dell optiplex gx1 - how do you get into the bios menu?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Mad Scientist Jr, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. I have an old Dell optiplex gx1 500L with a dead hard drive.

    When I start up, it briefly flashes the Dell logo and the model, and
    then says "cover has been removed" and stays there.

    I have tried pressing different keys upon powerup to get into the bios
    menu (F1, F10, DEL etc) and had no luck.

    How can I
    1) get to the bios menu
    2) get the machine to stop complaining about the cover being removed

    Much appreciated!

    PS There was a sticky on the machine saying password is
    Mad Scientist Jr, Feb 4, 2006
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  2. Mad Scientist Jr

    Gerard Bok Guest

    Most likely: press F2
    Two ways. Either keep the cover in place or switch of the
    detection feature (also in the bios, under security.)
    Gerard Bok, Feb 4, 2006
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  3. Thanks for the reply.

    F2 (or any of the Fn keys) isn't working. It seems no matter what I
    press, after a couple seconds the screen goes black except for "Alert!
    Cover was previously removed"

    Is there some jumper setting or something else that could be preventing
    me from getting into the BIOS?
    Mad Scientist Jr, Feb 4, 2006
  4. Mad Scientist Jr

    Pen Guest

    -F2 is the correct key to enter setup. So, try going here and reading about
    clearing a forgotten password, which seems a possibility for your problem.
    Pen, Feb 4, 2006
  5. Mad Scientist Jr

    Paul Guest

    The chassis intrusion switch is documented here:

    and it is also mentioned in this diagram:

    The info is not that helpful, but it starts here:

    A failing chassis intrusion doesn't necessarily have anything
    to do with the switch.

    The chassis intrusion function can be handled by the Super I/O
    chip. For example, on a Winbond W83627THF, it says:

    "CASE OPEN. An active low input from an external device
    when case is opened. This signal can be latched if pin
    VBAT is connect to battery, even W83627THF is power off."

    What that says is, a computer can actually log the fact that
    the case cover has been removed, even if the computer is
    unplugged from the wall. Now, if in fact that is how it
    worked, we'd be pestered with that all the time (from
    doing maintenance/inspection inside computers). It suggests
    to me, that perhaps that chip is failing, or the CMOS battery
    is failing - the fault could be near the Super I/O, but
    exactly what makes them do that is unclear. All I can suggest
    to you, is that fiddling with the switch is probably not
    going to help, as it is likely not the root cause of the
    problem. Something else is busted, and that message is
    just a side effect.

    A Super I/O chip also handles keyboard input, so if the
    keyboard doesn't work either, the Super I/O is common
    to both problems.

    Good luck finding it,
    Paul, Feb 4, 2006
  6. Mad Scientist Jr

    kony Guest

    I suspect you are not pressing the keys at the right time,
    maybe not fast/soon enough. Be furiously hitting F2 (Or
    <DEL>) when you turn the system on.

    After you get it turned on and in the bios menu, do
    something similar to what is suggested here,

    If you still can't get into the bios, unplug the system from
    AC, pull the battery out for 10 minutes, put it back in then
    try the system.
    kony, Feb 4, 2006
  7. Mad Scientist Jr

    Gerard Bok Guest

    Maybe I'm totally wrong here, but what I understand is:
    the machine logs the switch being activated, i.e. the case has
    been opened. This indication can be reset in the bios.
    But access to the bios can be password protected.
    So, the administrator can find out (either from the screen or
    from remote software) that the case has been opened.
    Gerard Bok, Feb 4, 2006
  8. I removed the pswd jumper, and still couldn't get in. Then I unplugged
    the hard drive - it turned out to be dead and was stopping me from
    getting into the bios. Then I could get in fine.
    Thanks to everyone
    Mad Scientist Jr, Feb 4, 2006
  9. Mad Scientist Jr

    peterfelgate Guest

    If there's a problem with detecting the hard drive(s), the bios spends
    two to three minutes trying to probe them - if you had waited a while
    the bios will probably have eventually given up and returned a prompt -
    this catches many people out...
    peterfelgate, Feb 5, 2006
  10. It does take a while to detect the hard drive, but my problem now is,
    when I try to install XP, it seems to be getting caught in an endless
    loop with loading a driver. I saw this error a while back on another
    system and solved it by swapping out the video card. However, I don't
    see a BIOS option to turn off onboard video - I plugged in a PCI video
    card I had, and the setup seems to get a little bit farther (it doesn't
    end in a "blue screen") - however, setup seems to stay on "Installing
    windows components, 39 mins left" forever.

    Are there any known issues with XP and this system?

