Erroneous error messages on boot

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Inspiron 3500, 366 Celeron 64 Meg Ram:

On boot, this system gives two erroneous error messages. First it tells me
wrongly that the system memory has changed and/or save to disk has been
deactivated.  Neither of these are true and if I try to reset either and
save, the message stays the same

Next it tries to tell me that every system disc I put in isn't a system
disc. I know that they are.  It does this when booting from a CD, floppy or
floppy in the CD bay. SOMETIMES if I pull out the CD drive and ram it in
again, it doesnt give these messages (BUT see below about Linux)

I also checked and found that I am using a BIOS revision number 10 whereas
the current one is 14. But when I try to put a BIOS upgrade floppy in the
drive, it starts to read the drive, -  I can see the light on the drive in
the bay flashing, - and then tells me that the disc isn't a system disc,
which again I know it is.

Also, the hard drive is blank, having been formattet with Linux and I tried
to install Windows 98 from its install discs. It started to read its CD OK
and even got as far as copying ALL it's install files to the drive, and then
on first reboot, it won't accept that the hard drive is bootable.   (It also
gave these problems with my trying to install XP and 2000 which I thought
was something to do with not having enough memory)

Anyone know what is causing these symptoms? Is it a bad BIOS backup battery
or a bad drive controller on the mobo or should I keep on trying?  There
never did seem to be any problem with getting into Linux but I had to
uninstall it as I didn't have the password and didnt need an elderly Linux
installation. Now the whole computer wont work. Is there some nasty inserted
in some type of MBR by Linux which might be causing all these problems?

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