Dell Diskette Seek Error

I was trying to add a 1gb stick of ram to an older dell dimension 8400 p4 machine and have not been able to load xp since. I get a diskette seek error despite the fact that there has never been a floppy drive in this pc.

I've done a bunch of reading and this seems to be a dell specific issue.

I have tried what seemed to work for others ie:
-checked boot sequence
-disabled the floppy drive
-replaced the battery

I have also removed the ram stick I was trying to install in the beginning to exclude that as an issue.

I really need to get this pc up and running. Maybe I'm not doing something right or maybe there is another solution.

I'm hoping someone can help. Thanks for reading.
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More about dell diskette seek error
  1. When you say "disabled the floppy drive", did you do that in the BIOS or in Windows? This needs to be set in the BIOS.

    Also, go to Dell to make sure you are running the mosrt recent BIOS for your system.

    Good luck!
  2. Yes, I disabled it in bios.

    I'll try upgeading bios if you can walk me through it.

  3. Go here to get the latest version. Installation instructions are also on the same page.
  4. Thanks. I did download it already with a laptop borrowed from work.

    Now I'm trying to figure out how to get it on my machine. I assume I need to create a bootable cd or usb to use it. not sure how to do that.
  5. Just follow he directions on the page. Very easy to follow.
  6. Just to clarify, the desktop in question will not boot. I have dowloaded to updated bios using a laptop.

    What do i do with the downloaded bios file? Unzip it and burn a cd with the file? Then pl,ace it in my problem desktop and boot from it?
  7. Run the BIOS update utility from DOS environment (Non-Windows users)

    NOTE: You will need to provide a bootable DOS diskette. This executable file does not create the DOS system files.

    Copy the file D8400A09.EXE to a bootable floppy.

    Boot from the floppy to the DOS prompt.

    Run the file by typing Y:\D8400A09.EXE (where y is the drive letter where the executable is located).

    You can get a bootable floppy disk image from:
  8. ttbwpg said:
    Just to clarify, the desktop in question will not boot. I have dowloaded to updated bios using a laptop.

    What do i do with the downloaded bios file? Unzip it and burn a cd with the file? Then pl,ace it in my problem desktop and boot from it?

    You can enter the BIOS, right? I assume you can also clear the error upon boot, correct?

    If you don't have a floppy drive, you can do the same as with a boot CD as previously posted.

    All this being said, will the system boot without the additional memory -OR- with only the new memory installed?
  9. Won't boot with or without the new ram stick.

    I'm now reading up on making a bootable cd and am a bit confused.

    Thanks for your help so far.
  10. If it won't boot at all, then making a bootable CD/floppy may solve nothing. It is possible that the motherboard was damaged when you installed the additional memory. Keep in mind, this is a very old system (in computer terms).

    If necessary, a good source of used/recycled Dell parts is:
  11. Just to make sure I've been clear, the pc begins to start, makes it to the Dell screen, the dell progress bar loads fully but now shows either the diskette error or gives me the option to load windows normally, startin two kinds of safe mode or load latest successful start.

    I'm not sure I was clear on that earlier.

    If you google "floppy diskette seek error', you'll see that all of them are dells and that many have found success with disabling the floppy drive and/or checking the boot sequence. I'm worried that that is the solution but I'm doing something wrong despite trying it many timws.
  12. I understand better now. So you are able to boot into Safe Mode or normal mode. That is a good thing. That means the system is still viable (old, but it works).

    Have you confirmed, in the BIOS, that the floppy drive is indeed disabled? Also, are you sure it is not the first device in the boot sequence?

    Keep in mind, you have to save your settings after making BIOS changes. Also, it is possible that your motherboard battery is dead and is no longer holding settings properly. Meaning, when you make changes, they aren't saved. You could change the battery, make your changes and see if that helps as well.
  13. I am not able to boot into safe mode or any of the other modes offered as options. I did change the battery already, see first post.
    Yrs, I have confirmed that floppy drive is disabled.
    It is not the first in the boot sequence.
  14. Sorry, I messed the battery change. So, even when offered the option to boot into safe mode, your system will not boot? Is that correct?

    I am really starting to suspect that your motherboard is defective. Have you inspected the caps to make sure none of them are bulging or leaking any white/grey powdery material?
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