Back to Contents Page

Troubleshooting Tools

Dell™ Inspiron™ 530s Series Owner's Manual

  Power Lights

  Beep Codes

  System Messages

  Dell Diagnostics

  Drivers

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

  Restoring Your Operating System



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 (bi-color LED) located on the front of the computer illuminates and blinks or remains solid to indicate different states:


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. One possible beep code consists of repetitive three short beeps. This beep code tells you that the computer encountered a possible motherboard failure.

If your computer beeps during start-up:

  1. Write down the beep code.

  2. Run the Dell Diagnostics to identify a more serious cause (see Dell Diagnostics).


Code
(repetitive short beeps)

Description

Suggested Remedy

1

BIOS checksum failure. Possible motherboard failure.

Contact Dell.

2

No memory modules are detected.

  1. If you have two or more memory modules installed, remove the modules, reinstall one module (see Installing Memory), and then restart the computer. If the computer starts normally, reinstall an additional module. Continue until you have identified a faulty module or reinstalled all modules without error.
  2. If available, install good memory of the same type into your computer (see Installing Memory).
  3. If the problem persists, contact Dell.

3

Possible motherboard failure

Contact Dell.

4

RAM Read/Write failure

  1. Ensure that no special memory module/memory connector placement requirements exist (see Memory Installation Guidelines:).
  2. Verify that the memory modules that you are installing are compatible with your computer (see Memory Installation Guidelines:).
  3. If the problem persists, contact Dell.

5

Real time clock failure. Possible battery failure or motherboard failure.

  1. Replace the battery (see Replacing the Battery).
  2. If the problem persists, contact Dell.

6

Video BIOS Test Failure.

Contact Dell.

7

CPU cache test failure

Contact Dell.


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.

Alert! Previous attempts at booting this system have failed at checkpoint [nnnn]. For help in resolving this problem, please note this checkpoint and contact Dell Technical Support —   The computer failed to complete the boot routine three consecutive times for the same error (see Contacting Dell for assistance).

CMOS checksum error —  Possible motherboard failure or RTC battery low. Replace battery (see Replacing the Battery). See Contacting Dell for assistance.

CPU fan failure  — CPU fan failure. Replace CPU fan (see Processor).

Diskette drive 0 seek failure —  A cable may be loose, or the computer configuration information may not match the hardware configuration. Check cable connections (see Contacting Dell for assistance).

Diskette read failure  —  The floppy disk may be defective or a cable may be loose. Replace floppy disk/check for loose cable connection.

Hard-disk drive failure  — Possible hard disk drive failure during HDD POST. check cables /swap hard disks (see Contacting Dell for assistance).

Hard-disk drive read failure — Possible HDD failure during HDD boot test (see Contacting Dell for assistance).

Keyboard failure  —

Keyboard failure or keyboard cable loose (see Keyboard Problems).

No boot device available — No bootable partition on HDD or Not a bootable floppy in floppy driver, or HDD/Floppy cable loose, or No bootable device exists.

    • If the floppy drive is your boot device, ensure that a bootable floppy disk is in the drive.
    • If the hard drive is your boot device, ensure that the cables are connected and that the drive is installed properly and partitioned as a boot device.
    • Enter system setup and ensure that the boot sequence information is correct (see Entering System Setup).

No timer tick interrupt —  A chip on the system board might be malfunctioning or motherboard failure (see Contacting Dell for assistance).

Non-system disk or disk error   —  Replace the floppy disk with one that has a bootable operating system or remove the floppy disk from drive A and restart the computer.

Not a boot diskette   —  Insert a bootable floppy disk and restart your computer.

USB over current error — Disconnect the USB device. Use external power source for the USB device.

NOTICE - Hard Drive SELF MONITORING SYSTEM has reported that a parameter has exceeded its normal operating range. Dell recommends that you back up your data regularly. A parameter out of range may or may not indicate a potential hard drive problem. —

S.M.A.R.T error, possible HDD failure. This feature can be enabled or disabled in BIOS setup.


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 the Dell Diagnostics

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

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

NOTICE: The Dell Diagnostics works only on Dell™ computers.
NOTE: The Drivers and Utilities media is optional and may not ship with your computer.

See System Setup to review your computer's configuration information, and ensure that the device that you want to test displays in the system setup program and is active.

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

Starting the Dell Diagnostics From Your Hard Drive

The Dell Diagnostics is located on a hidden diagnostic utility partition on your hard drive.

NOTE: If your computer cannot display a screen image, see Contacting Dell.
  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 Boot to Utility Partition 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.
  1. Press any key to start the Dell Diagnostics from the diagnostics utility partition on your hard drive.

Starting the 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.

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 devices in the system. This typically can take 10 to 20 minutes.

Extended Test

Performs a thorough check of devices in the system. This typically can take 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.

  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 may indicate requirements for running the test.

Configuration

Displays your hardware configuration for the selected device.

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 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 Drivers and Utilities media (if applicable).


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:

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 Start , and right-click Computer.

  2. Click Properties® Device Manager.

NOTE: The User Account Control (located to the left under Tasks window) may appear. If you are an administrator on the computer, click Continue; otherwise, contact your administrator to continue.

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.

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start® My Computer® Properties® Hardware® Device Manager.

