1 Copper

Inspiron 3542 does not start!

Two nights ago, I had a bizarre occurrance with my laptop of nearly 5 years. The screen suddenly showed a moving swirling image, and the sound system began to crackle and then buzz and hum. I pushed the "on-off" (OO) button to turn the computer off, which it did, but a flickering white indicator light and a soft buzz sound when the light flickered was seen and heard. I unplugged the computer, and let it flicker/buzz some more, then I pressed OO, for nearly 10 seconds, and the computer was silenced. 

The morning after, I tried turning the computer on. No go. I sought help from the Dell support page, which suspected that I might need to push OO 15 seconds, let go, then press like in good times, to turn the computer on. No go. I can't plug the machine into the internet, since I can't get the machine to run. I see there are several other Dell users of this computer model, who have simular problems turning a taciturn computer on, but unlike the others, my indicator light still goes on, when I press the OO switch, but goes off after two seconds, and the soft buzz sound accompanies the indicator light.

I've followed directions given to others, such as removing the battery, pressing OO for 15-20 seconds, then replacing the battery, and pressing 00 for 5 seconds. No go. I've pressed OO for many times this morning, in different timing combinations, with no results. The light continues to come on briefly, then go out, and a soft click sound accompanies my pressing the OO button. The buzz accompanying the indicator light isn't heard, however.

I'm stumped, and I realise that my computer may be breathing its last gasps for life, but I do want to retrieve data and files before that occurs. Most of my files and data is backed up, fortunately. Please help!

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2 Replies
5 Tungsten

Re: Inspiron 3542 does not start!

The clicking sound makes me wonder if you have a hard drive failing or has failed. Try removing the hard drive and see if the system will POST. You should get a no bootable device found message. If everything else looks normal but of course it will not be able to boot into Windows, then a bad hard drive is even more probable. If you still cannot get the system to POST (the Dell splash logo on the screen) then the next step is to pull the RAM and try to boot. If you get beeps then the BIOS and motherboard detect no memory. Now, depending on how much RAM you have, remove all but one RAM module and try to boot. If still no luck then put the RAM module in the other SODIMM slot. If that does not work then try the same procedure with the other RAM module. You are trying to isolate the motherboard with no other components installed to determine if the motherboard or another piece of hardware is the culprit. At 5 years of age, it could be that it is getting close to replacing the system with a new laptop.

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1 Copper

Re: Inspiron 3542 does not start!

The indicator light stays on, but no other reaction--the computer remains shut down. I left the power adapter on for a full 4 hours, to keep the battery charged. 

I'll check on the hard drive and memory cards in the morning, tomorrow, and will report back. 

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