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Can't boot to Windows: "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility"

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 10, 2009 12:44:34 AM

Dell Dimention 2400
Service Tag : 2CQX351
OS: Windows XP Home Edition

(all original hardware except for the HDD which has been in the system and working properly for a couple months now).

Description of problem:
During System startup, the system always halts at "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility". The only way I can manage to boot to Windows is by selecting "Boot to utility partition" from the Boot Device Menu or if there is a Windows XP installation CD in the cd-rom drive. When I boot this way, everything works fine.

This behavior started when I performed a fresh install of XP Professional (XP Home came with the system). The problem did not start immediately after the installation; I was able to install some drivers and reboot a couple times (maybe twice) before it happened. When I installed the display driver (from Dell) and rebooted, it went to the "Strike F1... " screen. I have since tried another fresh installation of XP Home (the original OS) and the problem is still occuring. This time it occurs immediately after the installation; No drivers have been installed at this point.

I have tried the following things to fix the problem:

- BIOS upgrade (although it was already up to date).
- BIOS defaulted to original settings.
- Removed CMOS battery and then replaced and reconfigured BIOS.
- HDD diagnositics pass; the HDD is fine (and fairly new too).
- This is a single HDD drive system and the jumpers are set accordingly.

I'm starting to run out of ideas for things to try..... please help!



August 10, 2009 5:30:40 AM

I decided to test my power supply tonight and when I plugged the 20 pin ATX power connector into the tester it indicated that the voltage is lower than the minimum acceptable. What you guys think, may I have found the problem? I guess I'll buy a new PSU and find out.
August 10, 2009 4:01:32 PM

Is the new HD SATA or IDE? Check in the BIOS to see if Legacy is enabled. If the HD is SATA, try disableing Legacy.

What commands are listed in the boot.ini file?
Related resources
August 11, 2009 3:37:35 AM

The new power supply did not fix the problem (I do not believe the old PSU was bad after all).

It's an IDE drive, but I do not find any Legacy options for the IDE device in BIOS. The BIOS settings are the same as they were when the system was working properly.

Here's the boot.ini file:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[Operating Systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

(I had to boot using a BART PE disk to get to that boot.ini file).

It's almost bedtime, tomorrow sometime I will double check that all the cabling is securely connected to the mobo.


Could the freakin motherboard be bad?? I wouldn't expect that to be the problem since it does boot when I select the utility partition (there is no utility partition btw); and the behavior is consist everytime, it always goes to "strike F1 bla.." screen. I'm just running out of possibilities for what the problem could be.....

August 11, 2009 4:48:40 AM

Your boot.ini file looks good.

The legacy setting isn't in the same section as the IDE controller. I believe it's under the integrated peripherals section. With the older hardware, you'll want this enabled.

Also, check the boot order in the BIOS. Make sure your HD is the first device.

Nope, it doesn't sound like it's the board. It sounds like a boot setting.
August 11, 2009 6:59:06 PM

In BIOS:
- Drive Configuration looks correct (set to AUTO (vs OFF)).
- I put HDD first in the boot sequence and still same behavior.
- I do not see a Integrated Peripherals section, but I do see a Integrated Devices (LegacySelect Options) section; it doesn't have anything related to the hard drive in it though.

I tried disconnecting the CD-ROMS in the system and booting... same behavior.

I agree it does sound like a BIOS configuration issue, but I just don't see any options in there that seem to be wrong.
August 11, 2009 7:05:17 PM

The HDD controller would be built into the drive itself. I assume since the DOS HDD diagnostics from the manufacturer all pass, that rules out the possiblity of the hd controller being bad... right?
August 11, 2009 7:39:20 PM

Legacy relates to older hardware in general. If it's not picking up some hardware needed for booting (like a keyboard), It'll hang.

