Fixing a Dell server that required F1 on every boot

Last weekend, I dusted off (literally), my Dell PowerEdge 840 that was retired in favour of a low-power server a couple of years ago. My employer’s IT policies are making it harder and harder to do any personal computing from work (I know my laptop is for work but there’s a big grey area between work and play these days) and whilst the Mac Mini is fine for music, a bit of browsing and email, I wanted something a bit more “heavy duty” for some of my home computing needs.  With 8GB of RAM and a Quad core Xeon CPU, my old server is a pretty good workstation (7.0 on the Windows Performance Index for CPU and memory, 5.9 for primary hard disk, but only 1.0 for graphics!) and so it’s been brought back into service as a Windows 7 PC.

Unfortunately, every time I booted it, I had to press F1, until I worked out that it was still looking for some hard disks that I had removed.  Delving into the BIOS and switching the spare SATA ports to Off, rather than Auto, sorted out the problem and now the system boots without issue.

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