Knowledge Base

A reference guide to the Dell OptiPlex Diagnostic Indicators



Dell OptiPlex systems have a long history of built in diagnostic indicators. These can be audible beeps, power buttons that display different states and colours, specific diagnostics LEDs or a combination of them all, in order to indicate at which point during the Power On Self Test (POST) a system is having issues.

The following article is a reference guide to the codes available on each model and what those codes actually mean. These change through the various models and years. These indicators are merely a starting point to narrow down any troubleshooting you will carry out to identify the cause of your current issue. You can use this as a starting point to narrow down the proper troubleshooting guide you will need or you can contact technical support for further help and they will be looking for these indicators as well.


Table of Contents:

  1. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (Prior to 2005)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex Series (2005 to 2009)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (2009 to 2012)
  4. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (2012 to Present)
  5. OptiPlex Audible Beep Codes

Note: For all the tables below, please remember that 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.
Note: Please be aware that if your system completes POST without stopping on a particular error code and then gives a black screen, the most likely reason is that you are experiencing a No Boot issue and not a No POST issue at all.


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1. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (Prior to 2005)

This series of systems had a block of A, B, C, D LEDs on the back of the chassis that lit up in Green and Amber. I've included a table below with what these indicated. These models were readily identifiable by the rounded fronts and clamshell assembly.

OptiPlex Prior to 2005

Note : Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.

CPU configuration activity or failure; CPU Cache failure

LED
Pattern
State
Name
State
Description
Suggested Resolution
No Pattern Visible Off System POST complete - LED time-out has occurred
  • If the LEDs came on and then went off, look at troubleshooting the display and the operating system.
  • If the LEDs never came on at any point then look into a power issue.
ABCD RCM BIOS checksum failure - Recovery mode
  • Reset the BIOS and clear the NVRAM
  • If this occurred after windows updates, check your startup wasn't corrupted.
ABCD CPU
  • Disconnect all external peripherals and configure PC down to PSU, Motherboard and CPU
  • If fault continues contact your technical support
  • If fault stops, plug disconnected parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs. Contact your technical support to take this further.
ABCD MEM Memory subsystem configuration activity or failure
  • Remove all memory from PC, does the LED code change?
  • If it doesn't contact your technical support
  • If it does add the memory modules back one at a time until the fault re-occurs, test that module in another slot and contact your technical support
ABCD PCI PCI device configuration or failure
  • Remove all external peripherals and all internal PCI devices
  • If fault continues contact your technical support
  • If fault stops, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
ABCD VID Video subsystem configuration or failure
  • Ensure the video cable is connected to the correct port
  • Reseat any add in graphics cards
  • If fault continues, remove any add in graphics cards and test with known good monitor and video cable
  • Contact your technical support once you know which part the fault follows
ABCD STO Storage device configuration or failure
  • Reseat the cables from the HDDs to the motherboard
  • If fault continues try substituting a known good HDD into the system and contact your technical support
ABCD USB USB subsystem configuration activity or failure
  • Remove all external peripherals and any internal CRUs
  • If LEDs change, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
  • If fault remains the same with parts removed, contact your technical support
ABCD No memory detected
  • Reseat all memory modules
  • If fault continues, try the memory in different slots and contact your technical support
ABCD MBF Fatal system board failure detected
  • Contact your technical support
ABCD Memory is detected, configuration or compatibility error
  • Reset the BIOS and clear the NVRAM and any previous errors
  • Remove all memory from PC, (This includes any Graphics cards.) does the LED code change?
  • If it doesn't contact your technical support
  • If it does add the parts back one at a time until the fault re-occurs, test that part in another slot and contact your technical support
ABCD PRV Indicates system activity preceding video initialization
  • Remove all external peripherals and any internal CRUs
  • If LEDs change, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
  • If fault remains the same with parts removed, contact your technical support
ABCD CFG System resource configuration
  • Reset the BIOS and clear the NVRAM and any previous errors
  • Remove all external peripherals
  • If LEDs change, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
  • If fault remains the same with parts removed, contact your technical support
ABCD Reserved
  • Reserved
ABCD POV POST complete — Onscreen error message
  • Troubleshoot as per the error message onscreen
ABCD STD POST complete — OS hand-off complete
  • The Power On Self Test has passed all checks
  • Troubleshoot the HDD and the Operating System


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2. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (2005 to 2009)

This series had a combination of Power button LED states and the A, B, C, D, block was replaced with 1, 2, 3, 4, instead. The diagnostics LEDs moved from the rear of the chassis to the front under the audio ports. You could identify these models by their flat black front face and grey side panels/lids.

