Dell Dimension C521 wont boot

September 7, 2011 at 03:26:37
Specs: Windows XP , AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor, 533-MHz, 667-MHz, 800-MHz z (when available) DDR2 SDRAM
Hello please can you help?
I have a Dell Dimension C521 PC that I've been trying to fix for my son over the past week.

The original problem was that it wouldn't boot and the usb keyboard wouldn't respond to keys being pressed (no power on light) in order to restart in safe mode which required us to press the arrow keys to select safe mode (no keys responding), so the system automatically attempted to boot in normal mode, which caused it go to a blue screen. Because the keyboard wasn't responding we couldn't access the bios set up by pressing F2 repeatedly.

There is no ps2 port for this computer, so we bought a new usb keyboard ensuring it was compatible with Windows XP, but that didn't work either. Achieving the same results as above.

Then we tried the Dell operating system Windows XP reinstallation DVD, to see if it would boot from that, but it didn't work and there was no change and got the same screens as above.

We then tried clearing the CMOS by removing the battery for an hour and replacing it. On restarting the computer it gave a black sreen with an error message: Diskette Failure, Motherboard Failure, invalid configuration, please use set up disk. Alert memory low. We inserted the OS reinstall disk again, shut it down and allowed the battery we had replaced to recharge. Then powered up with the Dell OS Windows XP reinstallation DVD and it booted and started reinstalling the system, going through all the set up options etc. Once it rebooted past the initial black error screen the keyboard light came on and we could use the keys again to select options for the Windows setup. It rebooted its self twice I think, though I noticed the error message: Diskette failure error still remained, but it just rebooted past that. We were able to enter bios at this point by pressing F2, but didn't know which settings to change at this time.

I think it was the 3rd reboot when the installation should have been complete that it stalled again on a black screen saying diskette drive 0 seek failure . We tried it several times pressing F2 from power on and it wouldn't work. The keyboard wouldn't work again at this initial stage, no power on light on the keyboard. Though we tried it repeatedly as well as F1, F12, Ctl/F11 and esc. lus others / combinations. We also tested all usb ports. Though as above we did get the keyboard working before, so I don't think i its that.

We tried clearing the CMOS again and repeating the steps as before, but it wouldn't boot anymore and then gave us the error message: Diskette Failure, Motherboard Failure, invalid configuration, please use set up disk. - as before (above). I bought a new cr2032 battery and replaced it, and also noticed that there was a jumper missing so I replaced that. After this we continued to get the same message. diskette drive 0 seek failure , Motherboard Failure, invalid configuration, please use set up disk.

I read online that an error message saying diskette drive 0 seek failure after clearing the CMOS probably meant that it was looking for the floppy disk drive. This computer does not have a floppy disk drive so therefore it was giving this error message because it was looking for it and couldn't find it. So therefore we needed to change the settings in the bios. However at this point we could not enter the bios because the keyboard isnt responding to F2 being pressed, please see above.

I was then given a Dell Windows XP service pack 2 iso file / image on CD to try and it booted past the black error screen to a black screen with a blinking curser. The keyboard power light came on, repeatedly pressed F2, but nothing. Restarted again, pressed F2 and got the error screen diskette drive 0 seek failure , Motherboard Failure. Though the invalid configuration, please use set up disk error had disappeared.

Then powered up with the Dell OS Windows XP reinstallation DVD again and it booted past the black error screen from the disk, displaying the Windows logo / loading up screens. The keyboard light came on and started pressing F2 repeatedly, possibly not fast enough as it took me by suprise - on around the 50 + reboot attempt now. Though either way didn't manage to get into bios. Reached a screen and a java box for a Windows OS preference (can't remember what it was), which required the mouse to click ok. Pressing enter/return wouldn't work as curser arrow not positioned on button, so had to put the mouse in usb port (as we had removed hardware whilst testing). USB mouse would not respond, so we were frozen on this screen, which we left for a while with no change. So had to shut down the PC again.

Then continued to restart up to error screen Diskette drive 0 seek failure, Motherboard failure. We retried about 20 more times with Dell Windows XP service pack 2 iso file / image on CD and Dell OS Windows XP reinstallation DVD. No change.

We then tried clearing the CMOS again and am back to getting the black screen with Diskette Failure, Motherboard Failure, invalid configuration, please use set up disk. Neither Dell Windows XP service pack 2 iso file / image on CD or Dell OS Windows XP reinstallation DVD or pressing F2 make any difference. Currently keyboard doesn't appear to be responding. The keyboad only appears to respond when we can boot past these initial black error screens with a CD as above.

Thanks


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#1
September 7, 2011 at 13:43:29
Take the HD out & slave it to another comp, then run programs to clean out infections.

Make notes of all error messages & infections & google the EXACT info.


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