Dell Inspiron 531 BIOS POST duration

My new Dell PC (Inspiron 531) got delivered yesterday, so I thought I’d set it up today.
Connected it up, powered it on, went away for a bit, came back to find myself booting into Vista (don’t worry, I’ve got my XP CD :-) ) – all look good so far.
Then I thought to myself, "Hum… maybe this time all will go smoothly and I won’t have to RTM it!" – at least that’s true until I rebooted…
The problem? It’s the BIOS POST duration; it takes around 20 seconds just to get past POST! – it’s not a typo.
After playing around with the BIOS and updating it, the only way I’ve managed to get it back down to a reasonable time (5 seconds) is to disable the on-board USB Controller – but that’d mean no keyboard and mouse… (Yes, I’ve already checked the fast boot option (which btw. doesn’t affect the POST duration at all), device boot ordering, updated the BIOS etc…)
Anyway, I’ve submitted a support request to Dell so let’s wait and see what they’ve got to say about it…
(Hum… this makes 3 Dell PCs, 3 issues…  Let’s hope this time it goes better than last time…  Or maybe I should stop buying Dell PCs…)
——– Latest update ——–
2008-02-29 @ 00:36

Alright, this post is getting a bit long so I’ll put all the non-essential updates in the archive section.

The solution, (for now at least) is to unplug the internal USB card reader.

More info (and updates) is on this thread in the Dell forum:

——– Archive ——–
2008-01-16 @ 16:12:
Still no reply from Dell…  Just chased them up again.
2008-01-17 @ 23:16:
Another day, still no reply from Dell…  Chased them up again…
Oh, and by the way, according to their response time, they’re supposed to have contacted me sometime today:
Dell "Unresolved Technical Support Issues" response time
2008-01-18 @ 18:14:
Finally got something back from Dell support…  However, the response is completely useless – a BIOS update I’ve already told them I’ve done:
... "I would suggest you to download the following link and save it on the desktop and run it from the desktop and restart the system this should resolve the issue." ...
In case anyone’s interested, here’s my original support request:
BIOS POST takes about 20 seconds (It takes about 20 seconds before loading the OS / allow keyboard input).

Updated BIOS to version 1.0.8

(With only the keyboard and mouse plugged in)
Restoring the BIOS to default settings
Setting the HDD as the first boot device
Disabling all boot devices (including HDD)
Ensure "Fast Boot" is set to "On" (though turning it off made no difference for the POST duration)

Disabling the USB controller reduced it down to 5 seconds, but this is a not a solution as it results in no keyboard and mouse support.

Any idea what else I can try?  Or is this a known bug in the BIOS?
So it took them a week to get back to me with a useless suggestion…  Come-on, at least read what I’ve written!
What’s next?  "Try ensuring the fast boot option is on"? lol
2008-01-21 @ 22:20:
Got another email from Dell HW support today suggesting me to run the Dell diagnostics – all passed.
Back to Dell for an answer…
2008-01-23 @ 22:16:
lol, great, another RMA…  Let’s see if the new machine will get past POST quicker…
2008-01-25 @ 17:23:
Hum… so much for me getting the replacement system today…
Originally, the support rep. dealing with my request said I’ll be getting the system today between 09:00 and 17:00. However, as it turns out, the system is only being dispatched from Wales today and won’t get to me until next week…
This means I’ve wasted the whole day waiting for a non-existing delivery, based on erroneous information given by the support rep….
Don’t believe me?  Judge for yourself (I’ve blanked out some details and added the headers back in):

-----Original Message-----
From: UKI_TS_Dimension_Support [] 
Sent: 24 January 2008 11:05
To: Kok-Yan Lo
Subject: RE: Case #: ######## (########)

Dear Kok,

Thank you for your response.

I have arranged the replacement for the system Tower on 25/01/2008 Friday Between 9am to 5pm.

Incase if you any further queries please feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to assist you with the same.

You may also receive an electronic survey from DELL to provide your feedback on the service provided by us. We would appreciate your participation in the survey as your feedback provides us with an opportunity to improve our services and customer experience.

Thank you for choosing Dell.

#### ####
Dell Hardware E-mail Support.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kok-Yan Lo [mailto:####] 
Sent: 23 January 2008 14:57
To: 'UKI_TS_Dimension_Support'
Subject: RE: Case #: ######## (########)

Hi ####, just deleted the OS partition, still no improvement on the POST

Can you confirm you have arranged for the base-unit to be picked up this FRI

Also, can you advise when I will receive the replacement system?


---------------- End of message ----------------

I really hope this is just my bad luck with Dell support and this is not how they do things…
2008-02-02 @ 22:07:
Ok, got the new system a few days ago (haven’t had much time since then to update this post…). Guess what, it’s exactly the same thing…
I now really think there may be a BIOS bug with the Inspiron 531, as I’m not the only person with this problem:
I’ve now added this thread to the Dell forum hoping I’ll get some actual BIOS POST times from other users:
So if you’ve got an Inspiron 531, please drop me a comment (either here or on the Dell forum) with your POST time.
Oh, and for those of you who are interested in Dell’s incompetence, the story gets better from here – Dell had arranged for system collection yesterday (FRI) and when the guy showed up at my door, he won’t take back the old system (saying it’s not on his list) but instead, handed me an empty cardboard box and suggested me to arrange another time with Dell.
I dunno about you but I think it is absolutely crazy – stop wasting my time!

3 Responses to “Dell Inspiron 531 BIOS POST duration”

  1. jay Says:

    Yeah, I bought my inspiron 531 about a month ago.  The post time is
    pretty much the same as yours.  I haven’t timed it but I know it’s at
    least 5 seconds… but it feels more like 10-15sec.  This is the first
    time I’ve had a computer that takes so long to get to post. 

    Regardless, I think Dell knew it was like this.  For most people they
    won’t complain.  It’s the growing trend these days to just leave your
    computer on all day anyways.  If you can, try to get it exchanged for a
    different model.

    good luck

  2. Calvin Says:

    The reason the Post time lowers is because of the things attached to it. My guess is (like me, mine takes POST forever too) you got the card reader with built in bluetooth? (or maybe without BT, not sure if that one does it too), but the card reader is what is causing it. During POST the PC is checking all the drives it detects, including the flash drives, doesnt matter if there’s actually anything in it. If you really cant live with a 10 second delay, unplug the card reader.

  3. Natham Says:

    1 Reset BIOS
    4 REBOOT.

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