Trying to fix an issue with the mrs' Dell notebook; which is an Inspiron 15z 5523.
1st thing - it's out of warranty, so need to try a self-fix if possible, if not, I'm sensing it may be time for a new laptop for her so any tips on data recovery will be appreciated down the line.
Also worth mentioning that this has come about a couple of days after installing Windows 10 - unsure if that's related, but worth a mention.
The issue is that no matter what, we're faced with a blank black screen, with no backlights or LED anywhere. It's now started beeping 3 times in succession which as far as I can tell from the troubleshooting (here) is a system board failure.
For now though, I've done the following:
The main priorities are trying to get this working again and if not, getting the data from the laptop to allow us to get it onto a new one if necessary.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Solved! Go to Solution.
Thanks guys for all your help! It's really appreciated!
A few things that I noticed. In terms of getting it restarted when the three beeps were happening:
1. There were no clear "this will always work" instructions. Doing the right thing will work sometimes and not others.
2. The most consistent method I had which resulted in not just clearing the beeps, but a successful boot was as follows:
a. Remove CMOS battery.
b. Either Remove main battery, or move the little switch under the keyboard (to the left) into the off position. This just disconnects the battery.
c. Press and hold the power button to drain the capacitors (Now that the cover is off, this is just a tiny silver button...so you'll need a screwdriver or something to easily press it....preferable an electrical screwdriver!)
d. Leave the computer in this state for some time. At least 10 minutes, but if you're having difficult, do it overnight. I've no idea why this delay should be necessary, especially after draining the capacitors, but it seemed to help make it more consistent.
e. Put the CMOS battery back in, and either put the main battery back in or slide the little switch under the keyboard back to on.
f. Again wait 10-15 minutes. I've no idea why this seemed to help, but it did. Perhaps the CMOS battery does something after being reinserted.
g. Do NOT connect any USB drive. Inserting a USB drive triggers a startup in this case. Instead you should just connect the power cable. This will trigger a start up. Again I've no idea why a power cable is better than starting from the battery, but it the only times I got it to start, was after connecting the power cable.
h. Now it NEVER started first time after connecting the power cable! Instead I'd let it run for 10-15 seconds, then turn off with the power cable (just a regular push...not a push and hold). Wait 5 seconds and then press the power button again. Now it would start up and within 5 seconds or so I'd see the Dell logo.
Maybe a lot of this is just "voodoo" rubbish, but its seemed to be the most consistent way for me.
Two things though:
1. It only ever started when the CMOS battery was inside. For ages I took it out as it was easier to reset the PC my removing the power cable and turning off the battery from the switch under the keyboard. But it never actually started without the CMOS battery installed.
2. It only ever started for me with the power cable connected, despite the main battery being well charged.
Now with the machine working I did a full factory reset. I didn't preserve anything. I think this was important as a precaution against later problems.
If you want to keep data, then when you're in and running use some backup software. I used a free program called Backerupper. It seems to work well.
Most of the time a "Restart" was ok to do. Just don't do a power down and then power up again. Occasionally the "Restart" didn't work or got stuck and I was back to the beginning, but generally it worked ok.
Then the reflashing part. This bit really caught me out. It appears that there is more than one type of command prompt! I was attempting to make a bootable USB stick from an image of Win98 and while it would boot, I could not install the new BIOS.
Instead what you need is to download a program called Rufus
Set the partition to MBR Partition for UEFI and legasy boot.
Set file system to FAT32
Tick the box "Create a bootable disk using"
Set box to the right of that to "MS-DOS". It's probably already on ISO image, but you want MS-DOS.
It's the MS-DOS that allows you to flash the drive.
Download the latest Bios from Dell (It's 5523A05.exe) and copy it to the memory stick.
Now stick the memory stick into the USB port on the left of the computer, nearest the screen. (It's right next to the HDMI port).
Now RESTART your PC. As soon as the Dell logo appears, hit F12 until the boot menu appears. Don't wait to see the prompt for F12...I don't think it appears on a restart. So just hit F12 as soon as the Dell logo appears.
Once the BIOS appears, there is a list of options. There are "Legasy Boot" options listed first and then "UEFI boot" under them. In the "Legasy Boot" options, select "USB Stick" (or something similar to that...sorry forgot exact words).
Now your computer should boot up from the memory stick and show a C:\ prompt.
type 5523a05 /forceit
If all goes well, you'll get some instructions about not turning off your computer and the update will happen and then the computer will automatically restart and your problems should be over!
This update process took....maybe 2 minutes....but there were times when I thought it was doing nothing and had crashed. So don't get too nervous. Just let it do it's thing.
I hope this has been of some help to others. I really appreciate the help that I've received here. If nothing else, the encouragement has helped keep my spirits alive!
