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Lilla's notes on Inspiron 7000 - Drives - Last updated 13Dec98

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Drive Specifications and Information Links

For a listing of all our drive specifications, go to: The portables hard drives are typically listed as 2.5" drives. Brian McCullough

Note: As of Oct98 the only drives listed for the 7000 is the hard drives. The CD and DVD drives are not there. Lilla

Updated Dell Drivers

To search for updated Dell drivers: Go to Dell System Support Page Inspiron 7000

Click on "All Files for this System" Search for files by description. . . Type in 7000 (to assure you find ALL entries)

Note: Do this regardless of whether it says no files found, or if it finds files when you do a search by system type. This will assure that you find *all* related files, included those that have not been assigned a system identifier, or that were assigned a wrong identifier. And there are some like that! Lilla

LuxSonor DVD Decoder Card

DVD/MPEG-2 decoder card supplier

Luxsonor DVD Decoder card located in a panel under the notebook provides MPEG-2 support, per: The DVD-ROM is mated to an internal LuxSonor DVD/MPEG-2 decoder chip with 2MB of SGRAM, per
It uses DVD decoder chip version 242 made by the LuxSonor Company, per Richard Galli - i7000 owner

Updated Driver for DVD Decoder Card

A: Many people have use the Beta DVD drivers we have on our website and have found them to increase the volume to acceptable levels. The filename is 20370810.EXE. To download the file, go to this address: In the box under "Files by Exact Filename", type the name above, and hit search. It will locate the file for you, and start the download process. Another suggestion is to use either headphones or amplified speakers if you need more volume. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: You could try the Luxsonor drivers at The DVD decoder chip version 242 is made by the LuxSonor Company. Look for drivers for the ls242. If you install the correct driver from the LusSonor site, they work better. The sound volume running DVD movies -- especially the dialogue -- is significantly better. It is not as high as I would like, but it is much better than it was with the drivers installed by Dell. Keep in mind that the LuxSonor site appears to offer two different drivers in the Win 98 version 242 section, so be careful. Richard Galli, Email

A: WAIT DON'T!!!! I installed the drivers from luxsonor's site, and my computer was no more! I had to restore the original disk image using zztop.bat. The Dell beta DVD drivers worked fine on my computer. I still don't know why they messed it up, but since some people have gotten those to work, it probably conflicted with something else on my computer. Jason Litka

A: I just wanted to thank the poster [Richard Galli] who detailed the steps toward fixing the low volume problem on the DVD unit. It seems the extra 2K in the driver did the trick. If you are suffering a similar problem, just print out the directions and follow them carefully, you should be up and running in a 1/2 hour or less. Good show! Royce Oxford, webtalk

Q: When I followed your [Richard's] instructions, I noticed that the date on the "new" luxsonor driver was 5th June, but the date on the already-installed driver was 8/7/98. Not wanting to overwrite a newer file with an older one, I bailed out at that point. I also noted that the "newer" driver was listed as "provided by Microsoft"! Do I still need to update and ignore the file dates, or have I got the latest driver anyway? The DVD volume is certainly quite low. Pete Wragg, webtalk

A: The fix will not fix your system with DVD volume problem. I have tried what Richard said on two Inspiron 7000 and had to reinstalled the original drivers. Don't do it. It will not work. I printed his direction out and tried it word for word but did not get it to work and made it worst. Stick with Dell's Driver. Hoang Nguyen, webtalk

How to update the DVD Decoder Card Driver (BEWARE: reports of mixed results with this driver read above)

by Richard Galli, 26-Oct-98, webtalk

I almost sent my I 7000 back because when playing movies the sound volume was too low to hear dialog. Two long sessions with tech support didn't work. After getting the return authorization, I gave it one last try. The fix appears to be simple: updated drivers. The DVD decoder chip version 242 is made by the LuxSonor company. Go to their site (, to the "resources" page and drill down through general drivers through ls242 to the win 98 drivers. There are two files: and luxdrv.sys. This is the sys file you want to install. However, if you copy both files to the same directory, and then extract, you might overwrite the newer sys file with an older one which is contained in the zip file. So copy luxdrv.sys to a different directory. After unzipping, copy over its luxdrv.sys file with the more recent version you just downloaded and put into the separate directory. Go to windows\options\cabs\drivers and rename your original luxdrv.sys so you won't lose it if something goes wrong. Then go to my computer/properties/device manager/sound controllers/luxsonor dvd/driver (whew!) and perform an update of the driver, pointing to the disk or path where you have the new driver and inf file located. Win 98 will tell you not to install the new set, but tell Bill to get lost and do it anyway. You use the new driver and the DVD inf file you just installed. After installation, you should see the new driver in the cabs\drivers directory sitting just above Restart and if things went well, go into your volume control mixer, ensure that the DVD volume is maximized, and fire up a DVD movie. If you have the same result I had, the maximum sound volume will be roughly doubled from its former level. Still not theater-quality; but at least now I can hear the actors talking from 18 inches away! Good luck, and don't blame me if you can't repeat my success.

How to Fix Black Screen Problem

by Gary Brown, webtalk 15Nov98

I ran into this same black screen issue. The day the machine came, my other and I watched Godzilla and it worked great. The next day I took it to work and again, it worked great. Then I spent about 18 total hours installing my business on it, re-partitioned, installed NT, etc. Everything is going pretty good. 4 days later I go to show someone the movie and black screen. Not that I'm going to watch movies much but I wanted it to work. I called tech support and after about 45 minutes, they tell me to re-install the out-of-box config. Not an option.

I played around for most of this morning and voila, it works again. Here's how I did it:

  1. download the beta driver [I assume he means Dell's DVD Beta Driver]
  2. run the setup and reboot.
  3. Now the dvd player won't even work.
  4. control panel/system/device manager/sound video, etc/luxsonor DVD Decoder
  5. go to the device tab and click update drive. Insert the Dell System Software CD and go to the DVD driver directory and install the 8-20-98 driver.
  6. re-boot and watch movies!