  2. Right-click the device for which the new driver was installed and click Properties.

  3. Click the Drivers tab® Roll Back Driver.

Windows Vista:

  1. Click Start , 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 the Drivers tab® Roll Back Driver.

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

Using the Drivers and Utilities media

If using Device Driver Rollback or System Restore (Restoring Your Operating System) 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 media 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.

Manually Reinstalling Drivers

After extracting the driver files to your hard drive as described in the previous section, do the following:

  1. Click Start , 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. Double-click the type of device for which you are installing the driver (for example, Audio or Video).

  2. Double-click the name of the device for which you are installing the driver.

  3. Click the Driver tab® Update Driver® Browse my computer for driver software.

  4. Click Browse and browse to the location to which you previously copied the driver files.

  5. When the name of the appropriate driver appears, click the name of the driver® OK® Next.

  6. Click Finish and restart your computer.


Troubleshooting Software and Hardware Problems in the Microsoft Windows® XP and 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:

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start® Help and Support.

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

  3. In the Fix a Problem section, click Hardware Troubleshooter.

  4. In the Hardware Troubleshooter list, select the option that best describes the problem and click Next to follow the remaining troubleshooting steps.

Windows Vista:

  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.

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:

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

Windows XP:

NOTICE: Before you restore the computer to an earlier operating state, save and close any 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® All Programs® Accessories® System Tools® System Restore.

  2. Click either Restore my computer to an earlier time or Create a restore point.

  3. Click Next and follow the remaining on-screen prompts.

Windows Vista:

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

  2. In the 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.

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start® All Programs® Accessories® System Tools® System Restore.

  2. Click Undo my last restoration and click Next.

Windows Vista:

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

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

  3. Click Undo my last restoration and click Next.

Enabling System Restore

NOTE: Windows Vista does not disable System Restore; regardless of low disk space. Therefore, the steps below apply only to Windows XP.

If you reinstall Windows XP with less than 200 MB of free hard-disk space available, System Restore is automatically disabled.

To see if System Restore is enabled:

  1. Click Start® Control Panel® Performance and Maintenance® System.

Click the System Restore tab and ensure that Turn off System Restore is unchecked.

Using Dell PC Restore

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

Use Dell PC Restore by Symantec only as the last method to restore your operating system.
PC Restore restores 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 PC Restore.

To use PC Restore:

  1. Turn on the computer.

During the boot process, a blue bar with www.dell.com appears at the top of the screen.

  1. Immediately upon seeing the blue bar, press <Ctrl><F11>.

If you do not press <Ctrl><F11> in time, let the computer finish starting, and then restart the computer again.

NOTICE: If you do not want to proceed with PC Restore, click Reboot in the following step.
  1. On the next screen that appears, click Restore.

  2. On the next screen, click Confirm.

The restore process takes approximately 6–10 minutes to complete.

  1. When prompted, click Finish to reboot the computer.

NOTE: Do not manually shut down the computer. Click Finish and let the computer completely reboot.
  1. When prompted, click Yes.

The computer restarts. Because the computer is restored to its original operating state, the screens that appear, such as the End User License Agreement, are the same ones that appeared the first time the computer was turned on.

  1. Click Next.

The System Restore screen appears and the computer restarts.

  1. After the computer restarts, click OK.

Removing Dell PC Restore

NOTICE: Removing Dell PC Restore from the hard drive permanently deletes the PC Restore utility from your computer. After you have removed Dell PC Restore, you will not be able to use it to restore your computer's operating system.

Dell PC Restore enables you to restore your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased your computer. It is recommended that you do not remove PC Restore from your computer, even to gain additional hard-drive space. If you remove PC Restore from the hard drive, you cannot ever recall it, and you will never be able to use PC Restore to return your computer's operating system to its original state.

To remove PC Restore:

  1. Log on to the computer as a local administrator.

  2. In Windows Explorer, go to c:\dell\utilities\DSR.

  3. Double-click the filename DSRIRRemv2.exe.

NOTE: If you do not log on as a local administrator, a message appears stating that you must log on as administrator. Click Quit, and then log on as a local administrator.
NOTE: If the partition for PC Restore does not exist on your computer's hard drive, a message appears stating that the partition was not found. Click Quit; there is no partition to delete.
  1. Click OK to remove the PC Restore partition on the hard drive.

  2. Click Yes when a confirmation message appears.

The PC Restore partition is deleted and the newly available disk space is added to the free space allocation on the hard drive.

  1. Right-click Local Disk (C) in Windows Explorer, click Properties, and verify that the additional disk space is available as indicated by the increased value for Free Space.

  2. Click Finish to close the PC Restore Removal window.

  3. Restart the computer.

Using the Operating System CD

Before You Begin

If you are considering a reinstall of the Windows Vista operating system to correct a problem with a newly installed driver, first try using Windows Vista 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:

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

Reinstalling Windows® XP or 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.

NOTICE: The Operating System CD provides options for reinstalling Windows XP or Windows Vista. The options will overwrite files and possibly affect programs installed on your hard drive. Therefore, do not reinstall Windows Vista unless a Dell technical support representative instructs you to do so.
  1. Save and close any open files and exit any open programs.

  2. Insert the Operating System CD. Click Exit if the Install Windows message appears.

  3. Restart the computer. Press <F12> immediately after the DELL™ logo appears.

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.


Back to Contents Page