Desktops forum: Dell Dimension 4600i will not boot to BIOS

by: mchainmchain March 17, 2012 2:34 AM PDT

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Dell Dimension 4600i will not boot to BIOS

by mchainmchain - 3/17/12 2:34 AM

XP Home SP3 P4 2.8 2 GB RAM 30 GB ide C drive, 100 ide GB Slave drive (F), CD-ROM RW ide master (D), DVD-ROM RW SATA master (E), floppy drive installed.

BIOS version is A12. Original was A7.

Spring cleaning arrived, so I took system apart and canned air cleaned, put fresh paste on cpu (original paste), and opened the PSU and canned air in there.

Since I updated the BIOS about a year ago, I had both ROM drives as bootable. (Lucky me)

Something changed about two months ago, as the CD-ROM stopped booting as before. The DVD still booted but I wanted to restore this functionality, so I disconnected the SATA ROM and the 100 GB ide drive (to prevent a drive letter change) as part of this project.

What prompted the cleaning was a change in power-on light behavior. It recently started to flash a quick yellow for just a moment, then solid green power light.

Computer ran perfectly until yesterday. I also lost the DVD drive yesterday. It would not see a disc when inserted any more. Nero said it lost communication with the light-scribe DVD drive and produced a window text error only.

Disconnecting the two drives caused the A12 BIOS to start very slowly, normal operation POST was done in seven seconds, now three minutes. I removed the CMOS battery to clear the settings and reinserted. No change, except time and date had to be set.

Boot order would not stick, default was HDD, floppy, CD-ROM, no matter how many times I tried to reset as CD-ROM, floppy, HDD.

Would not work.

Time and date did stick, though.

Downloaded a new A12 BIOS patch from Dell, ran it in Windows, it restarted and waited an hour for it to finish. Never completed flash, so I powered down.

Before I flashed the BIOS, the diagnostic lights A, B, C, in back of unit were green, D light was yellow (with the DVD and 100 GB HDD disconnected.) I checked all drive connections, found ok.

Windows was still coming up, but the POST was inordinately long.

Now have a solid yellow power light and no POST, no video, no beeps. CD-ROM does flash a couple of times, as does the HDD light, then stops, but then with all peripherals disconnected just a solid yellow power light.

(Sigh)

What happened? Can this be fixed?

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