Dell Inspiron 3500 freezes detecting drives on startup - can't enter BIOS

By 2deeresleds ·
Dell Inspiron 3500
PhoenixBIOS 4.0 Release 6.0

I was able to boot the system initially, but made some changes in Win 98 and rebooted & it just hung during the BIOS detection of the HD & CD. Tried restarting the system & it does the same thing every time now.

The message on the bottom of the screen says hit F2 to enter setup, but when I do, it just says "Entering Setup" and then hangs after it detects the HD & CD (never gets into BIOS - left it overnight). If I don't hit F2 to enter the BIOS, it hangs after detecting the HD & CD.

Every time that it hangs, the keyboard is disabled completely - CTRL, ALT, DEL won't respond. Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, Num Lock won't respond.

Tried with CD in & out of the drive bay - no difference. Tried with HD removed - detects CD and then hangs. Removed Xircom PCMCIA card - no difference. Tried holding Reset button on left side. Nothing makes a difference.

No peripherals connected. Tried with AC Adapter connected & running off Battery - no difference.

System will power up when the power button is pressed, but just will not go any further than detecting drives and will not enter the BIOS.

I do not have the Floppy drive bay, so I can't try booting from boot disk, but I doubt that will work, since it doesn't even start Windows before it freezes.

There are no BIOS passwords or Windows passwords, etc.

Saw the other posts about the blinking cursor, but I don't even get that... It just acts like it's going to startup & then hangs.

Any ideas? Is this a common problem?

Any help would be appreciated - Thanks!

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