Drivers for the CD-ROM Drive

Q: Does anyone know where I can get a driver that allows me to use the CD-ROM in DOS mode on my I7K. I just got is a couple of days ago, and it will not let me access the CD-ROM in dos mode. Eric, Webtalk

A: You can write us at, and we should be able to send you file that will create a boot disk for you including CDROM drivers. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: Based on my experiences with other computers running in DOS mode, mscdex.exe and a file like oakcdrom.sys will work fine, unless the combo drive is different... Jason, Webtalk

A: Not that different. You could try it and see if it works. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: If you boot up your computer with the Setup disk that came with your Windows 98 CD, it will load the Dos CD driver for you automatically. Good luck. Sidney, webtalk

Hard Drive

Hard drive suppliers

Dell's Drive Supplier list The I7000 uses 2.5" drives

Bear in mind that the sizes that quoted on their HD's are in what can politely be called "marketing bytes" (1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes) whereas computers operate on binary bytes (1GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes). Accordingly, the actual size of the 8.1GB drive is closer to 7.45GB, and the 6.4 would be closer to 6.0GB. "Klaatu barada nikto"~ Klaatu

General comments about hard drives

A: To get the rotational speeds of your hard drive, pull the drive out and see which manufacturer made the drive, go to their website and all pertinent specifications for that drive will be available. Dell/Max Murphy, WebTalk

A: One other point, my understanding is the 8 gig is the only 4900 rpm disk. Jim, newsgroup

A: To my knowledge, there is only one 8GB drive shipping from any vendor: IBM DYLA-28100 Specs Bob Salita

A: Dell also advertises the 7000 with a "strikezone" bubble to protect the HDD. Again, this is identical to the Latitude series. Maybe they saw the problems with the 3200 and are essentially combining the 7000 and Latitude series with respect to major components and chassis. This is a plus if true. Harvey, Email

A: Yes, the hard drive on the Inspiron 7000 is removable. However, this can only be done with the system off. Dell/Brian, webtalk

A: There is no second hard drive option available for the system at this time. The system will only accept one hard drive internally in the hard drive bay, which is separate from the Options Bay. Dell/Brian, webtalk

Hard drive makes noise (tickety-plink, whine, cluck)

A: My 8gb hard drive used to be very quiet, but has now developed a fair amount of spindle noise. Not terribly noisy, but if it gets any worse, I'll have to start complaining. Jimmy Huey, newsgroup

A: I have the 6.4 drive. Just got my I7K about 10 days ago & that was the 1st thing I noticed. It seemed to have a frequent ping noise in addition to the normal drive noise. I don't know if I should be concerned about it or not. The only other time I heard a noise like it on a hard drive the drive was going bad. Should I worry or not? Rauk Friend, webtalk

A: The official name for this sound, as decreed by me , is "Tickety-PLINK" It shall henceforth be known as "Tickety-PLINK" - so sayeth the Aussie :)) Pete, Brisbane, Australia.

A: This appears to be a normality [to make a tickety-plink sound] of IBM's mobile drives; don't know why, but both of my machines exhibit the same Phenomenon. Jeff Hales, webtalk

A: You are right in saying that the IBM 6.4GB (DADA-26480) is a pretty noisy drive in comparison to the Fujitsu 4.0GB. However, I think there is a point where you should be worried. I recently replaced my 6.4GB drive with another one and it is significantly quieter than the old one. I wonder if place of manufacture makes a difference? The old drive was made in Thailand, but the new one was made in Japan. Chanh-Duy Tran, webtalk

A: If you have the 8Gb Hard drive, which is OEM IBM, it makes some unusual sounds from time to time. I suspect it's the arm acctuator. The sound is random and happens when the drive is spun up. I find it to be annoying, so I set my drive to spin down after 5 mins. of inactivity in "Control Panel" "Power Management". Hope this helps. Tony Maddonna, webtalk

A: I get a nice sharp clunk on my 6.4GB IBM when it spins up.... As a techie, I shat myself the first time I heard it... Now I'm used to it, I'll probably get worried next time I buy a nice quiet drive....NOT! Edward Likierman, webtalk

A: My I7k with an IBM 6.4 GB makes this sound also. I think the sound we hear is the actuator unloading/loading the heads onto the recording media (platters). These IBM drives have a Power Management Feature designed into them. There are four basic Power Modes, they are: 1)Active, 2)Idle, 3)Standby, and 4)Sleep. Additionally the the Idle Mode has three subset levels, they are: 1)Performance Idle, 2)Active Idle, and 3)Low Power Idle. Any Power Mode below "Active Idle" unloads the heads. This info was taken from the "IBM Hard Disk Drive Spec for Travelstar 6GT DADA-26480", publication # 1915. These drives are rated for 300k load/unload cycles, so 274 load/unload cycles per day yields a hard drive life of 3 years (Dell warranty duration). The Phoenix BIOS utilized in the I7K does not seem to have been written to allow the user to alter the default Power Mode of this hard drive. Same goes for Win98. For example if the Power Management for the hard drive is disabled in both the BIOS and Win98, the hard drive still does it own thing (with regard to head load/unload and spin-down). It seems that this sound goes with the territory. Vic Oros, webtalk

Q: I just received a 15" i7000. When the hard disk is spinning, there is a constant, fairly loud, whiny noise (?4900 Hz?). The noise interferes with conversations in a quiet room and makes the computer unusable for a major application. Is this a general problem, or do I have a bad HD? If it is a general problem, I probably will return the machine. Allan Oseroff, newsgroup

A: Mine is virtually silent ... most large hdd's in my last 4 or 5 computers have clicked, something like a geiger counter. Robert Siegel, webtalk

Upgrading to a 14GB hard drive

Q: Does anyone know whether the Dell i7K can accept the 14GB harddisk when it is available? I checked the form factor and the size of the drive (IBM make) and it's exactly the same size as the 8GB that is one of the option for the i7K., newsgroup

A: Size is all that matters. If it fits, it will work. Daniel H Lauring, newsgroup

Data transfer methods

A: You can try the new version of Laplink - it works with USB connected computers. You'll need a cable though as Laplink does not come with USB cable. rjb, newsgroup

Backup Software

A: What is the best backup software? Have a look at It is free for single users and the best backup program around. Helmuth Schutzeich, newsgroup

A: Check out NovaStor's NovaBackup! It runs on; OS/2, MAC, DOS, Win3.x, Win95/98/NT! It works with QIC & SCSI Tape Drives, Floppies, Hard Drives, Removable Cartridge Drives, Optical Drives, CD-R/CD-RW, etc! All for a street price of around $50.00. Their Web site even has a FREE trial version! It includes software compression too! I'm currently using it with a SyQuest SyJet 1.5 GB SCSI, external, removable cartridge drive, on WinNT 4.0(+SP4), works super! Also incorporates virus scanning (optional use), in, and out! Check it out, just click here; Bill Crocker, newsgroup

A: If you have windows 98, you can use the backup utility. The backup utility is actually a lite version of the Seagate Exec, a really good version of the software. It does backup the registry. If you have a network connection, you can backup to a desktop hard drive in a compressed format. If you have windows 95, you can buy the full version of backup Exec for about $60-100. There are also software that will clone to a network drive. Paul Siu, webtalk

Troubleshooting the Hard Drive

A: We can verify a potential problem with the hard drive by running Dell Diagnostics on it. Boot the system off the Dell Diagnostics Diskette and choose to run specific tests. Arrow down to the HARD DRIVE (non-SCSI) test, hit the spacebar to select it, and then go to the RUN menu. Choose to Run Selected, and the test will start. If this fails, then the hard drive has problems and needs to be replaced. If the drive passes Dell Diagnostics, then we will need to get a Windows Startup disk of the same version that you have installed on your system (Win95 OSR2, Win98, etc.). You will need to make sure the Startup disk is a bootable disk, and has the file SYS.EXE, found in the C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND folder. Boot off the Startup disk, and from the command prompt, type the following hitting [Enter] after each line: A: SYS C: When finished, remove the disk and reboot the system. See if it boots from the hard drive now. Dell/Brian, webtalk

A: Free Utility, endorsed by IBM for use on their drives, but good for other brand drives too. Ontrack Data Advisor Diagnostic Software will . . . Quickly assess the health of your hard disk drive & memory (RAM) identifying potential problems that could lead to data loss Advise you of the various options for recovering lost data Help you avoid expensive and unnecessary downtime Identify potential problems when used as part of a regular preventative maintenance program. IBM Storage provides a link to this utility at then select Data Advisor, or go direct to OnTrack at Lilla

Ability to Read Media: CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DIVX

Note: Dell specs do not tell what disk formats these drives read. Of general interest to most users is do they read CD-R and/or CD-RW media? You will find some, but not all, of the answers here. Lilla

Q: Can DVD-ROM drive read CDR and CDRW media?

