I've got a Dell Dimension 3100 machine, running on windows xp sp3, that needs an upgraded PCI Video card so I can have 2 monitors at once. I bought an ati radeon 9000 and went through the process of taking the case off, installing the card, and having windows identify it and install the drivers from the CD.

So, it looks like it has installed fine, Device Manager shows that its there, with no issues. But I can't get it to want to use that card as the primary adapter. My feeling is that I need to get into the BIOS to turn off the default adapter. However, when I boot, I see 0 for a boot screen. Like, nothing, just black, until the blue windows screen shows up.

My question is, how can I view the start up screen on boot, and view the BIOS?

thanks for any help.


connect the monitor to the onboard adapter, press F2 during the POST screen to enter the BIOS, expand the VIDEO sectyion, there you can change the primary display controller from ONBOARD to AUTO.

then connect your monitor(s) to the add-on card.

  • Problem is, I never see the post screen and I tried hitting F2 for like 60 seconds after boot, no good. – David Nov 30 '09 at 22:39
  • 1
    did you try with only 1 monitor connected to the onboard controller? – Molly7244 Nov 30 '09 at 22:50
  • Yes, did many variations of monitors and adapters. Feels like theres just a block on the setup screen so users cant mess with anything. – David Nov 30 '09 at 23:01
  • OK, remove the add-on card and try again with the onboard controller. you should make this change BEFORE you install an add-on graphics card. – Molly7244 Nov 30 '09 at 23:20

If I'm remembering correctly, pressing F12 during POST on a Dell computer will get you into the BIOS.

  • I'll try F12, I tried F2 before. Machine is in use now by someone, so can't try right away. – David Nov 30 '09 at 22:44
  • it's definitely F2 for a Dimension 3100 (and any other Dell i have seen) – Molly7244 Nov 30 '09 at 22:55
  • Well that wasn't worth a downvote. I didn't say it was F12 for sure, I said that if memory serves me correctly it's F12. And BTW I have 4 Dells at home (2 Dimension and 2 Inspiron) and they all use F12 to access the BIOS. – joeqwerty Nov 30 '09 at 23:41
  • OK, I'm better now. Thanks for the upvote to get me back to even on this one and my apologies for my outburst. – joeqwerty Dec 1 '09 at 3:06

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