OptiPlex 2005-2009

Note : Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Off Blinking Amber Solid Amber Solid Green Blinking Green
Off Blinking Amber Solid Amber Solid Green Blinking Green
The computer does not appear to get power from the Power Source. The PSU is receiving power from the Source, but is unable to distribute it. The PSU is working, but the system doesn't process data. The system processes data and has begun POST tests. (See the diagnostic LEDs at this point) The system is in a hibernate or sleep state.
LED Pattern
(1 2 3 4)
LED
Pattern
State
Name
State
Description
Suggested Resolution
Off Off System POST complete — LED time-out has occurred
  • If the LEDs came on and then went off, look at troubleshooting the display and the operating system.
  • If the LEDs never came on at any point then look into a power issue.
4 RCM BIOS checksum failure — Recovery mode
  • Reset the BIOS and clear the NVRAM
  • If this occurred after windows updates, check your startup wsn't corrupted.
3 CPU CPU configuration activity or failure; CPU Cache failure
  • Disconnect all external peripherals and configure PC down to PSU, Motherboard and CPU
  • If fault continues contact your technical support
  • If fault stops, plug disconnected parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs. Contact your technical support to take this further.
34 MEM Memory subsystem configuration activity or failure
  • Remove all memory from PC, does the LED code change?
  • If it doesn't contact your technical support
  • If it does add the memory modules back one at a time until the fault re-occurs, test that module in another slot and contact your technical support
2 PCI PCI device configuration or failure
  • Remove all external peripherals and all internal PCI devices
  • If fault continues contact your technical support
  • If fault stops, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
2 4 VID Video subsystem configuration or failure
  • Ensure the video cable is connected to the correct port
  • Reseat any add in graphics cards
  • If fault continues, remove any add in graphics cards and test with known good monitor and video cable
  • Contact your technical support once you know which part the fault follows
23 STO Storage device configuration or failure
  • Reseat the cables from the HDDs to the motherboard
  • If fault continues try substituting a known good HDD into the system and contact your technical support
234 USB USB subsystem configuration activity or failure
  • Remove all external peripherals and any internal CRUs
  • If LEDs change, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
  • If fault remains the same with parts removed, contact your technical support
1 No memory detected
  • Reseat all memory modules
  • If fault continues, try the memory in different slots and contact your technical support
1 4 MBF Fatal system board failure detected
  • Contact your technical support
1 3 Memory is detected, configuration or compatibility error
  • Reset the BIOS and clear the NVRAM and any previous errors
  • Remove all memory from PC, (This includes any Graphics cards.) does the LED code change?
  • If it doesn't contact your technical support
  • If it does add the parts back one at a time until the fault re-occurs, test that part in another slot and contact your technical support
1 34 PRV Indicates system activity preceding video initialization
  • Remove all external peripherals and any internal CRUs
  • If LEDs change, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
  • If fault remains the same with parts removed, contact your technical support
12 CFG System resource configuration
  • Reset the BIOS and clear the NVRAM and any previous errors
  • Remove all external peripherals
  • If LEDs change, add parts back one at a time until fault re-occurs and contact your technical support
  • If fault remains the same with parts removed, contact your technical support
12 4 Reserved
  • Reserved
123 POV POST complete — Onscreen error message
  • Troubleshoot as per the error message onscreen
1234 STD POST complete — OS hand-off complete
  • The Power On Self Test has passed all checks
  • Troubleshoot the HDD and the Operating System


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3. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (2009 to 2012)

With this series, the diagnostic LEDs changed to include a combination of the Power button LED state and the diagnostic LED indicators. The Diagnostic LEDs remain 1, 2, 3, 4, and placed on the front of the unit. You could identify these system by their flat black and grey front face.

