Inspiron 600m slowdowns and problems
May 5, 2008 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Inspiron 600m slowdowns and problems

My girlfriend has a Dell Inspiron 600m. Dating from 3-4 years ago.
Its been bumped and bruised over its lifespan, and now has a number of problems I am trying to get figured out.

1) The computer experiences chronic slowdowns whenever running anything graphical (we're talking you-tube, not crysis level graphics). It will slow down for 2 minutes, running the graphics at 3fps, then revert to normal without warning.

Have tried new and 3rd party gfx drivers, virus/spyware scans, and dust cleaning. It does not seem to be tied to overheating (it will boot up slow sometimes), nor sound (have disabled sound to test it).

2) The wired Ethernet is not working at all. Most often it doesn't show up as a network option in the control panel. Sometimes it will show up for a few seconds, but it will not configure, nor will it light up when a cable is plugged into it. Have tried running Ubuntu on a live CD, and the wired ethernet is absent from there too.

Thanks if anyone can help figure this out.
posted by mjewkes to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
mj - Well now. Hm. Ok.

1. Not that I really trust it all that much, but you could run the Dell Diagnostics sw to try testing the ethernet port.

2. Does the ethernet card show as 'enabled' in the bios? (although I confess I am not all that familiar with the recent Dell notebook bios', except that some of the less fancy notebooks seem to have more emasculated bios' than they previously had)

3. That Ubuntu idea is pretty good, particularly the newer iterations, but then again making linux distros run on laptops in a snap - while much much much better than it used to be - is still not as liable to detect doodads I think, still, as say Windows XP. (let the flaming begin)

4. I presume the notebook has Windows (some flavor) on it. In earlier notebook iterations, as well as desktops, but certainly a ton of notebooks I've worked with.. sometimes the networking will get foobarred by people having multiple networking devices attached to the thing at one point or another.... Vpn clients, dial up thingies, pcmcia/cardbus cards.. in any case, if you can determine that the nic is actually good - but it's still not showing in Device Manager, you can boot into Safe Mode, and see if there's any sign of a nic in there. You may also discover "holy crap, why do there appear to be 80 instances of various nics?" in which case, delete all the instances you see there that are not part of the nic you need.

5. If you've done 1 & 2... has the O.S. ever been blown away and reinstalled? If you can determine that the hardware is otherwise alright as far as you can tell, that is always a last resort that can indeed fix whatever crap has been snarling around and accumulating on your gf's hard drive in some form over the last couple years.

There you go. That will be $300 please.
posted by bitterkitten at 7:34 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: Here's your 300$ bitterkitten. Didn't help - can I sue you for a refund?

More info I should have added:
It runs Windows XP. There is a bios option for Ethernet port, I have tried disabling and renabling it up the wazoo.

I put another laptop hard drive running XP in the machine, and it still wouldn't detect the network adapter.

Don't have dell diagnostics, and I'm not that keen on trying it.
Any more ideas? Problem 1?
posted by mjewkes at 8:17 PM on May 5, 2008

So you already did bitterkitten's suggestion #5?
posted by Liosliath at 8:22 PM on May 5, 2008

Response by poster: No, but I replaced the hard-drive entirely, and no luck.
posted by mjewkes at 9:49 PM on May 5, 2008

You'll spend less time backing up and reinstalling XP than you will pulling your hair out trying to chase down phantom problems.

Of what you list above the network issue is perhaps the most probably not to be fixed by a re-install. Since you describe the laptop as having been bumped around it's very possible that the network port could be damaged in some way. I've seen the jacks themselves loose on the PCB... worst case scenario: buy a PCMICA network card - they are very cheap.
posted by wfrgms at 9:53 PM on May 5, 2008

I had a 600m. Before I sold it, I reinstalled Windows and it was extremely happy again. Just do it.
posted by k8t at 10:49 PM on May 5, 2008

my ex-gf had a 600m that i reinstalled xp on a couple years ago and the wired ethernet was the one thing i could NOT find a working driver for.
posted by noloveforned at 6:08 AM on May 6, 2008

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