Manuals

Manuals
Troubleshooting: Dell XPS 420 Owner's Manual

Back to Contents Page

Troubleshooting

Dell™ XPS™ 420 Owner's Manual

  Solving Problems

  Power Lights

  Diagnostic Lights

  Beep Codes

  System Messages

  Dell Diagnostics

  Drivers

  Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System

  Restoring Your Operating System

  Troubleshooting LCD Display Problems



Solving Problems

Follow these tips when you troubleshoot your computer:

  • If you added or removed a part before the problem started, review the installation procedures and ensure that the part is correctly installed.

  • If a peripheral device does not work, ensure that the device is properly connected.

  • If an error message appears on the screen, write down the exact message. This message may help support personnel diagnose and fix the problem(s).

  • If an error message occurs in a program, see the program's documentation.

NOTE: The procedures in this document were written for the Windows default view, so they may not apply if you set your Dell™ computer to the Windows Classic view.

Coin-Cell Battery Problems

CAUTION: There is a danger of a new coin battery exploding if it is incorrectly installed. Replace the coin battery only with the same or equivalent type recommended by the manufacturer. Discard used batteries according to the manufacturer's instructions.
CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

Replace the Coin-cell battery —

If you have to repeatedly reset time and date information after turning on the computer, or if an incorrect time or date displays during start-up, replace the battery (see Replacing the Coin-Cell Battery). If the battery still does not work properly, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

Drive Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

Ensure that Microsoft® Windows® Recognizes the drive —

  • Click the Windows Vista Start button™ and click Computer.

If the drive is not listed, perform a full scan with your antivirus software to check for and remove viruses. Viruses can sometimes prevent Windows from recognizing the drive.

Test the drive —

  • Insert another disc to eliminate the possibility that the original drive is defective.
  • Insert a bootable floppy disk and restart the computer.

Clean the drive or disk —

See Cleaning Your Computer.

Check the cable connections

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter —

See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System.

Run the Dell Diagnostics —

See Dell Diagnostics.

Optical drive problems

NOTE: High-speed optical drive vibration is normal and may cause noise, which does not indicate a defect in the drive or the media.
NOTE: Because of different regions worldwide and different disc formats, not all DVD titles work in all DVD drives.

Adjust the Windows volume control —

  • Click the speaker icon in the lower-right corner of your screen.
  • Ensure that the volume is turned up by clicking the slidebar and dragging it up.
  • Ensure that the sound is not muted by clicking any boxes that are checked.

Check the speakers and subwoofer —

See Sound and Speaker Problems.

Problems writing to an optical drive

Close other programs —

The optical drive must receive a steady stream of data during the writing process. If the stream is interrupted, an error occurs. Try closing all programs before you write to the optical.

Turn off standby mode in Windows before writing to a disc —

See Configuring Power Management Settings or search for the keyword standby in Windows Help and Support for information on power management modes.

Hard drive problems

Run Check Disk —  

  1. Click Windows Vista Start and click Computer.
  2. Right-click Local Disk C:.
  3. Click Properties ®Tools® Check Now.

The User Account Control window may appear. If you are an administrator on the computer, click Continue; otherwise, contact your administrator to continue the desired action.

  1. Follow the instructions on the screen.

E-Mail, Modem, and Internet Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.
NOTE: Connect the modem to an analog telephone jack only. The modem does not operate while it is connected to a digital telephone network.
NOTE: Do not plug a telephone cable into the network adapter connector (see Back I/O Connectors).

Check the Microsoft Outlook® Express security settings — If you cannot open your e-mail attachments:

  1. In Outlook Express, click Tools® Options® Security.
  2. Click Do not allow attachments to remove the checkmark, as needed.

Check the telephone line connection
Check the telephone jack
Connect the modem directly to the telephone wall jack
Use a different telephone line —

  • Verify that the telephone line is connected to the jack on the modem (the jack has either a green label or a connector-shaped icon next to it).
  • Ensure that you hear a click when you insert the telephone line connector into the modem.
  • Disconnect the telephone line from the modem and connect it to a telephone, then listen for a dial tone.
  • If you have other telephone devices sharing the line, such as an answering machine, fax machine, surge protector, or line splitter, bypass them and use the telephone to connect the modem directly to the telephone wall jack. If you are using a line that is 3 meters (10 feet) or more in length, try a shorter one.

Run the Modem diagnostic Tool —

  1. Click Start ® All Programs® Modem Diagnostic Tool.
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen to identify and resolve modem problems. Modem diagnostics are not available on all computers.

Verify that the modem is communicating with Windows —

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound® Phone and Modem Options® Modems.
  2. Click the COM port for your modem® Properties ® Diagnostics® Query Modem to verify that the modem is communicating with Windows.

If all commands receive responses, the modem is operating properly.

Ensure that you are connected to the Internet — Ensure that you have subscribed to an Internet provider. With the Outlook Express e-mail program open, click File. If Work Offline has a checkmark next to it, click the checkmark to remove it and connect to the Internet. For help, contact your Internet service provider.

Error Messages

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

If the error message is not listed, see the documentation for the operating system or the program that was running when the message appeared.

A filename cannot contain any of the following characters: \ / : * ? " < > | —  Do not use these characters in filenames.

