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Solving Problems

Dell™ Inspiron™ 530s Series Owner's Manual

  Troubleshooting Tips

  Battery Problems

  Drive Problems

  E-Mail, Modem, and Internet Problems

  Error Messages

  Keyboard Problems

  Lockups and Software Problems

  Media Card Reader Problems

  Memory Problems

  Mouse Problems

  Network Problems

  Power Problems

  Printer Problems

  Scanner Problems

  Sound and Speaker Problems

  Video and Monitor Problems


CAUTION: Some of the parts described in this chapter may be replaceable by a certified service technician only and are not custom replaceable.

Troubleshooting Tips

Follow these tips when you troubleshoot your computer:


Battery Problems

CAUTION: There is a danger of a new battery exploding if it is incorrectly installed. Replace the 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 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 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 —

 

Windows XP:

  • Click Start and click My Computer.

Windows Vista®:

  • 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.

Ensure that the drive is enabled in the system setup program — See System Setup.

Test the drive —

 

  • Insert another floppy disk, CD, or DVD to eliminate the possibility that the original one is defective.
  • Insert bootable media 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® XP and Windows Vista® Operating System.

Run the Dell Diagnostics — See Starting the Dell Diagnostics From Your Hard Drive.

CD and DVD drive problems

NOTE: High-speed CD or DVD drive vibration is normal and may cause noise, which does not indicate a defect in the drive or the CD or DVD.
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 a CD/DVD-RW drive

Close other programs — The CD/DVD-RW drive must receive a steady stream of data when writing. If the stream is interrupted, an error occurs. Try closing all programs before you write to the CD/DVD-RW.

Turn off Standby mode in Windows before writing to a CD/DVD-RW disc —

  1. Click Start and then click Control Panel.
  2. Under Pick a category, click Performance and Maintenance.
  3. Under or pick a Control Panel icon, click Power Options.
  4. From the Power Schemes tab, select Always On.

Hard drive problems

Run Check Disk —  

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start and click My Computer.
  2. Right-click Local Disk C:.
  3. Click Properties® Tools® Check Now.
  4. Click Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors and click Start.

Windows Vista:

  1. Click 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.

Check the Windows Mail Express Security Settings — If you cannot open your e-mail attachments:

  1. In Windows Mail, click Tools, click Options, and then click Security.
  2. Click Do not allow attachments to remove the checkmark.

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 feel 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. 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, then 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 m (10 ft) or more in length, try a shorter one.

Run the Modem Helper diagnostics — Click Start , point to All Programs, and then click Modem Helper. Follow the instructions on the screen to identify and resolve modem problems. (Modem Helper is not available on all computers.)

Verify that the modem is communicating with Windows —

 

  1. Click Start and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Printers and Other Hardware.
  3. Click Phone and Modem Options.
  4. Click the Modems tab.
  5. Click the COM port for your modem.
  6. Click Properties, click the Diagnostics tab, and then click 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 Windows Mail 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 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:

Windows XP:

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

Windows Vista:

  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 or CD.

Non-system disk error — Remove the floppy disk from the 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 might have to restart your computer to restore computer resources. If so, run the program that you want to use first.

Operating system not found — Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).


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 Turning Off Your Computer), reconnect the keyboard cable as shown on the setup diagram for your computer, and then restart the computer.
  • Check the cable connector for bent or broken pins and for damaged or frayed cables. Straighten bent pins.
  • Remove keyboard extension cables and connect the keyboard directly to the computer.

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

Ensure that the USB ports are enabled in the system setup program — See System Setup)

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows® XP and 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

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

The computer stops responding

NOTICE: You might 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. Then restart your computer.

A program stops responding

End the program —

 

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

A program crashes repeatedly

NOTE: Software usually includes installation instructions in its documentation or on a floppy disk or CD.

Check the software documentation — If necessary, uninstall and then reinstall the program.

A program is designed for an earlier Microsoft® Windows® operating system

Run the Program Compatibility Wizard —

 

Windows XP:

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

  1. Click Start® All Programs® Accessories®Program Compatibility Wizard®Next.
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen.

Windows Vista:

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. 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, or CDs

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


Media Card Reader Problems

No drive letter is assigned —

When Windows Vista detects the Media Card Reader, the device is automatically assigned a drive letter as the next logical drive after all other physical drives in the system. If the next logical drive after the physical drives is mapped to a network drive, Windows Vista does not automatically assign a drive letter to the Media Card Reader.