A: I have a I7k with DVD and also have a CD-R and the I7k reads the CD's fine. I don't know about CD-RW's though. Dave Nichols, newsgroup

A: Just got an e-mail from dell support service. Here what they said: "Yes, the Inspiron 7000 DVDROM can read CDR and CDRW CDs, as well as other CD media.", newsgroup

A: Stuck a [Memorex] CD-RW disk [in my Inspiron 7000 DVD drive] that was recorded by some bozo who owned my CD-RW drive before I bought it...recognized and ran perfectly. I have also used regular CD-R recorded on the same machine (a Memorex CRW-1622). All have worked fine. The CDRW disk did not play in several other machines, but the Dell loved it. Count Scrofula, newsgroup & Email

A: My new I7000 with DVD-ROM just arrived and it reads CD-RW . Nick, newsgroup

A: I've got i7000 DVD and Yamaha 4260. hadn't have a cdr / cdrw it couldnt read yet. Steven Rodriguez, webtalk

Q: Can CD-ROM drive read CDR and CDRW media?

A: I cannot say for sure whether the CDROM will read CDRWs, but it will read CDR types just fine. Dell, WebTalk

A: According to the products trainer, the DVD drive is YES for reading CDRW diskettes, but the CDRom drive itself is NO. Dell/Christian Ritchie, Email [We don't yet have any user feedback to confirm or deny this.]

Note: I have not seen any posts from i7k users that have tried reading CDR or CDRW media on the i7k CDROM drive. If anyone tries it, please advise and I'll post it here. Dell says No, but they have been wrong about i7k information too many times for me to believe this statement without some confirming feedback from i7k owners who tried it. Lilla

Q: Per some other posts, the I7 uses a Matsushita DVD drive. I am trying to find out the specs for the drive - I want to know if it can read DVD-R or DVD-RAM or not (I am thinking of getting a DVD-R drive for backup of my net, so it would be nice if my other DVD drives can read that stuff... any info on this ? Frank, webtalk

A: It should be able to read DVD-R, but not DVD-RAM. DVD-RAM uses a "optical disk", where as DVD-R looks like a DVD you would buy in the video store. Since the drive is 2nd generation, it should have no problem reading dvd-r as long as the disk isn't damaged. Jason Litka, webtalk

A: People need to be careful, especially when dealing with DVD from Circuit City because they may actually be getting DIVX. DIVX is pay-per-view and will NOT play in an ordinary DVD player. Go here to find out more information about DIVX (and how Circuit City fits into this): and Scott Fredericksen, Email

CD and DVD ROM Drive Options

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM options at 1) MPEG-2 DVD decoder 2) Dolby Digital (AC-3) audio 3) Built-in S-video port and composite "TV-out" cable provided for TV display. Note: Features 1 & 2 apply to DVD option only.

Technical Specs for CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives at In case they change this link, here's how I got this link above initially. At the link below, see Specifications column and click on the link provided.

Q: Is DVD drive 2X, 4X or ?

A: 2X DVD-ROM drive augmented by an internal MPEG-2/AC3 decoder card. Sony has just release a 5X for desktop's.

Q: Is there built-in MPEG II and AC-3 hardware decoding with the DVD drive?

A: There is a fully functional [internal] DVD decoder card in the system that supports MPEG and AC3 using the proper software. Dell/Max Murphy, WebTalk

A: If you order the 7000 with DVD, the decoder card is built in (I have yet to open one of these, but the specs almost make it look like a PCMCIA card placed deep within the machine... Probably just a modular board tho.

Q: Is DVD drive bootable?

A: The DVD rom can be set up as bootable. I've booted off the Win 98 CD and BeOS CD. Mike Pak, webtalk

A: Dell online specs's say DVD drive read CD's at 20x. This can be found at this link

The computer mags are saying 16x. Are Dell's online spec's wrong? If so, please advise and I will document that here. Lilla

CD/FDD to DVD/FDD Upgrade Option

A: Dell's worldwide product manager for the I7K: Dell is about to announce an internal DVD upgrade for the I7K requiring a Margi card in one of the PCMCIA slots. So, if you have a CD/FDD combo in the modular bay, you will be able to upgrade to the DVD/FDD combo shortly. Patricia Voelker, webtalk 29Oct98

A: If you order the DVD option later, you get the Margi DVD-to-Go decoder PC Card (just like the 3200 series), which currently only has AC-3 converted to stereo output, but Margi tells me they are working on a new dongle cable that will have AC-3 digital output (that must be plugged into a Dolby Digital decoder). That's supposedly due by end of year... Almost seems like an advantage to order the DVD seperately if you want the AC3... I'd still wait for official notice from Margi on that dongle tho. (You can always order the decoder card later and disable the internal one). Rik, newsgroup

A: Dell Worldwide Product Mgr. (I7K) has advised me that an internal modular DVD-ROM upgrade will be available for the I7K within weeks. It will work with a PC card DVD decoder. Since the upgrade is an internal unit, you only need one PC decoder card (such as a Margi card) Patricia Voelker, webtalk 14Nov98

A: Sure you can upgrade to an external DVD decoder card from Margi, but the card alone will cost you 300 bucks, plus you need a new Dell DVD drive which cost at least 200 dollars. Also, I had the Inspiron 3200 using Margi decoder card and though, the pictures was very good, the card itself generates lots of heat and some times crashed my machine. The internal decoder card in I7K machine has the heat sink and is a much better choice. 200 dollars now to get DVD and you are done or 500 bucks for an inferior DVD package later. It is your choice. Finally, DVD games and applications are now available and gotta have DVD drive to run them. Getting I7K without DVD is like buying a Ferrari without air conditioning. Hoang Nguyen, webtalk

Tell Me Why I Need DVD

Q: I'm not a movie buff and I won't be playing computer games, is there any other reason why I would want to pay extra for a DVD drive on my new laptop purchase? Will business apps be available only on DVD in the next 3-5 years or will CD Rom continue to be an option? Any thoughts on this? John A, Newsgroup

A: Actually, there are games, and Encarta comes on DVD with Bookshelf, which makes it very convenient since these reference materials are on one disk. And actually the commercial use of DVD has been more prevalent, Century 21 puts much of the MLS info on DVD for the ability to fit lots of data on 1 disk, and so does a auto parts listing service. I have both Tex Murphy and the Journeyman Project on DVD, which is convenient since I don't have to keep changing disks, and the mighty ** Wintel Specs for PC's for 1999 is no ISA bus (all PCI) and no CD-ROM (all DVD).** Movies are good though, and probably pretty neat on a notebook especially since you can choose the movies you watch on a plane. As for the DVD-RAM, you can actually buy it now, but other than massive storage it does little for the consumer market. The disks are not compatible with a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. Only good on another DVD-RAM. Sales of CD-R's are phenomenal right now due to the convenience and cost of CD media. $1.50-2.00 for 650MB, can't beat it., Newgroup

A: DVD trip-planners to help with navigation in unknown areas.

