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Troubleshooting

Dell™ Vostro™ 420/220/220s Service Manual

  Tools

  Dell Diagnostics

  Solving Problems

  Dell Technical Update Service

  Dell Support Utility



Tools

Power Lights

CAUTION: Before working inside your computer, read the safety information that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

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

Beep Codes

Your computer may emit a series of beeps during start-up if the monitor cannot display errors or problems. For example, one possible beep code may consist of three short, repeated beeps indicating that the computer has encountered a possible system board failure.

If your computer emits a series of beeps during start-up:

  1. Write down the beep code.

  2. Run the Dell Diagnostics to further identify the problem. (see Dell Diagnostics).

Code (repetitive short beeps)

Description

Suggested Resolution

1

BIOS checksum failure. Possible system board failure.

Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

2

No memory modules are detected.

  • If two or more memory modules are installed, remove the modules (see Replacing or Adding a Memory Module), and then reinstall one module 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 Replacing or Adding a Memory Module).
  • If the problem persists, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

3

Possible system board failure.

Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

4

RAM Read/Write failure.

5

Real time clock failure. Possible battery or system board failure.

6

Video BIOS Test Failure.

Contact Dell (see Contacting 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).

CMOS checksum error — Possible system board failure or RTC battery low. Replace the battery (see Replacing the Coin-Cell Battery).

CPU fan failure — Processor heat sink/fan failure. Replace the heat sink/fan assembly (see Processor Heat Sink/Fan Assembly).

Hard-disk read failure — Possible hard drive failure during hard drive boot test.

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

No boot device available — The system cannot detect a bootable device or partition.

No timer tick interrupt — A chip on the system board might be malfunctioning or system board failure (see System Setup Program for assistance).

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 hard drive failure. This feature can be enabled or disabled in BIOS setup.

Hardware Troubleshooter

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.

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.

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


Dell Diagnostics

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, read the safety information that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

When to Use the Dell Diagnostics

If you experience a problem with your computer, perform the checks in this section, and then run the Dell Diagnostics before contacting Dell for assistance.

Start the Dell Diagnostics from your hard drive or from the Drivers and Utilities disc provided with your computer.

NOTE: The Drivers and Utilities disc is optional and may not ship with your computer.
NOTE: The Dell Diagnostics only operate on Dell computers.

Starting the Dell Diagnostics From Your Hard Drive

Before running the Dell Diagnostics, enter the system setup program (see System Setup Program) to review your computer's configuration information, and ensure that the device you want to test is displayed in the system setup program and is active.

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

NOTE: If your computer does not display a screen image, contact Dell (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.

NOTE: Keyboard failure may result when a key is held down for extended periods of time. To avoid possible keyboard failure, press and release <F12> in even intervals to open the Boot Device Menu.

If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft Windows desktop, and then shut down your computer and try again.

  1. Use the up- and down-arrow keys to select Diagnostics from the boot menu and then press <Enter>.

NOTE: If you see a message stating that no diagnostics utility partition has been found, run the Dell Diagnostics from your Drivers and Utilities disc (see Starting the Dell Diagnostics From the Drivers and Utilities Disc).
  1. Press any key to start the Dell Diagnostics from the diagnostics utility partition on your hard drive.

  2. Press <Tab> to select Test System and then press <Enter>.

NOTE: It is recommended that you select Test System to run a complete test on your computer. Selecting Test Memory initiates the extended memory test, which can take up to thirty minutes or more to complete. When the test completes, record the test results and then press any key to return to the previous menu.
  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 the Dell Diagnostics and restart the computer.

Starting the Dell Diagnostics From the Drivers and Utilities Disc

Before running the Dell Diagnostics, enter the system setup program (see System Setup Program) to review your computer's configuration information, and ensure that the device you want to test is displayed in the system setup program and is active.

  1. Insert the Drivers and Utilities disc into the optical drive.

  2. Restart your computer.

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

NOTE: Keyboard failure may result when a key is held down for extended periods of time. To avoid possible keyboard failure, press and release <F12> in even intervals to open the Boot Device Menu.

If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft Windows desktop, and then shut down your computer and try again.

  1. When the boot device list appears, use the up- or down- arrow keys to highlight CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive then press <Enter>.

NOTE: Using the one-time boot menu changes the boot sequence for the current boot only. Upon restart, the computer boots according to the boot sequence specified in the system setup program.
  1. Press any key to confirm that you want to start from the CD/DVD.

If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft Windows desktop, and then shut down your computer and try again.

  1. Type 1 to Run the 32 Bit Dell Diagnostics.

  2. At the Dell Diagnostics Menu, type 1 to select Dell 32-bit Diagnostics for Resource CD (graphical user interface).

  3. Press <Tab> to select Test System and then press <Enter>.

NOTE: It is recommended that you select Test System to run a complete test on your computer. Selecting Test Memory initiates the extended memory test, which can take up to thirty minutes or more to complete. When the test completes, record the test results and then press any key to return to the previous menu.
  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 the Dell Diagnostics and restart the computer.

  3. Remove the Drivers and Utilities disc from the optical drive.

Dell Diagnostics Main Menu

After the Dell Diagnostics loads the following menu appears:

Option

Function 

Test Memory

Run the stand-alone memory test

Test System

Run system diagnostics

Exit

Exit the diagnostics

Press <Tab> to select the test you want to run and then press <Enter>.

