Can't get past the bios

i have 4 of these. every one is giving me trouble. actually all of them won't let me past the bios. says unknown device under hard drive or says no hard drive when i put the restore disk in. it will load the beginning of the hard drive drivers but when it's time to hit r for repair or enter for full install it tells me that there is no hard drive installed.. then back to bios.

a few years i bought a couple of motherboards and i have been switching parts and still can't get past the bios taking me to f1 and f2 and sometimes primary 0 not found. i also have like 10 hard drives and have tried them all.

is there a way to get past the bios and wipe or reformat the hard drive? i can't get to the desktop to get into the start button or run a command?

sincerest thanks for anyone who tries to help me. i am disabled and can't live on the disability money i get. strange how every one of these won't work at the same time!!!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Hi @mindblown ,

Can you get into BIOS menu area by pressing F2?

Are the hard drives being recognized in BIOS?

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the bios is the only thing i can get into. i can get into f2 setup but it says usb not installed and it says unknown device for hard drives and for configuration it only has cd rom and usb (not installed).

i can't get past the bios. it will load the reinstall disc but it will only load the drivers and when it comes time to hit r to repair or enter to complete install it gives me a message of install cannot complete . no hard drive installed. this is why i am mindblown!!

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Hi, Does it recognize the CD ROM drive if you connect that to the HDD (is it IDE or SATA I haven't checked?) motherboard connection.

If so, check that if it is an IDE connection that the actual HDD are jumpered correctly. jumper options on HDD itself.

If not IDE have you checked the power supply cables that you are using for the HDD? Does the CDROM show power when using the HDD cables i.e. power and IDE or SATA. etc.

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Try using a bootable linux usb to try and get some sort of device administration, and see what hard drives work and which don't, it could be that the hard drives if left unused or where knocked about may have become damaged, I think these PCs are pretty old at this point and if they where used in offices or something then the drives may have seen extensive use.

You'll need to change the boot order of course to boot from the usb. Once you've booted choose the option that says something like "live boot", the os will run off the usb stick and will not require any of your potentially defective hard drives to work. It's a handy tool.

Once in the OS there are many ways of finding out the state of the drives and reformatting them. Google is your friend, if you need pointers let me know, but first try the bootable usb.

Let me know if this helps.

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@mindblown I totally concur with @thethirdtwin on this one. All of this "says unknown device under hard drive or says no hard drive when i put the restore disk in. it will load the beginning of the hard drive drivers but when it's time to hit r for repair or enter for full install it tells me that there is no hard drive installed" leads to bad hard drives or bad cables.....

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@mindblown , load linux via usb or optical drive. Connect to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi. Then open a terminal.

Type the command 'dmesg | more' and post each screen of the output in your original post. I can see what hardware the Dell actually has properly usable.

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