| I'd appreciate any hints on safely removing and replacing the CMOS battery
| on my old Compaq. Any suggestions? I hear some are VERY difficult to
It shouldn't be. Just pop it out. Then don't
dally in replacing it with a new one. The role
of the battery is to power BIOS memory when
the computer is not plugged in. If it's left out
for too long the settings can be lost. It's always a
good idea, just to be safe, to boot into the
BIOS first, if possible, and write down the current
settings. I once got a call from my very elderly
father to fix his PC. He'd been mucking around in
the BIOS and apparently set everyting to factory
default. But for whatever reason that wasn't good.
The computer was rebooitng as soon as it booted. :)
If you're not familiar with BIOS settings then it's
a good idea to know what yours are in case you
Most people don't think about the CMOS battery until it dies and
factory defaults may be the best way to get going again. I would be
curious what setting you had to change from the default to get it to
boot. Usually that is the bail out option to get it going when people
are mucking about.
| Most people don't think about the CMOS battery until it dies and
| factory defaults may be the best way to get going again. I would be
| curious what setting you had to change from the default to get it to
| boot. Usually that is the bail out option to get it going when people
| are mucking about.
Actually, I'd be curious, too. It surprised me
that the defaults didn't work. And it was an
OEM PC (Dell), not home made. But I don't
remember the details now. I just puttered
around looking for something that might be
wrong and eventually got it working again.
On the other hand, maybe it's not so unusual.
Dell may be getting mass deliveries of motherboards
that need different customizations for different
models or extras.
On Thu, 9 Jul 2015 10:19:46 -0700 (PDT), Uncle Monster
Love them or hate them, you have to admit Dell is pretty user friendly
if you have the install CDs. If you don't they are $10 or so.
I have a strange one I am messing with as we speak, trying to up the
RAM. It is a Dell but it is a vendor model, sold to integrators so
their support is pretty shaky. All the service tag returns is "Pentium
D610" and no information is available.
The first time I worked on this one I was able to cross reference the
system board to a real Dell model but I can't find the card I wrote it
on. My fault for not scratching it in the case with a screwdriver.
I was able to find a compatible memory stick in my stash so I am good
to go ... until next time.
I like to work on Dell stuffs. Straight forward. When you power up the
PC, first it does some POST and if it passes then it is looking for boot
device according to the CMOS settijngs. If the device is not there or
unable to find boot record on it to boot OS then it stops and says
something. I have an OLD Dell WS540 with dual Xeon cpu which keeps our
book keeping. It has all SCSI and eSATA devices. It still has FDD as
well. Never gives trouble.
Consulting client has supplied me with a Dell to access their remote
CMOS battery has been dead for a year.
Easy to work around but I thought I might try to replace it and found
YouTube video on how to do it. Not that simple. Recall need to remove
HD and fan to get at it. The Dell desktop is about 1/4 the size of my GW
desktop where everything is more accessible.
Then found that I am locked out from opening the computer case and I
would have to send it out of town for them to work on so I just let it be.
Virtually any decent computer can be set to show the P.O.S.T (Power
On Self Test) High end Dell's are decent computers, but their
consumer grade stuff is mediocre at best - kinda like a Compaq.
If you are restoring them from the Del specific install image and you
haven't modified them, they restore OK - but installing from a retail
Microsoft disc can be an experience. One good thing about DELL is if
you get through to their support line and give them the number on the
case (can't forget what they call it) they can tell you exactly what
came on the computer - down to the serial number on the RAM chips
(usually - but I've had one that didn't even resemble what they said
it was - and it was all Dell labelled parts!!!)
The same can be said for Acer and most other tier two systems.
