Hello everyone! This is my first post on this forum, and I wish it was under different circumstances.

The power went out for 2 hours at my house. When it came back on, my wife restarted our Dell computer but didn’t use it. She basically pressed the power button and then left the room. 9 hours later, after I came home from work, I attempted to bring it out of what I assumed was sleep mode, but it wouldn’t respond. I attempted to manually restart it but it never seems to get to the CMOS. It was plugged into a surge protector power strip, and not a cheap one at that.

Here’s the behavior it exhibits when I press the power button.
1) The power light comes on
2) The “checking the HD” light comes on
3) The “checking the CD-ROM” light comes on
4) The “checking the DVD Drive” light comes on
5) Eventually lights 2-4 turn off
6) Nothing else happens

Some of the expected behaviors that don’t occur are:
1) System beeps
2) My scanner warming up by having the scanning light turn on and move
3) Having the Windows XP start up sound activate

Things I’ve tried:
1) Removing the motherboard battery, waiting 10 minutes, and then putting it back in
2) Confirming that the monitor does function
3) Opening the computer case and look for melted parts or a burning odor (neither were found)
4) Confirming that all my connections were solid

Here are the specs of my system:
Machine: Dell Dimension 4600 that is 3 years old
OS: Windows XP SP 2
Ram: 1 Gig
Two Hard Drives, one of which I installed two months ago and was working fine
NVidia Video card with 256 megs of RAM
And I don’t think anything else I have hooked up to it is relevant.

Anyway, I’m kind of lost as to where to go from here. I am fortunate enough to have a second PC that I could, one by one, hook up the extra hardware to and see if any of them fail. But that’s quite a pain to do and would like to try some overall system fixes first. The interesting thing is, my second PC is not plugged into a surge protector and it seems to have come through the power outage unscathed.

Any help would be appreciated.

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All 6 Replies

Hi Dr

First I would get into the BIOS SETUP and check to see that it setup to boot correctly an to the correct drive. It may have gone back to a default setting.

Boot should maybe look at cd rom then HDD-0 or HDD-1 then floppy
Set the HDD that has your XP on it to be first boot device.

Hope this Helps

South Africa

Thanks for the advice. The only problem is I can't seem to get any output to show up on my monitor. In fact, it is not receiving a signal from the video card at all. I was hoping to at least get some system beeps so I could then look up what the potential problem is (number of beeps usually maps to something) but I can't even get that.


Strange as it may seem i had a xp machine that would boot ... the XP logo screen came up (by the way it is a GeForce 5500 256 meg onboard) the screen would then go black and the monitor power would go from green to orange.

I then removed the graphics card and found that the fan had failed on the card and was sticky and tight in places when moved by hand, I then searched my graveyard of old PC's and found an old pentium fan joined the wires and secured them installed the card and booted the system ..... problem solved.

In conclusion

The graphics card was reaching max temp before xp could boot. Do you have an onboard vga ??? if so boot the system to the bios and tell it to look at the on board vga safe and reboot. As it attempts to reboot switch off and remove the graphics card. restart machine. check the fan if you have one or test the card in another machine. Strange what a fan can do toyou !!!

Hope this helps

South Africa

Darren, you were spot on with your assessment. Fortunately I had a spare video card and installed that. And my system booted up just fine. I researched the non-working video card (GeForce FX5500) and found that there is a known issue with the fan going out. Of course the card is out of warranty and that particular model dosen't fall under the company's "warranty for life" program. But at least the problem is solved!

Hi Dr

Glad i could help

South Afriva

on my dell certain diagnostic lights flash if the gfx card is broken

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