Newb Question - What can be discussed in the W-RF?

We’re having issues getting an oldish Dell Precision M4700 running properly. The machine is needed to run expensive legacy software that was written exclusively for Win XP. It’s a long story, but the bulk of the problem began with a setting change in the Dell BIOS/UEFI.

I found a W-RF thread related to this machine, via a Google search, so I’d like some clarification about what can be discussed on these forum boards? Judging by what I’m reading, the boards are here for specialized discussion related only to BIOS modifications and similar issues, but I’d appreciate any clarification. Have a good one ~ Okla

Its a generalized forum… not ONLY bios discussion.
Describe the issue/doubts concerning your system and help/answers will come…in time, this is a simple forum with user’s with several levels of knowledge.

Thanks for the post, MeatWar.

To preface, we need a machine that can be moved around and, more importantly, be run via a dedicated Win XP SP3 x86 OS. We purchased a mint condition 2013 Dell Precision M4700 Mobile Workstation for this purpose that came to us with a working SATA III SSD with a fully-functional version of Win 11 installed.

As a MacBook Pro (MBP) user for the past 15+ years, I mistakenly assumed that I could make a bootable clone copy of the SSD that came with this machine. Eventually, I used Macrium Reflect to make a clone copy on an attached external USB drive, but the problems started when I attempted to verify the copy the same way I’ve done numerous times with our MBPs.

Specifically, I kept the external USB (clone copy) drive connected to the M4700 and posted to BIOS to change the boot order/priority to boot from said external USB drive. As the external USB drive wasn’t detected by the M4700’s BIOS, I employed a search button/control to search for a path to the clone copy. After finding a reference to the external USB drive, I saved it at the top of the boot sequence list and attempted to boot from it.

Very long story short, I ended up with an M4700 that would no longer display video - and I know that it wasn’t a display failure because the display passes its built-in diagnostic test every time I run it. After testing all four 4GB SODIMM RAM modules and the dGPU card that came with the M4700, we decided to replace the main board and the dGPU card (to add nVidia Optimus functionality), with both taking a lot longer than anticipated to arrive.

Fast forward to the original motherboard (mobo) and dGPU card finally being replaced - on a fully ESD safe work mat - and we had a brand new issue. This time around, the M4700 will start, both fans will run at full RPM and, after roughly 3-4 seconds have passed, the machine will shut itself down.

Shortly thereafter, the three diagnostic status LEDs above the keyboard (top-left) come on in the following sequence: Storage LED Solid-ON | Power LED Blinking ON-OFF | Wireless LED Solid-ON. According to Pg 68 of the M4700 Owner’s Manual, this LED status is a fault indication that, “The memory modules are detected but have encountered an error.”

As I mentioned before, all four SODIMMs that came with this machine had been tested, but, due to the fact that the machine consistently indicates a RAM fault, I ordered a pair of Crucial 8GB DDR3L-1600 SODIMM RAM modules, but despite having installed the new RAM in each of the four RAM slots on the replacement mobo, we still experience the same exact symptoms and LED fault indication.

At this point, I’m simply reaching out to anyone out there who’s worked on one of these machines and experienced any of the problems that I’ve described. Needless to say, I’d be very grateful for any help I can get.

EDIT: I recalled a couple of things that I forgot to mention in my last. First, the CPU is a 3rd Gen Intel Core i-7 3940XM (Quad Core). It is one of the only active components in this machine that hasn’t been replaced [yet]. Also, we’ve been told that running Win XP x86, via a VM in a newer OS, will not work with the [very expensive] x86 legacy utility we purchased this machine to run.

Thank you kindly for your time -

Sorry… but thats a big mess and really didn’t understood nothing at all, seems a very bizarre and not very well described history…
You made a clone of what boot drive? The MBP drive macOS? To boot on the Dell as USB?

Button control/search… you mean bios settings? You saved the new bios settings and after trying to boot, the motherboard KAPUT?

A new system board… who did the maintenance/exchange to the machine, a curious guy (no offense…) or a tech shop?
This is not a task for inexperienced users, this is a complex workstation machine with a lot of sensors around and very sensitive system board/machine.
Now its RAM fault…
I bet the old system board is still ok…

Im sorry my friend this is not a 24H Repair Shop forum, besides a lot of us users live from such business we can’t repair machines or guess what users really have done…
This is my true and straight answer to you, do not get offended with my words its just the simple true.

You should wait for other users pov, all the best.

Thank you again for the post, MeatWar.

I’m an electrical engineer who started out as what the USAF calls a PMEL Tech. In other words, I was a bench repair tech - who troubleshot and repaired military electrical test equipment to the component level - for years while I put myself through school. That said, I’m not a computer tech and Dell doesn’t publish a theory of operation or provide detailed electrical schematics for their proprietary products, so all of us, even those of us who repair computers for a living (other than Dell employees), are employing experience only to work on this type of machine.

Before we switched to Mac computer equipment, I built PCs for our business, so I felt totally comfortable using our anti-static discharge (ASD) work station to simply replace a main board. Quite honestly, PCs (even laptop PCs) are very modular, so the “sensors” you mentioned simply don’t exist.

As it is self-evident - just read the title of this thread - I don’t really need to explain (again) that I asked about the nature of these forum boards before you suggested that I post my questions here. However, I do assure you that a Google search lead me to a discussion between a member with a sick Dell M4700 and another forum member - and that discussion took place on the Win-Raid Forum. I didn’t come here out of the blue.

That’s my “straight answer to you,” so you shouldn’t be offended, either, right?

Have a wonderful day -

Of course not, same as you, simple being straight with it and i don’t even care or need to know your degree/area of expertise… for all that matters you can even be the US President or the wealthiest man on the planet…
This seems not a bios corruption issue related
What do want to hear? Something like “ok you had a death motherboard and simply died with no visible cause or user action” then “Got another used motherboard and seems also defective”… what other conclusion can we take from such report?

Do you want to add any other clues that can lead to other/specific issue, besides a possible “bad luck”… do you want to request help on a possible action to fix a specific issue, reflash, bios recover, spi programming, ME FW related…
Because if your looking for pcb/schematics repair, then this is not the right forum.

No OEM is supposed to release schematics to public domain, all you can find on the web are leaked sources and that’s how the most famous repair YTubers do and all of us.

Got one already? If not heres one, search engines for the web have been present for a long time by now…