Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Dell Dimension 3100

  1. #1


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1

    Dell Dimension 3100


    As my wife's PC was recently attacked by a virus, I decided to upgrade it from the OEM XP to retail Win 8 Pro and then 8.1 Pro. To avoid any risks with viral remnants, I purchased a new 500GB hard drive with the aim of doing a clean install - all essential data being backed up on an external HD.
    The Win 8 retail pack contains both 32-bit and 64-bit versions so I started by installing the 64-bit version. This worked perfectly until it came to the online upgrade to 8.1, which was refused. A bit of research showed that the Dimension 3100 does work fine with the 64-bit version of Win 8 but not 8.1. However, the 32-bit version is upgradable and that is what I did next.
    So, I now have the 32-bit version of Win 8.1 Pro working perfectly, apart from one-thing - the sleep option is missing from the shutdown selection. A bit more research and I discover that the display driver provided in 8.1 is the MS Basic Display Adapter (Adaptor) and that this driver does not include the sleep option. On the other hand, the hibernate function seems to work in the same way as the sleep function on my other 8.1 system.
    My question, therefore, is - am I likely to encounter any other display limitations? The display tests that I have run (dxdiag ad DirectX 9) all pass perfectly and the overall performance of the system is excellent.
    I suppose a new graphics card would be an option if difficulties occur at a later date but this is a basic browsing machine with no games requirements or other intense graphics demands.
    Last edited by Geeky; 04 Nov 2014 at 08:00.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    The "Old" Dimension 3100 is a poor candidate for Windows 8 and I'm surprised it works as well as it does for you. Dell only supports XP and Vista 32 bit, for drivers on this model. I suspect whatever you have now is best you can do.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by fireberd View Post
    The "Old" Dimension 3100 is a poor candidate for Windows 8 and I'm surprised it works as well as it does for you. Dell only supports XP and Vista 32 bit, for drivers on this model. I suspect whatever you have now is best you can do.
    Thanks for your comments. Only a few days so far but it is a fantastic improvement over XP Pro in terms of speed and has shown no signs of any problems, graphics or otherwise. I was just concerned to know if there might be some issue that I've overlooked. Soldier on, I suppose, with my fingers crossed.
    We're still using an old 4:3 monitor and I would like to upgrade that to a widescreen unit. Maybe that will put more demands on the display adapter.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    Many thanks for the suggestion. I tried it and it returned "Your computer does not conform to the minimum requirements to install this software".
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    If it were me and I wanted to keep it going for a few more years, I'd buy a cheap dedicated graphics card that's 8.1 compatible.

    Be sure it is something that won't draw too much power from the 230w PSU.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    If it were me and I wanted to keep it going for a few more years, I'd buy a cheap dedicated graphics card that's 8.1 compatible.

    Be sure it is something that won't draw too much power from the 230w PSU.
    I haven't yet seen any deficiencies in graphics functionality so there's no reason to spend more money on a graphics card. The only 'problem' is the lack of the 'sleep' function but 'hibernate' seems to do the same thing so there's no real difficulty up to now. Probably no-one wants to put effort into developing an 8.1 driver for such an old PC so I guess we'll soldier on until such time as further upgrades make it unusable.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1


    I just came across this old thread and thought it worthy of updating. My wife is still using this PC daily and I have upgraded it further to Windows 10 Pro (32-bit). This is a great improvement over 8.1 Pro and now provides full functionality, including the 'Sleep' option.
    We recently decided to purchase a widescreen monitor (LG 22MP57) and that has a beautiful clear picture quality. However, as previously observed, the onboard graphics chipset does not have a driver upgrade path for widescreen. Consequently, the best compromise we can achieve is an image that is stretched horizontally (1024x768).
    I have now entered into the tangled jungle of video card selection. Firstly, we have the big question as to which (if any) graphics cards that fit PCIe x1 or PCI x1 slots also offer 1920x1080 resolution? Among new PCIe cards that would fit, one that seems a possibility (on paper) is the GeForce GT730 LP. That has a PCIe x2 interface, which is supposedly backwards compatible with x1. To avoid wasting my money purchasing one of these, it would first be useful to know if anyone else has tried this card in the Dimension 3100. Alternatively, has anyone found a satisfactory way to get 1920x1080 resolution on a Dimension 3100?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 40
    Win 8.1


    Well, talking to myself as usual. I decided to splash out on the GT 730 but it was a mistake to think it would be plain sailing. The card was recognised by the system and delivered VGA output but still with the same small selection of 4:3 resolutions. I had a lot of difficulty trying to download the driver from the Zotac web site. Then Windows Update announced that it was automatically downloading an NVIDIA driver. After installation, a reboot was required and that's where the trouble started. The boot sequence reached the blue Windows logo screen, with the rotating dots but, after a few rotations, the dots stopped. I left it for an hour but nothing more happened. I tried several reboots and managed to get into Safe Mode, where I disabled the NVIDIA driver in Device Manager. The system booted and I then tried an HDMi cable and found that it now worked and delivered a very sharp picture in 1920x1080 resolution. Uhh? Without the driver? Further investigation showed that, with the NVIDIA driver disabled, Windows 10 reverts to the MS Basic Display Adapter but interfacing to the GT 730 graphics card. Consequently, the card ia acting as a VGA to HDMi adapter and delivers a full selection of resolutions. It therefore does all that my wife needs, producing a nice proportional, excellent quality image.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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