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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Cumbria, UK
09-21-2010, 10:49 AM
I followed eroku's advice in this thread, disconnected the CMOS battery (what a hassle) rebooted and had now access to the previously greyed out settings. After reconnecting it and a further reboot to test - all ok so reassembled and did not break anything!
Since the CMOS battery is glued to the underside of the motherboard next to the RAM, you have to disassemble it quite a bit. I followed the very useful RAM upgrade guide here How to upgrade Dell Mini 10v memory | jRin.net which has a couple of youtube videos embedded.
Some caveats if you are going to open the case - Dell's machines are flimsy. Be careful not to overstress any of the plastic parts which are held in by clips, and use firm pressure on screws to get them started, with the correct sized crosspoint screwdriver. The metal is soft.
I found that you had to remove the wifi module since Dell have added a plastic lug to the case which prevents you just lifting the motherboard out with the wifi card still in place (why??) and there is one philips screw which you need to remove. They use thread lock on assembly. This screw was very (read VERY) tight and the metal of the screw is SOFT METAL. Be careful not to bugger it up. I had to squeeze the motherboard out by extreme flexing of the case without undoing it and then had to use heavy duty pliers to remove the screw. I found a replacement screw from my toolbox.
The quality of Dell's computers is sufficient and ok while assembled and in use, but watch out when taking it apart. They are not patch on the quality of Apple's computers. (But we knew that anyway).
Since so many other people seem to be having this BIOS lock problem which seems independant of BIOS revision, it must be something to do with NBI perhaps.
My mini is now running well, no sleep problems (yet!) and it's running 10.6.2. Now I'm worried about any updates using NBI. I think I'll leave it alone for a bit.
15" MacBook Pro, Mac Mini/EyeTV, PowerBook
Join Date: Jan 2010
09-22-2010, 08:05 PM
How to fix without disassembling your Dell Mini:
Download and unzip the file attached to this post.
It's just Freedos Balder with KILLCMOS (a dos program that clears CMOS) added.
Now you have 2 choices:
1) You can burn the ISO to a CD
2) You can write it to a USB drive
Option 1: Burning to a CD
Just burn it using your favorite cd burning software, but make sure to burn it as an image and not a data cd. Google 'how to burn an iso' if you need help
Option 2: Writing to a USB drive
The below instructions were mostly copy/pasted from the Arch Linux wiki. Only follow the instructions for your operating system.
Note: This will erase all data on the USB drive
If you are using Windows (untested):
If you are using Linux:
Or if you are using Mac OS X (untested):
After you've made your boot disk, restart your computer and boot from it.
When you get to the freedos boot menu, just press Enter to select the default option ('3 - Freedos for 386 + fdxms')
When you get to the dos prompt, type the following:
Now go into BIOS setup and the options shouldn't be greyed out anymore.
Hope this was helpful.
Join Date: Jan 2011
01-10-2011, 09:07 PM
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