We had a power outage here and when it was restored; my wife’s computer (Dell Dimension 3000) was not finding the hard drive. She went into setup and it showed no primary drive. I had two spare hard drives which we tried. It didn’t find one of them but, it did the other. Windows had a problem and wouldn’t start. It wouldn’t even go into safe mode. We put in the installation disc and hoped to either repair or reinstall Windows but, when it got to the selection screen the keyboard erred out. We tried a different keyboard and the same thing happened. I took the slave drive out of my Compac from the back room that has a good copy of Windows and tried it. Her machine couldn’t find it. By this time my wife was beyond frustration and becoming more and more violent. She started snapping at me as though the whole thing was my fault! With her, being less than twenty feet from a butcher knife, I made the quick decision to set her up with the Compac, temporarily. I set her hard drive up as a slave to see if it was okay and there are important files on it. For some reason it booted up to her drive. After a little tweaking she was back online. I need to fix her Dell while she is still in a some-what calm state and before the Compac acts up like it did when I replaced it. Any suggestions? BIOS maybe?

Try clearing the CMOS. There should be a jumper on the motherboard close to the battery, move it so that it covers the middle tine and the one that was open, leave this for about ten seconds and reset the jumper to its original position. You can also do this by unplugging the computer from the wall receptacle, removing the battery on the motherboard for a couple of minutes, replace it and plug the computer back in.

Was the computer on when you had the power outage? What caused the outage, lightning or some other electrical surge? If so, you could have a damaged power supply. Look inside the case and check all the cables to make sure that are properly seated on the motherboard. While inside, check the condition of the motherboard. I have seen a couple of Dells and other brands that had defective capacitors installed on the motherboard during the manufacturing process. Look at the top of the round barrel capacitors to see if any are bulging upward (the top should be flat not domed). If you have some of the defective capacitors, you will either have to replace the motherboard or replace the capacitors (if you are good with a soldering iron).

The power outage was due to the windstorm we had here in the Northwest. We have surge protection and all of the caps on the motherboard look fine.

chas627 did unplugging the main battery solve your issue, I suppose no harm in me trying it anyhow but just wondered if your issue is resolved because I have a similar issue too.