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Dell laptop has power but won't boot up - please help


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#1
JAFL

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I have a 2006 Dell E1505 laptop (with Windows XP Home Edition). The computer has been running fine lately (no viruses, no bsods, etc.). This morning, after leaving the computer in standby mode, I came back about an hour later to a computer that would not come back into operation. After turning it off and trying to restart it, it shows there is power to the system, but the hard drive doesn't work (the hard drive light flickers just once after I hit the power button, then goes dark). The power source is working fine.

I've tried rebooting and hitting F2 or F1 multiple times to try to get into BIOS and reset the boot order so I could use a recovery CD, but I can't even get into BIOS. Literally nothing ever comes up on the monitor.

If anyone can help I'd really appreciate it. I'm a novice with computer repair, so anything that involves physically taking the computer apart may be over my head, however I'm willing to give it a shot if it's not too complicated.
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#2
paws

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Hi JAFL, Sorry to hear of the problem with your Dell....this is not looking good :(

There are some things you can try:
1 Hold down the power on button for 20 seconds, then release it
2 Wait 30 seconds
3 Push the power on button once(just a push..dont hold it down this time)
Any improvement?
if not then:
4 Make sure that all CD/DVD drives are empty, all flash drives removed,all USB ports and any other that your machine has are empty..remove any camera cards etcand your Ethernet cable and then disconnect any other wires from the laptop so that nothing is connected, no power cord even.
5 Turn the computer over so you are looking at its underside and remove the main battery.
6 Turn it right way up and reconnect just the power cable....now repeat steps 1 2 and 3 above.
any improvement?
Will your machine boot from a bootable CD/DVD?

If you still can't even get into the BIOS or cannot see any signs of life, no fan running, no vibration or slight noise indication the hard drive is spinning up, then its probably bad news.... is it still under guarantee, warranty, service agreement or do you have any protection in your jurisdiction under consumer protection laws?

Regards
paws
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#3
JAFL

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Hi JAFL, Sorry to hear of the problem with your Dell....this is not looking good :(

There are some things you can try:
1 Hold down the power on button for 20 seconds, then release it
2 Wait 30 seconds
3 Push the power on button once(just a push..dont hold it down this time)
Any improvement?
if not then:
4 Make sure that all CD/DVD drives are empty, all flash drives removed,all USB ports and any other that your machine has are empty..remove any camera cards etcand your Ethernet cable and then disconnect any other wires from the laptop so that nothing is connected, no power cord even.
5 Turn the computer over so you are looking at its underside and remove the main battery.
6 Turn it right way up and reconnect just the power cable....now repeat steps 1 2 and 3 above.
any improvement?
Will your machine boot from a bootable CD/DVD?

If you still can't even get into the BIOS or cannot see any signs of life, no fan running, no vibration or slight noise indication the hard drive is spinning up, then its probably bad news.... is it still under guarantee, warranty, service agreement or do you have any protection in your jurisdiction under consumer protection laws?

Regards
paws


Paws, thanks for your reply. I've tried steps 1-5 and the problem remains. I've also tried booting to a boot disk, but it doesn't work as nothing ever comes up on the monitor. I've even tried an external monitor with no luck. The power light does come on and stay on, and it sounds like the fan runs, but that's about it. The hard drive light flickers once on startup attempts before going dark. Unfortunately it's an old computer and out of warranty.
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#4
Macboatmaster

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I do not think this will work but it is worth a try.
Reconnect the external monitor
Boot the computer
Press Fn and F8 together to switch display to external monitor see this where you MAY find more help.
http://support.dell....y.htm#wp1059344

On that link I have sent you, you will notice at the top of the page the entry in blue - back to contents page.



However post back the results please and either my colleague paws who is offline at present or myself or indeed both of us will continue to try, but as said it is not looking that good. If it will not even post that is the first screen with the information - before it changes to the Welcome screen, then it may be something that cannot be solved online, if indeed at all, however there is more to try.
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#5
JAFL

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I do not think this will work but it is worth a try.
Reconnect the external monitor
Boot the computer
Press Fn and F8 together to swtich display to external monitor see this where you MAY find more help.
http://support.dell....y.htm#wp1059344

On that link I have sent you, you will notice at the top of the page the entry in blue - back to contents page.



However post back the results please and either my colleague paws who is offline at present or myself or indeed both of us will continue to try, but as said it is not looking that good. If it will not even post that is the first screen with the information - before it changes to the Welcome screen, then it may be something that cannot be solved online, if indeed at all, however there is more to try.


Ok just tried this but no luck. I also reset the CMOS, but no luck. Another board suggested reseating the cpu, but that's a lot of work. Not sure what else to try. Some other boards have also suggested it's probably the graphics chip or motherboard, in which case I'd probably just get a new computer.
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#6
Macboatmaster

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Thanks for replying.
May I point out that there is no benefit in quoting the whole of each post that is made to you.
Please only quote something you wish to highlight for the purpose of asking a question or pointing some particular aspect out.

Until you can establish if there is any chance whatsoever of solving this - in an online situation you are going to have to progress to testing that hard drive.

On the E1505 the matter is easier than on many


http://support.dell....e.htm#wp1123687

Take the drive out, find a friend, acquaintance, or see how much the local computer shop will charge to place the drive in a drive caddy, connect it to another computer see if it can be accessed and tested with a drive check utility and go from there.


Another attempt to start analysing the problem, maybe to take that drive out and see if you then get any onscreen message.,
when powering on.

Also my advice is to take the battery out and run ONLY on mains power at the moment in case the battery is now flat, as a totally flat laptop battery can also cause problems.