A required .DLL file was not found — The program that you are trying to open is missing an essential file. To remove and then reinstall the program:

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Programs® Programs and Features.
  2. Select the program you want to remove.
  3. Click Uninstall.
  4. See the program documentation for installation instructions.

drive letter :\ is not accessible. The device is not ready — The drive cannot read the disk. Insert a disk into the drive and try again.

Insert bootable media — Insert a bootable floppy disk, CD, or DVD.

Non-system disk error — Remove the floppy disk from the floppy drive and restart your computer.

Not enough memory or resources. Close some programs and try again — Close all windows and open the program that you want to use. In some cases, you may have to restart your computer to restore computer resources. If so, run the program that you want to use first.

Operating system not found — Ensure that there is no non-bootable floppy or USB key attached during system power on.

IEEE 1394a Device Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.
NOTE: Your computer supports only IEEE 1394a standard.

Ensure that the cable for the IEEE 1394a device is properly inserted into the device and into the connector on the computer

Ensure that the IEEE 1394a device is enabled in system setup —  See System Setup Options.

Ensure that the IEEE 1394a device is recognized by Windows —

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound.
  2. Click Device Manager.

If your IEEE 1394a device is listed, Windows recognizes the device.

If you have problems with a Dell IEEE 1394a device —

Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell). 

If you have problems with an IEEE 1394a device not provided by Dell — Contact the IEEE 1394a device manufacturer.

Keyboard Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

Check the keyboard cable —  

  • Ensure that the keyboard cable is firmly connected to the computer.
  • Shut down the computer (see Before Working Inside Your Computer), reconnect the keyboard cable as shown on the setup diagram for your computer, and then restart the computer.
  • Ensure that the cable is not damaged or frayed and check cable connectors for bent or broken pins. Straighten any bent pins.
  • Remove any keyboard extension cables and connect the keyboard directly to the computer.

Test the keyboard — Connect a properly working keyboard to the computer, then try using the keyboard.

Working With an USB Keyboard —

During the first system boot, the operating system takes time to configure the USB keyboard. Reboot the system to configure the keyboard faster.

USB Keyboard or Mouse Failure —

Connect the device to a different USB port and check if it starts working.

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter —

See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System.

Lockups and Software Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

The computer does not start up

Check the diagnostic lights —

See Diagnostic Lights.

Ensure that the power cable is firmly connected to the computer and to the electrical outlet

The computer stops responding

NOTICE: You may lose data if you are unable to perform an operating system shutdown.

Turn the computer off — If you are unable to get a response by pressing a key on your keyboard or moving your mouse, press and hold the power button for at least 8 to 10 seconds (until the computer turns off), and then restart your computer.

A program stops responding

End the program —

 

  1. Press <Ctrl><Shift><Esc> simultaneously to access the Task Manager.
  2. Click the Applications tab.
  3. Click to select the program that is no longer responding.
  4. Click End Task.

A program crashes repeatedly

NOTE: Most software includes installation instructions in its documentation or on a floppy disk, CD, or DVD.

Check the software documentation —

If necessary, uninstall and then reinstall the program.

A program is designed for an earlier Windows operating system

Run the Program Compatibility Wizard —

The Program Compatibility Wizard configures a program so that it runs in an environment similar to non-Windows Vista operating system environments.

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Programs® Use an older program with this version of Windows.
  2. In the welcome screen, click Next.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen.

A solid blue screen appears

Turn the computer off —

If you are unable to get a response by pressing a key on your keyboard or moving your mouse, press and hold the power button for at least 8 to 10 seconds (until the computer turns off), and then restart your computer.

Other software problems

Check the software documentation or contact the software manufacturer for troubleshooting information —

  • Ensure that the program is compatible with the operating system installed on your computer.
  • Ensure that your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements needed to run the software. See the software documentation for information.
  • Ensure that the program is installed and configured properly.
  • Verify that the device drivers do not conflict with the program.
  • If necessary, uninstall and then reinstall the program.

Back up your files immediately

Use a virus-scanning program to check the hard drive, floppy disks, CDs, or DVDs

Save and close any open files or programs and shut down your computer through the Start menu

Memory Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

If you receive an insufficient memory message —  

  • Save and close any open files and exit any open programs you are not using to see if that resolves the problem.
  • See the software documentation for minimum memory requirements. If necessary, install additional memory (see Installing Memory).
  • Reseat the memory modules (see Memory) to ensure that your computer is successfully communicating with the memory.
  • Run the Dell Diagnostics (see Dell Diagnostics).

If you experience other memory problems —  

  • Reseat the memory modules (see Memory) to ensure that your computer is successfully communicating with the memory.
  • Ensure that you are following the memory installation guidelines (see Installing Memory).
  • Ensure that the memory you are using is supported by your computer. For more information about the type of memory supported by your computer, see Memory.
  • Run the Dell Diagnostics (see Dell Diagnostics).

Mouse Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

Check the mouse cable —  

  • Ensure that the cable is not damaged or frayed and check cable connectors for bent or broken pins. Straighten any bent pins.
  • Remove any mouse extension cables, and connect the mouse directly to the computer.
  • Verify that the mouse cable is connected as shown on the setup diagram for your computer.

