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Dimension E521 won't boot

Posted on 2010-11-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
My nephew has a Dell Dimension E521 and it stopped booting.  When you turn it on you get a black screen that says:

Phoenix- Award WorkstationBIOS v6.00PG
Copyright (C) 1984-2003, Phoenix Technologies, LTD

Diskette drive 0 seek failure
Keyboard Failure

Press F1 to Continue, F2 to enter setup.

If I click F1 it attempts to start and goes bluescreen with Technical Information:
*** STOP:  0x0000007B (0xF78A2528, 0xc)))))34, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

If I reboot and then hit F2 it shows setup but it won't let me select any options (maybe due to the keyboard failure) so I can't select anything.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You.
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Question by:Razzmataz73
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39 Comments
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 34128123

did you try another keyboard?
also remove additional hard drivers & try..
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128144
Yes, I tried 3 different keyboards that I know work.  Same thing.  No additional hard drives are installed.  I just booted it with Monitor and keyboard (not even the mouse trying to remove as many possible culprits as possible),
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:aboo_s
ID: 34128149
do you have usb or ps2 keyboard?

I want you to remove keyboard and see what happens.
Then unplug power remove battery from motherboard for 5 min and then replug and boot!!!

It could also be the mouse, if it's a ps2 !!!
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34128177
7b is related to the storage driver ... in the BIOS (F2), try changing the SATA controller from AHCI to ATA (or vice versa).  If your BIOS was reset to defaults and it had been changed previously to the non-default, it would stop with a 7b.  Also, clearing the NVRAM may help if neither setting works - removing the battery on the motherboard will do the same thing, but there are jumpers on the motherboard just for that purpose.
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128183
USB.
I will remove the battery now and let you know what happens.  Do I reboot with just the monitor plugged in or the monitor and keyboard plugged in (after I remove the battery, and wait the 5 minutes).
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34128185
There seem to be major problems here.

Keyboard is the first test as houssam_ballout has noted.

However the screen is also noting a floppy disk failure.  If that never appeared before then there are other problems as well.

When you hit F2 and get the STOP:  0x0000007B message this is inidcating another type of error.  See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324103 for a broad range of errors that could be causing this.

Open the computer up and check for dust.  If you find any blow out.  Remove all hard disk cables and reconnect.  Do that for floppy cable as well.   Also get the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ and make the CD.  You will need that for troubleshooting the disk later on.
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128242
Where do I find the jumpers that you mention?
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 34128262
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128265
After reading http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324103  and knowing my nephew (LOL) it is most likely the:  Boot-Sector Viruses

Should I still do all the steps above.
I have the startup disk, but becouse of the keyboard issue I can't boot from it.
So I think I should do the steps above then then reformat the computer, is that correct?
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128392
Ok I turned of the computer, unplugged everything and then held the power button down for 10 seconds.  

I then opened the computer and removed the battery.
Waited 5 minutes then put it back.

Moved the jumper from the password to the CMOS.  Left it there for 5 seconds and then returned it.

Unplugged the hard and floppy drives, then plugged them back in.

Put the cover back on, plugged in the monitor and keyboard, powered it back on.

Got the same black screen but now in addition to the drive and keyboard messages it says
Alret!  System Battery voltage is low
Alert!  Previous shutdown due to thermal event.

I am going to reboot again now
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128397
ok, after the 2nd reboot the alert messages went away but everything else is the same as it was before opening the computer up.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34128455
Turn off the machine, disconnect HDDs. Turn on, do you get still the error messages referring to Keyboard and diskette?
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:aboo_s
ID: 34128486
Ok what I think is that it's a hardware issue not any viruses!!!

Anyway I want you to check if the CPU fan is working fine, also check if chipset is not overheating!!!
that's the black square chip with writing on it, usually Intel or VIA or Nvidea or SIS
just put your thumb on it, if it's so hot you cannot touch it then your mboard needs to be repaired !
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128491
I will do both of these suggestion ASAP.  Can you tell me how to disconnect HDDs?  I think I know where they are but if you could explain so I make sure I am doing the right thing.

When I open the computer to do that I will check the fan and chipset.
:)
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34128499
Do the noxcho test above.  But also disconnect the CDROM drive, network cables and any USB devices appart from keyboard and mouse.

And can you get into the BIOS with the keyboard, despite the error message you are getting about the keyboard?
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34128513
Cable disconnection

See http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dime521/en/SM_EN/parts.htm#wp1244168

And scroll down slightly.

Make sure power is off and disconnected.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34128519
I also think that the problem is in MOBO thus we need to check if the PC behaves different without HDD.
To disconnect the HDD - open the box - find the HDD and disconnect two cables from its back side. CD-ROM is disconnected the same way.
The drive looks as follows: http://www.rancho.com/Products/Images/SAS4200A.jpg
The upper one is SATA drive and the one below is IDE.
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128523
Yes, it is wierd, if I hold or hit the F2 key enough times it lets me into the bios but I can't move my selection up or down using the up/down pluss minus keys.  I went through the entire keyboard in case something else might work, but it doesn't you are just stuck on the bios page until you power down.

