to date version of IE n.b. this is Vista.’. I think I fixed this by amending the firewall rules, and using IE, not Firefox. Doh!.

Networking

In order to move the files from one machine to another, I needed to establish a LAN connection behind the home appliance firewall.

The interface is different and finding the buttons was a complete crock. I am not sure how we fixed this. The XP boxes could see the new Studio 15’s exports, and I connected to it. The next time I looked the ‘connect to network disk’ button was on the ‘My computer’ dialogue box, and it could see all the exporting computers, although I still can’t browse the disks and printers. It may have been tuning the firewall rules that did this.

I found these resources

both specific to Vista and from microsoft.com. The reality is that I don’t know how we fixed this, and since we can’t browse the devices, its still not fixed.

Week Two problems

The Fan has kicked in, the back lite switches are not working and even some keyboard buttons need to be pressed really hard.

Dell Forums seems to recognise the problem. It might need a BIOS upgrade, also I will need to document how to use the power economy control panel applet.

So the problem is defined as

  • Fan exceedingly noisey
  • back lite keys don’t work
  • intermittent failure on the keyboard
  • mouse touchpad doesn’t seem to work

I couldn’t find someone on the support team chat, so rang them. He downloaded new copies of the general utilities, touchpad driver, intel chipset and the BIOS.The drivers are on the front support page after one types on the Service Tag. He installed them and rebooted. Everything seems fine. The fan is quiet and everything seems to be working.I was told that there is no Firmware Upgrade solution at Dell.  I ,(well, Dell Support), installed new BIOS today. V A05. (20 Sep 2008)

I believe the computer fell into a bad state after a windows upgrade download.

Sound Quality

This is a bit poor for a Laptop advertised as a multi-media lifestyle machine.

I need to see if there are any better drivers, or if this is as good as it gets

Hardware Repairs

I took this to Disking after a Keyboard/Pinot Grigio interface scenario. They charged £69 quid + parts for the repair, which since both the computer and its parts were no longer supplied by Dell and they got everything they needed, this was a result. In particular, at the time, Dell’s replacements were very ugly, we were please to have the machine repaired. NB Damage through spillage is accidental damage and not derangement. This means it should be covered by most household insurance policies.

F1 Help and Support

On my Dell Dimension, there’s been a problem with “Help & Support”, it wouldn’t start on using the F1. Dell recommended a pcrestore, which since I had already done once, I didn’t want to repeat. I logged it in the Dell Community forum here… and joe53 referred me to Kelly’s Korner tweaks, line 235.

This is a registry update. I used this to fix the problem and I have documented my process on the Dell site.

Thanks to Joe & Kelly.

Windows boot menu on a Dell

Windows Safe Mode

I am looking to boot my Dell Dimension 5150c into Safe Mode.

See the Dell support page where they state that to get into the boot menu, you must use the F8 button,after the basic input/output system (BIOS) has finished loading, but before the windows XP splash screen is displayed.

keywords: “windows XP” “boot menu” “safe mode” DELL 5150c Dimension