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Bios setup screens won't come up

Posted on 2002-03-22
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
The bios setup utility will not start up when I press F2 as indicated at bootup.  The Pavilion N3210 notebook will boot into Windows 98 from the hard drive fine, but there is no access to the bios setup screens.  Also, the intial screen indicates I can press the escape key to change boot sequence.  When I do this I get the boot sequence change screen, but my choices will not be saved.  What could cause this?  An HP  disk utility indicates there is a problem with the [pri mast] partition, but repartioning, reformatting etc does not change anything.  Is fdisk even a solution in this? Any help is appreciated.
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Question by:sandiedavis
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Kyle Schroeder earned 100 total points
ID: 6889622
Try forcing BIOS setup by holding down the Spacebar or some other key (use the "any" key ;-) this should force the system into BIOS.  Here is the latest Diagnostic software for your system:

ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/ccd/keeper2sdd/mobile/part220l.exe

Latest BIOS update:
ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/ccd/keeper2sdd/mobile/ade2k121.exe

-dog*
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Expert Comment

by:Blizzard2k
ID: 6889824
Hmmm.. weird...

You said: but my choices will not be saved.

Try checking your biosbattery...
Maybe the battery is empty and most of the times when things aren't changed some kind of battery is empty...

Well just try?
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Expert Comment

by:rayt333
ID: 6890085
But maybe hitting the escape key and changing the boot sequence there is only for that boot, and not changing the default boot order in the CMOS (BIOS)
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Author Comment

by:sandiedavis
ID: 6890319
I tried the space bar, but it just froze for a minute, and then booted from the hard disk.  I am trying to locate the CMOS battery - not real familiar with laptops.  I don't want to change the CMOS battery, because I fear it is not the problem, and I don't know the original settings.  I agree that the boot sequence may be a one-time screen.  Do you think a bad partition could interfere with the BIOS?   Thanks for your comments.
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by:rayt333
ID: 6890326
" Do you think a bad partition could interfere with the BIOS"

NO, the BIOS is loads first
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Expert Comment

by:bluprint
ID: 6890347
Try hitting the delete key at boot instead of F2.
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 6890528
Entering BIOS problem:
The setup may be protected in some way. If you cannot find the secret key to press, you could try getting hold of a manual for the machine. Perhaps someone has disabled easy access to BIOS setup and a more complicated procedure is required, perhaps even a setup utility program.

HD trouble:
Does this purported problem actually show up as difficulties of some sort? Is it a S.M.A.R.T message (or whatever it is called; a sort of early warning system for HD problems)?

Regards
/RID
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Author Comment

by:sandiedavis
ID: 6891058
re rid & bluprint - I've tried lots of keys - including the two year old child variety of random pounding which has messed up plenty of computers in my home!  I do have the original manual.  I even have a recovery disk, which will only get halfway through the ghost process and wants another disk, which the computer didn't come with.  The problem demonstrates itself by an inability to load the correct LCD monitor for a laptop - instead it insists on loading two default monitors drivers. I cannot get it to accept the Laptop Display monitor driver.  The video driver is correctly loaded.  This makes the screen difficult to read.  Otherwise the computer works fine.   This is why I must get into the BIOS - I figure I can change the monitor there.  
The partition wierdness - I am going to use fdisk again to load the diagnostic software  which dogzstar kindly pointed me to.    
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by:billko
ID: 6892426
This may sound whacky, but did you try another KEYBOARD?  Maybe the keyboard's F2 key doesn't work.

Bill
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by:gonzal13
ID: 6892478
I have not seen where you can change a monitor setting in the bios. I would agree that it may be the battery and if not then the bios chip itself.
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6894025
OK...so the actual problem that you're having is that you can't load the proper driver for the LCD screen?  If this is the case, then getting into BIOS will not solve anything (as suggested by gonzal13).  The BIOS is only concerned about the LCD screen directly (and possibly an external monitor via VGA out), regardless of OS/video drivers/monitor drivers.  What OS are you running (98, ME, XP, 2k?)  We can fix this without blowing away the data on the drive with a repartition.  Did you try restarting in Safe Mode (for 98/ME) and deleting all Monitor devices listed in Device Manager (System control panel).  For 2K/XP, go to Dev. Mgr and choose View->"Show hidden devices" and remove all devices under Monitors.  Restarting should then install a "Default Monitor" which you can Change Driver on from Dev. Mgr again (or Display control panel-> Advanced) back to "Laptop Display Panel (or LCD or whatever your OS version calls it)

-dog*
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Author Comment

by:sandiedavis
ID: 6894527
Hmm, I liked the new keyboard idea, but it didn't work.  I got ahold of the whole recovery disk set for this computer, it did it's ghost thing, but I still cannot get into the BIOS.  The computer works fine, it just fails one part of the HP diagnostic test - which is IDE disk #0 (Pri Mst), and one cannot access BIOS. The recovery CDs solved the display problem, it still shows two monitors, but one is an LCD display and the screen looks fine.  
    The reason it was brought to me in the first place is because it got the Junkie Boot virus, the owner put the recovery CD in, but was missing the second disk.
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Author Comment

by:sandiedavis
ID: 6894540
Well, my comment sent itself by itself, so I will continue...at this point he will be happy with his computer and doesn't care about the BIOS.  It is now a purely curious question.  His hard drive may fail at some point, but he is willing to wait until it does.  It may be the CMOS battery, but everything else is holding up fine.  It may be the BIOS chip... he will just use it until whatever is going to fail fails! I think as rid stated that the BIOS is protected in some mysterious way.   I appreciate everyone's answers very much, I think dog* and rid deserve the points, I will figure out how to award points later today.  Thanks!  Sandie
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6894639
To test whether the drive really is near failing, try to determine what brand the drive actually is (Fujitsu, Maxtor, IBM, etc) and then download the Diagnostics from the vendor.  I know IBM has this tool (called DFT, Drive Fitness Test) that can test the drive thoroughly to see if its good, or get the Ontrack Data Analyst from www.ontrack.com to test the drive.

-dog*
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Expert Comment

by:pthurman
ID: 6895410
Are you accessing bios from a cold start?
Try fdisk/mbr
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