A: Even if you don't actually watch many movies, you should think of the DVD drive as a 7GB CD-ROM. DVD is backward compatible for all of your audio and CD-ROMs and promises to be forward compatitble with DVD-RAM which looks to be at least two years off for notebooks right now. Bob Moore, ZDNet Forum

A: The only thing they are good for to me is to read the RW CD ROMS [most late model CDROM drives can read these] and you can do that a whole lot cheaper! Now if they get to the point you can Write 17 GB to them... that's another story! Jim Hawk, ZDNet Forum

A: Wintel Specs for PC's for 1999 is no ISA bus (all PCI) and no CD-ROM (all DVD).

A: The new PC-99 spec released from Intel-Microsoft says that all PCs in 1999 should have a DVD much like the MPC-2 spec for CDs that came for multi-media systems till 1998. Some titles have started coming out on DVD, effectively a DVD can store 10 CDs worth of information, which is that a lot of reference material can be moved into one disk than multiple CDs. I am a software developer and i use the Microsoft MSDN library contents which normally ships in 4 CDs, now with the DVD edition the whole thing is only one CD. MS Encarta too now ships with a lot more images and media on a DVD. Expect more titles in the next year. If your company is cool enough to get a DVD-Writer carry your entire document archive on one DVD!! Madhusudan Shekar, Webtalk

Zip Drive Option (available since abt. 24Nov98)

A: After numerous calls to Dell Spare Parts (and several denials that it existed!), I finally talked to someone who was able to give me the part number for the internal ZIP drive option. It is 3401495. Price is $199 (unless ordered at the same time as the machine). Carter B. Dudley, email

A: As of abt. 24Nov98 Dell offers Zip drive option for i7000. It's a module which swaps with the CDorDVD/FDD in the options bay. This option is now on the configuration page. Lilla

A: I e-mailed Dell sales & they replied that presently the zip drive is only available as an option with new system purchases. When it does become available as an accessory, the website will reflect it. Val Harrop, webtalk

A: Many of us will wait for the 250 meg version, presumably due out 1Q 99. Robert Siegel, webtalk

A: USB Zip Drives to Ship in Fourth Quarter (for Mac, soon for PCs by Imation)

A: Iomega is going to release a USB zip drive soon. Sometime this month. USB devices are hot swapable so having to reboot will not be a problem. I am not really sure about the transfer speed, but it should be better than the parallel version. Vilk, newsgroup

Q: I recently saw a cable that had a USB connector on one end and a Parallel connector on the other. My question is, could I use my Zip Plus with this setup?

A: It would, *IF* the drivers are smart enough to work with such a lash-up. Why not wait for the USB ZIP? BFunk33, Dejanews

A: I have been using a parallel port Zip drive with my Inspiron 7000 for the past few days (since I got the system) and have had no problems at all. Parallel port "acceleration" works (doesn't give an error; can't tell if the speed is any faster), but transfer rates are still slower of course than the internal zip drives. Tom, newsgroup

A: I use the parallel Iomega ZIP with my ThinkPad and Transmonde laptops.  Suggest that after install the ZIP, download and install the latest ZIP drivers from While there, checkout the FREE Norton ZIP Rescue software. Symantec (Norton) and Iomega collaberated to produce the FREE Norton Zip Rescue to restore your PC in the event of a Win95/98 or hard drive failure.  John

A: The (Iomega?) Mii Zip 100, available through Microwarehouse for $269, is very lightweight (~ 11oz.), connects via PCMCIA card, and draws its power from the PC card or an optional connector to (the PS/2?) port. No AC brick. I ordered this machine originally, but returned it when I realized that I needed a SCSI adapter (another $200) to use my scanner. I bought a SCSI-only Zip Drive at Office Max for $119 (as opposed to the Zip Plus SCSI/Parallel for $169 or the Parallel for $149). With the A/C brick, I'd estimate still less than two pounds. The drive is bulkier than the Mii Zip 100 but not much heavier. It's the mandatory brick that makes the thing heavy. Pat PattyV1953, newsgroup

A: I have a Zip Drive insider: (SCSI) I installed it in my desktop. then I got a pcmcis scsi card (Eiger Labs epx-ss1000 SCSI card) so I removed the zip from my desktop and put it in a external case. I can use it on my desk top or laptop, and I can let my kids take it home and use it on their PC. total cost of the PCMCIA card was 50.00 the case and power supply used 10.00. I hope this helps you. Chuck, newsgroup

LS-120 Options

Dell does not offer the DVD/LS-120 combo drive which is the ideal for notebooks carriers. Your choices are Dell swappable ZIP or external LS-120. For those that prefer LS-120 over ZIP, the soon to be released Imation USB LS-120 sounds very promising (more above this below).

External LS-120 Options

Advantages I [Lilla] see for external USB LS-120 for notebook owners are:

User's comments on lack of DVD/LS-120 combo for i7000

A: I am clearly waiting until I can get a I7K *equivalent* machine with the DVD/LS-120 combo. The point Dell seems to be missing is that I am not waiting for Dell to come out with this perfect machine but *any* mfg'er to do so. The other mfg'ers will duplicate the I7K feature set for a similar price soon and most have the DVD/LS-120 combo now. If another manufacturer announces the machine (and beats Dell to the punch) I will buy it. Net: I am not waiting for Dell, I am waiting for anyone. If Dell offered the combo drive now I would buy i7k immediately. Al Testani, webtalk

A: 2. Why the hell a DVD/LS120 combo is not available for a high end machine such as the Inspiron, and WHEN will it be available? Peter Wozniacki, webtalk

A: I have a suggestion for all the people who are asking for a LS-120/DVDII drive. Go to the address below and send a suggestion to the product development team. Jason Litka, webtalk

A: In the case of other machines offering a zip option, it's a separate unit which is swapped with the floppy/cd option.  For example, in the IBM or Gateway machines, the entire module is swapped with the zip module.  So, if Dell were REALLY sharp, they'd have a DVD/LS120 combo module, and a separate Zip swappable module. Bill, newsgroup

A: Oh, man, do we need the LS-120 drive and it sure wouldn't hurt you guys either! This I7K is soooooooo GREAT though. Way too soon the 1.44 drive will be obsolete for a $3000+ notebook. Bill Goodan, Webtalk

A: I can not speak for everyone but I strongly believe in backing up data. I work with very large image files and presentations and floppy disks just do not cut it. I would like a solution which is internal and does not need to be swapped out, which would require carrying extra gear. The LS-120 is the best solution at this point in time. Bryan Quay, Webtalk

CD/FDD Drive

Note: See DVD/FDD drive section for more usability tips.