It does not matter what brand you have. Once you realize design traits
on the brand it is easy to work on. My choice is MSI and Lenove when it
was IBM owned. Most daily chores we just use iPADs. Wife at least knows
how to use iPAD. Grand son taught her how to use iPAD. He is only in
Lenovo was never IBM owned. IBM personal Computers were actually
owned and made by Lenovo for a while after Lenovo bought the personal
computer division of IBM. Within about a year of the purchace the IBM
name dissappeared and the Lenovo brand became established.
| > Actually, I'd be curious, too. It surprised me
| > that the defaults didn't work. And it was an
| > OEM PC (Dell), not home made. But I don't
| > remember the details now.
| How can this be...considering the computer guru that you are? Was this
before the IT expertise?
:) I seem to learn a new bit every day. Yesterday
I was trying to update DownloadHelper for Firefox.
It turned out I had to update Firefox itself. Now I
have to figure out how to get back my beloved
Cape Neddick lighthouse "throbber". (Apparently
the Mozilla people decided that page-load indicators
are no longer fashionable.) And it turns
out the new DownloadHelper is poorly designed,
anyway. I'm also finding weird odds and ends.
Geo.enabled in about:config. What the?!! It turns out
a function to tell websites my location is enabled by
default! Should I go back to the older, less annoying
FF 24 that I had? Whatever happens, it will have been
at least 2 or 3 hours wasted to deal with all of these
unnecessary changes to already overproduced software.
Computers and OSs are so complex. On top of that,
the tech industry depends on constant, often frivolous
obsolescence and manufactured abstruseness. It
never ends. (I read yesterday that Microsoft's phone
business is dangerously close to dying... which could
threaten their idea for Metro apps sold through their
own store to compete with Apple... which could be
ruinous for the few developers who were sucker enough
to put all of their eggs in the Metro basket: A few
years of re-education in a new technology that may
end up entirely useless before it gets going. So now
they'll need to retrain yet again to become expert in
the language du jour, which may or may not be
around next year. And actually, it's not even as
bad as it looks because there was never any money
in phone apps to begin with. Apps are the goldrush.
Google, Apple and Microsoft have figured out how to
cut their risks by selling shovels cheap and taking
a 30% cut of any gold found.)
The Dell belonged to my elderly father. He called
Dell and apparently got suckerpunched by the salesman.
A 90 year old man who does email ended up with an
expensive and powerful, dual-CPU computer. Something
like 6,600 GHz. He's since stopped having his own
computer, but at the time he was a daring explorer. I
don't know how he got into the BIOS, but he didn't
hesitate to fiddle around in there.
Personally I'm ambivalent about Dell. I have a couple
that were given to me. They seem OK, and the support
for drivers is good. But I would never buy one myself.
The drivers are all custom packaged. One has to get
them from Dell. And the hardware is often customized.
The first time I ran into a Dell was in salvaging from
a Win95 box that had an unusually good graphics card,
which I decided to save. But when I opened it up, it
turned out there wasn't a card. There was a sort of stick,
with a square plug that went into a motherboard socket
I'd never seen before. It was useless for reuse in any normal
Windows computer. Emachines was the same way. The
hardware was custom. The power supplies were too weak,
but they were so small there was no way to fit a normal
one in the case. Things like that can result in unexpected
costs. But with eMachines at least the product was dirt
So it wouldn't seem *really* odd to me that an OEM
box doesn't have default BIOS settings. But with Dell
nothing surprises me. They built their business by
catering to business needs, being very responsive with
support to people who were happy to pay through the
nose and almost certainly would never open the case.
Hardware lock-in is a good strategy for Dell. And once
the IT dept learns the Dell way of doing things they have
no reason to complain.
On Thu, 9 Jul 2015 17:24:06 -0700 (PDT), bob_villa
On MOST systems this is true.Some have a bios bootstrap that pulls
the bios information off the SDRAM.
Remember the AT class computers that used the real-time clock chip
with the built-in battery (Harris Semiconductors)? Some had provision
for an external aff-board battery, but a large number were built with
no provision to add a battery - thankfully MOST of the chips were
socketted - but the clock chips were soon very difficult to source and
worth as much as the PC when replacement became necessary. When the
clock battery died, so did the CMOS
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