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Dell Dimension XPS B933


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#1 Johnre6

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 07:23 PM

Hello Everybody:

I've been entrusted to reviving an old Dell Dimension XPS B933. Basically, the hard drive is completely overrun with viruses and so I want to do a full reinstall. The only problem is that when I try to boot from CD I can't. That is to say I've set the BIOS to boot from CD, but I never receive the "Press any key to boot from CD" screen. I attempted circumventing this limitation by swapping the drive to another Dell machine and installing the Operating System (something I've done many times before with older machines), but this machine is apparently so old that it wont boot into the new installation. Booting into safemode hangs at Mup.sys which is never a good thing. I've also tried swapping out the Dimension's DVD drive with a CD drive. This too, will not allow me to boot from cd. The machine also comes equipped with a SCSI drive which I tried booting from, and even with the SCSI boot feature enabled it won't allow me to boot. I'm currently have the CMOS battery pulled to try and clear the CMOS settings, and the only thing left to try is booting from floppy, then try booting to the cd. Has anybody else experienced this issue with this particular machine? If so, how did you work around it? I'm running out of ideas.

PC Specs:

Model: Dell Dimension XPS B933
Processor: Pentium 3 Processor
RAM- 256MB
SCSI- Yamaha
DVD- Samsung
Floppy Drive
Zip Drive
BIOS: Dell Dimension Bios A08
OS: Windows XP Pro Sp3

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:25 AM

If this computer has suffered from many virus infections, theres nothing to say that those viruses did not infect the BIOS chip or other flashable devices firmware in the process.

I would take it that the devices are being detected by the motherboard's BIOS utility.

If this is the case, the hard ware would show up under PRIMARY MASTER and PRIMARY SLAVE as well as SECONDARY MASTER and SECONDARY SLAVE.

Are you at least getting these devices to show up properly in the BIOS?

Also it is NOT always possible to install an OS on one computer and succesfully move the drive to another computer and have the hard drive boot up properly, at least NOT since Windows XP and the other NTFS operating systems came along. So this may have worked before, as you say, but it does not work in most cases.


You may need to check the condition of the data cables that are connecting the drives to the motherboard.

If this system is old, corrosion from oxidation may have built up on some of the connecters on the motherboard, the data cables may be old and have cross-talk issues or faulty connecters.

Check the CMOS battery and make sure it is good, if its been in the motherboard for years now, it may be depleated of any useful energy.

Check the motherboard over for any possible corroded connecters, use an old tooth-brush to remove any white power caused by corrosin.

Check the power connecters as well, these suffer from oxidation as well.

Thats about it.

Post back the results.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 17 December 2010 - 01:34 AM.

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#3 Johnre6

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 01:58 PM

Hi Bruce:

Thanks for the reply. To answer your question about the BIOS configuration. BIOS detects all of the hardware without incident, accept for the SCSI which is detected from the Advance Systems integration on the SCSI card. The CMOS battery (to my surprise) is fine. It holds a charge and BIOS retains settings no problem. I had removed the CMOS, cleaned it, and checked it for charge while I was waiting for the system settings to reset yesterday. Also, the cables and connections are in reasonable good shape. No corrosion on or around the IDE cables. In fact, little to know dust has accumulated inside the case. Also, tried disabling all boot devices except the cdrom. No luck; I receive a "No Boot Devices Were Found- System Halted" error. Do you have any other ideas of what it could be? I'm kinda stumped at this point.

I'm wondering if I shouldn't just flash the BIOS and see where I end up. All the data is safe, and really the only reason he's holding onto this machine is because he still has media in zip and floppy form which I can interface with any machine using my IDE to USB cable if need be. For now though, I think I'm just going to put it back together and come back to it after my Winter break. Still, any insite anybody can offer would be greatly appreciated.

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:48 PM

you can remove that system halted event from happening by checking the BIOSes main menu for HALT ON... errors by changing it to HALT ON NO ERRORS.

Now my next question is have you tried using a different type of CD to which has been formated as a system boot disk?

Try burning a bootable CD disk on another computer and then try booting to it with this computer, this way you know the disk is good and should work.

Let me know the out-come.

Bruce.
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#5 Eyesee

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:50 PM

If the cdrom drive actually works, you could start the install with the 6 disk XP boot disks from Microsoft then complete it with the cd.
I have never attempted this before though.
The tech note in the article says that this method can be used if your system will not boot to the cd.

I dont think I would flash the BIOS. If that fails you could end up with a paperweight.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#6 Johnre6

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:53 PM

Actually, I got the okay from my boss and dropped the hardware into an Optiplex that's still pretty old, but not as old as that Dimension. Everything appears to be working. Just gotta install the drivers which I'll get to after I come back from vacation. Thank you everybody for your input and prompt responses. I've truly never seen anything quite like this before.

#7 MrBruce1959

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 11:39 AM

If the cdrom drive actually works, you could start the install with the 6 disk XP boot disks from Microsoft then complete it with the cd.
I have never attempted this before though.
The tech note in the article says that this method can be used if your system will not boot to the cd.

You are 100% correct Eyesee, I have created those floppy diskesttes in the past and had tested them, they do work.
That was a very good suggestion you came up with. :thumbup2:

Bruce.
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