Q: I just got a Dell Inspiron 7K 300GT with 24x CD ROM.  Does anyone get CD spinning noises coming through your speakers while any audio is playing? It's anoying as hell. I'm hoping this is not the norm and that I have a bad unit. Hamlin, newsgroup

A: My CD/floppy drive [I7000] vibrates and humms too. Really annoying. This may be a big negative for people who use CD/DVD alot, which I don't. Bob Salita, newsgroup

A: What I did was pop the CD-ROM out of the unit and put it back in. It does not vibrate as much now and I don't have to listen to the plastic of the drive casing vibrate like mad. The CD's I am using are functioning just fine as I expected they would!! I appreciate your reply!! Dave, webtalk

A: I have the CDROM/floppy combo and it does likewise -- hums and vibrates. I don't know if this is a flaw, but it is annoying. Otherwise, I have no complaints., Newsgroup

A: Yes, you can hear it spin up. Mine does not vibrate excessively, but rather sounds akin to a fan running. Its quieter in fact than any of the 24x to 32x CDROM's on desktops here in the office. [I-7000 266MHz]. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup

Problem: CD/FDD - problem releasing floppy

Q: My 7000 came with the combo floppy/cdrom drive. works fine though most of the time I have problems getting the drive to release my floppies. sometimes it works but mostly I have to hold down the button, and use my other hand to kind of push down the floppy itself to get it to pop out. are others having this same problem or do I have a bum drive? dom chang, WebTalk

A: Yep, I have the same problem too. I called tech support they are sending a replacement to me. Another problem with this drive is the CDROM release button is right on top of the floppy eject button This makes it easy to accidentally release the cd when trying to eject the floppy. Dennis Woo, WebTalk

A: If you are having a problem with the floppy drive not releasing disks, then you need to have the drive replaced. You can arrange this by contacting our Mobile Computing Hotline at 800-822-8965 for Corporate/Government Accounts or at 800-247-9252 for Direct accounts. You will be connected to a Portables Technical Specialist who will help you resolve the issue. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Troubleshooting CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive

A: I would like to eliminate the hardware as a possible cause of the problem. To check if your hardware is working properly, put the Dell Diagnostics Diskette in the A: drive and reboot. Run all tests (make sure there is a data CD in the CD ROM drive or that test will fail); if your hardware is going bad, you will see a failure message. You don't need to babysit the system while it does this -- there are only three of four instances where you have to respond to something. All told the test should take about an hour. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: You should determine if the drive is being recognized correctly. Try reseating it in the bay, and then run Dell Diagnostics on the drive. We can verify a potential problem with the DVD drive by running Dell Diagnostics on it. Boot the system off the Dell Diagnostics Diskette and choose to run specific tests. Arrow down to the CDROM DRIVE test, hit the space bar to select it, and then go to the RUN menu. Choose to Run Selected, and the test will start. If this fails, then the DVD drive has problems and needs to be replaced. If it passes, then we are looking at a software problem. Dell/Brian McCullough

A: There are known problems related to Dell's AC Adapter. Go to top of this document and select POWER section of these notes to read about that. It includes a workaround which may help in some situations. Lilla


DVD-II drive supplier

Matsushita DVD-ROM drive and 1.44MB floppy drive, per article at this link

General comments about DVD/FDD drive

A: There is lots of hum or background noise when you record using either the internal or an external mic. The noise may also affect the speed of the modem connection. The problem can be solved by operating the notebook on battery. Otherwise, you have to ground the Ik7. It's enough to connect a printer or another device which has a 3-pole plug (grounded). I think Dell should provide a grounded power transformer instead of the 2-pole (ungrounded) one. The noise coming from the CD still remains though. When playing DVD, you can mute the CD, but when you want to listen to music CD you are out of luck.... Stefano Catarsi, webtalk

Q: Whenever I have either a CD or a DVD disk in the DVD drive I get a fairly loud, repetitive popping sound from both the internal speakers or headphones. This sound repeats about 5 to 6 times per second and is present in both channels. It is not very noticeable except between tracks, on pause, or during quite periods in movies. This is not a "hissing" sound [that others have reported], it is a repetitive "popping" or "tapping". About 5 "taps" per second. A very distinctive sound only heard a high volume when a disk is in. I ran the Diagnostics and the audio system passed all tests. As I said, I only hear the sound when either a CD or a DVD disk is in the drive. It does not have to be playing. Later...I tried adjusting the mic but to no avail. I am not going to worry about it right now as I think I am probably being too sensitive to odd noises. If it gets worse however, I will definitely have to get it fixed. Bryan Quay, Webtalk

A: Did you try Royce's suggestion of turning down the Internal Mic? You could also try muting it altogether and see if this clears up the noise. If not, we may need to arrange service for the unit. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

A: Possible solution for clicking noise. It turns out that the settings on the condenser microphone were up high enough that any internal activity (mouse clicks, typing, etc...) would manifest themselves as audible clicks through the speakers. You might try double clicking the speaker icon in the system tray and lowering the sensitivity of your microphone setting. Royce Oxford, Webtalk

A: Here's something that works for me: As for the DVD, just mute the CD audio when you're watching a DVD movie, the hissing will stop. Same for a CD ROM [unless of course, it's an audio CD]. I suspect that the internal sound card is picking up electronic interference from the CD drive motor. I had a Fujitsu laptop that had this problem. I also had a Dell Latitude CP that didn't... Mike Pak, Webtalk

Q: My friend showed me his Inspiron 7000 with the dvd/floppy combo drive. His drive vibrates a lot when a cd is running, and makes a noticeable humming noise. Has anyone else with the I 7K noticed this? Viraj Patel, newsgroup

A: The machine is well built . DVD-ROM and internal Fan are noisy. Otherwise this is a very good notebook. Nick, newsgroup

A: I muted the CD and MIC audios and noises went away. Hamlin Martin, Email

DVD drive sounds like "a jet engine ready to take off" when reading CDs

Q: When the DVD player is reading CD-ROMs it make the noise of a jet engine ! Does anyone else have any complain regarding the noise ? If only mine is doing it maybe I should send it back for replacement. Enrico Di Bernardo, webtalk

A: I've got the exact same problem. The DVD plays fine but when I put in a cd-Rom is spins so fast that I'm afraid it's going to take off. Mark Sutton, webtalk

