Dell Studio xps 540 insists on trying to boot from any connected usb h

Dell Studio xps 540 insists on trying to boot from any connected usb hard drive
02 Apr 2009 01:18PM
My Dell Studio insists on trying to boot from any attached USB hard drive. Background history is that there were problems with this compuer that got worse over time (blue screens of death, computer unable to boot at all sometime). Hard drives, motherboard, power supply and memory were replaced with proper Dell parts.

When I first got the computer I connected up several external usb drives and began working. Things worked fine for several days. Computer properly booted, worked fine, etc. Then it began to have occasional problems booting up (error loading os messages). Tried disconnecting external hard drives, but that did not help. BestBuy tech took control of computer via internet and ran program that reported that windows files were corrupted. I was told to run sfc /scannow which reported errors that could not be fixed. Windows was reinstalled several times, but these installs fixed nothing.

Hard drives (2 configured at factory as single RAID striped array) were replaced. That did not fix anything and problems became almost continuous (computer reporting that boot drive was corrupt and running chkdsk to fix files, blue screens of death, many other errors; array of reported problems seemed almost random and increased in frequency until computer usually just booted right into a blue screen of death).

Technician from Best Buy (where I bought unit) replaced mother board, memory, and power supply. Windows was reinstalled. I went to Dell support site, entered service tag and downloaded and installed all recommended updates (had also done this before motherboard, power supply and memory replaced).After that computer would boot properly and work just fine as long as no external usb drives were attached. Clearly the original mother board, power supply or memory had gone bad. A new problem surfaced after the replacement of motherboard, memory and power supply.

If an external usb drive is attached before computer is turned on (have tried 4 different seagate drives and 2 different western digital units) computer always tries to boot from the attached usb drive. Dell techs have helped me go into BIOS and set boot up properly. But settings made in both BIOS and in separate boot order screen are not properly saved. Computer boots properly (with exernal drives attached) after BIOS has been corrected and goes into windows and all things work fine. Next time I turn off computer and restart, computer again tries to boot from one of the external drives. A check of BIOS shows that none of the settings changed previous and saved by pressing F10 and Ok to save, none were saved. BIOSIS keeps reverting to reporting that drives 0 and 1 are attached, drives 3-4 do not exist, and drive 5 listing is always the external hard drive from which computer is trying to reboot. New mother board reports same biosis version (1.0.1) as was present in the original mother board.

I can't understand why the computer at first worked with external hard drives attached, then developed problems that were fixed with replacement of hard drives, mother board, power supply and memory and then immediately had a new problem with booting when any exernal drive is attached via usb.

My temporary fix is to start computer with exernal drives powered down. Then I turn on a power strip that sends power to external drives. Computer then works fine.

I am wondering if the second mother board is defective. I have been dealing with problems with computer since January purchase and am runing out of patience.

BestBuy had offered to replace computer with a different model (studio 540 no longer carried by BestBuy) but that would have required replacing part of memory on proposed new unit (to get up to 8 gigs I need), would have given me a slightly faster unit with only about 750 gigs hard drive versus 1200 on current unit.) I wish I had taken that offer. Instead I went with mother board, memory and power supply replacement.

Am starting to wonder if Dell can produce a computer that works properly!!

Anyone else having similar problems with external usb drives?

Dell is researching the latest boot issue. I don't know what to do. Have lost much time since latter part of January trying to get this computer to be error free.

Many thanks.

OS Name Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium
Version 6.0.6001 Service Pack 1 Build 6001
Other OS Description Not Available
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Name DELL
System Manufacturer Dell Inc.
System Model Studio 540
System Type x64-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz, 2336 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Dell Inc. 1.0.1, 8/11/2008
SMBIOS Version 2.5
Windows Directory C:\Windows
System Directory C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.0.6001.18000"
User Name Dell\Gary
Time Zone US Mountain Standard Time
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 8.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 4.00 GB
Available Physical Memory 5.82 GB
Total Virtual Memory 16.0 GB
Available Virtual Memory 13.9 GB
Page File Space 8.29 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys
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More about dell studio insists boot connected
  1. Hi, can you update on the status/solution/workaround on your problem? I just had my Dell Studio 540 motherboard replaced today and I noticed it always demands to boot from the network first. This mean no matter what I saved in BIOS's boot order, it is never saved and it always does the network boot first. My workaround is to disconnect the network first to avoid lengthy boot up. Weird! Thanks.
  2. No change, my unit still insists on trying to boot from connected usb drives no matter how many times I change things in setup and boot priority.
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