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Bios & Diskette Drive 0 Seek Failure

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#1 teabie


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 04:13 AM


I'm quite a newbie with computer terms, especially hardware, so please bear with me.

I own a Dell Dimension 4600 since 2004, so it's quite an old desktop. It's been functioning pretty well, until early this year, after I returned from a trip, I switched on the computer only to find that it now flashes the "Diskette drive 0 seek failure" every time I boot up. Not only that, it boots up immediately after I flick on the power socket, which was unusual because I used to have to push in its button to activate (like all other desktops).

I came to an informal decision that it was probably the CMOS battery which was failing. The giveaway was that the clock kept resetting itself after the "Diskette drive 0 seek failure" was shown, followed by an "IDE configuration" message. No matter how many times I resetted the clock and set up my drives, it all came to naught by the next bootup.

But since I have never opened up my computer before, I'm really clueless regarding where the CMOS battery is. I finally found that I could supersede the problem by not flicking off the AC adapter after shutting down. Probably not a very good thing to do.

After some time, my monitor began to keep flicking. After a while, it would turn all black and I couldn't see anything even though my CPU was running (I assumed from the lights running and blinking). I booted up in safe mode, and the monitor was perfectly alright even after prolonged use. I figured there was nothing wrong with my monitor, and proceeded to install the latest drivers for NDIVIA GeForce FX 5200 from the Display Properties.

So, everything was alright after that and I thought it was going to be fine.

Now, my BIOS refuses to boot up sometimes. I have to flick off and on the AC Adapter. This time though, flicking it on did not cause the computer to boot up automatically. I have to manually push the button in, as it should have been. Only problem was, my monitor remained blank, and I knew my CPU wasn't booting up. BIOS did not appear, nor did the light start blinking as it would do when booting up.

BIOS would function again after several AC power flick-on and offs, pushing the button and waiting. But I'm afraid my computer is really at its maximum capacity. Much as I'm really not familiar with computers, I think I will have to do something manual, like replacing some parts perhaps? I've tried looking for BIOS update at the Dell website, even using its "Find my service tag" to look for drivers to download. It found the tag, but there was nothing available to download. My monitor model is not even listed in its dropdown list for driver downloads too. It's an E152FPb.

I'm at my wit's end. Sorry if this post is too lengthy and the solution could be quite simple!

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#2 bibh55


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 07:23 AM

Just to start you off: I still have my old machine and it is a Dell XPS T500, so pretty close. The CMOS battery looks like a large silver coin and is quite easy to find. On the XPS it is located at the front of the motherboard, to the left . The front is the part where you will also find your IDE controllers with the IDE ribbons (running from controllers to HD, CD/DVD, floppy drive) orientated horizontally.

You may have quite a lot of troubleshooting to do, as my first impression from your description is that it is a power problem, so check and clean all your cables. Don't forget to check if your external power socket/power surge protector is still OK.
It may save you a lot of extra trouble if you just start with doing that.

#3 M...


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:24 AM

Hello teabie:

"Dell Dimension 4600 Series Service Manual":


Look at "Removing and Installing Parts", "Battery".

"System Board Components":




#4 garmanma


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 02:46 PM

It's possible since you have a failed CMOS battery, you lost all the preset boot settings and it's trying to boot to the floppy instead of the hard drive. If you replace the battery and it does boot, you'll have to enter the BIOS and reset the date and time and "restore default settings",save changes, and exit, although I'm unfamiliar with Dell's BIOS and it might be different

Edited by garmanma, 29 September 2007 - 02:46 PM.

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#5 Platypus


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Posted 29 September 2007 - 10:30 PM

I agree with the stated diagnoses. Once your battery is replaced, if garmanma's suggestion of restoring default settings doesn't completely resolve issues, you may need to manually change some settings.

The seek failure suggests it is reverting to the wrong floppy drive type. If this remains, set the correct size of FDD, usually 1.44M 3.5" (it may default to 360/720k 5.25"). There may also be a setting like "FDD seek at boot" that you can disable. You can also choose the order of boot devices - not having the floppy drive first will make the boot-up faster, but if you then do want to boot from a floppy disk you first have to enter the BIOS setup and change the A: drive back to first boot device.

Edited by Platypus, 29 September 2007 - 10:32 PM.

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#6 teabie

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 02:10 AM

Thanks everyone, so I'll get the CMOS battery replaced asap. Hopefully that'll cure the BIOS and display problems too!

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