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Question New motherboard in Dell laptop fault: System failed on hard drive initialization OR System failed in Option ROM initialization

Jun 9, 2020
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Background: Well-working high-end Dell Latitude M4800 goes up in smoke. Afterwards, power button does nothing.

Current status: Newly installed motherboard lights up, but no display and LED indicators point to "System failed on hard drive initialization OR System failed in Option ROM initialization". (See https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/us/en/04/precision-m4800-workstation/precm4800om/device-status-lights?guid=guid-2209e9d7-f642-473d-b898-0d94b7d4f115&lang=en-us)

Analysis: I know that the hard drive itself is fine, but I cannot vouch for the controller or I/O, but the ROM side of the error message makes me wonder if I need to reset the BIOS in some way. The Google Brothers were not much help. I did disconnected the CMOS battery (along with everything else) in order to hopefully reset the BIOS, but I don't know if that's enough.

Strange side note: Previously, when powering on this laptop, the lights would flash, the fan would start and then stop, and then the hard drive would spin and life was good. With the new motherboard the fans never start unless I remove all of the memory (two strips). It lights, fans go on and off and then it blinks that the memory is missing. I have tried swapping the strips using all possible configurations, but once I add any memory I get the LED display described above with no fan action.
 
Jun 9, 2020
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Where did this new motherboard come from, and, were the serial number and service code from the old board flashed on the new board? Until this is properly configured on a brand new board it will not function at all.
The board came from parts-people. I had them double check the compatibility, though I cannot independently confirm it's suitability. It was certainly extremely close to what was there before. Of course, I sent a note to them as well.

As for the SN/Service Tag, my understanding is that for Dell laptops I must enter the BIOS setup to accomplish that and currently it is not getting that far.
 

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