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Dell Dimension 9100 not booting after CPU upgrade


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#1 NewCougar

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:13 AM

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) :)

 

Thanks again!

Darrell.

 



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:40 AM

FWIW:  http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19405414.aspx

 

It seems that you've done all properly...and from the Dell guidance that I see...the only possible variable that I can see would be what heatsink you used on the new CPU install.  Dell recommends using the Dell heatsink on the new CPU.

 

Moved to Internal Hardware.

 

Louis


Edited by hamluis, 07 March 2013 - 08:08 AM.


#3 NewCougar

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:47 AM

Thank you, Louis, for the reply.

 

The thermal paste I used was Artic Silver 5 and I applied it as per the instructions on the Artic Silver website.  And, after having to apply it several times (new cpu, back to the old cpu and then the new cpu agiain) I could tell that the paste was applied appropriately (not too much and good coverage).

 

I can't imagine using a thermal paste not bought off the Dell website would cause Windows not to load.

 

And just updating the CPU shouldn't cause Windows to think it's a new computer, would it?  And even if it did, it's so bizaare that I can`t get my system to boot to a CD-ROM or USB.  It must be a hardware issue.  And common sense would think I must of damaged something (probably the motherboard) when I did the install.

 

I might drop it off to a computer repair shop, or I might just get a new computer.  If I do discover what the issue is, I`ll update this thread.  In the mean time, if anyone else has any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Darrell.



#4 hamluis

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:48 PM

I can't speak re Dell systems...I gave away the only ones I have ever paid for.

 

I've upgraded my CPU (I think) while retaining the same motherboard and hard drive...and I don't recall it as being a problem.

 

Beyond that, there's nothing I can add that will even begin to approach Solution Street :).

 

Louis



#5 Wooshie

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 04:44 PM

Just to clarify the bios has been upgraded to the latest versio. Correct?



#6 NewCougar

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:38 PM

Thanks for taking the time to read about my problem, Wooshie.

 

I wish I could say the BIOS is out of date, cause that would identify a problem I could fix, but the BIOS does in fact have the lkatest BIOS version (A03) which I double confirmed in the BIOS settings before & after the problem occured.

 

Still haven't dropped the computer off to a repair shop.  Might do this tomorrow and see what they say.

 

Darrell.



#7 NewCougar

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:33 PM

Ended up dropping the computer off to a local repair shop.  Luckily they were very familiar with the Dell Dimension 9100 model.  They just called me...

 

Apparently I did nothing wrong.  They explained (and I'm going to try and get this right) that when the BIOS was updated (years ago) it changed BIOS driver for the harddrive (can't remember if it was actually called the "BIOS driver" but they explained the processor/BIOS does a hardware scan when you turn the machine on and detects the hardware, but not the harddrive, the harddrive 'driver' is set manually in the BIOS).  Then, when I reset the CMOS, it defaulted the harddrive driver and Windows wouldn't recognize it any more.  Then, on top of that, apparently, the multiple boot attempts I was making compounded the problem and corrupted Windows files (this I understand even less).  Anyways, he said the system can be fixed over night (restoring files system) and tomorrow morning and I should have my computer back by tomorrow afternoon.  Cost: $72 +tax (CND),  Furthermore, he told me he would show me what setting needed changing (in the BIOS I assume), in case I need to do this again or incounter the same problem in the future.

 

After he explains what setting it is, and how to change it, I'll updated this thread again.

 

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this and offer advice.  I'm surprised there's not more information on the internet about this problem, seeing as it wasn't anything I did, but how the BIOS updates the computer and what resetting the CMOS & default settings do to the "BIOS drivers".  Hope this information can help someone else out in the future.

 

Cheers,

Darrell.



#8 hamluis

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:29 PM

Thanks for the update...be sure to listen carefully to whatever the local shop explains...and let us know what the issues were and how they overcame such.

 

"Corrupt" and "corrupted" are just another way of saying "damaged" in computer-speak.  Files can become corrupted for a million reasons and such is quite routine.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_corruption

 

http://cquirke.mvps.org/9x/baddata.htm

 

Louis



#9 NewCougar

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

Thanks for the read, Louis.  I didn't realized that improper shutting down could actually corrupt files.  Makes sense, it's always been a fopa to shutdown improperly, I just never knew why.

 

Well, my computer works perfectly again.  Just picked it up and he explained the problem to me:

 

In the BIOS settings of the Dimension 9100, under the heading "Drives" and then "SATA operation", there are options to set the operating mode of the integrated hard drive controller.  These are the 4 options:

- RAID Autodetect / AHCI

- RAID Autodetect / ATA

- RAID On

- Combination

By default, the BIOS is set to "RAID Autodetect / AHCI", but Dell decided to change this setting to "Combination" for no apparent reason and installed Windows under this setting (even though the harddrive is a SATA harddrive and would work under the default setting).  So, when I reset the CMOS, I reset that setting, and Windows wouldn't boot because it didn't recognize the new operating mode of the hard drive controller.  (I attached a picture showing this BIOS setting).

Then, after multiple boot, re-boot attempts (and there were many) it corrupted some of the system files which compounded the problem.

 

Also, the technician explained that because I got to the Dell and then the Windows splash screen, that meant the system successfully POST'd and rules-out any hardware problems.  Good to know.

 

Anyways, thread could be locked now.  Thanks for trying everyone!  Hope this helps someone else out in the future.

 

Darrell.

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