Dell Dimension XPS P100c: CDROM not recognized by BIOS

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Joined: Fri May 30, 2003 11:16 pm

Here's the long version of the short story above: I have an ancient PC that I decided to install Linux on, however the setup options didn't allow for booting from the CDROM drive, which I needed to do the install.

Dell's startup screen identified the BIOS version as "A02". I did some research on the Dell site and found that a later version, "A06", of the BIOS supported booting from the CDROM, so I decided to update my BIOS. I read through the wimsbios FAQ and saw that AO2 and AO6 are not the usual version strings, so I used the AMIBIOS Motherboard ID Utility to check the BIOS id string, but all it said was that I was using a OEM version from Dell, so to get it from Dell (AMIBIOS didn't give me a version string). (It's definitely a AMI BIOS.)

So I went back to the Dell site and downloaded the BIOS from there. I was a little nervious because Dell doesn't specifically identify the BIOS as for a Dimension XPS P100c. Instead they list it as "BIOS: Dell Dimension XPS P___c MDT, XPS P___c MT". The update went flawlessly however - except! ! !

I can no longer boot to the hard disk, and the cdrom is not recognized by the BIOS. (But the good news is that Setup now has an entry for booting from the cdrom. Now if it could just find it...)

Here's what happens:

When I boot without a floppy the PC recognizes the two hard drives and then hangs.

When I change the setup to boot from the CDROM the same thing happens. (Recognizes the hard drives, then hangs.)

When I boot with a bootable floppy the PC boots to the A drive. It attempts to initialize the CDROM driver, but fails to find a CDROM.

I changed the CDROM jumper to CS but that didn't make any difference. I changed it to MASTER and now it lists the CDROM as well as the two drives, but still hangs. (If I boot it from a floppy in this position I can change to the CDROM drive.)

I'm starting to worry about the mysterious MDT/MT at the end of the Dell listing (above). I don't have those letters on my PC. Did I get the wrong BIOS? Since Dell doesn't list a Dimension XPS P---c without the MT or MDT am I up a creek? Am I going to have to do what my wife's been telling me to do all along and toss the PC? (No, not that!)

Any help would be appreciated.
New visitors - please read the rules.
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 30, 2003 11:16 pm

One additional bit of information: I ran Unicore BIOS Wizard (DOS version), which gave me the following (of course this is after the fact):

Program: Unicore Chip Detect v0.72 2000.03.10
BIOS Date: 05/13/96
BIOS Type: American Megatrends licensed to Intel
BIOS ID: BIOS Version 1.00.07.BX0J
Flash: Intel BX0J Motherboard
Chipset: Intel Triton 430FX rev 2
Superio: NSC 360 rev 3 found at port 2Eh
The UniFlasher
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Location: Slovakia

It's Intel Advanced/CM OEM-only board - made for Dell. Make sure that the HDD jumpers are configured properly. Try the drives separately.
Patched and tested BIOSes are at
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