Perhaps my laptop was like this before the HD crashed, but I just started noticing the error.
When the hd was crashed and i booted it I read the message that popped up upon booting (message was hard to read because it pops up so quickly upon booting and goes away before one can read and write down the entire message).
I was told by a Geeksquad person that if I replace the HD then the BIOS would then understand that the BIOS is ok.
Well, I replaced the bad HD with a new one and the message still pops up quickly - something about BIOS error (or BIOS bug or BIOS problem) and also says something like timer not connected" but again mssg goes away so quickly one can't read it entirely.
But nothing other than this message is a problem - the computer even keeps the correct time and date.
I also just put a new battery in this Dell laptop. I have read on the net where some Dell models will have an unstable BIOS with a fully charged battery - and my Dell laptop hasn't had a fully charged battery for years until now.