Knowledge Base

No POST, No Power, No Video on a Dell Desktop Computer.


Table of Contents:

  1. Definitions.
  2. No Post issues.
  3. No Power issues.
  4. No Video issues.
  5. No Boot issues.
  6. Clear CMOS settings.
  7. Beep Codes & Error Messages.
  8. Dell Diagnostics.
  9. Further Information

No POST, No Power, No Video, No Boot on a Dell Desktop Computer.


1. Definitions

We can define the 4 states of No Post, No Power, No Video & No Boot as follows:

No Post (Power On Self Test)
Once the Power button is pressed, the system will go through a series of internal checks. If any of these checks should fail, the system will not boot to Windows and the diagnostic LED's and or Power button LED should illuminate to indicate the potential problem.

No Power
Once the Power button is pressed, no Diagnostics LED's will illuminate nor the Power button LED, the system will not boot to Windows and there will be no signs of power to the system, keyboard or mouse.

No Video
Once the Power button is pressed, the system will power on and proceed to the POST checks where you may see the Diagnostic LED's illuminate for a short period of time, the Power button LED will illuminate as well as the keyboard LED's but there will be no signs of video on the Screen/Display. You may hear the Windows login melody but the screen is blank.

No Boot
Once the system has loaded the Dell splash screen and then finished the POST checks, the Dell splash screen goes off and the system hands over to the Operating System. If the operating system doesn't start for any reason, this is called a No Boot.


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2. No Post Issues

The term POST refers to Power-On Self-Test, which is a series of checks the computer goes through whenever it starts. If the computer fails any of these tests, it will stop the start-up process and report a fault.

Indications of a failed POST include:

  • If the computer is displaying the Dell logo and does not move past that point, it has probably failed POST.
  • If the power indicator lights up and it is amber or orange, this is usually an indicator that it has failed POST.
  • If you see text on a black screen, the computer is currently performing the POST. If the computer stays in that condition and does not move past it, it has probably failed POST.
  • If the monitor displayed anything at all during the startup process but is now black, this probably indicates that the computer failed POST.
  • If the computer is beeping or if Diagnostic LEDs/Power LEDs are flashing, note down if there is a particular pattern in which it beeps or flashes and the colours seen.

  • If the computer is not beeping and the Diagnostic LEDs and caps/num/scroll lock LEDs are not flashing or lit, unplug all connections and remove all media communication devices (e.g. external monitors); reconnect one at a time and check if the computer functions.

Please follow the link below to continue troubleshooting your PC:

Listed below you will see a table that gives both an error and the suggested troubleshooting for that error. In order to know what the error is on your PC, you will need to consult the diagnostic indicators built into your Dell computer.

