I replaced the CMOS battery in my Dell Dimension XPS T500. Now, when I turn the machine on, the Dell logo comes up on the screen, and that's it. No hard drive activity. Nothing moving on screen. Hitting keys, <Del>, <F2>, doesn't seem to do anything.
I tried moving the jumper on the motherboard to clear NVRAM, but the same thing happens with the jumper in both positions.
How can I get this machine to boot again?
(By the way, don't ask me why I replaced the CMOS battery. I just looked at it and said to myself, "Hey, that's a real old battery in there! Why not change it just to keep things running smoothly?" Not very smart on my part.)
A few of things.... First, check to see the new battery was properly placed in the socket in respect to positive + and negative -. The positive side should be facing upward. Secondly, make sure the contacts are clean in the socket. Over time the socket may have accumulated a generious helping of dust and dirt. Remove the battery and blow out the socket with some compressed air. Also insert and remove the battery a couple of times to insure the contacts are cleaned off. While doing this make sure the contacts in the socket are in contact with the battery. Thirdly, try replacing the battery with the old one as your new purchase maybe dead. It's not uncommon for a battery to be a factory defect or have been sitting on the shelf for quite a while.
Tried the old battery again. Same problem. Tried blowing the contacts and rubbing the contacts and inserting and removing the battery a few times. Tried bending the battery contacts a bit just to make sure they are really really contacting.
Are there are diagnostic lights lit when this problem occurs? I'm thinking that you may have accidently bumped something loose while you were inside the system since you have ruled out the battery and it's socket. You can click here for the XPS T's on-line User Guide and an explanation of any diagnostic code. If the diagnostic lights are of no help in pin pointing the problem then try the trouble-shooting steps I have outlined below....
With the machine unplugged from the wall remove the battery from the motherboard. Then with the machine still unplugged press the On button for 30 seconds to dissipate any remaining electrical charge on the motherboard. Then re-install the battery, plug the machine back into the wall and see if it will boot normally.
If the machine still fails to boot then strip the motherboard down to the bare minimum. By bare minimum I mean remove all expansion cards, disconnect all drives and leave just the processor, memory and graphics card in the machine after reseating them. If the computer boots this way then start connecting each device one at a time until the no boot scenario returns. This would then indicate which device has failed and is causing the problem. Also try booting the system without the keyboard, mouse or any other device plugged into the rear of the system. A faulty USB device has been known to cause problems. If you have more than one memory module installed then try booting with only one and then swap them around and try again. If you only have one memory module then try booting without any memory modules installed. Also try swapping the graphics card for another one. If this procedure doesn't resolve the problem then you maybe looking at a situation where the motherboard or processor has failed.
Good news! I tried unplugging every peripheral and card except the graphics card, and the machine came back to life. I configured the BIOS as best as I could remember (how dumb was I not to even write this stuff down before pulling out the battery?).
For some reason, my boot drive now says that there is no OS present. Must have been something weird happened to the boot disk when the PC didn't know which way was up. My second drive was transplanted with Windows 2000 already on it, so I changed the boot order and it came up despite not having been booted from that disk since 2001.
Some questions about BIOS settings:
The page with all the address ranges and IRQ's to reserve. Do I need to change the defaults? No ISA card in there.
Plug and Play OS set to YES. I'm running Windows 2000, but is it better to set this to NO?
The machine is a bit hobbled from the experience, but at least it has gotten past boat anchor status.
"I configured the BIOS as best as I could remember (how dumb was I not to even write this stuff down before pulling out the battery?)."
Not a big problem. For the most part you were already using 99.99% of the default BIOS Settings already. About the only thing you need to fine tune is the Boot Order, Quick Boot and the Quiet Boot settings to your personal preference. As for the hardware, when the system successfully booted up the BIOS redetected all the hardware and configured itself accordingly.
"For some reason, my boot drive now says that there is no OS present."
Could be a bad connection which I assume you checked by reseating cable. Could also be a bad ribbon cable or the hard drive just used the opportunity to die. Try plugging the hard drive into another system to see if you can access the data on it. If the hard drive works in another system then consider a bad connection or bad cable as the source of the problem.
"The page with all the address ranges and IRQ's to reserve. Do I need to change the defaults? No ISA card in there."
No leave them alone as the BIOS should have automatically configured them for the best settings.
"Plug and Play OS set to YES. I'm running Windows 2000, but is it better to set this to NO?"
Leave it set to the default setting of No. That setting will allow the BIOS to detect new hardware and configure itself accordingly. Even with this set to No, Windows will still detect the change of hardware and prompt you to install it.