OptiPlex 2009-2012

Note : Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Light Pattern Problem
Description
Suggested Resolution
Diagnostic LEDs Power
Button LED
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, such as a lamp.
  • Ensure that the main power cable and front panel cable are securely connected to the system board.
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.

Blinking
A possible system board, power supply, 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.
No CPU present.
  • Reinstall the CPU and restart the system. If the computer still fails to boot, inspect the CPU socket for damage.
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.
BIOS may be corrupt or missing.
  • The computer hardware is operating normally but the BIOS may be corrupt or missing.
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 bad one.
Power connector not installed properly.
  • Reseat the 2x2 power connector from the power supply unit.
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 bad 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 bad one.
  • If the problem persists, the system board is probably bad.
A possible coin cell battery failure has occurred.
  • Remove the coin cell battery for one minute, reinstall the battery, and restart.
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.
A possible processor failure has occurred.
  • Reseat the processor.
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 working graphics card into your computer.
A possible floppy drive or hard drive failure has occurred.
  • Reseat all power and data cables.
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 bad one.
  • If the problem persists, the system board / system board component is probably bad.
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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4. Diagnostic LEDs for the OptiPlex series (2012 to Present)

With the latest series, the diagnostics indicator LEDs have been removed. Instead the Power Button state now gives a blink and colour shift pattern to indicate where its had a problem. You can identify these systems by the fact that there is no Diagnostics LED block on the front of the unit.

Note : If you have an OptiPlex AIO (All In One) System. Please use the reference tables below.
Note : Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Power Button LED State Description
Off Off Power is Off. LED is blank.
Blinking Amber Blinking Amber Initial State of LED at power up. Refer to the table below for Blinking Amber pattern diagnostic suggestions and possible failures.
Solid Amber Solid Amber The second state of the LED at power up, indicates that the POWER_GOOD signal is active and it is probable that the power supply is fine.
Blinking White Blinking White System is in a low power state, either S1 or S3. This does not indicate a fault condition.
Solid White Solid White System is in S0 state. This is the normal power states of a functioning machine. The BIOS will turn the LED to this states to indicate it has started fetching op-codes.
State State Name Power Light:
Amber Blinking
Amber Blinking Pattern Problem Description Suggested Resolution
- - 2, 1 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 1 blink, long pause, then repeats Bad Motherboard
  • Replace the motherboard
- - 2, 2 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 2 blinks, long pause, then repeats Bad Motherboard, Power Supply or Power Supply cabling
  • If you can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue with PSU BIST Test, reseat cable.
  • If nothing works, replace the motherboard, power supply or cabling
- - 2, 3 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 3 blinks, long pause, then repeats Bad Motherboard, Memory or Processor
  • If you can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by reseating memory and swapping a known good memory if available.
  • If nothing works, replace the motherboard, memory or processor
- - 2, 4 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 4 blinks, long pause, then repeats Bad coin cell battery
  • If you can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by swapping a known good coin cell battery if available.
  • If nothing works, replace the coin cell battery
S1 RCM 2, 5 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 5 blinks, long pause, then repeats BIOS Checksum Failure
  • System is in Recovery Mode.
  • Flash latest BIOS version. If problem persists, replace the motherboard
S2 CPU 2, 6 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 6 blinks, long pause, then repeats Bad Processor
  • CPU configuration activity is in progress or a CPU failure was detected.
  • Replace the processor
S3 MEM 2, 7 2 blinks followed by a short pause, 7 blinks, long pause, then repeats Memory failures
  • Memory subsystem configuration activity is in progress. Appropriate memory modules were detected but a memory failure has occurred.
  • If you can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue with reseating memory and swapping a known good memory if available.
  • If nothing works, replace the memory.
S4 PCI 3, 1 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 1 blink, long pause, then repeats PCI Device or Video subsystem failures
  • PCI device configuration activity is in progress or PCI device failure was detected.
  • If you can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by reseating PCI card and removing one by one to determine which card failed.
  • If identified the PCI card failed, replace the PCI Card.
  • If none of the PCI Cards failed, replace the motherboard.
S5 VID 3, 2 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 2 blinks, long pause, then repeats Video Subsystem failure
  • Video subsystem configuration activity in progress or video subsystem failure.
  • If customer can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by removing one by one to determine which card failed.
  • If identified the card failed, replace the card. If none of the card failed, replace the motherboard.
S6 STO 3, 3 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 3 blinks, long pause, then repeats No Memory detected
  • If customer can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by removing one by one memory to determine which one failed and swapping to a known good memory if available to confirm.
  • If identified the memory failed, replace the memory.
  • If none of the memory failed, replace the motherboard.
S7 USB 3, 4 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 4 blinks, long pause, then repeats Storage Subsystem failure
  • Possible storage device configuration in progress or storage subsystem failure.
  • If you can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by removing one by one the storages on motherboard to determine which one failed.
  • If identified the storage failed, replace the storage.
  • If none of the storage failed, replace the motherboard.
S8 MEM 3, 5 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 5 blinks, long pause, then repeats Memory configuration or incompatible error
  • Memory subsystem configuration activity is in progress. No memory modules were detected.
  • If customer can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by removing one by one the memory on motherboard to determine which one failed. Also, combining the configuration to validate appropriate combination.
  • If identified the component failed, replace the component.
  • If none of the component failed, replace the motherboard.
S9 MBF 3, 6 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 6 blinks, long pause, then repeats System board failure
  • Fatal system board failure detected.
  • If customer can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by removing one by one the component on motherboard to determine which one failed.
  • If identified any of the component failed, replace the component.
  • If none of the component failed, replace the motherboard.
S10 MEM 3, 7 3 blinks followed by a short pause, 7 blinks, long pause, then repeats Possible memory failure
  • Memory subsystem configuration activity is in progress. Memory modules have been detected but appear to be incompatible or in an invalid configuration.
  • If customer can assist to troubleshoot, narrow down the issue by removing one by one the memory on motherboard to determine which one failed.
  • If identified the memory failed, replace the memory.
  • If else, replace the motherboard.