Restart the computer —  

  1. Simultaneously press <Ctrl><Esc> to display the Start menu.
  2. Press <u>, press the up- and down-arrow keys to highlight Shut down or Turn Off, and then press <Enter>.
  3. After the computer turns off, reconnect the mouse cable as shown on the setup diagram.
  4. Turn on the computer.

Test the mouse — Connect a properly working mouse to the computer, then try using the mouse.

Check the mouse settings —  

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound® Mouse.
  2. Adjust the settings as needed.

Reinstall the mouse driver — See Drivers.

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System.

Network Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

Check the network cable connector — Ensure that the network cable is firmly inserted into the network connector on the back of the computer and the network jack.

Check the network lights on the back of the computer — If the link integrity light is off (see Controls and Lights), no network communication is occurring. Replace the network cable.

Restart the computer and log on to the network again

Check your network settings — Contact your network administrator or the person who set up your network to verify that your network settings are correct and that the network is functioning.

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System.

Power Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

If the power light is blue and the computer is not responding — See Diagnostic Lights.

If the power light is blinking blue —

  • The computer is in standby mode. Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation.
  • USB keyboard and mouse wake up the system if these devices are configured as wake up devices in the operating system devices properties. Otherwise, press the power button.

If the power light is off — The computer is either turned off or is not receiving power.

  • Reseat the power cable in the power connector on the back of the computer and the electrical outlet.
  • Bypass power strips, power extension cables, and other power protection devices to verify that the computer turns on properly.
  • Ensure that any power strips being used are plugged into an electrical outlet and are turned on.
  • Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.
  • Ensure that the main power cable and front panel cable are securely connected to the system board (see System Board Components).

If the power light is blinking amber — The computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem may exist.

  • Ensure that the voltage selection switch is set to match the AC power at your location (if applicable).
  • Ensure that all components and cables are properly installed and securely connected to the system board (see System Board Components).

If the power light is steady amber — A device may be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed.

If the power light flashes amber and then goes off — It can be an internal power problem.

  • Ensure that the processor power cable is securely connected to the system board power connector (12VPOWER). (See System Board Components).

Eliminate interference — Some possible causes of interference are:

  • Power, keyboard, and mouse extension cables
  • Too many devices connected to the same power strip
  • Multiple power strips connected to the same electrical outlet

Printer Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.
NOTE: If you need technical assistance for your printer, contact the printer's manufacturer.

Check the printer documentation — See the printer documentation for setup and troubleshooting information.

Ensure that the printer is turned on

Check the printer cable connections —  

  • See the printer documentation for cable connection information.
  • Ensure that the printer cables are securely connected to the printer and the computer.

Test the electrical outlet — Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.

Verify that the printer is recognized by Windows —

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound® Printer.
  2. If the printer is listed, right-click the printer icon.
  3. Click Properties and click Ports.
  4. Adjust the settings, as needed.

Reinstall the printer driver —

See the printer documentation for information on reinstalling the printer driver. —

Scanner Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.
NOTE: If you need technical assistance for your scanner, contact the scanner's manufacturer.

Check the scanner documentation — See the scanner documentation for setup and troubleshooting information.

Unlock the scanner — Ensure that your scanner is unlocked (if the scanner has a locking tab or button).

Restart the computer and try the scanner again

Check the cable connections —  

  • See the scanner documentation for information on cable connections.
  • Ensure that the scanner cables are securely connected to the scanner and the computer.

Verify that the scanner is recognized by Microsoft Windows —  

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound® Scanners and Cameras.
  2. If the scanner is listed, Windows recognizes the scanner.

Reinstall the scanner driver — See the scanner documentation for instructions.

Sound and Speaker Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

No sound from speakers

NOTE: The volume control in MP3 and other media players may override the Windows volume setting. Always check to ensure that the volume on the media player(s) has not been turned down or off.

Check the speaker cable connections — Ensure that the speakers are connected as shown on the setup diagram supplied with the speakers. If you purchased a sound card, ensure that the speakers are connected to the card.

Ensure that the subwoofer and the speakers are turned on — See the setup diagram supplied with the speakers. If your speakers have volume controls, adjust the volume, bass, or treble to eliminate distortion.

Adjust the Windows volume control — Click or double-click the speaker icon in the lower-right corner of your screen. Ensure that the volume is turned up and that the sound is not muted.

Disconnect headphones from the headphone connector — Sound from the speakers is automatically disabled when headphones are connected to the computer's front-panel headphone connector.

Test the electrical outlet — Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.

Eliminate possible interference — Turn off nearby fans, fluorescent lights, or halogen lamps to check for interference.

Run the speaker diagnostics

Reinstall the sound driver — See Drivers.

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System.

No sound from headphones

Check the headphone cable connection — Ensure that the headphone cable is securely inserted into the headphone connector (see Front and Back View of the Computer).

Adjust the Windows volume control — Click or double-click the speaker icon in the lower-right corner of your screen. Ensure that the volume is turned up and that the sound is not muted.

Video and Monitor Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.
NOTICE: If your computer came with a PCI graphics card installed, removal of the card is not necessary when installing additional graphics cards; however, the card is required for troubleshooting purposes. If you remove the card, store it in a safe and secure location. For information about your graphics card, go to support.dell.com.