A: My DVD-ROM is quite noisy, too. Also, I think the DVD-ROM may cause noise interference with the sound system (unless the noise from the unit itself is just really loud). Andrew Stein, webtalk

A: It is not unusual for the DVD drive to emit noise when playing CDs. Most of the sound is a result of air passing over the media as it spins at very fast speeds. Setting the CDROM from High Performance to Variable in the BIOS may help somewhat, but not much. You can also notice a difference between CDs themselves, as un-balanced CDs tend to be noisier. This is a limitation of the newer high-speed CDROM drives, and occur on desktops as well as notebook systems. But due to the compact nature and proximity of notebook systems, the noise seems more evident. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

User Feedback about Playing Audio CDs

A: When you close the lid of the computer [and you are undocked], it goes in stand-by. There is no way of avoiding that. But if you want just to listen to some CD playing and you want to switch off the LCD, you can program on advanced power management to switch off the LCD in a very short time. When you play a DVD, lots of noise can be reduced by muting the CD, but when you want to listen to music CD the noise is pretty bad. I could not find a fix for that so far. I always keep the mic muted on the playback mixer panel: the CD rom is really noisy and when you play music CD you can hear a sort of "tick tick" especially between one song and another. Stefano Catarsi, email

Q: Just wanted to add that I also hear a hissing sound on my I7K. When I listen to an audio CD, I can hear an annoying hiss from my external speakers. I'm pretty sure it's comming from the drive itself because it sounds ok when played from my portable CD player. What's wrong?

User Feedback about DVD Playback

A: For the most part, DVD is crystal clear and smooth. As with any DVD player, even TV top ones, there are sometimes titles which need a bit of tweaking. You can certainly hook it up to your TV and use it as a DVD player. It gets a bit warm sometimes, but I wouldn't consider it any type of problem. Never really hot. 64mb is fine. I've upgraded to 128mb, but haven't seen any real improvements. It's great on everything, period. It's a superb desktop replacement. The only thing it really lacks are good speakers. WMH, newsgroup

A: The DVD is excellent. It's played all the movies I've tried (about 8). The video is smooth and the sound is quiet good with stereo speakers. The TV out works really well also. Mike Pak, Webtalk

A: The DVD playback is excellent, smooth and sharp. Hue and color saturation can be adjusted using ATI's "settings", "advanced", "color" control panel from the display properties icon. Vic Oros, Webtalk

A: I just received my 7000 - and the DVD playback quality is EXCELLENT! And it does play full screen - no gaps. (on a Pan-and-Scan movie obviously - widescreen is always letterboxed, just like on the home cinema system). PeteW, Webtalk

Q: I use 'auto hide' for my taskbar and still... there is a small line on the bottom of the screen. It's not too noticeable but it's there. It's the top of the taskbar even though it's hidden. Is there anyway to TRULY get full screen and get rid of this little line? Marc, newsgroup

A: Unclick the "always on top" task bar setting. Bruce Markowitz, newsgroup

Problem: Playing DVD causes constant oscillation of luminosity

A: As many others I can't get the display on TV and on LCD simultaneously, something that is really annoying since the text is too small on TV rendering impossible to open programs and so on.... Now I have found out that if I try to watch a DVD movie on TV, the lightness oscillates between the minimum and the maximum constantly, a cycle lasting about 15-20 sec. I have the same problem if I use PC friendly DVD player instead of the Microsoft one. Sometimes, even if I stop the movie and remove the DVD from the computer, the luminosity keeps on oscillating between max and min.: only rebooting solves the problem. I tried also different display resolutions and different number of color for the display, without any result. If I play any other kind of discs (music discs or even Movie CD by Sirius everything is fine). To clarify, the oscillation of luminosity happens ONLY when or after playing a DVD movie: otherwise I don't have any problem. Stefano Catarsi, webtalk

A: Yes, it is exactly as you have stated "the oscillation of luminosity happens ONLY when or after playing a DVD movie". I have no problems watching DVD on the LCD, but the TV hook-up is terrible. This only happens with the DVD. Otherwise the use of the TV as a monitor is OK. I haven't figured out what may be wrong yet. From reading Lilla's posts and web page, I figure that setting the display in control panel settings to TV, then shutting down and attaching the TV to the I7K and booting may solve the problem. I suspect that just attaching the TV to the I7K is causing the generic VGA driver to come up instead of the one for TV only. Stefan Kucharewicz, webtalk

How to make DVD window "Always On Top"

Q: Is there a way to have the DVD window on top of everything else on my desktop? I'd like to be able to watch it and use Word at the same time without minimizing and rearranging windows. Thanks! Rob Andrews, webtalk

A: No, you cannot do this as the active window will always come to the foreground on the system. Your best option would be to resize the window into a corner of the display to watch it. Dell/Brian McCullough

A: Well I just found out how to!!! And here is the freeware program that allows you to do it...right now I am running Netscape full screen and watching the Fugitive also. The URL is Rob Andrews, webtalk

Problem with DVD drive lockup when playing DVD

Summary of problem: Initially the dvd will play fine, and I can pause/stop it during these initial few minutes without a problem, but after a few minutes of playing, if I try to 'pause' or 'stop' the dvd, the player will lock up completely. J.J. Lehett, Webtalk

Remedy: If you are having this problem, go to Dell's Webtalk and search "Section 18 Inspiron 7000" - for a thread with the title "DVD Please Play For Me". Add your experience and your service tag number to the list there. Lilla

Status: We are currently looking into the DVD situation. These things are not corrected overnight, so please be patient. Brian McCullough [DELL] 1Dec98

A: It looks as though we have the same problem. I have yet to get an answer to my problem. The techs just tell me to do the same things over and over. I have done everything from reinstalling the entire system. Don't do it as it will not solve your problem. What is frustrating is that my friend has the exact same computer and his works find. Good luck, let me know if you find any answers and I will do the same. Justin Barker, webtalk

A: We may need to have the drive replaced. To arrange service, you can contact our Mobile Computing Hotline at 800-822-8965 for Corporate/Government Accounts or at 800-247-9252 for Direct accounts. You will be connected to a Portables Technical Specialist who will help you resolve the issue. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

Q: Sometimes when I pause or stop the DVD, the DVD system locks up. After this happens, I have to reboot before I can continue playing a DVD. Upon reboot, the only audio device I can get to work is an audio cd. .wav files and the DVD does not have any sound. If I remove the audio drivers, reinstall the DVD drivers, shut down the computer, remove the DVD/floppy from the bay, reboot the computer, reinstall the audio drivers (from the c: drive) and then shut down, reinstall the DVD/floppy, reboot, then I have a 50% chance that the audio will work again. Is anyone else experiencing this audio or DVD problem? Mel Boldt, webtalk

