Very Strange Computer Problem

I have a Dell Precision 690 that out of nowhere would no longer boot. Also, the words when it tries to boot AND BIOS have words spelled wrong. (Ex: CopyriTe, The T is in a teal color), @ell (instead of Dell), DtIves, drives, FAM instead of RAM, etc. It also has this strange color running across the monitor. It was all up date to date at the time of this happening. (2 months ago.)

Of course, the PC was out of warranty by 7 days. Needless to day, Dell support was useless.

I first was able to wipe the HD clean with an XP disk but it wouldn't allow the installation. (Also tried using Ubuntu)

The PC could no longer recognize the HD on top of this. I replaced the MB just the other day and I get the same problem and nothing has changed other than, less words are spelled incorrectly. I tried the CMOS battery pull, startup disk, etc.

The BIOS does not see the SATA drive but does recognize the DVD drive. (Floppy cannot be recognized either.)

What could this be? I have searched high and low and can't find anything related to "BIOS words spelled wrong or Boot words spelled wrong." I don't think it is a MB problem now since I replaced it correctly.

Has anyone ever encountered this problem before and do you have any ideas what it could be?

Thank you very much in advance.
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  1. Do you have a video card or are you using on-board video? You described a video controller issue that can be caused by a bad PSU, etc. Other issues that you described can also be caused by a bad PSU.
  2. Thank you for the reply.

    I have a Nvidia Quadro FX570 that I decided to take out today. I put in another video card and the spelling and colors of the monitor are now corrected. But, no matter what I do, it does not recognize the SATA drive. I even tried another SATA drive and it still doesn't notice it.

    I ran the Dell diagnostic disk and everything comes back fine. That's what leaves me baffled.

    I have no idea where else to go with this but I believe I am getting close.

    Any ideas for me try?

  3. Quote:
    I ran the Dell diagnostic disk and everything comes back fine.
    Do you mean that the SATA disk was detected by the Dell Diagnostics? Have you checked the settings in the BIOS?

    I also wonder what caused the video card to fail and the other issues. That's why I would definitely make sure that the PSU is working fine.
  4. The Dell Diagnostic Disk does not report the SATA drive. (Sorry forgot to post that previously.) But it does check the PSU and that came back fine, along with everything else. I've now replaced the MB, video card, and another SATA drive and still nothing.

    I know this all sounds crazy but it has me almost pulling my hair out over it.
  5. Did you test the SATA drives in another system?
  6. I actually took the SATA drive that I used to test, out of another PC that I used to use 2 HD's. But is wasn't being used since it has Linux on it and I installed XP for my daughter on the 1st HD (wrote over the GRUB Boot loader) and ignored the 2nd drive when installing. But I know for a fact the Seagate drive works. Perhaps Windows isn't recognizing Linux that is on it.

    I am going to pick up a brand new HD tomorrow to test and try out. There's no reason for the PC not to see the SATA drive. I also reset the BIOS to default like 20 times and triple checked everything. (Even the connections a thousand times.)

    I will post back tomorrow morning with my results. Thanks again for the follow-up.
  7. I installed the new SATA HD this morning. Upon starting, the PC sees the new HD. BIOS says "unknown device." (That's ok since it has no OS on it.) Place in XP disk, Windows refuses to see HD when trying to install. (The classic *&^%$# Dell "Cannot find Drive press F1 to retry, F2 for setup.")

    Put in Dell Diagnostic Disk, again it finds the HD and comes back all ok.

    This is has got to be the silliest thing I've ever encountered in all my years working on PC's.

    Anyone have any ideas for me to try? Thanks again.
  8. Does Dell have support groups like HP? If so, you could certainly post you issue in one of their groups.
  9. I was able to fix it and wanted to post what I did in case someone comes looking for a resolution in the future.

    I went into the BIOS and changed the AHCI to ATA. Loaded the Dell OEM disk instead of my regular XP Pro disk since I'm told they have the SATA drivers on the disk. (Tried using the F6/Floppy method but that didn't work either.)

    Taaa-Daaa.....Windows recognized the HD! After installation/configuration/drivers, I went back into BIOS and changed it all back to defaults. All is working again.

    So, if you ever see words spelled incorrectly on the loading screen or BIOS...change the Video Card. (Not the MB and HD) I couldn't find anything related to this particular issue anywhere. Now someone can!

    Thanks to all those that posted and gave me assistance,. I appreciate it.
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