Dell and resetting BIOS

People who know me, know that I don’t like hardware! I was working on a client’s computer (older Dell 8200) yesterday that wouldn’t boot up. I went ahead and put in a different hard drive. But every time I would boot it up, it would display the “Primary Hard Drive 1 Not Found”. I would go into BIOS, and it would show the drive. And if I pressed F1 from the error, the computer would go ahead and boot up.


I messed around with the BIOS settings enought, that ultimately it was not booting at all, but coming up with a “Strike f1 to retry boot, f2 to enter system utility”.  After some stumbling around, I found the following recommendation for resetting the BIOS and getting past such problematic warnings and errors:


When the F1 or F2 screen come up, make sure that:
1) CAPS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
2) NUMBERS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
3) SCROLL LOCK LIGHT IS ON
ALL 3 LIGHTS ON KEYBOARD MUST BE ON…

Then you press:
1) (ALT TAB) E
2) (ALT TAB) F
3) (ALT TAB) B

The computer will restart on its own and reconfigure the IDE settings.



 

XP SP3 and MCE

As many know, Windows XP MCE by default does not allow you to join it to a domain. Variations of the infamous “Banana Hack” are available to allow MCE systems to join a domain. I posted about my experience here. What the banana hack does is to change the ‘IsLegacyMCE’ register key from ‘0’ to ‘1’.


With XP SP3 set to release in a few days, I tried installing the XP SP3 RC2 to my babana-hacked XP MCE computer. The result was that after installing SP3, my computer went into a constant reboot loop. I was able to boot into Safe Mode, and uninstall SP3, and then the computer booted up normally.


 Before uninstalling SP3, I did check the ‘IsLegacyMCE’ registery setting, and it was still set to ‘1’ – which means that installing SP3 does not overwrite that reg key. However, something else in SP3 is certainly stomping over the ability to let MCE join a domain.


So, at this point, XP SP3 is out for my MCE computers.


-kw