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Old 11-23-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
370forlife
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Default Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

So I have this Optiplex GX280 that is really giving me a hard time. It was, at one point, installed in one of those crappy ATM's you find in gas stations. They use a hodge podge of security software that really makes it difficult to use the computer for anything else.

For one, they have deepfreeze on there. Ok, thats not that hard to disable, but then they have a custom program written by a company called SurferQuest that is the ATM interface you would interact with. The only problem is, when starting up normally the SQ software starts up instantly and locks down the computer, completely disabling any USB devices (I.E. keyboard and mouse). In dell's infinite wisdom, they did not equip the GX280 with PS/2 ports.

So here's the problem. Its stuck in a loop. I can only make changes to deepfreeze in normal mode. I can boot into safemode and poke around, but deleting or uninstalling anything is useless as deepfreeze just puts it back to normal next boot. I can't make any changes to deepfreeze in normal mode as the stupid SurferQuest software locks everything out.

And to top it off, they either have some sort of setting or software installed that prevents booting from anything other than the hard drive, or this computer is just as big of a POS as it really is, as the CD drive will not boot anything, and trying to boot from a USB drive just freezes up the computer.
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Old 11-23-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

Pop the hard drive in a different computer and disable it from there?
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Old 11-23-2013, 07:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

Normally that would be the case, but right now I lack a working computer with Sata capabilities (the WD 320GB in my main computer just took a dump.)
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

Quote:
Originally Posted by 370forlife View Post
have some sort of setting or software installed that prevents booting from anything other than the hard drive
That's usually done by the BIOS

Is a password needed to get into BIOS settings ?

If there is, and you don't have it, get hold of a manual for the system and find out how to clear CMOS settings

Once you get into the BIOS, look for settings related to Boot sources
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

There was no password on the bios, and I reset it as well. I also don't see any device inside the computer so I think its just a Dell being a Dell not being able to boot from USB. It must just be coincidental that the CD Rom also doesn't work.

I'm going to try hooking up a different CD rom drive, it has a slimline style drive in it now. The power supply also does not have any Molex connectors, so I'm going to have to rig up another power supply for the time being. I thought I had another CD rom drive from a big ol' Dell server, but it was SCSI. I have drastically fewer parts than I had in the past, so doing these things now becomes more of a challenge .
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

Quote:
Originally Posted by 370forlife View Post
There was no password on the bios, and I reset it as well. I also don't see any device inside the computer so I think its just a Dell being a Dell not being able to boot from USB. It must just be coincidental that the CD Rom also doesn't work.

I'm going to try hooking up a different CD rom drive, it has a slimline style drive in it now. The power supply also does not have any Molex connectors, so I'm going to have to rig up another power supply for the time being. I thought I had another CD rom drive from a big ol' Dell server, but it was SCSI. I have drastically fewer parts than I had in the past, so doing these things now becomes more of a challenge .
IIRC, boards since the USB 2.0 era (since 2002, IIRC) should be able to boot from USB.
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

From GX280 user's guide: ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-produ...uide_en-us.pdf

Booting to a USB Device
NOTE:
To boot to a USB device, the device must be bootable. To ensure that your device is bootable, check the devicedocumentation.
Memory Key
1.
Insert the memory key into a USB port and restart the computer.
2.
When
F12 = Boot Menu
appears in the upper-right corner of the screen, press <F12>.
The BIOS detects the device and adds the USB device option to the boot menu.
3.
From the boot menu, select the number that appears next to the USB device.
The computer boots to the USB device.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

I assume there must be some sort of stability issue with the bios and booting from USB. I formatted 3 different USB sticks I had sitting around, all three would be detected but would freeze the computer when selecting them to boot.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

Quote:
Originally Posted by 370forlife View Post
I assume there must be some sort of stability issue with the bios and booting from USB. I formatted 3 different USB sticks I had sitting around, all three would be detected but would freeze the computer when selecting them to boot.
May be a bad USB port.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

gx280 with stability issues?
look at the caps on the mobo and power supply first.
i have gotten plenty of quirky ones in that a recap fixed right up.none were bulging on the board but always at least 1 in power supply.
another possibility is an intentionally bugged bios since it was in an atm.
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Old 11-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Wresting with Deepfreeze and SurferQuest

Well, I hooked up another IDE drive and a different power supply and it was able to boot from that CD and reinstall XP. Seems to be fine with the supplied power supply now. The motherboard itself is all Pannys, none bulging and the power supply is a little HiPro unit that doesn't have any visible bulging, but they're all Ltec with some little Nichicons, so I may go through and replace the Ltec's. The BIOS revision is A00 which indicates it is the original BIOS, so it may just need a BIOS update to get the USB booting properly.

Other than that its doing what I wanted it to do, which is to act as a wireless receiver/router for some old PPC Macs.
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