That said, so can the AC power adaptor, but it is a question of trying one and then the other.
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#7
JAFL

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Actually I would think it would be easier for other readers of this or any other thread to follow which response is for which post by using the quotes, anyway....


Would a SATA drive enclosure/reader accomplish the same thing as having a tech test the hard drive? If I could still pull data from the drive, would that indicate it's working still?
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#8
Macboatmaster

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It maybe slightly easier for persons merely browsing the site, but as usually one post is followed by one reply, it is unnecessary. Thank you.

It is not a question of having a tech test the drive.

It is a question of placing the drive in a situation where we can see if the hardware of the laptop, apart from the HDD , is causing the problem, or if it is the drive itself.

Once YOU ascertain from your enquiries if YOU can borrow the means to this, or take the drive to a freinds house etc. Then if it can be accessed from another computer, simply as you would access a slave drive, then a check can be run on the drive using either Windows chkdsk. A disk check utility such as provided by Seagate or WD, which will in its base form run on any drive, or the manufacturers specific utlility once we know what make the drive is. AND yes it may then if the drive will spin be possible to recover your data

Your first step is to take it out and see if you can get any screen message.
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#9
JAFL

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Unfortunately without paying a tech to test the drive, I have no other access. However, I was going to purchase a sata drive docking station anyway, which is why I wondered if that would still allow me to run the chkdsk or other utility. I've already tried starting the computer without the hdd and received no message or beeping. The only thing different that occurred was a couple of lights above the keyboard continuously flashed on and off.
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#10
Macboatmaster

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I think we may be at cross purposes.
I am sorry if it is me that has not explained the situation properly.

Unfortunately without paying a tech to test the drive, I have no other access


It is not a question of you needing a Tech to test the drive.

You say you were thinking of purchasing a caddy/enclosure or docking station.
http://www.amazon.co...=&hvptwo==

If you purchase a 2.5 SATA drive enclosure, just be careful you buy one that will fit that drive. Some 2.5 enclosures are slimline. and will not take drives over a certain HEIGHT.

If the screen never even displays the post message, then you are going to have to investigate further. See the link I sent you for the manual for that computer

It could be RAM, the Power, the motherboard itself etc. RAM is the next aspect to try

Worthy of investigation is to ensure you do not have one of the keys stuck on the keypad, although from what I have read on your previous posts, it seems unlikely.

Clearly YOU cannot use the disc you purchased last year I think it was from Dell until you can get a boot.
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#11
JAFL

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If RAM is my next step, I've already tried the typical tests on that: Tried booting with only one and not the other (and vice versa), tried booting with them swapped, tried booting with no ram (no beeping or messages occurred). I don't have access to someone's else's compatible ram, so without buying new ram, not sure what else I can do on that.
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#12
Macboatmaster

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Well, you will appreciate that I have no way of knowing WHAT you have tried.
I only have what you tell me to work with.

From our initial tests it appears this is a power or motherboard issue.

I regret to inform you that I do not think we wil be able to progress further through the medium of this forum.

The complete lack of any visible sign that the computer is progressing to any boot situation tends to support that.

Boot with battery ONLY, see if the battery is FLAT - ie no response whatsoever.

If that is the case it may be a power issue, the fact the power supply connection to the laptop is indicated as supplying a given voltage and you then check that with a meter and it does indeed register that voltage, does not mean that it supplies that voltage under load.

If possible and the battery is FLAT then, if by chance you can have this charged that MAY be a way forward, or alternatively, if you could have the power supply tested.

Either way it requires test equipment and/or a certain dismantling of the laptop to enable real progress.

Good luck and if you have ANY further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
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#13
JAFL

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Well, you will appreciate that I have no way of knowing WHAT you have tried.
I only have what you tell me to work with.


I wasn't implying that you did, at least I don't think I was. Although that would be quite impressive if you could. What am I thinking now? Sorry, I digress....

From our initial tests it appears this is a power or motherboard issue.


This is the consensus I am getting from other boards after performing a myriad of tests.

Boot with battery ONLY, see if the battery is FLAT - ie no response whatsoever.

If that is the case it may be a power issue, the fact the power supply connection to the laptop is indicated as supplying a given voltage and you then check that with a meter and it does indeed register that voltage, does not mean that it supplies that voltage under load.


I was advised to check with a meter from others as well, however I have two ac power adapters which I've used in the past year, both of which have always worked fine. The odds that BOTH of them are supplying insufficient power is highly unlikely. Although I do have a multimeter so I may just go ahead and test them for giggles.

If possible and the battery is FLAT then, if by chance you can have this charged that MAY be a way forward, or alternatively, if you could have the power supply tested.



The battery is definitely flat, it hasn't held a charge for more than 5 minutes for the past 4 years. Although currently it probably still has enough juice for a boot.
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#14
Macboatmaster

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Good Luck with it.

This is the consensus I am getting from other boards after performing a myriad of tests.


I was advised to check with a meter from others as well

It appears that whoever these other boards and forums are, we are all of the same mind.

No further progress can be made here, as I see it.

Please do if you have the time, let us know how you progress.
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#15
paws

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For information:
JAFL indicates he also has topics on the same issue...here:

http://computerhelpf...ser/20100-jafl/

http://www.computerf...lease-help.html

http://www.bleepingc...ml/page__st__15

http://www.computerf...elp-216206.html

http://forums.majorg...d.php?p=1721322

http://www.cybertech...ad.php?t=218595

http://www.techsuppo...run-634165.html
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