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5. OptiPlex audible Beep codes

In addition to the various types of diagnostics LEDs, there are a number of audible beep codes across all the models of these systems.

These codes are recognised across manufacturers and have remained the same for some time.

The key to these codes are displayed in the table below.

Note : Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Diagnostic Beep Codes
Code Cause Suggested Resolution
1-1-2 Microprocessor register failure Contact Technical Support
1-1-3 NVRAM Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-1-4 ROM BIOS checksum failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-1 Programmable interval timer Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-2 DMA initialization failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-2-3 DMA page register read/write failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
1-3-1 through 2-4-4 DIMMs not being properly identified or used Troubleshoot the memory modules and the memory slots.
3-1-1 Slave DMA register failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-1-2 Master DMA register failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-1-3 Master interrupt mask register failure Contact Technical Support
3-1-4 Slave interrupt mask register failure Contact Technical Support
3-2-2 Interrupt vector loading failure Contact Technical Support
3-2-4 Keyboard Controller test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-1 NVRAM power loss Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-2 NVRAM configuration Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-3-4 Video Memory Test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-1 Screen initialization failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-2 Screen retrace failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
3-4-3 Search for video ROM failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-2-1 No time tick Contact Technical Support
4-2-2 Shutdown failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-3 Gate A20 failure Contact Technical Support
4-2-4 Unexpected interrupt in protected mode Contact Technical Support
4-3-1 Memory failure above address 0FFFFh Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-3-3 Timer-chip counter 2 failure Contact Technical Support
4-3-4 Time-of-day clock stopped Contact Technical Support
4-4-1 Serial or parallel port test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-2 Failure to decompress code to shadowed memory Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-3 Math coprocessor test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4-4-4 Cache test failure Run the Dell Diagnostics


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Note :
If you are seeing a recognisable code, please follow the instructions and if you have to contact your local support - please make sure you have the code information to hand. The technician will need this information to help you further.

If you are seeing an unrecognisable code, one that isn't listed above - then please get in touch with your local support straight away.
If you require further assistance, please contact technical Support.
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Article ID: SLN284978

Last Date Modified: 04/03/2017 09:03 AM


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