Ok - I will admit first thing - I know almost nothing! Nada. I am seriously deficient in Techie genes. I am just a WannaBe. Now that's out of the way, I need help with a Laptop problem. Actually, I have two giving me trouble, ...but the HP is already dead, so I'll concentrate on the Dell, which is barely hanging on to life. It is an Inspiron 1150, about 16 months old, XP. It is a piece of....... lemon. I can't afford a new one now, and as the Screen, System Board, Power Brick, Keyboard and Optical Drive have been replaced, it's probably worth fixing. But, I think it is having Serious POWER/BATTERY problems. The power indicator light (on the lower front lip) blinks madly and the whole unit is acting weird. It is also running HOT. The battery life is much shorter and occasionally the battery will not charge at all. I have noticed that all power problems seem to be less troublesome when the machine has been left in my cold car for a while. The Blink Pattern seems to be a code of four Amber and one Green, then a pause, in rapid sequence. (I have searched Dell's website for its meaning, but can't find anything.) Startup takes as long as 5 minutes; Shutdown hangs up...sometimes until I stomp on the power button in frustration. (I have tried installing Fixes from MS and Kelly's Korner, to no avail.... ) I don't know what to do next. Hate buying a new battery if the brick is bad - or vice versa. Warranty is expired. My newer laptop has died altogether.....which is another subject, for another post. Can any of you Real Techies help me with this? Thanx

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I guess the main question at hand is how old is this computer?
Is it running Windows XP?

Battery problem

I hate to say it, but this happens with every laptop. All batteries go bad.

Startup takes as long as 5 minutes; Shutdown hangs up...sometimes until I stomp on the power button in frustration.

Have you tried cleaning the drive? Also, have you tried defragmenting?

Lastly, have ya ever considered the possibility that you have a virus?

Several things to run:

Please download AVG Anti-Spyware to your Desktop or to your usual Download Folder.http://www.ewido.net/en/download/

Install AVG Anti-Spyware by double clicking the installer.
Follow the prompts. Make sure that Launch AVG Anti-Spyware is checked.
On the main screen under Your Computer's security.
Click on Change state next to Resident shield. It should now change to inactive.
Click on Change state next to Automatic updates. It should now change to inactive.
Next to Last Update, click on Update now. (You will need an active internet connection to perform this)
Wait until you see the Update succesfull message.

Right-click the AVG Anti-Spyware Tray Icon and uncheck Start with Windows.
Right-click the AVG Anti-Spyware Tray Icon and select Exit. Confirm by clicking Yes.

If you are having problems with the updater, you can use this link to manually update AVG.AVG Anti-Spyware manual updates.
Download the Full database to your Desktop or to your usual Download Folder and install it by double clicking the file. Make sure that AVG Anti-Spyware is closed before installing the update.

Close ALL open Windows / Programs / Folders. Please start AVG Anti-Spyware and run a full scan.

Click on Scanner on the toolbar.
Click on the Settings tab.
Under How to act?
Click on Recommended Action and choose Quarantine from the popup menu.

Under How to scan?
All checkboxes should be ticked.

Under Possibly unwanted software:
All checkboxes should be ticked.

Under Reports:
Select Automatically generate report after every scan and uncheck Only if threats were found.

Under What to scan?
Select Scan every file.

Click on the Scan tab.
Click on Complete System Scan to start the scan process.
Let the program scan the machine.
When the scan has finished, follow the instructions below.IMPORTANT : Don't click on the "Save Scan Report" button before you did hit the "Apply all Actions" button.
Make sure that Set all elements to: shows Quarantine (1), if not click on the link and choose Quarantine from the popup menu. (2)
At the bottom of the window click on the Apply all Actions button. (3)

When done, click the Save Scan Report button. (4)
Click the Save Report as button.
Save the report to your Desktop.

Right-click the AVG Anti-Spyware Tray Icon and select Exit. Confirm by clicking Yes.

Reboot in Normal Mode.

Begin by downloading http://www.ccleaner.com/download/downloadpage.aspx?f=3CCleaner, and specifically choosing the most recent version.

Then, follow these steps:

Close all programs so that you are at your desktop.
Double-click on the "My Computer" icon.
Select the "Tools" menu and click "Folder Options".
After the new window appears select the "View" tab.
Place a checkmark in the checkbox labeled "Display the contents of system folders".
Under the "Hidden files and folders" section select the radio button labeled "Show hidden files and folders".
Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled "Hide file extensions for known file types".
Remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled "Hide protected operating system files". 9. Press the "Apply" button and then the "OK" button and shutdown My Computer.
Now your computer is configured to show all hidden files.

Now, install the program. Open it, and choose the 'Options' tab. Inside, hit the 'Custom' tab, and add the following folders (Note: Not all of these files are on every computer. If one of these isn't present, skip it):

C:\Documents and Settings\<Every user listed>\Local Settings\Temp
C:\Documents and Settings\<Every user listed>\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5
C:\Documents and Settings\<Every user listed>\Local Settings\History
C:\Documents and Settings\<Every user listed>\Cookies

After doing this, move back to the 'Cleaner' tab, and inside this, be sure your open to the 'Windows' tab. Inside, check the box labeled 'Custom Files and Folders'.

Next, after following all of these steps, you're ready to scan. Run scans in both tabs. Note: It might take several scans to remove all of the junk.

I work on Dell laptops a lot, and the blinking power light indicator in that sequence usually means that the battery is toast. Sad(and sorry) to say that.

As far as the long boot up time, another thing to try if the above steps from 'Stein don't work is to run the Dell diagnostics. They can take a while to run, but they offer some key insight if the hard drive has gone bad or not. Usually Dell pre-installs this on the hard drive so all you have to do is press F12 and then select the diagnostics from the menu. If they haven't then they should have sent you a disk to run the diagnostics from. Run the diagnostics, and after the short diagnostics, choose Custom Diagnostics and then check the box next to Non-interactive tests only. Run the diagnostics then. This will test all your hardware for you. Not always the most reliable, but will tell you for sure if certain things arn't working properly. Including your hard drive and fan.

As far as for the heat in the comptuer, have a friend of yours who knows a little bit more about computers take off the keyboard bezel and look around the fan to see the amount of dust. If there is a lot, take it out and blow out the remainder with a can of compressed air. If there isn't a lot, and the fan passes diagnostics.....well.....learn to cook dinner with a hot laptop.

Hope this helps you, if not just a little bit.


My name is John, and I am a customer advocate at Dell headquarters. After reading the responses to your post, I would have to agree that they're leading you down the correct path. Were you successful in getting this problem taken care of? If not, I'd be glad to help.

You can contact me here:

attn: John

I'll be happy to help you in any way I can.

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