The screen is blank

NOTE: For troubleshooting procedures, see the monitor's documentation.

The screen is difficult to read

Check the monitor cable connection —  

  • Ensure that the monitor cable is connected to the correct graphics card (for dual graphics card configurations).
  • If you are using the optional DVI-to-VGA adapter, ensure that the adapter is correctly attached to the graphics card and monitor.
  • Ensure that the monitor cable is connected as shown on the setup diagram for your computer.
  • Remove any video extension cables and connect the monitor directly to the computer.
  • Swap the computer and monitor power cables to determine if the monitor's power cable is defective.
  • Check the connectors for bent or broken pins (it is normal for monitor cable connectors to have missing pins).

Check the monitor power light —

  • If the power light is lit or blinking, the monitor has power.
  • If the power light is off, firmly press the button to ensure that the monitor is turned on.
  • If the power light is blinking, press a key on the keyboard or move the mouse to resume normal operation.

Test the electrical outlet — Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.

Check the diagnostic lights —

See Diagnostic Lights.

Check the monitor settings — See the monitor documentation for instructions on adjusting the contrast and brightness, demagnetizing (degaussing) the monitor, and running the monitor self-test.

Move the subwoofer away from the monitor — If your speaker system includes a subwoofer, ensure that the subwoofer is positioned at least 60 centimeters (2 feet) away from the monitor.

Move the monitor away from external power sources — Fans, fluorescent lights, halogen lamps, and other electrical devices can cause the screen image to appear shaky. Turn off nearby devices to check for interference.

Rotate the monitor to eliminate sunlight glare and possible interference

Adjust the Windows display settings —  

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound® Personalization® Display Settings.
  2. Adjust Resolution and Colors settings, as needed.

3D image quality is poor

Check the graphics card power cable connection — Ensure that the power cable for the graphics card(s) is correctly attached to the card.

Check the monitor settings — See the monitor documentation for instructions on adjusting the contrast and brightness, demagnetizing (degaussing) the monitor, and running the monitor self-test.


Power Lights

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

The power button light located on the front of the computer illuminates and blinks or remains solid to indicate different states:

  • If the power light is blue and the computer is not responding, see Diagnostic Lights.

  • If the power light is blinking blue, the computer is in standby mode. Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation.

  • If the power light is off, the computer is either turned off or is not receiving power.

    • Reseat the power cable into both the power connector on the back of the computer and the electrical outlet.

    • If the computer is plugged into a power strip, ensure that the power strip is plugged into an electrical outlet and that the power strip is turned on.

    • Bypass power protection devices, power strips, and power extension cables to verify that the computer turns on properly.

    • Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.

    • Ensure that the main power cable and front panel cable are securely connected to the system board (see System Board Components).

  • If the power light is blinking amber, the computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem might exist.

    • Ensure that the voltage selection switch is set to match the AC power at your location, if applicable.

    • Ensure that the processor power cable is securely connected to the system board (see System Board Components).

  • If the power light is steady amber, a device may be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed.

    • Remove and then reinstall the memory modules (see Memory).

    • Remove and then reinstall any cards (see Cards).

  • Eliminate interference. Some possible causes of interference are:

    • Power, keyboard, and mouse extension cables

    • Too many devices on a power strip

    • Multiple power strips connected to the same electrical outlet


Diagnostic Lights

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

To help troubleshoot a problem, your computer has four blue lights labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the top bezel (see Front View). When the computer starts normally, the lights flash before turning off. If the computer malfunctions, the sequence of the lights help to identify the problem.

NOTE: After the computer completes POST, all four lights turn off before booting to the operating system.

Light Pattern 

Problem Description

Suggested Resolution

The computer is in a normal off condition or a possible pre-BIOS failure has occurred.

The diagnostic lights are not lit after the system successfully boots to the operating system.

A possible processor failure has occurred.

Memory modules are detected, but a memory failure has occurred.

  • If two or more memory modules are installed, remove the modules (see Removing Memory), then reinstall one module (see Installing Memory) and restart the computer. If the computer starts normally, continue to install additional memory modules (one at a time) until you have identified a faulty module or reinstalled all modules without error.
  • If available, install working memory of the same type into your computer (see Installing Memory).
  • If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

A possible graphics card failure has occurred.

  • Reseat any installed graphics cards (see Cards).
  • If available, install a working graphics card into your computer.
  • If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

A possible floppy drive or hard drive failure has occurred.

Reseat all power and data cables.

A possible USB failure has occurred.

Reinstall all USB devices and check all cable connections.

No memory modules are detected.

  • If two or more memory modules are installed, remove the modules (see Removing Memory), then reinstall one module (see Installing Memory) and restart the computer. If the computer starts normally, continue to install additional memory modules (one at a time) until you have identified a faulty module or reinstalled all modules without error.
  • If available, install working memory of the same type into your computer (see Installing Memory).
  • If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

Memory modules are detected, but a memory configuration or compatibility error has occurred.

  • Ensure that no special requirements for memory module/connector placement exist (see Memory).
  • Ensure that the memory you are using is supported by your computer (see Memory).
  • If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

A possible expansion card failure has occurred.

