I have a question about a desktop workstation I purchased from Dell. The PC in question is a Dell OptiPlex 580 which came with an OEM installation of Windows 7 Pro x64. Please bear with the length of my post, and forgive me if I am not posting this in the correct forum. Iím not sure if there is a correct forum for this question, but here goes:
Is it possible to purchase a bad copy of Windows?
What exactly do I mean by ďbad copyĒ? Iím not talking about a pirated copy with a fake license. I mean, is it possible the copy of Windows that came installed on my system is damaged, corrupt, or incomplete? All the data on the OEM disc was transferred from somewhere, from something. When the manufacturer created this disc, is it possible that something went wrong? Why do I want to know? Well, here is my story:
About two years ago I purchased a brand new PC from Dell. I noticed within the first week or so, practically right out of the box, the PC crashed and displayed a BSOD. The PC crashed again about a week later. I was a little concerned when I saw the first crash, but the second got my attention for sure. However, every time I tried investigating an error code, the probable cause was always vague. I couldnít find anything that pointed to that one ďsilver bulletĒ fix.
I looked for answers everywhere, often on boards such as this one. The fixes suggested to me were numerous, well thought out, but all too often varied. ďItís the hardware! Itís the software! Itís the hard drive! Itís a third party driver! Itís Windows!Ē Whatever the suggestion, I tried it, but nothing worked.
I am not a computer expert, guru, or whiz of any kind. Iím just a guy that has been able to troubleshoot or fix numerous issues over the years with the assistance of great people who contribute to forums like this one. But in regards to this particular issue, no matter what I have looked for, no matter what test I have used, I have never been able to identify the cause of these BSOD, nor have I been able to prevent them from continuing.
Here are a few things I can tell you about this PC. I donít have any weird/uncommon software installed (just your basic things like Office, Acrobat, etc.). Iím not overclocking anything. Iíve checked the power supply and it is fully functional. I have run more memory tests then I care to remember. Iíve scanned for malware over and over again. I have run diagnostics to check for damage on the hard drive. Iíve uninstalled and reinstalled drivers. Iíve run stress tests on the drivers trying to force a crash. I physically removed a graphics card that I thought might be the issue, never plugging it back in. Iíve opened up the PC and reseated everything. Iíve kept the insides clean. Iíve checked the temperature inside the machine. But in two years of working on this computer, I have never found a single hardware defect with this system. And not one single tweak I have made to it has kept it from crashing.
Even when I reformatted the hard drive and did a full reinstallation of Windows, which was the recommendation of Dellís paid software support team, the PC quickly went back to more BSOD. If someone told me they reinstalled Windows on their system but it kept crashing, I would probably assume there was a hardware issue too. But again, I have searched and searched for evidence that the hardware is broken, but cannot find anything.
All of this makes me wonder; maybe the PC arrived with the problem. Perhaps the OS was initially installed with a bad copy of Windows? Maybe when used that same disc to reinstall the OS, I just put the same problem back into the computer.
It has been suggested to me that I conduct a Repair Install of Windows to fix some issues I discovered. Recently I ran the ďsfc/ scannowĒ command and received a message stating that there were corrupt sectors that could not be repaired. But I am afraid to try to fix it with the OEM CD. This is the same CD that failed to fix the issue when I did a full install. Is it possible that if I use this same disc again that I could be replacing the same corrupt system files all over again?
I am curious to hear feedback from others. Have any of you had an experience like this one? Is it possible that the OEM CD I received is damaged? Does this ever happen? Sorry about the length of the post, but at this point, I am grasping at straws. All feedback is greatly appreciated.