Note: The diagnostic LEDs only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.
Problem Description Suggested Resolution
The computer is either turned off or not receiving power.
A possible system board failure has occurred.
  • Unplug the computer. Allow one minute for the power to drain. Plug the computer into a working electrical outlet and press the power button.
  • Reseat all internal cables.
  • Replace system board.
A possible system board, power supply (PSU), or peripheral failure has occurred.
  • Power off computer, leaving the computer plugged in. Press and hold the power supply test button on the rear of the power supply unit. If the LED next to the switch illuminates, the problem may be with your system board.
  • If the LED next to the switch does not illuminate, disconnect all internal and external peripherals, and press and hold the power supply test button. If it illuminates, there could be a problem with a peripheral.
  • If the LED still does not illuminate, remove the PSU connections from the system board, then press and hold the power supply button. If it illuminates, there could be a problem with the system board.
  • If the LED still does not illuminate, the problem is probably with the power supply.
  • If available, install a verified working PSU and check if system completes POST.
No CPU present.
  • Reinstall the CPU and restart the system. If the computer still fails to boot, inspect the CPU socket for damage.
  • Install a verified working CPU. If the system still fails to boot with the same diagnostic indicators, the system board is likely to to be faulty.
Memory modules are detected, but a memory power failure has occurred.
  • If two or more memory modules are installed, remove the modules, 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 only one memory module is installed, try moving it to a different DIMM connector and restart the computer.
  • If available, install verified working memory of the same type into your computer.
A possible CPU or system board failure has occurred.
  • Replace the CPU with a known good CPU. If the computer still fails to boot, inspect the CPU socket for damage.
  • If the system still fails to boot with the same diagnostic indicators, the system board is likely to to be faulty.
BIOS may be corrupt or missing.
  • The computer hardware is operating normally but the BIOS may be corrupt or missing.
  • Download the current BIOS version from our Support site.
A possible system board failure has occurred.
  • Remove all peripheral cards from the PCI and PCI-E slots and restart the computer. If the computer boots, add the peripheral cards back one by one until you find the faulty one.
Power connector not installed properly.
  • Reseat the 2x2 power connector from the power supply unit.
  • If the computer still does not boot, check the pins on both the power supply cable and the pins on the Motherboard for damage.
Possible peripheral card or system board failure has occurred.
  • Remove all peripheral cards from the PCI and PCI-E slots and restart the computer. If the computer boots, add the peripheral cards back one by one until you find the faulty one.
A possible system board failure has occurred.
  • Disconnect all internal and external peripherals, and restart the computer. If the computer boots, add the peripheral cards back one by one until you find the faulty one.
  • If the problem persists, the system board is likely to be faulty.
A possible coin cell battery failure has occurred.
  • Remove the coin cell battery for one minute, reinstall the battery, and restart.
  • If the system still does not POST after this, replace the coin cell battery.
The computer is in a normal on condition.
The diagnostic lights are not lit after the computer successfully boots to the operating system.
  • Ensure that the display is connected and powered on.
  • If there is no display, please refer to the No Video Troubleshooting below.
A possible processor failure has occurred.
  • Reseat the processor.
  • Install a verified working processor of the same type.
  • If the system still fails to boot with the same diagnostic indicators, the system board is likely to to be faulty.
Memory modules are detected, but a memory failure has occurred.
  • If two or more memory modules are installed, remove the modules (see your service manual), then reinstall one module (see your service manual 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.
A possible graphics card failure has occurred.
  • Reseat any installed graphics cards.
  • If available, install a verified working graphics card into your computer.
A possible floppy drive or hard drive failure has occurred.
  • Reseat all power and data cables.
  • If available, replace cables with verified working cables.
  • If issue persists, replace Floppy Drive or Hard Drive with a verified working unit.
A possible USB failure has occurred.
  • Reinstall all USB devices and check all cable connections.
No memory modules are detected.
  • If two or more memory modules are installed, remove the modules (see your service manual), then reinstall one module (see your service manual) 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.
Memory modules are detected, but a memory configuration or compatibility error has occurred.
  • Ensure that no special requirements for memory module/connector placement exist.
  • Ensure that the memory you are using is supported by your computer.
A possible expansion card failure has occurred.
  • Determine if a conflict exists by removing an expansion card (not a graphics card) and restarting the computer.
  • If the problem persists, reinstall the card you removed, then remove a different card and restart the computer.
  • Repeat this process for each expansion card installed. If the computer starts normally, troubleshoot the last card removed from the computer for resource conflicts.
A possible system board resource and/or hardware failure has occurred.
  • Clear CMOS.
  • Disconnect all internal and external peripherals, and restart the computer. If the computer boots, add the peripheral cards back one by one until you find the faulty one.
  • If the problem persists, the system board or a system board component is probably faulty.
Another failure has occurred.
  • Ensure that all hard drive and optical drive cables are properly connected to the system board.
  • If there is an error message on the screen identifying a problem with a device (such as the floppy drive or hard drive), check the device to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • If the operating system is attempting to boot from a device (such as the floppy drive or optical drive), check system setup to ensure the boot sequence is correct for the devices installed on your computer.


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3. No Power Issues

Computers have a power indicator that glows when it is receiving power.

On Desktops the front panel of the computer case has LED near the power button.

Try the following steps to resolve a desktop no-powering situation:

1. Try a different wall outlet, and power it on.

2. Reseat the power cord which is connected to the Power Supply of the system and power the Desktop on.

3. Swap the power cord of the Monitor with the system power cord and power on the Desktop.

Note: Here is a quick video that covers your desktop starting up.

Video (English Only) - Power issues on Desktop computers


For more information on Desktop No Power Issues, please check out this links page.

Listed below you will see a table that gives both an error and the suggested troubleshooting for that error. In order to know what the error is on your PC, you will need to consult the diagnostic indicators built into your Dell computer. You can find a guide to these indicators on the articles listed below.

Note: The diagnostic LEDs only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.
Problem Description Suggested Resolution
The computer is either turned off or not receiving power.
  • Reseat the power cable in the power connector on the back of the computer and the electrical outlet.
  • Bypass power strips, power extension cables, and other power protection devices to verify that the computer turns on properly.
  • Ensure that any power strips being used are plugged into an electrical outlet and are turned on.
  • Ensure that the electrical outlet is working by testing it with another device.
  • Use a verified working Power cable.
  • Ensure that the main power cable and front panel cable are securely connected to the system board.
  • All power supply units include a self-test ability in an isolation mode. A test button and LED are on the side of the unit where the AC plug is located. Ensure the power cable is connected to the supply & Press the test button to test the PSU.
  • If the PSU LED does not illuminate, remove the PSU cables from the system board and test again. If the LED still does not illuminate when the test button is pressed, the PSU is possibly faulty.
  • If after removing the cables from the system board and the PSU LED illuminates, one of the attached devices or components could be faulty. Remove all attached components, reattach the PSU cables and using the PSU test button, install each component individually to test.
  • Install a verified working PSU.