A: Later post from Mel... I have been having the same problem with the DVD locking up. If you press pause or stop AFTER the hard drive spins down, it will lock up the system. If you press pause or stop Before the hard drive spins down, everything is fine. One way I found to work around it is to get the hard drive spinning before I press pause or stop. Then I press the menu button. On most DVD's you can just press play on the menu and it will take you right back to where you were in the movie, just like pause. If Dell comes up with a fix it sure would be nice. Mel Boldt, webtalk

A: Aha! Now that makes a LOT of sense as to the cause of the problem (ie. when the hard drive spins down), and would perfectly fit into the 'symptoms' I have seen with it - I should have thought of this possibility here, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense that that is what is causing the problem. That should definitely help then (to do 'something' to get the hard drive to spin up again) until we get some type of patch or fix from Dell on this issue! Later from John... I just had a replacement DVD drive sent to me, but it did not solve the problem. John Lehett

A: Well.....I see I am not the only person with a problem.....O.K. what do we do from here?? There seems to be a major problem with these DVD players....Locking up...and sometimes I have to use a 3rd party software to get a title to work... What is the Dell doing to resolve these problems?? Dave Malin, webtalk

A: One at a time please! I will need Service Tag numbers of all those of you reporting this problem. I can then take this information to our group and say, "Here it is, here are some systems affected." We may even need one or two of you to send in your system so we can let our engineers see it for themselves. We will also try to recreate it here. Send me those tags, and if you notice any other peculiarities, or if this only happens with certain DVD titles, let me know. Dell/Brian McCullough

A: Brian: Well in a nutshell what I think this thread has basically stated is that: If we are playing a DVD, AND the hard drive has spun down, we will lock the DVD player if we try to pause OR stop it. If the hard drive is not 'spun down' this lock-up does not occur. I have just tested this theory the last few days here, and indeed it is proving correct - if I make sure to do 'something' that causes a Hard drive access prior to pausing/stopping the player, it never locks up. Can you simply send the above symptoms to the tech folks, and see if they can recreate the problem on a stock machine? J.J. Lehett, webtalk

A: I also am having the DVD lockup problem...although I do not think that it has anything to do with the HD spinning down in my case (I have completely disabled power management). I am inclined to believe that it is not the DVD drive or the Disk itself, since it does it in all Four new I7K's that we just received here. I have used both the drivers that came with the system and the beta drivers suggested above. David Girard, webtalk

A: I have several Movies and my DVD player locks up on all but one. Billy Madison is the only DVD I have that doesn't lock up at all. I've tested the hard drive spin down theory and it works on some, but not on others. Kevin Thomasson, webtalk

A: We are currently looking into the DVD situation. These things are not corrected overnight, so please be patient. Brian McCullough [DELL], webtalk 1Dec98

DVD Players

Win98 DVD Player

About Win98 DVD Player (or, why it works poorly on i7000)

by Pete, Brisbane, Australia - 13Dec98

I just found this in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Microsoft supports the reading of DVD discs within Windows 98 using SCSI and ATAPI-compliant DVD-ROM drives. Playing movies is supported only with the following decoder adapters: Toshiba DVD decoder adapters included with Toshiba Infinia DVD systems with either S3 or ATI display adapters. Quadrant Cinemaster C rev. 1.2 decoder adapters included with Dell XPS- series computers. Note that updated Quadrant Cinemaster decoder drivers are available on the Windows 98 CD-ROM in the Drivers\Dvd\Quadrant folder. Because Windows 98 DVD Player is designed to work with the Windows 98 decoder drivers, the option to add or remove DVD Player is not available until a supported DVD decoder adapter is installed and detected. Once a supported DVD decoder adapter is detected and the Windows 98 drivers are installed, a shortcut for DVD Player is added to the Entertainment menu and the option to add or remove DVD Player becomes available under Multimedia on the Windows Setup tab in the Add/Remove Programs tool. After it is installed, the DVD Player software can be removed and reinstalled without having to reinstall the decoder drivers. NOTE: If a supported DVD decoder adapter is being used, but has third- party drivers installed, Windows 98 does not install the Windows 98 drivers or DVD Player until the third-party drivers are removed using Device Manager. Other DVD playback software and decoder adapters, including other Cinemaster DVD decoder adapters such as the Cinemaster S, are not supported and require the drivers and software provided by the manufacturer to function properly.

Notice it doesn't say that the LuxSonor decoder card is supported at all. I found this while tying to research why the Win98 DVDPlayer won't play so many DVDs.

Another article told me that the DVDPLAY.EXE file is actually the Quadrant Cinemaster 1.2 player, and that the 'fixed' version (not yet available publicly) should have the following details:

Date Time Size File name
09/29/98 9:43a 125,440 Dvdplay.exe

Mine is dated 11th May, 1998! It looks as though that is why the PC Friendly player works where the Win98 player doesn't. Now if only we could get a good player program from LuxSonor themselves..... :) Pete

General comments about Win98 Player

A: I wish they included a nicer DVD player [software] than the one that comes with Win98. Mike Pak, Webtalk

Q: I wonder if any other I7k owners have any problems with the Matshita/LuxSonor DVD combination switching between widescreen and pan/zoom modes? With some movies, all is OK. However, I noticed that "The Man in the Iron Mask" widescreen version produces the correct width, but the vertical scan covers almost the full screen (no letterbox). The 4:3 version covers the full screen height (as it should), but the width is dramatically reduced. (The ATI graphics dimension adjustments can't cope with the needed large changes - so no hope of fudging it there). Peter Hall, Webtalk

A: Yes, I was able to re-create that problem here with the "Man in the Iron Mask" DVD. (Good movie, by the way.) It is a problem with the DVD player in Windows 98. Microsoft is currently aware of the issue, and is working on a fix. Unfortunately, we do not have another DVD player that we ship with this system. Most DVD players are also hardware specific, and are included with the hardware they accompany. (Such as the Margi card and player.) So you may not be able to use another DVD player with this hardware setup. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: I am attempting to play an adult DVD movie, however I am unable to view the movie because of the following message: "The rating of this title exceeds your permission level. Change your permission level to view this title." I have changed the ratings in the DVD Player options, but no luck. Sue, webtalk

A: I believe Microsoft has decided not to include the ability to view "adult titles" in it's DVD software. You can use a software type DVD player solution to view these titles. PowerDVD works well. GL Dave

PC Friendly Software Player (probably a software player, if anyone knows for sure - please advise)

A note from Lilla: I would like to suggest that you rent or buy LOST IN SPACE as your very first DVD. Why? There's some software on this disk called PC Friendly which plays some DVD's that Microsoft's DVD Player will not play. It also plays some DVD's better than Microsoft's DVD Player. Microsoft's DVD Player has some problems and Microsoft is working on a fix. If you don't install PC Friendly, you will experience problems that may look like hardware problems that are actually Win98 DVD Player problems. So, just rent this one first and you will be better equipped to distinguish between hardware and player problems. This software is not avalable for download from PC Friendly's web site, at least not that I could find.

