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Dell E310 only boots XP when it wants too!?

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#1 five04ever


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:01 AM

OK, I am attempting to repair my brother in-laws desktop PC (again) and cannot
figure out the problem. Not clear on what happened to it this time, but being the
only PC guy in the family I get the job. I'm adding notes to my simple testing
process so hopefully they are clear enough, but if not please let me know.

Running WINXP Pro SP2 ver2002

PC Info
System = Dell System DV051
BIOS Version = A02 (09/06/05)
Service Tag = F*****1 (will provide if needed)
Express Service Code = 3*********3 (will provide if needed)
Asset Tag = C***G (will provide if needed)

Processor Type = Intel® Pentium® 4 CPU 3.00GHz
Processor Clock Speed = 3.0 GHz
Processor Bus Speed = 800 MHz
Processor L2 Cache = 1 MB
Processor ID = 0F41
Hyper-threading Capable = Yes
64-bit Technology = Yes (Intel EM64T)

I can add more info it needed

(Test 1) From a failed first boot and a blank black screen perspective... I held
in the power button until it shut down, unplugged the power cord and waited for the
yellow light next to the battery to turn off, moved the CMOS jumper from pins 2-3
to pins 1-2 and counted to 10 seconds and the replaced the jumper back on pins 2-3
and plugged the power cord back in and the PC automatically booted, got 2 beeps and
the 1,2 and 3 lights were lit on the front panel. The PC booted to the Invalid
configuration information screen as I typed below.

Note 1:This PC doesn't have a floppy disk and I know I can turn off in bios, but
testing, clearing CMOS, etc turns it back on as it is set to internal from the factory.

"Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program
Floppy diskette seek failure
Performing automatic IDE configuration... (this PC has a SATA HDD)
Drive 0: Disk Drive
Drive 2: CD-ROM Device
Time-of-day not set - please run setup program
Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility"

Note 2: I don't think the "Time-of-day" would stop the machine from booting,
because thru-out all my testing so far I've corrected the date maybe 10 times.

Choosing the F1 key I get the start windows Safe, Normally, etc. screen,
so I would chose "Start Normally" and all I get is a blank black screen.

Note 3: I have tinkered and got the PC to boot up WINXP a few times, so it leads me
to believe that the MOBO is still good, but don't know where to go from here. I also
have a fresh battery in it.

(Test 2) I held in the power button in to shut the PC down, pulled the
power cord and when the yellow light next to the battery went out, I popped the battery
out, waited 5 minutes and put the battery back in, plugged the power cord in and it
automatically booted again with the 2 beeps and as above, I got the same
"Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program" "Floppy diskette seek
failure" screen. Again choosing the F1 key I got the "start windows Safe,
Normally, etc.," screen, so I chose normally and the machine booted up to WINXP fine. I
had all the programs, network connectivity, etc.. Looked good, but...

Note 4: I have been here before only to restart the PC and I would get the
"Floppy diskette seek failure
Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility"
screen, and again I would hit F1 Key and get the blank black screen. Follow the same
processes again and again still gets me the blank black screen. It seems to be a hit,
or miss with this PC. Also I lose the USB attached keyboard and mouse functions when
I get the blank black screen.

If I keep trying these tests, I will get the PC to boot back up, but this is insane...
I already have about 15 hours of testing, both at my in-laws, and my home where I have
all my files, and other PC's and equipment to test with.

Can anyone take this on and maybe give me more ideas to test, etc.,. My in-laws can't
afford a new PC, and from what I can see with my testing, I think it may be savable
(is that a word?).

Might be my last attempt, but I'm going to have the PC boot from the cd-rom with my
copy of WINXP sp2 ver2002 re-image it, and if the same problem exists I'll try the same
tests and update this post.

BTW: They don't have any of the original disks from 2005 when they purchased this
thing, so I hope I don't brick it. Been there too.

Thanks in advance

Update - Been at it most of the night... I got the PC to boot XP again, but it still goes to the blank black screen after I restart it (via windows, not the power button). This time I just let it boot my WINXP disk and I went ahead and re-imaged it thinking that there were boot files missing, or maybe it just had a bad image on it that was causing the hit, or miss boot issue.

