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Finding Software Solutions

Dell™ PowerEdge™ 600SC Systems Installation and Troubleshooting Guide

  Installing and Configuring Software

  Using Software

Because most systems have several application programs installed in addition to the operating system, isolating a software problem can be confusing. Software errors can also appear to be hardware malfunctions at first.

Software problems can result from the following circumstances:

You can confirm that a system problem is caused by software by running system diagnostics. If all tests in the test group are completed successfully, the problem is most likely caused by software.

This section provides some general guidelines for analyzing software problems. For detailed troubleshooting information on a particular program, see the documentation that accompanied the software or consult the support service for the software.

Installing and Configuring Software

Use virus-scanning software to check newly acquired programs and files for viruses before installing the programs on the system's hard drive. Viruses can quickly use all available system memory, damage or destroy data stored on the hard drive, and permanently affect the performance of the programs they infect. Several commercial virus-scanning programs are available for purchase.

Before installing a program, read its documentation to learn how the program works, what hardware it requires, and what its defaults are. A program usually includes installation instructions in its accompanying documentation and a software installation routine.

The software installation routine assists users in transferring the appropriate program files to the system's hard drive. Installation instructions may provide details about how to configure the operating system to successfully run the program. Always read the installation instructions before running a program's installation routine.

When you run the installation routine, be prepared to respond to prompts for information about how the system's operating system is configured, what type of system you have, and what peripherals are connected to the system.

Using Software

The following subsections discuss errors that can occur as a result of software operation or configuration.

Error Messages

Error messages can be produced by an application program, the operating system, or the system. "Indicators, Codes, and Messages" discusses the error messages that are generated by the system. If you receive an error message that is not listed in "Indicators, Codes, and Messages," see the operating system or application program documentation.

Input Errors

If a specific key or set of keys is pressed at the wrong time, a program may give you unexpected results. See the documentation that came with the application program to make sure that the values or characters you are entering are valid.

Ensure that the operating environment is set up to accommodate the programs you use. Remember that whenever you change the parameters of the system's operating environment, you may affect the successful operation of the programs. Sometimes, after modifying the operating environment, you may need to reinstall a program that no longer runs properly.

Program Conflicts

Some programs may leave portions of their setup information behind, even though you have exited from them. As a result, other programs cannot run. Rebooting the system can confirm whether these programs are the cause of the problem.

Device drivers, which are programs that use specialized subroutines, can cause problems with the system. For example, a variation in the way the data is sent to the monitor may require a special screen driver program that expects a certain kind of video mode or monitor. In such cases, you may have to develop an alternate method of running that particular program—by creating a start-up file made especially for that program, for example. Contact the support service for the software you are using to help you with this problem.

PCI Interrupt Assignment Conflicts

Most PCI devices can share an IRQ line with another device. However, no two devices can use the IRQ line simultaneously. Problems can arise if a PCI device cannot share an IRQ line or if two devices attempt to use the same IRQ line simultaneously. To avoid this type of conflict, see the documentation for each installed PCI device. See Table 3-1 to configure the device for one of the available IRQ lines.

Table 3-1. IRQ Line Assignment Defaults

IRQ Line

Used By/Available


Used by the system timer


Used by the keyboard controller


Used by the interrupt controller to enable IRQ8 through IRQ15




Used by serial port 1 (COM1 and COM3)




Used by the diskette drive-controller


Used by the parallel port


Used by the real-time clock


Used for power management functions




Used by the tertiary IDE channel


Used by the PS/2 mouse port unless the mouse is disabled in the System Setup program


Used by the math coprocessor


Used by the primary IDE channel


Used by the secondary IDE channel

NOTE: For the full name of an abbreviation or acronym used in this table, see "Abbreviations and Acronyms."

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