Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Black or hung BIOS Setup Menu on Dell XPS 8700

How To article: Entering BIOS Setup on a Dell XPS 8700, and other Dell models.
Screen black when booting, cannot find the BIOS setup menu
F2 / F12 BIOS setup menu not visible when booting
PC Hangs if F2 pressed

You are likely trying to change the BIOS boot order, moving the CD/DVD (ODD) or USB to the first boot position.

Symptoms:
Pressing F2 to enter BIOS setup does not appear to work
Pressing F12 to enter the Boot Order menu does not appear to work
Computer seems to hang after F2 is pressed; no screen activity
You have a DVI-attatched monitor, connected to a third-party video card (NVidia, and possibly other brands)

Issue:
I believe the monitor enters into a power-save mode and does not display video signals, or the monitor does not respond to the hardware / bios splash screens.  This appears to be a bug in the hardware and is because of a third-party video card (NVidia?).

Solution:
I could not find a good solution for this problem, but did find a workaround.
Physically remove the third party video card.  Use the motherboard's onboard Video instead.  With the XPS 8700, this means using the Display Port video port. Hopefully, you have a Display Port-capable monitor...

If you have a DVI port built into the system, continue with that setup, just be sure you are using the on-board port.

Steps:

1.  Open the PC and remove the external third-party video card.   (Don't forget the video card has a plastic catch at the end of the card slot, which must be released to remove the card.)

2.  Plug a Display Port cable (looks similar to an HDMI cable, but different) into the computer and monitor.  Or, if you have DVI/VGA, plug the monitor into the system's built-in port.

3.  Cold-boot the computer, pressing F2 at the hardware banner screen.  This will get you into the BIOS setup screens.


After making your BIOS changes, return the video card to the system, and disconnect the Display Port cable.  If you continue installing or booting into Windows 10, you will get this message if both the Onboard and third-party video ports are active at the same time:

Windows 10 error - Unsupported video configuration detected.  Action is required.  This computer has an add-in graphics card, but the monitor cable is plugged into the integrated video connector...

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