A: Rent, buy, beg, borrow, or steal a copy of the "Lost In Space" DVD - any region (I have region 1). Go to Start, Run, and run the Install or Setup that is in its root directory (I can't remember whether it's install or setup offhand). Install the PC Friendly DVD player. This seems to work far better than the Microsoft DVD player, and plays ALL my DVDs - before I was getting a strike rate of about 1 in 10. Hope this helps. Pete, Brisbane, Australia - webtalk

A: Understanding the PC Friendly software on L.I.S. There is no folder labeled PC Friendly, and there are several *.cab files, several megabytes in size. It isn't clear which folders/files on the DVD are the relevant ones. All I can find is the setup.exe, and I don't know what it installs from there. In the PC Friendly folder it sets up on my hard drive, there are numerous subfolders, cab files, and I don't know what *.dll files it installs into the windows\system folder. As far as I can see, you must have the DVD disk to (re)install this software. PeteW

A: Using the PC Friendly software gives you much more control over the DVD player than the standard Windows 98 DVD player. However PC Friendly does not disable the screen power saving feature, hence your screen keeps going off. Such a pain. [So, remember to turn off the screen saver before using PC Friendly.] Mark Hebblethwaite, email

A: I installed the PC Friendly DVD player from the Lost In Space DVD - and it WORKS!! It even plays Speed, Dark City, and others that I couldn't play before. PeteW

A: I found a solution totally by accident. I purchased Lost in Space and it came with some software called PCFriendly which must be installed prior to watching the movie. Today I picked up a copy of Apollo 13 and the Win98 player would not work so while on hold with Dell tech support while they researched the problem I started the PC Friendly software (Lost in Space) and behold, the movie (Apollo 13) played. Apollo 13 is listed as Anamophic Widescreen 2.35:1 Then Dell tech support came back on the phone and told me that the movie was too advanced for my player to handle:). BTW, Apollo 13 looks fantastic on the 15" I7K. HG, newsgroup

Q: I have had my I7000 for about a month and I love it except for a recent problem. I have had no problems playing DVDs on my system until last night. I bought two new discs last night and when I went home to play them nothing happened. The player would start up but no picture will appear. I tried both discs and had the same results. I have uninstalled and reinstalled my DVD, video and sound drivers. HELP! **** Later Peter writes: I got the movies to work. The two DVDs I was having problems with were from Universal. When I got home I tried my other DVDs which were from Paramount and New-Line. They worked without any problems. My next idea was to try to use the PC Friendly DVD program that came with the New-Line DVD to run the other discs. This worked great, they all ran. I can't explain it. Peter H, webtalk

A: I spoke to DELL tech support last evening and they told me that it was the windows 98 player that was causing this. Microsoft is working on a fix (nothing available yet.). He suggested that I rent Lost in Space (seriously). Lost in Space comes with a descent DVD software player that you can install and use instead of the win98 player. I will rent LIS this weekend and try the player. Hoping for the best! mike, newsgroup [this was a post about new Dell Desktop with decoder card, but I included it as I find it interesting that Dell notebook DVD and Desktop DVD users both find this software useful - probably because they are both using Win98 player.]

A: I was unable to play half of the DVDs I owned on my i7k - machine appeared to not recognize them (like I'd inserted a beer mat rather than a disk). I took the advice and purchased [can also be rented] Lost In Space and installed the DVD Friendly player that comes with it. Suddenly, I could play all of the DVD titles I owned by using this player! Dell should bundle Lost in Space with their i7ks, me thinks! James Clarke, webtalk

A: Check out PC Friendly. That is DVD software that comes on the DVD Lost in Space. I had a problem with only 1 movie (Twilight) where the widescreen was shrunken. After loading PC Friendly I played the Twilight DVD through the PC Friendly software & it played correctly. If you get the Lost in Space DVD, you can start the installation program for PC Friendly through explorer. Val Harrop, webtalk

A: What is PCFriendly anyway? Is it a software player that by passes your hardware decoder card? I found this via deja news, so don't know if it is correct or not. "Actually it [PCFriendly] uses your current player drivers, so you still need another player." Sounds like PCFriendly somehow complements the Win98 Player. Lilla

Cyberlink's PowerDVD Software Player

A: The DVD title that I have plays ok on all four i7000's if I use Cyberlink's PowerDVD software player, you can get it at David Girard, webtalk

User Comments about Media and Formats that Won't Play

Q: Has anyone tried to play MPEG-2 files (*.m2v, *.m2p) on the I7K? I can't get it to work under media player or dvd player. I think this is a driver problem. DVD movies work though. Krishna Juluri, webtalk

A: MP2 files are normally DVD type files, or video files. The DVD player with our systems is designed to read these files from DVD discs in the DVD drive. This is the only method we support for reading these types of files. Dell/Brian McCullough

A: You may want to try an application for viewing MPEGs that do not go through the DVD decoder card. This is one that Dell has used in the past: Dell/David Whiteley, webtalk

A: You should always make sure that the disc is clean. This is the largest reason for DVDs not working. Also, some movies simply may not work due to an invalid format. There can be a wide range of discrepancy unfortunately. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: So what formats does DVD drive play and not play? There's nothing online about this.

Q: Multi-session CDs do not seem to work well on my DVD drive as only the first session is recognized... Is it normal? TRINH Eric, webtalk

DVD Drive Region Codes

DVD Region Codes

Supplied by Rik, newsgroup

1 - USA and Canada
2 - Europe, Middle East (inc. Egypt), South Africa, Japan
3 - Southeast Asia, Taiwan
4 - Australia, Central America, South America, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Caribbean
5 - Northwest Asia, North Africa, India
6 - China
Sorry, all of you living in Antarctica are just out of luck...

A: The internal decoder allows 3 region changes. If you get the DVD option later, you get the Mpeg PCMCIA card, which will allow 5 region changes. The Margi card allows you to change the region code 5 times, then it is permanently set in the memory of the card itself. Reinstalling files or editing the registry won't affect this card. Rik, Newsgroup

A: I just received my 7000, with DVD preset to region 4 (Australia). All my DVDs are region 1, so I did what the Dell people here told me - I just plonked a region 1 DVD in the drive and fired it up. It told me it couldn't play region 1 discs, so would I like to change the region setting? I said yes - region 1 - and hey presto - MOVIES!! This can be done 3 times, the last setting is permanent. This is all with the on-board decoder - NOT the extra card. PeteW, newsgroup

What to do if you have DVD's from multiple regions

For all those with the internal LuxSonor DVD decoder card, here's how you can change the region setting as often as you want: Backup system.dat and user.dat first. Then, find registry key G;5728573 and delete it to give 5 more goes at region setting. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\G;5728573 Hope this is useful ;))  Don't ask me how I found this out, but it works. Pete

A: Just look for something starting with a "G" and having a lot of numbers - mine didn't have a semi-colon in the key. Deleting this cures the region thing. My UK spec machine has Luxoner hardware decoding, but has a Toshiba DVD rom drive, model no. SD-C2102 Anthony Walker, newsgroup