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Last reply by 11-13-2017 Unsolved
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2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Cannot enter BIOS settings

Hi Guys,

I've been trying to solve an issue I have with a laptop I just bought (warranty period over). This has been driving me nuts. I tried every solutions  I could find online to no avail. I saw that many people have a similar problem (but in most case they can't boot in the OS). I'm out of ideas here so if anyone knows anything about this issue, please enlighten me.

Here goes:

Laptop: Dell Latitude E6530 with nVidia card NVS5200M with Optimus + Intel HD 4000 graphics.

Service tag: 8HFKJX1. Latest BIOS A20 installed successfully. Fresh install of Window 7 SP1. BIOS set to legacy boot mode, Fastboot set to "thorough"

My problem is: I can no longer enter into BIOS settings. Weird thing is, the computer boots normally and everything else is working just fine. All the peripherals work as expected, both graphic cards perform normally, keyboard, everything, name it...

I was able to enter BIOS when I receive the laptop (F2 at boot). One of the first things I did upon receiving the machine was to upgrade the BIOS to A20 per Dell instructions (using a bootable USB key into DOS). After that I could still enter BIOS (F2 during boot). Next I performed a fresh install of Win 7 SP1. I could still enter BIOS at that point, then one day out of the blue, I could not enter BIOS (There is no BIOS password BTW). I have no clue what caused this or at which point exactly this occurred.

So here is the sequences that causes the problem:

1- I power up on the laptop

2- When I see the Dell logo, then I hit F2 to enter Bios

3- The logo then disappears, I briefly see an underscore flashing on the screen and then blank screen, except for a very faint back-lighting (noticeable when my room is dark). I can increase or decrease the intensity of the backlighting using the built-in FN + arrow up keyboard function)

4- the only way to get out of this is by pressing the power button, then the laptop reboots.

Next: I reboot, then hit F12 after the Dell logo to enter the "One time boot menu" where I can change the boot sequence. This works. I can run the ePSA pre-boot diagnostic which works (bright screen all normal) and reports all hardware OK (except for the battery which is is reaching "end of life" although I can still run for about 45min on it).

From this menu there is an option to enter BIOS setup but this gives me the same blank screen as described above.

Here are some of the things I tried to no avail (repeating the"reboot then F2" sequence between each one):

-Used an external keyboard;

-removed battery, AC adapter and C-MOS battery, wait overnight then plug-in C-MOS battery + batt & AC power and reboot (got some message that the internal time needed to be reset);

-replaced the C-MOS battery with a brand new one (3.3 V solid);

-tried external monitor (but this laptop model only outputs to ext monitor after boot process);

-tried every imaginable combinations of FN+E, Alt+8 or whatever combinations suggested on the web.

-downgraded the BIOS to an earlier version,

-re-flashed the A20 BIOS (success no error).

All along I never got any beep indicating an error and the LED's never blinked in the sequence to indicate error.

My next step would be to replace the MOBO, but I can't understand that this would be a hardware problem since the computer boots normally each and every time and everything is working fine....

What am I missing? I looks like there is no video signal to the screen after entering BIOS... I am pretty sure I do get into BIOS setup after hitting F2 but I have no video signal (except for that faint back light). Keyboard seems to be working coz I can increase/decrease the backlight from the keyboard + it works fine once I am in Windows. I tried finding a keyboard key/combination to exit BIOS setup, but it doesn't seem that there is such a feature on this laptop model.

That's it! I'm losing my mind over this and I reached the end of my wits. Anyone up for the challenge?

Any help /suggestions would be immensely appreciated.

Thanks for making it this far...


Replies (2)

 GoGet it,

Click the link below to clear the cmos.nvram by removing the cmos battery. Click the link below for more information. Also, unplug all devices that are connected to the system and then try entering the bios.

How to Perform a BIOS or CMOS Reset and/or Clear the NVRAM on your Dell System

Click the link below to download the online manual for information removing/replacing parts in your computer

Dell E6530 Drivers Downloads and Manuals

Find your Service Tag

If still under warranty, click the "Get help now" icon on the right to start a live chat session. Currently only available in the USA.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze

Thank you for your answer Jesse.

I had already followed these instructions. It seems to have successfully cleared the NVRAM memory and reset the BIOS since on next reboot I had a message telling me that the system time needed to be adjusted (F1 to continue, F2 to enter BIOS settings). F2 still gave me a blank screen.

When you suggest to unplug all devices, are you referring to external devices only? (as opposed to internal devices such as wifi card etc).

I also re-flashed the latest BIOS from Dell (A20) which was successful but did not resolve the issue (USB stick booting to DOS then running the Dell E6530A20.exe file).

Last thing I tried was to disconnect the laptop screen and use an external monitor connected to the VGA port. I was able to see the Dell logo then hit F2 but same result as with the laptop screen: blank.

One important observation: The external monitor did not enter sleep mode even after waiting for a while (normally the monitor goes to sleep/standby when the video signal is cut-off). That seems to indicate that the laptop does enter BIOS settings and just waits there. Is it possible that somehow the BIOS outputs some strange resolution that the screen or monitor cannot render? (but it was displaying fine before).

This seems like a software issue because if I don't hit F2 at boot, the PC posts and load Windows 7 without a glitch.

I'm at a total loss here and would really appreciate any advice from someone more knowledgeable than myself. I thought I had a good high-level understanding of BIOS functionalities, but this is way over my head.

Is it possible that after re-flashing the BIOS, some settings are still kept in memory somehow? (this computer has 2 BIOS)?

Thank you for your help.

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