Knowledge Base

How to Use and Troubleshoot the Vostro 3800


Table of Contents:

  1. The Computer Fails to Start or There is No Video
  2. The Computer Stops Responding
  3. Microsoft Windows Crashes, Stops, Restarts or a Blue Screen Appears
  4. Dell PC Diagnostics Quick Test and SupportAssist for PCs and Tablets
  5. Vostro 3800 Specifications
  6. Port Locations
  7. Resetting the System Setup (BIOS) to its Default Settings
  8. How to Open the Chassis
  9. How to Remove and Re-insert the Components
  10. Wireless Networking How-to's and Troubleshooting
  11. Mouse, Keyboard or Touchpad Not Working Correctly
  12. Computer Component is not Recognized
  13. Vostro 3800 Drivers
  14. Dell Windows Support Center

This article provides information on using and troubleshooting your Vostro 3800.

The Computer Fails to Start or There is No Video

If you experience a situation in which the computer does not start at all or if it does turn on (lights turn on and fans are spinning), but the computer does not show any image, locate and look at the power button. Refer to (Table 1) to help troubleshoot the issue with your computer.

You may also see an error on the monitor, refer to (Table 2) to help troubleshoot the issue with your computer.

Power Button LED Blinking Code
LED Code Possible Cause Troubleshooting Steps
Off The computer is either turned off or is not receiving power
  • Re-seat the power cable in the power connector on the back of the computer and the electrical outlet.
  • If the computer is plugged into a power strip, ensure the power strip is plugged into an electrical outlet and is turned on. Also, bypass power protection devices, power strips, and power extension cables to verify the computer turns on properly.
  • Ensure the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device, such as a lamp.
Blinking Amber Computer fails to complete POST or processor failure.
  • Remove and then reinstall any cards.
  • Remove and then reinstall the graphics card, if applicable.
  • Ensure the power cable is connected to the motherboard and processor.
Steady Amber Computer is in standby or this is a computer fault error condition, including the power supply. Only the +5VSB rail on the power supply is working correctly.
  • Press the power button to bring the computer out of standby mode.
  • Ensure all power cables are securely connected to the system board.
  • Ensure the main power cable and front panel cable are securely connected to the system board.
Steady White The computer is fully functional and in the On state. If the computer is not responding, do the following:
  • Ensure the display is connected and turned on.
Table 1: LED Blinking Code
Note: For No Memory/RAM Detected - The power button LED blinks 2 times followed by a pause (approximately 3 seconds interval), blink 2 times, pause etc. This pattern continues until the computer is powered off.
System Messages
System Message Description
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.
System fan failure Possible fan failure.
CPU fan failure CPU fan has failed.
Hard-disk drive failure Possible hard disk drive failure during POST.
Hard-disk drive read failure Possible hard disk drive failure during HDD boot test.
Keyboard failure Keyboard failure or loose cable. If reseating the cable does not solve the problem, replace the keyboard.
RTC is reset, BIOS Setup default has been loaded. Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility. RTC Jumper may be wrongly set.
No boot device available No bootable partition on hard disk drive, the hard disk drive cable is loose, or no bootable device exists.
  • If the hard drive is your boot device, ensure that the cables are connected and that the drive is installed properly and partitioned as a boot device.
  • Enter system setup and ensure that the boot sequence information is correct.
No timer tick interrupt A chip on the system board might be malfunctioning or motherboard failure.
USB over current error Disconnect the USB device. The USB device needs more power for it to function properly. Use an external power source to connect the USB device, or if the device has two USB cables, connect both of them.
CAUTION - 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 disk drive failure
Table 2: System Messages


When the power button does not blink or there are no messages, perform the following steps:

  1. Disconnect all external peripherals except the keyboard, mouse, and monitor (for desktop systems). Peripherals also include external storage devices such as flash drives, USB devices, cards etc.
  2. Drain Motherboard (MB) power about one minute (until MB lights turn off, which can take from 20 seconds up to one minute).
  3. Remove all the memory sticks and attempt to POST the system using one memory stick at a time on Slot 1. Reinsert all memory sticks, and make sure that their connection to the motherboard is optimal. If after doing this the problem reappears then you may have a defective memory slot on the motherboard.
    Note: For written information on how to remove the cover and to access the memory modules, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manuals. Click the preferred language. Click to view the Owner's Manual. Refer to the section about removing the cover. For the Memory Modules, locate the Removing Memory section and follow the instructions.
  4. Clear the CMOS settings:
    Note: For written information on how to remove the cover and the location of the Password Reset Jumper, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manuals. Click the preferred language. Click to view the Owner's Manual. Refer to the section about removing the cover. For information on the location of the Password Reset Jumper, locate the System-Board Components section for the location of the Password Reset Jumper.
  5. Remove all but the essential components (one memory module only) including, WiFi adapters, TV tuners, Optical Dives (ODD's), Hard Disk Drives (HDD's) and try to turn the computer on.
    Note: For written information on how to remove the cover, remove and insert the components, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manuals. Click the preferred language. View the Owner's Manual. Refer to each section for instructions on removing that component.
  6. Refer to Dell Knowledge Base article Computer Does Not Turn on, or is Stuck on the Dell Logo Screen.
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The Computer Stops Responding