Anything else I should do when I have it opened?  Thank you for the cable disconnection instructions.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34128529
No need to do much per time. Just check the fans (I think they do fan) and disconnect the drives. Try to turn on the PC and see what does the BIOS say. If it is virus or HDD based issue you will notice the differense.
If it behave the same way then your motherboard is faulty. Replace it.
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128539
Do I put the cover back on before plugging it in and starting it up, or can I just leave it off so I can better see the fan, etc...
?
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34128589
You can leave the cover off.

If with all of the devices disconnected as above and you can't move around in the BIOS then I'd suspect a motherboard failure like noxcho has mentioned.

If this motherboard has some addin cards then you could try removing them as well and see if that makes a difference.

Also check with nephew and see if this computer has been dropped or fallen over recently.
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128590
ok I unplugged both items from the motherboard and I get the same error message.  Does that mean it needs a new motherboard?  Would he be better off getting a new computer at this point?
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128613
I just texted him asking if it has been dropped/fallen over.

How would I go about getting a new motherboard?  Is it something I could do or does it need to be taken somewhere?  Would it be cheaper to get a new computer or would it be worth it to get it fixed?
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34128614
If you are not familiar with moving parts from old PC to new mobo then it is 100% better to get complete new PC.
Can you afford it? If yes - then go on.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34128621
You don't know what parts are broken else on this very PC. Get a new PC (bearing in mind that you never did change motherboard before).
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128627
Is there some kink of place he could take it to?  Some chain like Best Buy where they could do something like that for him?
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Author Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34128632
Got ya.  Thank you for your help.  I will tell him it is done. :(
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34128633
Erm, this depends on his location. Find local PC shops in his city and phone them. They know for sure what to do with such cases.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:aboo_s
ID: 34129661
If you are getting a new mboard try getting the same model as the old one or at least with the same chipset, that would be easier for migrating your system(windows)!

Also check if you have warranty on your board, it is usually 3 years warranty.

you can check that on the manufacturer website using the serial number on the board!!!

Good Luck!
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Lance_P
ID: 34130498
How Old is the system? Why not call dell? They will guide you step by step in resolving your issue. Do you have phone support?

After reading through all the posts, it is most likely that the OS is corrupt or the HDD has gone bad.

The Disk 0 seek failure is casue you do not have a floppy drive in the system and it is enabled in the Bios. Turn it off and that error should go away.

Before calling it a day, Put in the dell recovery disk and try to restore the OS. YOU WILL LOSE ALL DATA. But at this juncture its worth a shot.

If not replace the HDD and use the Recovery CD's (DVD) to complete the OS install.

Good luck (Ex-Dell tech)
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34130592
Hi Lance,
as ex  tech how do you comment on the  fact that he gets the same errors on the system without any HDD connected?
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Lance_P
ID: 34130628
Few things to note here.
Keyboard not working in Bios, F2 hit too early causing error. (Hit F2 after the lights on the keyboard flash the second time. first time is when you hit the power button)

Diskette Drive 0 seek failure = option enabled in bios with no physical Floppy drive connected.

and for the issue with the same errors coming up with no HDD connected? the answer is simple.

- The 7f error will only show up after the system tries to boot from the HDD, which is this simply implies that the HDD is not disconnected.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:aboo_s
ID: 34131926
I would disagree with you Lance, I really think it's not an OS problem, simply because system freezes in bios menu which is not influenced by OS.

I would agree though that it would be best to consult with DELL support if system is still in warranty.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Lance_P
ID: 34139994
I have sat with people from the age of 13 to 65 who 'freeze' in the bios.. simply cause they hit F2 too early .. its nothing .. just hit F2 after the lights (num, scroll, caps) flash the second time and the author will be fine ...

Its difficult for techs to replicate this cause they 'know' when its the right time to hit the right key to enter the bios ..
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Accepted Solution

by:
Razzmataz73 earned 0 total points
ID: 34173104
I just came back to this thread becouse I forgot to close it (when we thought it was dead).  I don't think the lights flashed at all on the keyboard, but I am not 100% sure.

I will pull it back out of the closet and try this today and let you know if anything happens.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 34173775
Thanks for feedback.
0
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Lance_P
ID: 34175131
Nice to know that you are trying it ... one very common thing is to ensure your have a 'wired' (USB/PS2) keyboard connected. Wireless keyboards do not flash :(

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Author Closing Comment

by:Razzmataz73
ID: 34324402
We are ditching the computer
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Lance_P
ID: 34326527
Wish i could get it off your hands... I could use a spare media center :)
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