Hi, my name is ***** ***** welcome to JustAnswer!
What version of Windows are you currently running?
Okay, in that case by "overlay" I assume you mean to reinstall it without losing your data, is that correct?
Do you have an original Windows installation disc? (This would NOT be a factory recovery disc that came with the computer. It would be a Vista installation disc issued by Microsoft.)
Well, if you had an original Windows installation disc then you could perform what's called a "repair installation" which just installs Windows on top of itself, like you're describing. But you MUST have an original installation disc to do that.
With only a Dell factory disc your only option, if possible, would be to save your data and attempt a factory restore from the disc.
However, do need to tell you that I'm not at all confident that that would resolve your issue. You said that sometimes the machine shuts down shortly after Windows loads. This does not point to a problem with Windows, but rather it indicates a hardware problem. Just based on your description, the problem could be any of the following:
1. The system is overheating due to a faulty fan or heatsink
2. The motherboard is damaged
3. The RAM or CPU is faulty
Systems randomly shutting down are almost never due to a software issue and are almost always due to a hardware problem.
Considering that you are running Vista, I have to assume that this is an older computer. In that case, I would not recommend investing money into hardware repairs for the computer. I would instead put that money into a new machine.
If you have data on this computer that you cannot afford to lose, and the machine will not stay on long enough for you to get the data copied over to something like an external hard drive, then you can remove the drive and connect it to another computer and copy the data over.
I hope all this makes sense. Let me know what further questions you may have on this.
And before leaving this page, please use the rating box at the top of the page to rate the answer at least 3 Stars/OK Service or better so that I receive credit for assisting you.
Hi John, thanks and I'm happy to help.
Just based on the information I have, I think the problem is that your motherboard is dying. As you may know, the motherboard is more or less the nervous system of the computer--it's responsible for shuttling data from one place to another and also responsible for making sure that each device can communicate with the rest of the system. Considering that you not only are having the random shut down problems but also are having issues with drives being recognized, then I have little down that the motherboard is the culprit here.
Typically in the in-between time where a motherboard starts to fail and the time where it has failed completely, it can do all kinds of weird stuff. For instance, I had a computer that was in a similar situation and it wouldn't recognize video cards. You could just plug the card in and it acted like nothing was there.
I definitely understand how this kind of thing can be frustrating and, like I mentioned before, I really would not spend any more time and certainly no money on fixing up a computer that is almost a decade old. If you have any questions about what to look for in a new machine, feel free to ask and I'll be happy to help out in any way that I can.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
And please do remember to rate the answer for me before you run. (You can always return to our session and any time in the future to ask further questions on this issue if they arise.)
It sounds like you're basically just looking for something that you can get on the Internet with and maybe type up some documents. Basic computing. Under those circumstances, I think you can definitely get by with $500, especially since you're looking for a desktop which always provides more bang for the buck in terms of performance.
I took a look at the Pavilion you mentioned and it looks like a very capable machine for the price. The i3 process is a solid performer at this price and 6 GB is a healthy amount of RAM. The 1 TB hard drive will also give you a lot of storage.
I also like Dells and, in general, I tend to find that their warranty support is among the best in the business. So I would also look at some Dell systems in the same price range.
Just as a general set of guidelines, I would say these are the MINIMUM specs that you'd want to look for. Obviously more is better:
CPU: Intel Core i3 or AMD quad-core
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Drive: 500 GB if you don't think you'll be storing a lot of pictures, music, videos, etc, 1 TB if you do think you'll store a lot of files
Like I said, those are the MINIMUMS that you don't want to go below. Just remember that the better the specs of your new system, the longer it will be before it's outdated and in need of upgrading.
Let me know what other questions you have.
Hi again John,
Regarding Dell, yeah, while you're under warranty they're usually pretty good. I can't say much beyond what they're like outside of that period. I generally don't expect to get any support outside of the warranty period for anything I own.
My guess is your AMD there is probably a single-core processor. That's a bit behind the times at this point, but I suppose still useful for very basic tasks. I'd say the same about 64 MB of video RAM. Many video cards today have 2 GB of RAM or more.
Just based on what I know of your needs, I think the HP you mentioned would be a good system for you.
Let me know if you have any other questions on this. And if you have no further questions, just rate the answer at the top of the page and that will close our session out for now.