How can I fix my Dell so that it boots?

Cliff Johnson April 16, 2012
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When the Dell’s tower is turned on it beeps, shows the Dell screen and boots. Then a black-and-white screen with various faults appears. I press F1 and F2 to try and reboot and go into setup.

In setup I can’t change the boot sequence or look at the hard drive. It says “unknown device” where the hard drive should be. Same for the CD-Rom. I tried to set the boot sequence to auto but it doesn’t seem to remember anything. I replaced the battery and it did not help. A sticker on the side says it is running Windows XP.

So, are there any ideas about how to get this working? Thanks.

  1. ha14
    April 17, 2012 at 7:59 am

    have you tried to reset cmos battery or replace with a new one.
    how about to install a second hard drive containing windows XP for instance and see if can boot on it. This way you can see at least hardware are OKAY.

    • Cliffordajohnson
      April 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm

       I replaced the battery with a new one at the week-end, and yes I have tried another harddrive which already runs on windows xp. but nothing is recognised as I said before just goes back to the black screen with the above faults on.

      • ha14
        April 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

        perhaps it is the graphical card, if you can remove it and boot on the integrated graphical card?
        [Broken Link Removed]

        Clearing the NVRAM on a Legacy Dell OptiPlex 
        [Broken Link Removed]

        How Do I Reset the BIOS and Clear NVRAM on Dell™ OptiPlex™ or Precision™
        Workstation? - KB Article - 155078
        [Broken Link Removed]

  2. Oron Joffe
    April 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I agree with the others' comments, particularly on the need for more information. 
    From the information we have so far, it sounds like the problem is in communication between the motherboard and the hard disk & optical drive. This could be either a controller fault (which would require replacing the motherboard) or loose cables, which is much easier (and cheaper!) to fix. Open up the PC and check that the cables connecting to the hard disc & to the CD/DVD drive are plugged in fully both at the motherboard and at the drive ends, then reboot.
    If this solves the problem, let us know. If not, please let us know a) the exact model of the PC and b) what errors are displayed on the screen when you start up.

  3. Bruce Epper
    April 16, 2012 at 7:44 am

    What model is the computer?  What are the faults that it lists (exactly as they are listed)?

    Based on the overview you provided, it sounds like you will require a motherboard replacement.  Without the exact error messages you are getting and without knowing the model number to get details about the hardware used in the system, I am going solely on the basis of the system BIOS not being able to recognize your CD-ROM and hard drive, it is probably the southbridge that is faulting.  (The southbridge is the chipset that is responsible for most I/O functions in the system).

  4. ha14
    April 16, 2012 at 6:46 am

    are you sure that the operating windows system is not formatted? and still there?

    1) boot on ultimate boot cd
    2)UBCD interface, goto Start > Programs > Registry Tools > Registry Restore
    3)The program will then ask you which Windows registry you want to repair. In most cases,it’ll be C:Windows.
    4)Choose “Fix the system registry to that of a previous state” and Press Next.
    5)You should now see a list registry restore points. Choose one with a date a few days before the issue first occured.
    6)Wait a few seconds for it to restore the registry. Press Finish and restart the computer

  5. Susendeep Dutta
    April 16, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Firstly,try to set boot device priority to hard drive then CD ROM then others.You can do this by visiting the link below.It has every term explained and has given step by step instruction -

    [Broken Link Removed]

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