Dell won't boot

Posted on 2010-01-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-10
 I have a dell dimension desktop that won't boot.  The owner said before it stopped booting the fan started running REALLY fast.  When I turn it on nothing appears on the monitor.  Not even the bios.  I tried:

switching monitors
taking out one ram chip
installing a new video card
replacing the power (this caused the fan to spin really fast again)

Sometimes when I boot it I hear 4 or 5 long beeps.  

Question by:rickBergami
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Expert Comment

ID: 26299795
hi Rick,
May I know what is your system model?

Expert Comment

by:Brad Sims, CCNA
ID: 26299948
You mentioned trying to take out one RAM stick.  Did you try reseating the RAM?  That's the first thing I try when there is a video issue.

LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 26300138
Can you determine a pattern in the beeps?  That can point you to the problem.  Does this model (?) have the ABCD lights?  Are any on and what is the pattern?

Reseating the processor can resolve no-video issues too, but I would explore other options (memory, power, etc.) first.
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Assisted Solution

Crolack earned 400 total points
ID: 26301304
Listen carefully to the beeps and look up the code here:

It will let you know what the failure is.
LVL 92

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 1000 total points
ID: 26302293
i suppose 4-5 beeps point to video card...

this may help also : Here my troubleshooting procedure :
Precautions :
-During connecting or disconnecting devices, be sure to have the AC removed
-Temporarily ground yourself, or use a wrist strap for ESD prevention

-With a new motherboard : verify if all mounting standoffs correspond with the holes in the mobo !!
   Or test the motherboard outside the case, on a wooden  (non conductive) surface
-Clean the system from dust, then  test with the minimum setup - disconnect also all peripherals and network cables :
-What to connect :  only  motherboard + CPU + 1 ram stick, video card, power supply
-Verify that the 4-, 6- or 8-pin CPU Aux power plug is connected
-Verify that the VIDEO card has a power connecter - if yes, connect the power to it !
Now power on  your PC : on boot, do you have a display?
-if NO it is one of the connected: RAM, Power supply , video card or monitor, so if possible swap ram, Power supply, video card or monitor - leaving only motherboard and cpu
-if YES, connect devices till the problem shows
*** note : if the fans are running, this shows there is 12 V present from the Power Supply; this does not mean the PS is ok, you still need 3.3 V and +5 V as well; and other signals.
Additional tests and things to try :
-boot without ram, it should beep; (also, without video card)
-try bios default settings, (if possible) or clear the bios by removing AC and bios battery
-renew the CPU heatpaste, and verify that the heatsink is mounted flat on the CPU, allowing for a good thermal contact
-you can also check the motherboard for bad capacitors as shown here :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague
-you can test parts on another  PC

The term POST refers to the Power On Self Test  procedure - here a link  with a short explanation  http://www.pchell.com/hardware/beepcodes.shtml

Author Comment

ID: 26304515
Hey Guys,
 Thanks to your help I got the computer to boot.  The power supply seemed to be bad and one of the memory modules seemed to be bad.  Is this an surge issue?  Right not it boots up but mouse and keyboard won't work.  I tried replacing them with usb ones but nothing still.  Any final suggestions before I say it is toast?
LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 26304590
You might try clearing the NVRAM - this is a hardware/configuration list that the BIOS keeps.  If this gets corrupted, it can have some pretty erratic behavior.  The NVRAM jumpers are located on the motherboard, but their location vary by model.  If you need assistance finding them, let me know the model you're working with.

Good luck.

Author Comment

ID: 26304632
Sorry the model is dell dimension 8400.  Thanks again!
LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 1000 total points
ID: 26305319
you can also disconnect AC - and remove the bios battery for 1 minute, then put it back and reboot
LVL 33

Assisted Solution

PowerEdgeTech earned 600 total points
ID: 26305555
Page 72 shows you were the jumper is in relation to the board, and page 119 gives  you instructions on clearing the CMOS/NVRAM.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31676452
Thanks guys!

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