Hello everyone. I'd like to thank you right away for taking the time to read about my problem and offering any advice, thoughts or opinions.
First, here is my system:
Dell Dimension 9100 (Specs: http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/dell-dimension-9100-pentium/4507-3118_7-31403779.html)
The BIOS has the latest firmware (A03).
Here's a walkthough of what I've done:
I upgraded the CPU to a Pentium D dual core 3.4GHz 4mb 800mhz FSB 945. From everything I've read, my motherboard does support this CPU with the latest BIOS update. I did reset the CMOS after the CPU was installed (and even multiple times throughout my troubleshooting).
For anyone curious at this point, I'm upgrading this old computer as more of a hobby. I know the "upgrades" are not giving me any substantial performance gains (and in actuality the gains are negligible, I'm sure).
After installing, the computer would not load Windows XP SP3. After the Windows splash screen appears, it automatically cycles over and over, informing me of some problem and giving my options of booting in safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt, last known working config, or start normally. None of these options do anything different. Although, booting in either of the safe modes does show a hang on "Mup.sys" before cycling again, but I don't think this helps us diagnose anything (from what my research says).
The motherboard has a green LED light that does illuminate - indicating its working?
Dell has 4 diagnostic lights in the front of the computer (1, 2, 3, 4) that flash on & off with various combinations in a random style, until I enter the BIOS setting, where it stays on 1, 2, & 3 illuminated and 4 not illuminated (which according to Dell means "another failure has occurred" (*rolls eyes*) and Dell service manual suggests ensuring all cables are connected (which I have several times), and that my system is attempting to boot from a device and to check the BIOS settings to ensure the proper sequence is selected (I'm sure I've fiddled with the sequence enough times to say I've tried all the sequences).
The power light can also light up green, amber or red - to which mine is illuminated green (which is obviously a good thing) - however, when I first depress the power button, it shows amber for a second, then goes green. Don't know if this means anything or not.
The BIOS does recognize the CPU I just installed, and lists it appropriately. I tried everything I can think of to get Windows to load:
- F2 during boot to get into BIOS. I update the time settings. Loaded default settings. Playing with boot sequence. Not much else to change really.
- F12 to attempt various booting options. No option gets me any further in the boot sequence or gives me any other info.
- F8 gives me "windows advanced options me menu" and none of those options help. I managed to get an option that allowed me to diagnose my hard drive, which it tells me is working normally.
- Some forum told me you can depress Ctrl+F11 on a Dell to get an option to reinstall Windows from the partition, but Ctrl+F11 does nothing during bootup (I wish it did).
I removed the new CPU (it is used, so I assumed it was the problem) and reinstalled the old CPU. Exact same problem.
I removed the old CPU, examined the pins on the motherboard, and they all seem to look perfect - no bent or missing pins that I can recognize. I reinstalled the new CPU again. CMOS once again reset. Exact same problem persists still - no boot into Windows.
At this point, I'm convinced I must have a hardware problem - as I cannot believe that there's a coincidence that Windows has gone corrupt at the same time I decided to upgrade my CPU. I didn't feel any sparks when I was changing the CPU, and was grounding myself on the computer case the whole time, but I guess it is possible I gave it a shock - I won't be so naive to think it's impossible.
I tried unplugging unnecessary devices to see if my PSU was on the way out and not supplying enough power - no fix.
I tried booting from my WinXP bootable CD, but the system keeps telling me "no boot device found" even when I select "boot from CD" with the F12 option during boot and when I change the BIOS settings to only boot from CD. My computer has 2 DVD drives, so I even tried connecting the slave drive as the master, but still get the "no boot device found".
I tried making a bootable USB device, and booting from that, but I still get "no boot device found".
I'm at my wits end trying to fix this computer. It wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't my new wife's old computer that I decided to "just make it a little faster" for her. Now I made it a paper weight. Wonderful.
I called Dell (I know I must be desperate when I'm calling Dell about a 7+ year old computer) and they told me (very confidently in fact) that they'd be able to diagnose the problem over the phone for $60. I said I'd call them back if I got that desperate. I'm thinking it might be better to give it to a local computer repair shop first, or just scrapping the whole thing.
Is there anything else I can try? I'd be ever so grateful for anyone's advice (besides go out and get my wife and new computer, that advice I know already)