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Solved: Lost auto-shutdown (Dell Precision 220)

2871 Views 3 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  gophersnake
I bought this Dell Precision Workstation 220 almost 4 years ago. I recently had to set the system up from scratch, more or less, after my hard drive went flaky. I'm back in business on a new hard drive with almost all the files from the old one but there are still a few kinks to iron out.

Before the crash, when I'd click Start | Shut Down (and set the radio buttons for a complete shutdown), better than 9 times out of 10 the system would indeed power down successfully. The Windows flag logo would come up with "Windows is shutting down" under it, then after 5, maybe 10 seconds the screen would go black and the fan would stop. Every so often, seemingly at random, the flag logo would stay onscreen until I gave up and leaned on the power button for a count of 5 (or pushed reset, then power).

After the crash I dug up four sets of drivers that someone had previously stashed on the old hard drive and installed three of them:
  • Intel® INF Installation Utility
    The Intel® INF Installation Utility installs to the target system the Windows* INF files that outline to the operating system how the chipset components shall be configured. This is needed for proper functionality of the following features:

    - Core PCI and ISAPNP Services
    - AGP Support
    - IDE/ATA33/ATA66 Storage Support
    - USB Support
    - Identification of Intel Chipset Components in
    Device Manager
  • Dell System Utilities
    AutoShutdown, available for ...Windows 98 Second Edition ... lets you perform an orderly system shutdown and turn off your system with a single touch of the power button.
    Asset Tag Utility
    Auto Power On Utility
    The Dell Auto Power On utility is an MS-DOS program that can be used in a batch file to determine how the system was turned on (by the power switch or by the System Setup option) or to turn off the system from DOS. It is designed for use with MS-DOS, Windows 3.x and Windows for Workgroups.
  • NVIDIA RIVA TNT2 Display Driver for Dell (worked wonders for my display)
  • Intel(R) Security Driver (I haven't installed this one, nor even figured out what it's for.)
Anyway, since I moved to the new drive, Windows is still able to restart (either from the Start button or from a "Do you want to restart your computer now?" dialog. When I use the Start button to request a complete shutdown, though, it always hangs with the "Windows is shutting down" lie permanently displayed and I always have to power the computer off by hand.

I'm thinking this sounds like a driver problem but I have no idea where to look next. The only driver package Intel still offers is the INF Installation Utility. I downloaded it, unzipped it, and compared the files with what I already had; they're identical.

Then again, I know so little about the Windows shutdown procedure that if this were from a Registry problem, a missing .dll, a missing .vxd or a hiccup during driver installation, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Any ideas?

Dell Precision Workstation 220
Intel 820 chipset, Pentium 3 (733 MHz), 256 Mb RAM
Windows 98 SE
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My old computer (which I still use as a "lifeboat" when this one is down) doesn't seem to have automatic power-off but Windows somehow knows it doesn't. At the end of shutdown, it displays a message (orange on a black screen) that it is now safe to turn off the computer.

That's Windows 98, though, and this is 98SE. Don't know what difference that makes.
I checked Windows Help. It says:
To shut down your computer

Click Start, click Shut Down, and then click Shut down.

Do not turn off your computer until a message appears telling you that it is safe to do so.
Sounds as though one of two things is happening:
  • The shutdown process hangs up before it even gets to the part where the message would be displayed (or the power would be turned off automatically);
    or else
  • The shutdown process thinks it just told the Dell to power down and is done, but the Dell fails to get the message.
The problem seems to have cleared up by itself over the last few days. I don't even know exactly when; I'd gotten into the habit of calling for "Restart" instead of "Shutdown" and intercepting the reboot with the power button. Yesterday I ran AVG, which has an option for shutting down the computer at the end of the scan. To my surprise, it powered down successfully -- and so has Start | Shutdown, every time I've tried it since then.

The shutdown process is actually faster now than it used to be. I may not even see the "flag" logo before the screen goes black. The one other thing I'm going to try is moving one of my Desktop icons just before shutdown to make sure the change is being saved and the Desktop comes up in the new arrangement after the reboot.
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