  1. Determine if a conflict exists by removing an expansion card (not a graphics card) and restarting the computer (see Removing a PCI Card and Removing a PCI Express Card).
  2. If the problem persists, reinstall the card you removed, then remove a different card and restart the computer.
  3. Repeat this process for each expansion card installed. If the computer starts normally, troubleshoot the last card removed from the computer for resource conflicts (see Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System).
  4. If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

Another failure has occurred.

  • Ensure that all hard drive and optical drive cables are properly connected to the system board (see System Board Components).
  • If there is an error message on the screen identifying a problem with a device (such as the floppy drive or hard drive), check the device to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • If the operating system is attempting to boot from a device (such as the floppy drive or optical drive), check system setup (see System Setup) to ensure the boot sequence is correct for the devices installed on your computer.
  • If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).


Beep Codes

Your computer might emit a series of beeps during start-up if the monitor cannot display errors or problems. This series of beeps, called a beep code, identifies a problem. For example, beep code 1-3-1 (one possible beep code) consists of one beep, a burst of three beeps, and then one beep. This beep code tells you that the computer encountered a memory problem.

Reseating the memory modules may correct the following beep code errors. If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell) for instructions on obtaining technical assistance.

Code

Cause

1-3-1 through 2-4-4

Memory not being properly identified or used

4-3-1

Memory failure above address 0FFFFh

If you experience any of the following beep code errors, see Contacting Dell for instructions on obtaining technical assistance.

Code

Cause

1-1-2

Microprocessor register failure

1-1-3

NVRAM read/write failure

1-1-4

ROM BIOS checksum failure

1-2-1

Programmable interval timer failure

1-2-2

DMA initialization failure

1-2-3

DMA page register read/write failure

1-3

Video Memory Test failure

1-3-1 through 2-4-4

Memory not being properly identified or used

3-1-1

Slave DMA register failure

3-1-2

Master DMA register failure

3-1-3

Master interrupt mask register failure

3-1-4

Slave interrupt mask register failure

3-2-2

Interrupt vector loading failure

3-2-4

Keyboard Controller Test failure

3-3-1

NVRAM power loss

3-3-2

Invalid NVRAM configuration

3-3-4

Video Memory Test failure

3-4-1

Screen initialization failure

3-4-2

Screen retrace failure

3-4-3

Search for video ROM failure

4-2-1

No timer tick

4-2-2

Shutdown failure

4-2-3

Gate A20 failure

4-2-4

Unexpected interrupt in protected mode

4-3-1

Memory failure above address 0FFFFh

4-3-3

Timer-chip counter 2 failure

4-3-4

Time-of-day clock stopped

4-4-1

Serial or parallel port test failure

4-4-2

Failure to decompress code to shadowed memory

4-4-3

Math-coprocessor test failure

4-4-4

Cache test failure


System Messages

NOTE: If the message you received is not listed in the table, see the documentation for either the operating system or the program that was running when the message appeared.

Message

Possible Cause

Corrective Action

8042 Gate-A20 error

The keyboard controller failed its test.

If you receive this message after you make changes in the system setup program, enter the system setup program and restore the original value(s).

Address Line Short!

An error in the address decoding circuitry in the memory has occurred.

Reseat the memory modules (see Memory).

C: Drive Error

C: Drive Failure

The hard drive is not working or is not configured correctly.

Ensure that the hard drive is installed correctly in the computer (see Drives) and defined correctly in the system setup program (see System Setup).

Cache Memory Bad, Do Not Enable Cache

The cache memory is not operating.

See Contacting Dell for instructions on obtaining technical assistance.

CH-2 Timer Error

An error is occurring on the timer on the system board.

See Contacting Dell for instructions on obtaining technical assistance.

CMOS Battery State Low

CMOS Checksum Failure

CMOS System Options Not Set

CMOS Display Type Mismatch

CMOS Memory Size Mismatch

CMOS Time and Date Not Set

The system configuration information in the system setup program is incorrect or the battery charge may be low.

Enter the system setup program (see Entering System Setup), verify the system configuration, and then restart the computer.

Diskette Boot Failure

Drive A or B is present but has failed the BIOS POST.

Ensure that the drive is installed correctly in the computer (see Drives) and defined correctly in the system setup program (see System Setup). Check the interface cable at both ends.

DMA Error

DMA 1 Error

DMA 2 Error

Error in the DMA controller on the system board.

The keyboard or system board may need to be replaced.

FDD Controller Failure

HDD Controller Failure

The BIOS cannot communicate with the floppy drive or hard drive controller.

Ensure that the floppy drive or the hard drive is installed correctly in the computer (see Drives) and defined correctly in the system setup program (see System Setup). Check the interface cable at both ends.

INTR1 Error

INTR2 Error

An interrupt channel on the system board failed to POST.

The keyboard or system board may need to be replaced.

Invalid Boot Diskette

The operating system cannot be located on drive A or drive C.

Enter the system setup program (see System Setup) and confirm that drive A or drive C is properly identified.

Keyboard Error

The BIOS has detected a stuck key.

