Dell Vostro 230 Corrupt BIOS?

I have a Dell Vostro 230 that will not boot past the initial BIOS screen, it just locks up on this screen and I have left it like this for hours with no change. If I try to go to setup(f2) or boot options(f12) it will occasionally act like it is going to go to the next menu but freezes. Almost like regardless of what I do after booting up it locks up at the BIOS screen within about a half of a second. Here is what I have tried so far:

1. Unplugged HDD, Optical Drive, all peripheral devices, and even the front usb ports/power button. No change.
2. Tried the RAM sticks one at a time in both ports. No change.
3. Removed pci video card and tried onboard VGA. No change.
4. Did not see a CMOS jumper, so took the CMOS battery out for about a day. Still won't boot past BIOS.

My assumption is the BIOS is corrupt, it is version A02 (older I know), and I don't see anything standing out on the motherboard as physically damaged (such as bloated capacitors).

Assuming my troubleshooting is correct, does anyone know how I could go about flashing the firmware again to see if that will solve the problem? I found an executable file from dell support but I'm not sure I can boot from a floppy or cd drive since I can't get past the initial BIOS. Is there a way to flash the mobo chip directly or ship it off and have someone else do it if there are special tools involved?

Any suggestions on my troubleshooting or additional steps I should take are welcome as well, because I am very puzzled by this.
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  1. Hi and welcome to Tom's hardware forum.

    Does that rig have warranty? Because if it have, call to DELL support and they can help you to solve or replace the rig.
  2. This dell is a few years old now, warranty expired in 2011. I kind of already chucked this one up as trashed and the actual computer has been replaced so this is more of a learning experience for me now. Really wanted to see if there was a way to directly flash the CMOS chip in the mobo or remove the chip and flash it externally. Dell's instructions were to download the flashbios and put it on a cd or floppy but I'm not sure if I can even get that far (plus they only have a bios utility .exe) for this model that I can find). I hate to get rid of this if it is just a sotware/BIOS issue.

    Thanks for the quick response!
  3. Your PSU is not going to be more than 300 watt so if you have added a video card to it then you also need a new PSU to reflect the extra power requirement, about 650 watts should be adequate.
    http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/vostro-230/pd

    You should not remove the cmos battery for a day, only about ten seconds at the most as the bios chip relies on the power from the cmos battery to retain its information so removing it for much longer could actually corrupt the bios chip making the motherboard nothing more than a useless waste of space.

    The problem with some Dell Pc's is that they won't boot past bios if the hdd is not the first boot option. You need to make that change.
  4. I took the pci video card out, but the psu is a 400 watt coolmax so I guess its not original. I have a 650 I can test in it in case the psu is bad.

    The problem is that I can't get to the setup or anything past the first fraction of a second that the BIOS splash page is up. It looks like this image without any loading going on.

    http://www.computerhope.com/issues/pictures/biossplash.jpg
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