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:
http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=dim_bios&thread.id=57880

——– 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?
Thanks.
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 [mailto:UKI_TS_Dimension_Support@dell.com] 
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.

Regards
#### ####
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
time.

Can you confirm you have arranged for the base-unit to be picked up this FRI
(25th)?

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

Thanks.

 
Kok-Yan 
---------------- 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!
 

Dell’s customer service (or lack of)

Yes, I know they did fix my fan (which I’m grateful of), but that only happened after some chasing ups and getting ignored a couple of times…
 
My experience of Dell support was not actually bad at all – in fact, I was quite impressed by it.  Ok, let’s rewind a few years back when I needed a new HDD replacement for my old Dell computer, here’s what happened:
1 – I phoned Dell saying the HDD is screwed and I need a replacement.
2 – The next day, the PC is collected.
3 – Without any chasing up, I was contacted a week later and my PC returned to me – at first, I weren’t at home, a card was left there informing me a delivery had been attempted.  And guess what, the delivery guy came back later that day and I got the system back!  No fuss, end of story.
 
 
Now in 2005 (alright, 4-ish weeks ago…) I emailed Dell hardware support for a fix to my noisy CPU fan, here’s what happened:
 
1 – I gave them an email about my CPU fan situation. (3rd JUL)
2 – Dell automated response system sent me a confirmation email when I say wanted to get in touch with tech. support. (4th JUL)
(No reply for a week – My first email gets completely ignored)
3 – A week later, another email to Dell hardware support asking whether they got my first email. (10th JUL)
4 – 2 days later, a phone call from Dell telling me to create a new user account to see if the situation can resolve itself (urm… I though I’ve already explained that it’s not due to CPU usage in the email sent on 3rd JUL!). (12th JUL)
5 – Another day goes by, finally, Dell place a service call for me. (13th JUL)
6 – System collected. (15th JUL)
(I have to say, at this point I thought "ok, everything’s sorted!")
7 – Dell called (probably to tell me they’ve received my system) but I’ve missed those calls. (15th JUL, 18th JUL)
(Nothing is heard from them for a week)
8 – Another email is sent asking for the status of my system – and this one too gets ignored. (21st JUL)
9 – Phoned Dell customer support to ask them how’s my system doing, the guy said all works’ done, PC will be returned to you by 27th. (25th JUL)
10 – Comes 26th… gone 26th… still no PC (or word from Dell). (26th JUL)
11 – Comes 27th… gone 27th… still no PC. (27th JUL)
12 – Dell called saying they have tried calling on both 26th and 27th and no one was home (I thought: "WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!  I WAS THERE ALL DAY!!!" … "Bull shit!  If you were indeed there, how about leaving a little card saying we’ve called!") (27th JUL)
13 – Finally, gets my PC back. (and here’s the bit that really pisses me off ->)  When I open the box, I only found one half the protective foam packaging on the rear of the PC whilst the front didn’t have any protection from shock!!  It was a good job I took the HDD out before I shipped it off or I’m sure I’d have a fucked HDD now! (28th JUL)
 
And you think that’s the end!?  Oh no…
Check this out, I knew the inside of my PC was very dusty when I shipped it off but when i got it back, I found 3 dust balls (size aprox. 3 x 2 x 2  cm) inside the machine – 1 tucked away at the bottom of the fan, another one under the PCI cards and 1 on the motherboard!  Hum…
 
Dust (if) containing conductive materials on mobo. + switch on the computer = Firework!
 
Needless to say, I was not impressed by that (and not to mention they scratched one corner of my PC!) and I really would now consider building my own PC the next time I needed a new one…
 
Yes, it is possible that all those dust ball on mobo. and scratch might be caused by the urm… inadequate packaging.  In that case, Dell should find whoever is responsible for re-packaging, get them on a course, and learn why they should do a proper job, before shipping it to me!
 
No, I know what you are thinking.  I have packed it properly with 2 foam packaging blocks…
 
So, guess what I’ll put and where I’ll reference to on my Dell Satisfaction Survey!