Some good info on Legacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legacy_system

It can be iffy when you start putting new hardware in with old hardware. Try all the different legacy settings.
August 11, 2009 7:45:07 PM

Most likely. Manufacturer diagnostics are pretty good.
August 21, 2009 1:40:17 PM

Sorry I been busy and haven't looked at this computer lately. I'll try those legacy BIOS settings this weekend. I'll also try a new CMOS battery, although I doubt it fixes.
August 25, 2009 7:41:51 PM

Well...try installing a fresh copy of windows, then as soon as you do, do boot-time checkdisk. Go to
-mycomputer
-right click on your hard drive
-click properties
-click tools tab
-under error checking click check now
-Then check off both boxes (MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OFF BOTH BOXES)
-Then it will tell you it scheduled it during next reboot, do it! It might help. Maybe some of your critical installation/boot files are in bad sectors in your file system that is probably screwed up. If still no luck, take out your hard drive, connect it as a slave driver to another computer and do a FULL reformat and rebuild its entire NTFS file system, it might be the problem.

-Good Luck

Best solution

August 25, 2009 11:08:52 PM
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I found this solution in another thread. A couple others with the same exact model you have, had the same error, and this fixed it.

http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/423706-strike-f1-ret...
WHEN THAT SCREEN F1 OR F2 SCREEN COMES UP MAKE SURE...
1) CAPS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
2) NUMBERS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
3) SCROLL LOCK LIGHT IS ON
ALL 3 LIGHTS ON KEYBOARD MUST BE ON...
THEN YOU PRESS ...
1) (ALT TAB) E
2) (ALT TAB) F
3) (ALT TAB) B
THE COMPUTER WILL RESTART ON ITS OWN AND THATS IT YOUR DONE.. BIOS ARE RESET
August 27, 2009 6:05:48 PM

aford10 said:
I found this solution in another thread. A couple others with the same exact model you have, had the same error, and this fixed it.

http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/423706-strike-f1-ret...
WHEN THAT SCREEN F1 OR F2 SCREEN COMES UP MAKE SURE...
1) CAPS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
2) NUMBERS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
3) SCROLL LOCK LIGHT IS ON
ALL 3 LIGHTS ON KEYBOARD MUST BE ON...
THEN YOU PRESS ...
1) (ALT TAB) E
2) (ALT TAB) F
3) (ALT TAB) B
THE COMPUTER WILL RESTART ON ITS OWN AND THATS IT YOUR DONE.. BIOS ARE RESET



aford10,

This fixed it!! Thanks a lot! It boots right up now no problems. I wonder why removing the CMOS battery and replacing didn't achieve the same result of resetting the BIOS? Maybe if I had left the battery out for a while and give it a chance to loose all it's settings instead of just removing it then putting it right back in? This is still the better solution though, since it's the intended method of resetting the BIOS. I want to find where Dell documents that procedure in their support docs.

Thanks again everyone for your help!
August 27, 2009 6:37:03 PM

Glad it worked, thanx for the vote.
Anonymous
January 13, 2010 12:46:49 PM

Hi I have the same problem on a dell 4600i and i did the thing with the reset of bios i changed the cable's i changed the HDD and the battery CMOS, Please help me with another solutions... without buyng another PC because in romania is the economy crises
March 10, 2010 11:38:15 PM

aford10 said:
I found this solution in another thread. A couple others with the same exact model you have, had the same error, and this fixed it.

http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/423706-strike-f1-ret...
WHEN THAT SCREEN F1 OR F2 SCREEN COMES UP MAKE SURE...
1) CAPS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
2) NUMBERS LOCK LIGHT IS ON
3) SCROLL LOCK LIGHT IS ON
ALL 3 LIGHTS ON KEYBOARD MUST BE ON...
THEN YOU PRESS ...
1) (ALT TAB) E
2) (ALT TAB) F
3) (ALT TAB) B
THE COMPUTER WILL RESTART ON ITS OWN AND THATS IT YOUR DONE.. BIOS ARE RESET


Hi
i have the same problem on dell dimension 3000 running windows7(installed a few months ago).
i tried above, but back to F1 F2 message.
could you please help?
thank you,
August 16, 2010 4:53:39 PM

I'm having this same problem with my computer and I turned it off. Now my computer is not working. It tried running it is safe mode, normal mode and last known mode, none of them work. They all get stuck on the Windows screen with the blue bar running across like it is thinking. Any suggestions on how toy get my computer to work.
March 24, 2013 10:17:12 AM

go to BIOS find SECURE BOOT - [ DISABLE ]
!