Ensure that nothing is resting on the keyboard; if a key appears to be stuck, carefully pry it up. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the keyboard.

KB/Interface Error

An error occurred with the keyboard connector.

Ensure that nothing is resting on the keyboard; if a key appears to be stuck, carefully pry it up. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the keyboard.

No ROM Basic

The operating system cannot be located on drive A or drive C.

Enter the system setup program (see Entering System Setup) and confirm that drive A or drive C is properly identified.


Dell Diagnostics

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.

When to Use Dell Diagnostics

If you experience a problem with your computer, perform the checks in Solving Problems and run Dell Diagnostics before you contact Dell for technical assistance.

NOTE: Dell Diagnostics only operate on Dell computers.

It is recommended that you print these procedures before you begin.

Start Dell Diagnostics from your hard drive or from the Drivers and Utilities media.

Starting Dell Diagnostics From Your Hard Drive

  1. Ensure that the computer is connected to an electrical outlet that is known to be working properly.

  2. Turn on (or restart) your computer.

  3. When the DELL™ logo appears, press <F12> immediately. Select Diagnostics from the boot menu and press <Enter>.

NOTE: If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft® Windows® desktop, then shut down your computer and try again.
NOTE: If you see a message stating that no diagnostics utility partition has been found, run the Dell Diagnostics from the Drivers and Utilities media (see Starting Dell Diagnostics From the Drivers and Utilities Media).
  1. Press any key to start the Dell Diagnostics from the diagnostics utility partition on your hard drive.

NOTE: The Quickboot feature changes the boot sequence for the current boot only. Upon restart, the computer boots according to the boot sequence specified in system setup.
  1. At the Dell Diagnostics Main Menu, left-click with the mouse, or press <Tab> and then <Enter>, to select the test you want to run (see Dell Diagnostics Main Menu).

NOTE: Write down any error codes and problem descriptions exactly as they appear and follow the instructions on the screen.
  1. After all tests have completed, close the test window to return to the Dell Diagnostics Main Menu.

  2. Close the Main Menu window to exit Dell Diagnostics and restart the computer.

Starting Dell Diagnostics From the Drivers and Utilities Media

  1. Insert the Drivers and Utilities media.

  2. Shut down and restart the computer.

When the DELL logo appears, press <F12> immediately.

NOTE: If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft® Windows® desktop; then, shut down your computer and try again.
NOTE: The next steps change the boot sequence for one time only. On the next start-up, the computer boots according to the devices specified in the system setup program.
  1. When the boot device list appears, highlight CD/DVD/CD-RW and press <Enter>.

  2. Select the Boot from CD-ROM option from the menu that appears and press <Enter>.

  3. Type 1 to start the CD menu and press <Enter> to proceed.

  4. Select Run the 32 Bit Dell Diagnostics from the numbered list. If multiple versions are listed, select the version appropriate for your computer.

  5. When the Dell Diagnostics Main Menu appears, select the test you want to run.

NOTE: Write down any error codes and problem descriptions exactly as they appear and follow the instructions on the screen.

Dell Diagnostics Main Menu

  1. After the Dell Diagnostics loads and the Main Menu screen appears, click the button for the option you want.

NOTE: It is recommended that you select Test System to run a complete test on your computer.

Option

Function 

Test Memory

Run the stand-alone memory test

Test System

Run System Diagnostics

Exit

Exit the Diagnostics

  1. After you have selected the Test System option from the main menu, the following menu appears:

NOTE: It is recommended that you select Extended Test from the menu below to run a more thorough check of devices in the computer.

Option

Function

Express Test

Performs a quick test of system devices. The test typically takes 10 to 20 minutes and requires no interaction on your part. Run Express Test first to increase the possibility of tracing the problem quickly.

Extended Test

Performs a thorough check of system devices. The test typically takes an hour or more.

Custom Test

Use to test a specific device or customize the tests to be run.

Symptom Tree

This option allows you to select tests based on a symptom of the problem you are having. This option lists the most common symptoms.

Built in Self Test

Performs a thorough check on all LCD display related functions. Based on the test results a green Passed or red Failed message appears on screen. For items listed in red, note down the error code and problem description and contact Dell.

  1. If a problem is encountered during a test, a message appears with an error code and a description of the problem. Write down the error code and problem description and see Contacting Dell

NOTE: The Service Tag for your computer is located at the top of each test screen. If you contact Dell, technical support will ask for your Service Tag.
  1. If you run a test from the Custom Test or Symptom Tree option, click the applicable tab described in the following table for more information.

Tab

Function

Results

Displays the results of the test and any error conditions encountered.

Errors

Displays error conditions encountered, error codes, and the problem description.

Help

Describes the test and any requirements for running the test.

Configuration

 

Displays your hardware configuration for the selected device.

NOTE: The Dell Diagnostics obtains configuration information for all devices from system setup, memory, and various internal tests, and it displays the information in the device list in the left pane of the screen. The device list may not display the names of all the components installed on your computer or all devices attached to your computer.

Parameters

 

Allows you to customize the test, if applicable, by changing the test settings.

  1. When the tests are complete, close the test screen to return to the Main Menu screen. To exit the Dell Diagnostics and restart the computer, close the Main Menu screen.