  1. Press the Power button for at least 15 seconds to make sure the computer turns off.
  2. Disconnect all external peripherals including the keyboard, mouse, and external monitor. Peripherals also include external storage devices such as flash drives, USB devices, printers, cards etc.
  3. Press the power button to see if the computer turns on and boots up ok, if not, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article Computer Does Not Turn on, or is Stuck on the Dell Logo Screen.
  4. Download and install SupportAssist. For more information on how to obtain and install SupportAssist, browse to the SupportAssist for PCs and tablets page.
  5. Perform system maintenance on your computer, for more information refer to Dell Knowledge Base article Optimization and Maintenance of Microsoft Windows.
  6. Start attaching devices one at a time and test to see if the computer stops responding.
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Microsoft Windows Crashes, Stops, Restarts or a Blue Screen Appears

This link takes you to the Dell Knowledge Base article Microsoft Windows Crashes, Stops, Restarts or a Blue Screen Appears.

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Dell PC Diagnostics Quick Test and SupportAssist for PCs and Tablets

  • The fastest and easiest way to identify and resolve the most common issues is by using our Dell PC Diagnostics quick test. This will either fix the problem automatically, or it will guide you through the steps to resolve the problem.
    Note: When the diagnostic identifies a failing part, depending on the failing part, we will immediately start the process for a free in-warranty replacement part.

  • SupportAssist, previously called My Dell, provides system updates, detects issues and sends you alerts based on your device, which makes solving and preventing problems easier than ever. This application gives you access to everything you need to take the guesswork out of maintaining PCs and tablets. For more information such as how to obtain and install SupportAssist, browse to the SupportAssist for PCs and tablets page.
  • When the computer cannot access the Internet, you can run the built-in diagnostics on your computer, for more information, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, Run Built-In Diagnostics (ePSA) for Your System.
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Vostro 3800 Specifications

For information on the Vostro 3800 Specifications, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manual.

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Port Locations

For information on the port locations, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manual.

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Resetting the System Setup (BIOS) to its Default Settings

Option 1:
  1. Reboot the computer.
  2. When prompted during POST, press the <F2> key to enter the setup screen.
  3. On the System Setup screen, press the <Right Arrow> key to move to the Exit menu.
  4. Press the <Down Arrow> key until Load Setup Defaults is highlighted, and press the <Enter> key.
  5. Press the <Enter> key on Yes to Restore Defaults and restart the computer.
Option 2:
  1. Reboot the computer.
  2. When prompted during POST, press the <F2> key to enter the setup screen.
  3. On the System Setup screen, press the <F9> key.
  4. Press the <Enter> key on Yes to Load Optimized Defaults and restart the computer.
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How to Open the Chassis

For information on how to open the cover, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manual. Click the preferred language. Click to view the Owner's Manual. Refer to the section about removing the cover.

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How to Remove and Re-insert the Components

For written information on how to remove the cover, remove and insert the components, browse to the Vostro 3800 Online Manual. Click the preferred language. View the Owner's Manual. Refer to each section for instructions on removing that component.

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Wireless Networking How-to's and Troubleshooting

For how-to's and troubleshooting information on wireless networking please visit the Dell Networking and Wireless Support Center.

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Mouse, Keyboard or Touchpad Not Working Correctly

Refer to the following Dell Knowledge Base articles for information on how to use or troubleshoot mouse, keyboard or touchpad issues.

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Computer Component is not Recognized

SupportAssist, previously called My Dell, detects issues and sends you alerts based on your device, This application gives you access to everything you need to take the guesswork out of maintaining PCs and tablets. For more information on how to obtain and install SupportAssist, browse to the SupportAssist for PCs and tablets page.

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Vostro 3800 Drivers

For information on the Vostro 3800 drivers available, browse to the Vostro 3800 Driver Page.

This article provides information on how to download drivers for the Vostro 3800 computer, "How to Download and Install a Driver".

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Dell Windows Support Center

This link takes you to the Dell Windows Support Center. Select the Operating System you need help with.

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Article ID: SLN289095

Last Date Modified: 05/03/2017 02:34 PM


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