Yesterday I updated the bios on my Dell PowerEdge 400SC from A04 to A10… the first time it has ever been updated since I bought the box four years ago… finally turning my back on the advice I’ve always heard about monkeying with the bios–only change it or upgrade it if you have to.

I was hoping to upgrade the bios following the directions at Dell’s site using Linux, but it seems my version of Fedora was too old. I wanted to update the bios so I could do a USB install of Fedora8.

Long story short… I updated the bios (changed NOTHING inside the box) and was confronted with one of those error messages that never makes you feel good…
Primary drive 1 not found. Press F1 to continue or F2 to enter setup

Well my primary drive was still there and the box boots fine–but not unless you hit F1 to continue every time. Since this box acts like a server I rarely have a monitor or keyboard connected this wasn’t good. I scoured the bios settings, but could find nothing that would fix it. Finally I started searching on Google and then I found the answer here.

So if you have this same problem, here are the exact steps that fix the problem:

1. Enter the bios screen

2. Make sure ALL of the following are turned on on your keyboard:

  • caps lock
  • scroll lock
  • number lock

3. Type the following key combinations

  • alt+e
  • alt+f
  • alt+b (hold unitl box reboots)

4. Wait while box reboot and scans for IDE devices

5. You’re back in business

Some people having this problem had SATA disks, but there are none in this box.