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Last reply by 12-29-2008 Unsolved
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3 Silver
110552

F1 to continue. F2 to enter Setup. ???

This is a dimension 8400 (XP Pro SP2) that has been booting just fine
for quite a while. Now when I start up, it starts POST then I get
just the message "F1 to continue. F2 to enter Setup.". No error
messages, no message about drives not found. Just the one
message. Whether I continue, or go into setup making no
changes, XP then starts fine. All the devices are attached and
accessible.

What would cause this??  Low battery???

chuck
Replies (8)
7 Gold
8210

A failing battery might be one cause.  For $3 it is a fairly cheap item to rule out.  A new 3-Volt, CR2032, coin cell battery can be purchased for around $3 (US) and is available at any Radio Shack, computer stores and most discount stores like Wal-Mart.  Click here 

<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell> 

for your model's on-line Service Manual and the section pertaining to replacing the battery for your reference.  Given the age of the system a failing battery could very well be possible.

 

Prior to replacing the battery I would suggest clearing the NVRAM.  That procedure can be useful in resolving boot up problems where the system has difficulty detecting all the system's hardware.  To clear the NVRAM just do this....

  • Reboot system and enter the BIOS Setup by pressing F2.
  • Turn on Caps Lock, Scroll Lock and  Num Lock.
  • Press ALT + E then ALT + F (should hear beep) then ALT + B


Keep in mind that clearing the NVRAM will default all your BIOS options back to their factory recommended settings.  Not really a big deal since you're probably using most of the factory settings anyways.  The defaulting will require you to re-enter the time/date, re-adjust your boot order if you have made any changes, re-adjust your power management options if you have changed them, etc.  In otherwords settings that were changed to your personal liking will have to be re-set.  If your system doesn't have a floppy drive the defaulting will turn on the floppy drive controller.  If this happens and you get a Diskette Drive error on boot up then simply go into the BIOS and turn off the option for the Diskette Drive.  The error message will be gone on the next reboot.

 

If the problem continues then check the system to see if the diagnostic lights are indicating an error code which may help pin point the problem.  Click here 

<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell> 

for an explanation of those error codes from the on-line manual.  If the diagnostic lights are of no help the consider opening the system up and reseating all the cards, memory and cables plugged into both the motherboard and the drives. 

Message Edited by Majestic on 03-13-2008 09:11 AM
3 Silver
8210

Thanks for the info! Must be the battery. I bought a new

battery yesterday and have been thru several reboot

sequences with no further problems. Fixed!

 

Of course, I just bought the battery. I have NOT installed

it yet. Perhaps if I just leave the new battery on my desk

near the computer that will be sufficient??

 

chuck 

7 Gold
8210

I had a car like that once.  It had a noisy fan motor for the heater blower. The day I brought the replacement motor the old one quieted right down.  Must have been the threat of repair that intimidated it. :smileyvery-happy:

 

Seriously though, when you have some spare time I would recommend running the Dell Diagnostics on the system.  The F1 - F2 boot scenario could be an indication of a pending hardware problem like a hard drive failure.  Consider running the "extend" tests on the system especially the hard drive.

3 Silver
8210

Great, but I need some help here.

 

I seem to not have a hidden Dell diagnostics partition (when I hit

F12 at boot, only diags option I get is Hard Disk Diagnostics).

 

I have a ton of DELL disks but none says Diagnostics.

 

I have downloaded the Diagnostics from DELL downloads. There

appear to be no windows executables. Do I make a boot CD from

them?? Is there a way to run them from the HDD?? If DELLDIAGS.EXE

is the starting point do I set autoruns to start that??

 

chuck 

7 Gold
8210

You are correct.  The three diagnostic programs Dell has available for download will require to boot the system from a MS-DOS bootable media. If you have a floppy drive then I would recommend the floppy disk version of the diagnostics since the program will automatically create the bootable floppy for you.  This program should create 2 floppies for the diagnostics.  

 

There is a diagnostic program that will install to the hard drive, but you will need a partition with a FAT file system in order to access the drive after using a DOS boot disk.  An alternative would be to use the diagnostic program that installs to your hard drive.  Once they are installed just burn these files to a CD.  Then boot the system using a boot CD that offers a DOS prompt.  At the DOS prompt you will then have to start the diagnostic program manually.   

 

P.S. You can click here <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell> for more information on using the Dell Diagnostics that are available at boot up via the F12 key.  I've included the link for your reference. 

Message Edited by Majestic on 03-14-2008 02:11 PM
3 Silver
8210

Many thanks. I downloaded the diagnostic set and burned the

files to a CD using an old bootable Win98 floppy to provide 

the boot image. Just ran the diagnostics from the CD and they

came out clean.

 

thanks again.

 

chuck 

7 Gold
8210

You're more than welcome.  Glad to have been of assistance.
2 Bronze
2 Bronze
8210

Just joined the community and in one day PRESTO! One of my 2 problems are solved!  All because of your help.  Searched F1 and after some thread reading found the answer here.  So cool!

Regards,

C

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