Previous Fan Failure on my Dell Precision 450

Energy Star Logo My workstation at home is a Dell Precision 450 Dual Processor Xeon system. For the most part I have been very happy with it. Recently I have upgraded some of the items on my computer:

External Hard Drive – Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500

Video Card – nVidia GeForce 7600 GS

Mouse – Logitch MX Revolution (it just looked so fancy!)

After the upgrades I decided I would install Vista on my system. I did run into a problem during the installation, the Vista installation program was unable to deal with a Dynamic partition that I had created using Windows XP. I had to boot my system using the Windows XP installation CD, remove the partition and then install Vista. Other than that error, the installation was flawless. This does seem like a bad oversight and I should not have had to correct the error like I did.

After the installation everything seemed to go fine.  I noticed when I did not use my system for a while, it would go to Sleep. When I would wake my system, I would start having problems with my mouse not tracking correctly. I would reboot and receive a cryptic Previous Fan Failure error. I searched was unable to find a resolution that addressed my problem. There was no error before I installed Windows Vista.

I know that some of our laptops at work have trouble with Hibernation mode, so that made me think of looking at the Power Options. Select Power Options from the Control Panel:

Start Menu > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Power Options

Control Panel-SystemMain-Power

I noticed that my power plan was set to

Balanced – Equal Energy Savings and Performance

I figured it would not hurt to change the power plan setting to

High Performance – Better Performance, Less Energy Savings.

After I made that change, I have not encountered any more issues with my mouse, and I have not received the Previous Fan Failure error message that I used to receive while my system was performing the POST. Apparently when Vista would put my system to Sleep, and it would not wake up cleanly. It is a workstation, apparently it isn’t meant to be sleeping. After resolving the error, I have been very pleased with my installation of Vista.

I figured since I was unable to find a solution that addressed this problem, I would write this up to help someone else out if they encountered this problem.


9 Responses to “Previous Fan Failure on my Dell Precision 450”

  1. George Says:

    WOL issue

    I just upgraded my 450 to vista. It went pretty smooth. I had the same issue as you and the dynamic disks, but I removed the MBR from the array using the controller card bios. Then I was able to repartition with the vista installer.

    Anyways, my question is, do you have the intel pro/1000 mt nic? I used WOL with XP all the time in this system, now with vista It doesn’t work. I installed the intel drivers v12, but under the “power saver and wake on LAN options” tab I see at the bottom “This port does not support Wake on Lan options”. The bios still has the remote power on enabled. And I tired changing the power plan to high performance.

  2. Thomas Says:

    George – You have a tough question. I did not use WOL in XP, and I don’t use the option in Vista. When I upgraded the driver I noted the same thing you did, “This port does not support Wake on Lan options.”

    I did notice looking through the Intel documentation about Advanced Computer and Power Interface. I did note that in the newer documentation about the card, there was no mention of Vista in the ACPI compatible systems. This makes me wonder if they actually implemented Wake On Lan in the driver for Vista.

  3. George Says:

    After doing more work and research on the issue, I think I’ve nailed down the issue, but I can’t solve it. When I shut down vista, it turns off the NIC (link light goes out on both NIC and router). This is why WOL isn’t working. I’ve tried changing some power management settings, tweaking/hacking the intel drivers, but nothing worked. I need to figure out a way then when I shutdown, the NIC is left in standby state. So far the only crude hack I have is to physically unplug the power cable, then plug it back in, that powers on the NIC.

  4. Adam Says:

    Some good issues covered there, I recently tried to upgrade to vista and i think my machines specs arnt quite hitting the spot, what sort of things are you guys running? I have the stock Dell Precision 450 with the single 2.4 ,gigabyte and a half ram, the video card seems gutless too though even though its a 256mb agp 8x nvidia 5500 , thanks for any reply.

  5. George Says:


    My precision has dual 2.4 Xeons with 2Gb Ram and a Raid 0 HD array. I’m still running the stock nvida (quattro fx 500/600?) 256mb video card. The video card is definitely the weakest link. The problem is AGP card prices aren’t getting any cheaper with PCI-express as the new standard. I’ve been tempted to get an nvidia 62xx card but I’m not sure I’d see a big enough improvement. I think I would need to go to the 76xx series, but I can’t justify the cost for the old AGP technology.

  6. Dario Says:

    “After doing more work and research on the issue, I think I’ve nailed down the issue, but I can’t solve it. When I shut down vista, it turns off the NIC (link light goes out on both NIC and router). This is why WOL isn’t working.”

    I’m having the same problem. Anyone find a solution to this? It seems utterly ridiculous that this should happen.

  7. Paul Pri Says:

    Hello every one.
    I have a Dell Precision 450 with dual Xeon 3.2Ghz cpu’s.
    ASUS TeK ATI Radeon HD 3450 256 MB AH3450/HT AGP 8x video card. Vista Home Premium 32bit. Keep on the High Performance !!! Than every think work. I don’t use WOL… If any one need cheep I have a one set of the Xeon’s 3.2Ghz CPU’s for sale and one FREE set of 2.4GHz CPU’s (Intel Xeon 604 2400DP/512/533/1.5 SL6VL Costa Rica 3416A 190-0565) -you’ll pay for shipping…
    O, yes YOU going to need a VRM for the second CPU…
    My post is USA PA 16502
    If you can Use them e-mail me at: soroka69(at)

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