    Mad Scientist Jr, Feb 6, 2006
  11. Mad Scientist Jr

    Ben Myers Guest

    My wild guess is that the GX1's integrated ATI Rage Pro with 4MB is not
    supported by XP. I do not know if upgrading the video memory to 8MB would make
    any difference. I ***MAY*** have a 4MB ATI memory upgrade module here. They
    are pretty scarce.

    The Crystal Semiconductor CS4236 is another potential XP issue, because it is an
    older audio chip, and a little less mainstream than all the Creative Sound
    Blaster chips.

    The Intel 440BX chipset, the integrated 3Com PCI 3C905B-TX, and the National
    PC87309 are fairly standard items.

    How much memory is in the system???

    I would suggest upgrading the chassis with GX110 motherboard, CPU and riser
    card, a fairly painless operation. (I have some pulled and functioning GX110
    boards here.) But I am unsure how well the result would work under XP.

    .... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Feb 6, 2006
  12. Mad Scientist Jr

    Jay B Guest

    I recently prepped a gx110 866mhz with XP and I'm not happy with the
    performance on it, although its not bad. I was thinking of putting
    Windows 2000 on it. i also have a pair of gx1's and put win2k on them
    and they are perfectly usable for office work.
    Jay B, Feb 6, 2006
  13. Mad Scientist Jr

    Ben Myers Guest

    I'm with you, Jay. The older Pentium 3 computers are just fine for Windows 2000
    or Linux, but XP is often a stretch. I've sold a number of inexpensive P3-Win
    2000 boxes, and the clients like them.

    You are also confirming that a GX110 runs XP properly, something I have not ever
    tried. How much memory? I think I would max it out at 512MB... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Feb 6, 2006
  14. The system has 256 MB.

    Is there a way to disable the onboard video?

    I will also try disabling the onboard sound and see if that makes a

    I don't have to have XP, I could get by with 2000 (or even 98, though I
    would prefer not).

    Can someone point me to all the drivers for the sound, video, nic, etc,
    for 2000 or 98?

    Also, does anyone know if this system is ATA100 capable?

    Much appreciated...
    Mad Scientist Jr, Feb 6, 2006
  15. Mad Scientist Jr

    S.Lewis Guest

    Depending on the amount of system RAM, those machines will run WinXP
    perfectly fine - after stripping the startup items and setting custom
    adjustments under the system properties/advanced tab/performance menus.

    With much of the XP fluff minimized, they should do just fine provided they
    can run with 512mb of RAM. Not sure which chipset is in the GX110...815

    S.Lewis, Feb 6, 2006
  16. Mad Scientist Jr

    Jay B Guest

    its running right now with 256mb, but 512 was tried and didnt make any
    memory is running about 140mb with nav corp.
    Jay B, Feb 6, 2006
  17. Mad Scientist Jr

    kony Guest

    Yes it is.
    No, XP will run on a 1MB video card, maybe even 512K... you
    just can't switch resolutions and color depths of course.
    It's probably not worth the bother, one can pick up an 8MB
    ATI AGP or PCI card for pocket change, if it were an issue.

    XP may support it natively, but if not, XP would install and
    run, merely not showing an audio device or it

    FWIW, the CS4235 WDM Win2k driver on the following page may
    work on XP, if another cannot be found from the sound card
    or motherboard manufacturer.

    Does that mean it'll install completely? No, but these
    shouldn't matter during the initial window installation
    anyway, it can just ignore anything it doesn't support.
    kony, Feb 6, 2006
  18. Mad Scientist Jr

    peterfelgate Guest

    Not through the bios. It is automatically disabled when you plug ion a
    PCI graphics card
    It only runs the in-built controller at ATA33 speeds, but will run ATA
    66, ATA100 and ATA133 hard disks; from memory the GX1 cannot take the
    80 pin connectors so you might have to stick with the original 40 pin
    cables. Hard disks must be jumpered for cable select not master or
    peterfelgate, Feb 7, 2006
  19. Mad Scientist Jr

    peterfelgate Guest

    GX110 has only two memory slots of max 256 Mbytes each, so total max is
    512 Mbytes. GX1 has three slots so can go to 768 Mbytes.
    peterfelgate, Feb 7, 2006
  20. Mad Scientist Jr

    S.Lewis Guest

    Good. So the GX110 can run 512mb of PC133 which should be fine for WinXP.
    The GX1 sounds like a 440BX board (except for the earliest models maybe)
    that can run 768mb of PC100 - also fine for a basic WinXP machine

    S.Lewis, Feb 7, 2006
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