NOTE: It is recommended that you select Test System to run a complete test on your computer. Selecting Test Memory initiates the extended memory test, which can take up to thirty minutes or more to complete. When the test completes, record the test results and then press any key to return to this menu.

After Test System is selected, the following menu appears:

Option

Function 

Express Test

Performs a quick test of devices in the system. This typically can take 10 to 20 minutes.

NOTE: The Express Test requires no interaction on your part. Run Express Test first to increase the possibility of tracing a problem quickly.

Extended Test

Performs a thorough check of devices in the system. This typically can take an hour or more.

NOTE: The Extended Test periodically requires your input to answer specific questions.

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.

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

For any problem 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 exactly as it appears and follow the instructions on the screen. If you cannot resolve the problem, contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

NOTE: When contacting Dell support, have your Service Tag ready. The Service Tag for your computer is located at the top of each test screen.

The following tabs provide additional information for tests run from the Custom Test or Symptom Tree option:

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 the hardware configuration for the selected device.

The Dell Diagnostics obtains configuration information for all devices from the system setup program, memory, and various internal tests, and displays the information in the device list in the left pane of the screen.

NOTE: The device list may not display the names of all 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.


Solving Problems

Follow these tips when troubleshooting your computer:

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.

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 that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

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 Coin-Cell Battery). If the battery still does not work properly, contact Dell at support.dell.com.

Drive Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

Ensure that Microsoft® Windows® Recognizes the drive —

Windows XP:

Windows Vista®:

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.

Clean the drive or disk — See "Cleaning Your Computer" in the Setup and Quick Reference Guide.

Check the cable connections

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Hardware Troubleshooter.

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 —

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 — Search for the keyword standby in Windows Help and Support for information on power management modes.

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.

Error Messages

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

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:

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 CD or DVD.

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 — Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).

IEEE 1394 Device Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

NOTE: Your computer supports only IEEE 1394a standard.

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

Ensure that the IEEE 1394 device is enabled in system setup — See System Setup Program for assistance.

Ensure that the IEEE 1394 device is recognized by Windows —

Windows XP:

  1. Click Start and click Control Panel.
  2. Under Pick a Category, click Performance and Maintenance® System® System Properties ® Hardware® Device Manager.

Windows Vista:

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

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

If you have problems with a Dell IEEE 1394 device — Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell). 

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

Keyboard Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

Check the keyboard cable —  

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

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Hardware Troubleshooter.

Lockups and Software Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

The computer does not start up

Check the diagnostic lights — See Power 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 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 —

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), and then restart your computer.

Other software problems

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

Back up your files immediately

Use a virus-scanning program to check the hard drive, 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 that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

If you receive an insufficient memory message —  

If you experience other memory problems —  

Mouse Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

Check the mouse cable —

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, and then 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

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Hardware Troubleshooter.

Network Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

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 "About Your Computer" in the Setup and Quick Reference Guide), 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 Hardware Troubleshooter.

Power Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

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

If the power light is blinking amber, beep code 3 — The computer is receiving electrical power, but a system board failure may exist.

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

Eliminate interference — Some possible causes of interference are:

Printer Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.
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 —  

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 information on reinstalling the printer driver.

Scanner Problems

CAUTION: Before you begin any of the procedures in this section, follow the safety instructions that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.
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 —  

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.
  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 that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.

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

Run the Hardware Troubleshooter — See Hardware Troubleshooter.

No sound from headphones

Check the headphone cable connection — Ensure that the headphone cable is securely inserted into the headphone connector (see Inside View of Your 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 that shipped with your computer. For additional safety best practices information, see the Regulatory Compliance Homepage at www.dell.com/regulatory_compliance.
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 —  

Check the monitor power light —

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 Power 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 —  

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.

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.

Only part of the display is readable

Connect an external monitor —

  1. Shut down your computer and connect an external monitor to the computer.

  2. Turn on the computer and the monitor and adjust the monitor brightness and contrast controls.

If the external monitor works, the computer display or video controller may be defective. Contact Dell (see Contacting Dell).


Dell Technical Update Service

The Dell Technical Update service provides proactive e-mail notification of software and hardware updates for your computer. The service is free and can be customized for content, format, and how frequently you receive notifications.

To enroll for the Dell Technical Update service, go to support.dell.com/technicalupdate.


Dell Support Utility

The Dell Support Utility is installed on your computer and available from the Dell Support, , icon on the taskbar or from the Start button. Use this support utility for self-support information, software updates, and health scans of your computing environment.

Accessing the Dell Support Utility

Access the Dell Support Utility from the icon on the taskbar or from the Start menu.

If the Dell Support icon does not appear in your taskbar:

  1. Click Start® All Programs® Dell Support® Dell Support Settings.

  2. Ensure that the Show icon on the taskbar option is checked.

NOTE: If the Dell Support Utility is not available from the Start menu, go to support.dell.com and download the software.

The Dell Support Utility is customized for your computing environment.

The icon in the taskbar functions differently when you click, double-click, or right-click the icon.

Clicking the Dell Support Icon

Click or right-click the icon to perform the following tasks:

Double-Clicking the Dell Support Icon

Double-click the icon to manually check your computing environment, view frequently asked questions, access the help file for the Dell Support Utility, and view Dell Support settings.

For more information about the Dell Support Utility, click the question mark (?) at the top of the Dell Support screen.


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