To manually assign a drive for the Media Card Reader:

  1. Click Start , right-click Computer and select Manage.
  2. Click Continue if prompted.
  3. Expand the Storage object and select Disk Management.
  4. Right-click the corresponding drive letter in the right pane that needs to be changed.
  5. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  6. Click Change.
  7. From the drop-down list, select the new drive letter assignment for the Media Card Reader.
  8. Click OK to confirm your selection.

NOTE: You must be logged in with Administrator privileges to perform this procedure.

NOTE: The Media Card Reader only appears as a mapped drive when it is connected. Each of the four Media Card Reader slots are mapped to a drive even if no media is installed. If you attempt to access the Media Card Reader when no media is inserted, you are prompted to insert media.

FlexBay device is Disabled —

There is a FlexBay disable option in the BIOS setup that appears only when the FlexBay device is installed. If the FlexBay device is physically installed, but it is not running, check to see if it is enabled in the BIOS setup.


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 Memory Installation Guidelines:).
  • Reseat the memory modules (see Installing 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 Installation Guidelines:) to ensure that your computer is successfully communicating with the memory.
  • Ensure that you are following the memory installation guidelines (see Installing Memory).
  • Your computer supports DDR2 memory. 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.

Clean the mouse — See Mouse for instructions on cleaning the mouse.

Check the mouse cable —  

  1. Remove mouse extension cables, if used, and connect the mouse directly to the computer.
  2. Reconnect the mouse cable as shown on the setup diagram for your computer.

Restart the computer —  

  1. Simultaneously press <Ctrl><Esc> to display the Start menu.
  2. Type u, press the keyboard 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 on the setup diagram for your computer.
  4. Start the computer.

Ensure that the USB ports are enabled in the system setup program — See System Setup.

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

Check the mouse settings —  

Windows XP

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

Windows Vista:

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

Reinstall the mouse driver — See Reinstalling Drivers and Utilities.

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows® XP and 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 both the network connector on the back of the computer and the network port or device.

Check the network lights on the back of the computer — If the link integrity light is off, that indicates no network communication exists. Replace the network cable. For a description of network lights, see Controls and Lights.

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® XP and 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 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. Also 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.

If the power light is steady blue and the computer is not responding — See Beep Codes.

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 steady amber — Power problem or internal device malfunction.

If the power light is blinking amber — The computer is receiving electrical power, a device might be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed.

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


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 (see Setting Up a Printer).

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 —

 

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start® Control Panel® Printers and Other Hardware® View installed printers or fax printers.
  2. If the printer is listed, right-click the printer icon.
  3. Click Properties® Ports. For a parallel printer, ensure that the Print to the following port(s): setting is LPT1 (Printer Port). For a USB printer, ensure that the Print to the following port(s): setting is USB.

Windows Vista:

  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 instructions.


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 it has a locking tab or button.

Restart the computer and try the scanner again

Check the cable connections —  

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

Verify that the scanner is recognized by Microsoft Windows  —  

Windows XP:

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

Windows Vista:

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Hardware and Sound® Scanners and Cameras.

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 some MP3 players overrides the Windows volume setting. If you have been listening to MP3 songs, ensure that you did not turn the player volume 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 correct audio solution is enabled in the BIOS setup program — See System Setup.

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.

Reinstall the sound driver — See Manually Reinstalling Drivers.

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows® XP and 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 System Setup).

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.

Ensure that the correct audio solution is enabled in the BIOS setup program — See System Setup.


Video and Monitor Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions in the Product Information Guide.
NOTE: See the monitor documentation for troubleshooting procedures.

If the screen is blank

Check the monitor cable connection —  

  • Ensure that the graphics cable is connected as shown on the setup diagram for your computer.

If an optional video card is installed, check that the monitor cable is connected to the card, rather than the video connector on the system board.

  • If you are using a graphics extension cable and removing the cable solves the problem, the cable is defective.
  • Swap the computer and monitor power cables to determine whether the power cable is defective.
  • Check the connector 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 off, firmly press the button to ensure that the monitor is turned on. If the power light is lit or blinking, the monitor has power. If the power light is blinking, press a key on the keyboard or move the mouse.

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 Beep Codes.

If the screen is difficult to read

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 at least 60 cm (2 ft) 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 —  

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start® Control Panel® Appearance and Themes.
  2. Click the area you want to change or click the Display icon.
  3. Try different settings for Color quality and Screen resolution.

Windows Vista:

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


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