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[SOLVED] Windows 10 Unable to Boot on Dell Dimension E521 (Possible Motherboard Issue)

Jul 6, 2020
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So I have a Dell Dimension E521 from the mid-2000s. I decided to mess around with it.

It has:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ CPU (64-bit)
Dell 0UW457 Motherboard
NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE GPU

I had upgraded the system from Windows Vista to Windows 7 awhile back and set it aside. I come back to it sometime later in hopes of making it a media PC and discover that the HDD is making a lot of noise and failing. So I go ahead and replace it with a new HDD and fresh install Windows 7 and go ahead and fresh install Windows 10 as a dual boot system. Everything in Windows 7 works well as it had previously.

The issue is Windows 10 (Build 2004). Everything in Windows 10 works fine … WITHOUT the GPU.

With the GPU installed, during boot up, the screen comes up with all the images and text glitchy and pixelated. Windows won’t boot up and goes into Diagnostic Mode and eventually Blue Screen of Death.

I had to install Win 10 with the motherboard’s onboard graphics (Nvidia Geforce 6150) At first I thought the issue was the GPU driver. As the GeForce 7300 LE driver is outdated and has ended support in 2015. (But there are cases of people finding success with the 2015 driver in Win 10)

The real kicker is that the GPU functions if I put it in the PCIE slot while the machine is logged into Windows 10. Through the onboard graphics, I can see Device Manager accepting the card and saying all drivers are good to go. The GPU works fine. It’s only during boot up where the system goes berserk as mentioned.

Blaming the old GPU, I went ahead and got a GeForce GT 710 on the cheap. But upon installation I bumped into the EXACT same issue as the 7300 LE. The card is accepted while logged into Windows, but can’t complete driver installation as it needs to restart the PC. But upon boot up, I once again bump into the system failure and glitchy screen.

At this point I know it’s not either of the GPU’s fault. I know it is not the monitor as I have tested it on a few. I’m unsure if it’s something in Windows. I believe the main culprit is the Motherboard BIOS (Dell Revision 1.1.6) or something related to the mobo, but I am unsure how to proceed. Should I update the BIOS, will that help?

How can I proceed? Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

Here is what the PC looks like on boot up:
View: https://imgur.com/ByaVgEj

View: https://imgur.com/bChZq0k
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dmderbowka

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Feb 9, 2019
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I would for the sake of Curiosity try Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 x64 which is v1809

If it works on that edition it may be the newer edition is simply not compatible with that hardware.
I generally avoid new releases as much as possible as they can be buggy at first.

Alternatively if you can still get the v1909 iso I would certainly give it a try.
 
Jul 6, 2020
2
0
10
0
I would for the sake of Curiosity try Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 x64 which is v1809

If it works on that edition it may be the newer edition is simply not compatible with that hardware.
I generally avoid new releases as much as possible as they can be buggy at first.

Alternatively if you can still get the v1909 iso I would certainly give it a try.
Thanks for the insight. Went ahead and installed Win 10 Pro Build 1903 and that did the trick. Cheers!
 

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