Resolved Question

Changed CMOS battery -> BOOT problems

I have a Dell Dimension V350 (win95) that is run occasionally and complained about lost date and time settings - so I replaced the CMOS battery. Now it won't boot Sad
On power up fans and hd starts spinning and display lits up saying:
PhoenixBIOS 4.0 Release 6.0
Copyright 1985-1998 Phoenix Technologies Ltd.
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 1985-1998 Intel Corporation.

Dell Dimension V350
BIOS Version A05
Pentium II processor 350 MHz
64 MB System RAM

Press <DEL> to enter SETUP

then nothing happens and it doesn't respond to <DEL>. <Ctrl-Alt-Del> restarts the process but it ends up in the same spot.

If I hit <Del> while it is counting memory up to 64 MB it instead ends up with
Entering SETUP ...
on the bottom of the screen and nothing happens.

Only response I get is a beep when hitting <any key> after that I have hit it several times before.

I'm a little puzzled over that it only counts up to 64 MB as it is equipped with two memory chips labelled "PC100-322-620" which I belive are of 128 MB each. Removing one or the other of them stops the counting at 32 MB.

I'd be much obliged for any help on this,

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Best Answer

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From memory,

Those older machines often had the SETUP application on the HDD. Later it was moved to the BIOS. There are also a lot of rules about memory that will be hard to relay over a forum but nothing sounds wrong with your observations so far. That's how it worked back then.

You should find old hardware that has issues with RAM like that. Again, nothing is wrong here. It was limitations of chips, chip select lines and more. So moving on...

It's possible that dell has some setup app on floppy media. You'll have to look for that.

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Still stuck

Thanks Bob,
It's good to hear that the behaviour is normal up to the point were it gets stuck. But I havent been able to get beyound that point. See also my response to Willy below.

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Sounds like the machine could be from

Those days where the CMOS setup was on floppy. Even back then you didn't pull the battery to reset the BIOS settings, are you sure there isn't some reset bios jumper? Also, start supplying links to the documentation so folk can check out if there is that floppy setup requirement.


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Found reference manual

and dusted it off. Inside was an explanation of the four LED and the status they had indicated "The microprocessor has failed a BIOS test.", not very uplifting. Anyhow, I took your advice and identified one single jumper, also mentioned in manual, and moved it to Maintenance mode. Voila! the computer started and displayed a Maintenance screen. I set the date and time, saved and exit. Moved the jumper back to Normal mode and restarted. Guess what? It resumed operations as before. Happy

It's strange though that the date-time setting can cause such boot problems. But I'm happy that it's up and running, cause setting up the same peripherals on another computer would have been a challenge, even with the backups.

Thanks, I'm much obliged,

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Good to read.

Keep in mind that such machines were in transition back then with what you found in addition to what I wrote.

Nothing is certain back in those days and since the internet was just arriving, you might not find online docs so folk have to scan and put up those docs for others.

Good to read you found that jumper.

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Older PCs

Do this all again and just wait. This is an older system and it sees an error, but your pressing keys and such is causing other issues. Allow it to error out and then reconfigure the bios because that has changed. Which is the reason it can't boot(errors). So, next time when it displays enter SETUP, wait at least 10-15mins. Enjoy soda or coffee until then. Report back results. Also, this being an older older PC, it may need a floppy disk in order to reset bios setting or get into them, but this is so long ago for me, it may not apply to Dells but did for other OEM type PCs.

With power-OFF, you may want to reseat the RAM sticks. Doing so may clear the count-up problem or that 64mb you see may refer to video ram amount. Plus, it just takes longer for a V350 system and all.

tada ------Willy Happy

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Just stands there

Thanks Willy,
I've given it plenty of time, while having a meal myself, but it just stands there.
And I've fed it a floppy "CD-ROM Setup Boot DIsk" and left it both as Press <DEL> to enter SETUP or as Entering SETUP ... but it doesn't even try to read the floppy.

(I also got a floppy with Dell Dimension Vxxx/Vxxxc A08 FlashBIOS but as long as floppies aren't read it's not of much use.)

I reseated the memory chips earlier to exclude that they were causing the error but it didn't change anything other than the amount of memory being counted.

Suggestions? Is there a point in removing the CMOS battery again?

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