  2. Remove the Dell Drivers and Utilities media.

Drivers

What Is a Driver?

A driver is a program that controls a device such as a printer, mouse, or keyboard. All devices require a driver program.

A driver acts like a translator between the device and any other programs that use the device. Each device has its own set of specialized commands that only its driver recognizes.

Dell ships your computer to you with required drivers already installed—no further installation or configuration is needed.

NOTICE: The Drivers and Utilities media may contain drivers for operating systems that are not on your computer. Ensure that you are installing software appropriate for your operating system.

Many drivers, such as the keyboard driver, come with your Microsoft Windows operating system. You may need to install drivers if you:

  • Upgrade your operating system.

  • Reinstall your operating system.

  • Connect or install a new device.

Identifying Drivers

If you experience a problem with any device, identify whether the driver is the source of your problem and, if necessary, update the driver.

  1. Click the Windows Vista Start button™ , and right-click Computer.

  2. Click Properties® Device Manager.

NOTE: The User Account Control window may appear. If you are an administrator on the computer, click Continue; otherwise, contact your administrator to continue.
  1. Scroll down the list to see if any device has an exclamation point (a yellow circle with a [!]) on the device icon.

If an exclamation point is next to the device name, you may need to reinstall the driver or install a new driver (see Reinstalling Drivers and Utilities).

Reinstalling Drivers and Utilities

NOTICE: The Dell Support website at support.dell.com and your Drivers and Utilities media provide approved drivers for Dell™ computers. If you install drivers obtained from other sources, your computer might not work correctly.

Using Windows Device Driver Rollback

If a problem occurs on your computer after you install or update a driver, use Windows Device Driver Rollback to replace the driver with the previously installed version.

  1. Click the Windows Vista Start button™ , and right-click Computer.

  2. Click Properties® Device Manager.

NOTE: The User Account Control window may appear. If you are an administrator on the computer, click Continue; otherwise, contact your administrator to enter the Device Manager.
  1. Right-click the device for which the new driver was installed and click Properties.

  2. Click Drivers and click Roll Back Driver.

If Device Driver Rollback does not resolve the problem, then use System Restore (see Restoring Your Operating System)to return your computer to the operating state that existed before you installed the driver.

Using the Drivers and Utilities Media

If using Device Driver Rollback or System Restore does not resolve the problem, then reinstall the driver from the Drivers and Utilities media.

  1. With the Windows desktop displayed, insert the Drivers and Utilities media.

If this is your first time to use the Drivers and Utilities media, go to step 2. If not, go to step 5.

  1. When the Drivers and Utilities installation program starts, follow the prompts on the screen.

  2. When the InstallShield Wizard Complete window appears, remove the Drivers and Utilities media and click Finish to restart the computer.

  3. When you see the Windows desktop, reinsert the Drivers and Utilities media.

  4. At the Welcome Dell System Owner screen, click Next.

NOTE: The Drivers and Utilities media displays drivers only for hardware that came installed in your computer. If you installed additional hardware, the drivers for the new hardware might not be displayed by the Drivers and Utilities media. If those drivers are not displayed, exit the Drivers and Utilities media program. For drivers information, see the documentation that came with the device.

A message appears, stating that the Drivers and Utilities media is detecting hardware in your computer.

The drivers that are used by your computer are automatically displayed in the My Drivers—The Drivers and Utilities media has identified these components in your system window.

  1. Click the driver that you want to reinstall and follow the instructions on the screen.

If a particular driver is not listed, that driver is not required by your operating system.

NOTE: It is recommended, for optimized performance, that you install the hardware drivers in the following order:
  • Desktop System Software

  • Chipset or SMBus driver

  • Processor Driver (if applicable)

  • Video

  • Audio (sound)

  • Input Drivers (keyboard/mouse)

  • Modem (Desktop computers have a separate CD for the modem)

  • Network Card


  • Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows Vista™ Operating System

    If a device is either not detected during the operating system setup or is detected but incorrectly configured, you can use the Hardware Troubleshooter to resolve the incompatibility.

    To start the Hardware Troubleshooter:

    1. Click the Windows Vista Start button™ , and click Help and Support.

    2. Type hardware troubleshooter in the search field and press <Enter> to start the search.

    3. In the search results, select the option that best describes the problem and follow the remaining troubleshooting steps.


    Restoring Your Operating System

    You can restore your operating system in the following ways:

    • System Restore returns your computer to an earlier operating state without affecting data files. Use System Restore as the first solution for restoring your operating system and preserving data files.

    • Dell Factory Image Restore (available in Windows Vista) restores your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased the computer. It permanently deletes all data on the hard drive and removes any programs installed after you received the computer. Use Dell Factory Image Restore only if System Restore did not resolve your operating system problem.

    • If you received an Operating System disc with your computer, you can use it to restore your operating system. However, using the Operating System disc also deletes all data on the hard drive. Use the disc only if System Restore did not resolve your operating system problem.

    Using Microsoft Windows System Restore

    The Windows operating systems provide a System Restore option which allows you to return your computer to an earlier operating state (without affecting data files) if changes to the hardware, software, or other system settings have left the computer in an undesirable operating state. Any changes that System Restore makes to your computer are completely reversible.

