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Old 11-12-2005, 01:40 AM   #1
blue penguin
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Registered: Dec 2004
Location: New Zealand
Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux (Etch) GRUB, Kubuntu 5.10 GRUB/GNU/Linux
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Dell BIOS often doesn't recognize devices any more!


Hi, I've had my Dell computer for a year. It belonged to my university before that so I don't know exactly how old it is, it has a Windows 98 Second Edition product key sticker on it.

Until recently it worked perfectly, but a few weeks ago the BIOS started telling me that it couldn't detect a keyboard, if I unplugged and replugged the keyboard it would be recognized and I could press F1 and continue to boot. Yesterday it started not recognizing my IDE devices, though it does still recognize them now and again, I had to reboot at least 10 times before it recognized them this time. Now I'm afraid to shut down my computer in case the BIOS stops recognizing the IDE devices entirely!

I was going to write the BIOS details down the last time but then it booted. I think it's an Optiplex revision A1 or A something. Is there a way to find out what the BIOS is from withing Debian (kernel 2.4.27-2-686)?

What can I do about it?

Thanks for reading this far :- )
- Jessica

P.S. I've already googled it and looked on the Dell website.
 
Old 11-12-2005, 04:57 AM   #2
fouldsy
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: St Louis, MO
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I think there are some Windows tools that can detected you running BIOS through a live-update service, but most also require a host of IE plugins to do it. Don't know any for Linux but hope I can be provded wrong!

It could be BIOS settings just aren't being held correctly, in which case a new BIOS battery might help, or it could be a problem with the IDE controllers, although usually only one would fail - not both. Is it detecting a CD drive at all, in which case rebooting, getting the BIOS version, and loading up a Knoppix live CD or similar should allow you to get onto the Internet, grab a BIOS update and try applying that.
 
Old 11-13-2005, 05:21 AM   #3
blue penguin
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Registered: Dec 2004
Location: New Zealand
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hmmm, thanks for your ideas, I'll look into getting a new BIOS battery, from what you've said I think that's the most likely.

Thanks again :-)
 
Old 11-13-2005, 06:24 AM   #4
fouldsy
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No problem, was just a suggestion but hope it's right! Let us know how it goes for you.
 
  


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