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Cannot access bios setup on Dell Dimension 3000

Posted on 2008-06-10
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I want to change the boot order on my wife's Dimension 3000.  I want to boot from CD first.  Simple, access the bios and change it.  But, in this case when using F2 or F12 to access any of the non Windows setup screens nothing appears.  I can turn the monitor off and back on and get a garbled display with a couple of vertical lines.  Any ideas?
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Question by:rbrown3rd
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21755978
Do you actually get a message that you are entering the BIOS?  If not, you might need to hit the DEL key instead.
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by:rbrown3rd
ID: 21756077
No.  No message or anything on the screen.  I will try booting and using the delete key.  I am pretty sure I tried that but will not say so until I actually try it.  That is the only machine on my network on which I cannot access the bios.
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by:rbrown3rd
ID: 21756351
Del key does nothing.  F2 and F12 do cause the system to revert to a blank screen rather than booting.  It appears to be some sort of display problem when going into an OS display rather than Windows.  I am going to also go to the Dell support site, with little optimism, to see what I can find.

Oh, I upgraded the bios thinking that might help but even though that appeared to be successful it changed nothing regarding this issue.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21756388
I believe that the 3000 has on board video.. Have you tried using a video card instead just to see if that allows you to see the BIOS screen?
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21756407
OF course you get video with Windows...is this a dual video out setup?  If so, it might be that the BIOS screen for some reason is displaying on the other video out and all you need to do is move the monitor cable.  Yeah...I know that a stretch, but I seems similar things with gateway machines.

You might try shutting down the PC, unplugging the power cable for 1-2 minutes and then firing it back up again...I've seen that reset certain things on some computers.  You might also need to remove the CMOS battery, but since right now you can't get into the BIOS I'm not sure that the best idea in the world.
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by:rbrown3rd
ID: 21759912
I think I am going to avoid removing the CMOS battery at this point.  I suspect that the monitor thing is a possibility.   I'll try booting it with my other monitor hooked up.  If that does not work I am out of luck in the monitor department as I only have two.
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rbrown3rd earned 0 total points
ID: 21811328
Ok, problem solved.  It turned out to be the monitor itself.  For some reason it either poorly displays the boot up sequence or not at all.  I switched out the monitors with my other Viewsonic and was able to boot into the bios with no problem.  So, the system WAS actually booting into the bios setup screens but it was just not visible due to some monitor/video card incompatiblity or something else.  Using the other monitor I was able to change the boot order and create a dual boot Kubuntu Linux/WinXP machine.  That was my goal but at least I know it was not some mysterious problem with the Dell machine.  Thanks for all your suggestions.
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