    NOTICE: Make regular backups of your data files. System Restore does not monitor your data files or recover them.
    NOTE: The procedures in this document were written for the Windows default view, so they may not apply if you set your Dell™ computer to the Windows Classic view.

    Starting System Restore

    1. Click Start .

    2. In the Start Search box, type System Restore and press <Enter>.

    NOTE: The User Account Control window may appear. If you are an administrator on the computer, click Continue; otherwise, contact your administrator to continue the desired action.
    1. Click Next and follow the remaining prompts on the screen.

    In the event that System Restore did not resolve the issue, you may undo the last system restore.

    Undoing the Last System Restore

    NOTICE: Before you undo the last system restore, save and close all open files and exit any open programs. Do not alter, open, or delete any files or programs until the system restoration is complete.
    1. Click Start .

    2. In the Start Search box, type System Restore and press <Enter>.

    3. Click Undo my last restoration and click Next.

    Using Dell Factory Image Restore

    NOTICE: Using Dell Factory Image Restore permanently deletes all data on the hard drive and removes any programs or drivers installed after you received your computer. If possible, back up the data before using these options. Use Dell Factory Image Restore only if System Restore did not resolve your operating system problem.
    NOTE: Dell Factory Image Restore may not be available in certain countries or on certain computers.

    Use Dell Factory Image Restore (Windows Vista) only as the last method to restore your operating system. This option restore your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased the computer. Any programs or files added since you received your computer—including data files—are permanently deleted from the hard drive. Data files include documents, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, digital photos, music files, and so on. If possible, back up all data before using Factory Image Restore.

    Windows Vista: Dell Factory Image Restore

    Using Factory Image Restore:

    1. Turn on the computer. When the Dell logo appears, press <F8> several times to access the Vista Advanced Boot Options Window.

    2. Select Repair Your Computer.

    The System Recovery Options window appears.

    1. Select a keyboard layout and click Next.

    2. To access the recovery options, log on as a local user. To access the command prompt, type administrator in the User name field, then click OK.

    3. Click Dell Factory Image Restore.

    NOTE: Depending upon your configuration, you may need to select Dell Factory Tools, then Dell Factory Image Restore.

    The Dell Factory Image Restore welcome screen appears.

    1. Click Next.

    The Confirm Data Deletion screen appears.

    NOTICE: If you do not want to proceed with Factory Image Restore, click Cancel.
    1. Click the checkbox to confirm that you want to continue reformatting the hard drive and restoring the system software to the factory condition, then click Next.

    The restore process begins and may take five or more minutes to complete. A message appears when the operating system and factory-installed applications have been restored to factory condition.

    1. Click Finish to reboot the system.

    Using the Operating System Media

    Before You Begin

    If you are considering reinstalling the Windows operating system to correct a problem with a newly installed driver, first try using Windows Device Driver Rollback. See Using Windows Device Driver Rollback. If Device Driver Rollback does not resolve the problem, then use System Restore to return your operating system to the operating state it was in before you installed the new device driver. See Using Microsoft Windows System Restore.

    NOTICE: Before performing the installation, back up all data files on your primary hard drive. For conventional hard drive configurations, the primary hard drive is the first drive detected by the computer.

    To reinstall Windows, you need the following items:

    • Dell™ Operating System media

    • Dell Drivers and Utilities media

    NOTE: The Dell Drivers and Utilities media contains drivers that were installed during the assembly of the computer. Use the Dell Drivers and Utilities media to load any required drivers. Depending on the region from which you ordered your computer, or whether you requested the media, the Dell Drivers and Utilities media and Operating System media may not ship with your computer.

    Reinstalling Windows Vista

    The reinstallation process can take 1 to 2 hours to complete. After you reinstall the operating system, you must also reinstall the device drivers, virus protection program, and other software.

    1. Save and close any open files and exit any open programs.

    2. Insert the Operating System disc.

    3. Click Exit if the Install Windows message appears.

    4. Restart the computer.

    When the DELL logo appears, press <F12> immediately.

    NOTE: If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft® Windows® desktop; then, shut down your computer and try again.
    NOTE: The next steps change the boot sequence for one time only. On the next start-up, the computer boots according to the devices specified in the system setup program.
    1. When the boot device list appears, highlight CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive and press <Enter>.

    2. Press any key to Boot from CD-ROM.

    3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.


    Troubleshooting LCD Display Problems

    LCD display includes a built in self-test which allows the user to diagnose and troubleshoot any issues related to the application.

    To run the Built-in Self-Test

    1. Ensure that the system is switched off.

    2. Press and hold the menu button (see Understanding Windows® SideShow™ and the LCD display).

    3. Power the system on. Release the menu button.

    4. The system enters diagnostic test menu.

    5. Select Run All Test.

    6. When all the tests are completed, the screen displays a Passed (displayed in Green) or Failed (displayed in Red) message.

    7. Note down the error code and the Failed message description and contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).


    Back to Contents Page

     

    Offers subject to change, not combinable with all other offers. Taxes, shipping, handling and other fees apply. U.S. Dell Home new purchases only. Dell reserves the right to cancel orders arising from pricing or other errors.

    snWEB7