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4. No Video issues

If the power indications are normal but there is never any video seen on the computer's display during the startup process, this probably indicates a No Video issue.

If your monitor has its own power supply, make sure the monitor has a power indicator showing that it is turned on.

To troubleshoot a No Video issue, click on the link below:

Listed below you will see a table that gives both an error and the suggested troubleshooting for that error. In order to know what the error is on your PC, you will need to consult the diagnostic indicators built into your Dell computer. You can find a guide to these indicators on the articles listed below.

Note: The diagnostic LEDs only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.
Problem Description Suggested Resolution
The computer is in a normal on condition.
The diagnostic lights are not lit after the computer successfully boots to the operating system but there is no display showing.
  • Ensure that the display is connected to the correct port and powered on.
  • Ensure the display data cable is not damaged and replace if necessary.
  • Ensure the correct Input Source on the display is correctly selected.
  • Remove the data cable from the system. A Self Test box should appear on the display.
  • If the Self Test box does not appear on the display, replace the display with a verified working unit.
  • If there is still no display showing, check if video was shown during the POST routine.
  • If video was shown during POST, the display or graphics driver could possibly be the cause.
  • Restart the system into Safe Mode. To load Safe Mode, press and hold the F8 key as your system restarts.
  • This will load the Advanced Boot Menu. Select Safe Mode. Install the current versions of the display and graphic card drivers. Restart the system normally and check for video.
  • If available, replace the graphics card with a verified working card.


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5. No Boot Issues

After the computer completes the Power-On Self-Test, it will attempt to boot the operating system.

If the computer advances past the Dell logo screen and then hangs up attempting to load the operating system, it is most likely a No Boot issue.

Troubleshoot further on the links below:

Choose the article appropriate to your Operating System (OS):



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6. Clear CMOS Settings

The RTCRST jumper will allow you to clear NVRAM. The NVRAM will be cleared when the jumper is closed. (You can use the jumper from the password bridge.) To properly clear; AC power must be applied to the system for about 10 seconds while the jumper is closed. (This does not necessarily mean turning the computer on.)

Pins 1-2 shorted clears NVRAM

WARNING: Resetting CMOS on this platform will clear the Management Engine BIOS Extension (MEBx) settings including the MEBx password and all configured settings.
  1. Remove the computer cover.
  2. Locate the 2-pin password connector (PSWD) on the system board.
  3. Remove the 2-pin jumper plug .
  4. Locate the 2-pin CMOS jumper (RTCRST) on the system board.
  5. Move the 2-pin jumper plug from the password jumper to pins into the CMOS jumper.
  6. Plug in AC power to the system and wait ten seconds for the CMOS to clear.
  7. Move the 2-pin jumper plug back to the password jumper.
  8. Replace the computer cover.
  9. Connect your computer and devices to electrical outlets, and turn them on.


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7. Beep Codes & Error Messages

The computer might emit a series of beeps during start-up if the display cannot show errors or problems. This series of beeps, called a beep code, can be used to help identify various problems.

Please refer to the article on Understanding Beep Codes on a Dell Desktop PC for further information.



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8. Dell Diagnostics

Dell Enhanced Pre-boot System Assessment, the ePSAs have been significantly improved with a view to streamlining the entire diagnostic process.

Note: These diagnostics have been included on many, but not ALL Desktop Systems.

During the boot process, the ePSAs are accessed from a cold boot by pressing the power button ON and repeatedly pressing the F12 key until the BIOS Boot Menu appears on the screen.

Use the keyboard up and down arrow keys to select Diagnostics on the menu and press the Enter key. ePSA begins by checking an area in system memory to insure it is safe and then loads itself into the verified memory area. ePSA then automatically begins high level algorithms on all system memory to insure integrity. ePSA next creates a graphical menu listing all discovered devices in the system.

Note: For further information on ePSA Diagnostics, please check out our:

Here are some things to remember when running the ePSA Diagnostics.

  • While the tests are running, the pointer (mouse or touch pad) is disabled. To exit the tests, press ESC.
  • The version number of the ePSA Diagnostics is displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
  • The activity indicators (bars) that appear during the memory tests are not used as an indication of progress. They show the location of the memory being tested.
  • Any errors along with the error code are displayed on the right side of the screen under the Results Window. A pop-up message also appears if a test fails.


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9. Further Information

These 4 (four) issues are the most common reasons why you would be troubleshooting a problem outside of your Operating System.

They break down into 3 (three) outcomes:

1. You identify a hardware issue that reseating does not resolve and contact us to arrange a repair.

2. You identify a software issue and either resolve the issue or contact us for a resolution.

3. Just going through the troubleshooting results in fixing the fault, without a clear reason why.



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Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN153751

Last Date Modified: 03/17/2015 10:01 AM


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