For some reason when installing XP, I usually get the activate now option before windows would be fully installed, but this time I didn't. Anyway, the PC booted after the re-image and all seemed fine. I was able to load the dell network driver and activate the OS. Before going any further, I did a windows restart, but again I got the above screens, so hit F1 and it went straight to the blank black screen.

Trying the same testing above with the jumpers I was able to get XP to load again, but before trying a restart, I went ahead and let it update the initial files, so Microsoft could scan and check that windows was genuine.. After this update I had to restart the PC only to get the blank black screen again... Again after a few tests the PC booted to XP, so I just let it install 74 found updates and when that was done I did a restart, but this time I am not able to get it to boot XP anymore, so still trying and still looking for help!

OK, I'm getting somewhere... In case anyone was wondering "why don't I boot in safe mode?", because after the temp drivers loaded the screen froze, so I gave up on safe mode entirely thinking it was a problem drivers loading, until I decided to wing it and try safe mode with networking... Wouldn't you know it, it booted up in safe mode. LOL!! Anyway, I was able to load all the dell drivers starting with the DSS. It then wanted me to restart the PC, so I did and it booted to XP as normal, so continued to install the remaining drivers (see order below) and now it appears that after 4 restarts it is booting XP without any issues... Will continue to update, but again feel free to suggest things I can test or install to keep this thing alive.

This is the driver install order I used from the driver download page. Actually named the files as they are listed.
1_R105478_intel_pro100_VE_network_card_A01 for DV051
2_R121089_systems_utilities-dell_desktop_system_software(DSS)_utility_A06 for DV051
3_R126541_video-intel_829_15G-GV-9_10GL_express_chipset_family for DV051
4_R114282_stigmatel_stac_92XX_c-major_HD_driver_A05 for DV051
5_R105788_intel_pro100_VE_network_card_diagnostics_utility_A02 for DV051
6_R133743_communications-intel_573e_v9x_PCI_modem_driver_A06 for DV051
7_R98295_intel537e_v9x_PCI_modem_diagnostics_utility_A04 for DV051
8_R69300_intel537e_v9x_PCI_modem_utility_A01 for DV051
9_CZ128400_diagnostics_dell_32bit_diagnostics_utility_vA1284_0432 for DV051

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD... It's getting the blank black screen again!

Note: I set a restore point once I finished installing all the drivers, but even after choosing to boot up the last known good configuration, I get the blank black screen.... Need Help for sure now!

Update - I seem to have it working somewhat normal.

After all the driver, windows updates (SP3) and the virus software were installed I discovered this...

In the BIOS settings:

-Diskette Drive =OFF
-Drive 0: SATA-0 =ON
-Drive 1: SATA-2 =ON (was OFF from beginning, but nothing is attached)
-Drive 2: PATA-0 =ON
-Drive 3: PATA-1 =ON (was OFF from beginning, but nothing is attached)

-Hyper-Threading =ON (was set to OFF-factory)
-HDD Acoustic Mode =Performance (was set to Bypass-factory)

POST Behavior
-Fast Boot =OFF (was set to ON-factory)

After I saved these changes the PC would boot fine except for I got the screen:

Drive 1 not found: Serial ATA, SATA-2
Drive 3 not found: Parallel ATA, PATA-1 (PRI IDE Slave)
Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 key to run the setup utility

If I just chose F1, I get the safe mode option screen, but I chose the "Start Windows Normally" and it boots WINXP fine.

I'm beginning to think it's the BIOS because of the changes needed to get it to boot normally, but I am not sure.

Still looking for input.

Edited by five04ever, 22 December 2011 - 05:36 PM.

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#2 five04ever

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:11 PM

Well, I have it running good at the moment with just having to chose F1, and it will boot straight to window XP. You can delete this post if you like, or leave it for others... Don't matter to me, but I'm done tinkering with it. Now I get to take it back to the Bro-Inlaw and get their ATT internet going.. Told them to get cable, but they don't listen.

Thanks for having many useful posts available for my reviewing... They helped tremendously.

Buy for now

Edited by five04ever, 22 December 2011 - 06:13 PM.

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