One a different angle, Dell customer services never rang me yesterday. But this evening they rang on my home phone (were asked to call my mobile). This lady was much nicer, and said that as this laptop seem to be totally incompatible with Win 10 as evidenced by lots of users having the issue, they would send out a Dell engineer to change the motherboard for me for free! At that stage the laptop was running and I was about to try flashing the BIOS, so I told her that I didn't believe that it was the motherboard, and she offered to send an engineer out to look at it and diagnose the fault and fix it.
As I was so close to fixing myself I asked her to hold off and check in with me tomorrow :) But at least they offered to help. A little late in offering but they did in the end.
So if you are struggling with Tech Support tell them that you're not happy with being asked to pay for the repair and ask to have someone from customer service call you.
Best of luck! And thanks again to all those who have helped me so much!
Sorry, this is the only thing I found out. For the backup media, I suggest that you ask Dell to send you a disk, or try to make one from another Windows 8 machine.
You'll see from my account that I had trouble with the /force it too. It won't work from a Window 8 command prompt. You will NEED to make the MS DOS bootable flash drive from the instructions I made above. Nothing else will work in my experience.
To both of you, I'd suggest that you also try complaining to Dell. Ask for your case to be esclated to Customer Services. Customer services were willing to fix my machine for free, where Technical support didn't have that authority.
Could you try my suggestion 4 posts back? Reflashing the BIOS solved all my issues, well except not having Windows 10 anymore but is that so bad?
The batter (a coin battery like a watch batter) is really only held in by tiny clips. You can just get the end of a knife under it and life, and it pops out.
Take a look at the view here
It's not the same laptop, but they clearly show how you remove the battery.
I hope that helps. Thanks for the post. I was wondering if any of the Windows 10 updates solved the problem, and if I should try it again. Obviously not!
My only suggestion (helped me one or two times I got stuck in the process) is to take out the battery and the CMOS battery and leave it overnight before trying again.
But often it took many attempts to get it to reboot (l mean like 30-50 attempts)
Hello Amphin, here's my experience on installing Windows 10:
I had the same problem that pretty much everyone here had: my laptop eventually stopped booting up after upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1. I managed to revert my OS back to Windows 8.1 on one of the occasions in which it booted up, but it didn't solve the problem, since the BIOS had already been corrupted. To solve the problem for good, I followed colmfarrell's instructions.
After using my laptop for some time, I thought I'd try to format it and reinstall the OS. Not that I was having any problem, but I just didn't like the possibility of all this upgrade-to-Windows-10-then-downgrade-to-Windows-8.1 causing some problems down the road.
I formatted the HDD and installed Windows 10 pretty much like you would normally do with any computer. I followed this guide to install Intel Rapid Storage Technology and Intel Rapid Start Technology. It's written for Windows 8.1, but the same steps apply for Windows 10.
Just a few final comments on my experience running Windows 10 on my laptop:
I know these comments are definitely unrelated to the topic of this post, but I thought I'd try to put my two cents in to help anyone that may be trying to decide whether or not to install Windows 10 after having the 3 beeps problem happen to them, and what to expect if they decide to install it.
I am encountering the exact same situation. Installed Windows 10 about 2 weeks ago. Computer won't start up as of this morning. I get the 3 beeps and that's it. Screen won't turn on.
has anyone found a fix for this. Im having the same issue. I replaced the motherboard, after that it booted up once. then it booted a few times to a black screen with just the mouse pointer showing. now it is back to, no boot, no screen, and 3 beeps.
I think i had the Same issue. Installed win10 and after some days boot up took longer and longer. At the last reboot my keyboard started flashing. Finally black screen, 3 beeps. No matter what I did. Tried fn+power, paperclip reset, replaced harddrive, memory. And in the end REMOVED CMOS BATTERY for 10sec, put it in again. After that I was able to run fn+power preboot test, it said everything works fine. I did not try to boot win 10 afterwards. Immediately inserted my paragon recovery cd and restoring my backed up win8 system again. Don't know if it works afterwards. Restore is still running..... but at least my laptop is doing something again.
I'm facing exactly the same situation too.
I've installed Windows 10 a few weeks ago, and now black screen and 3 beeps...
Inspiron 15z 5523 as well.
I remember that was quite the same at the beginning of Windows 8.1.
The Power-On Self-Test (POST) is just real<ADMIN NOTE: Substitute character removed as per TOU>
I just can't stand my only 2-years old computer died before of a Windows update, and it is just unbelievable that Dell is not giving us more support on this kind of serious issue, knowing the causes.
Really bad publicity for Dell, unfortunately.
I agree about the POST being terrible. I have worked with computers for over 20 years and i have never seen how something in the operating system can effect the POST of a computer. I went by the POST beeps and from that information I bought a new motherboard and now I still have the same issue. now I am thinking that my original motherboard is still good.
Just had a Dell Technician change the motherboard, it still did not fix the issue. Still got a blue error screen. Dell asked me to send the laptop to them for further diagnostic. I will keep you posted. It all started with installing the windows 10 update.
Indeed, it seems useless to change the motherboard.
I'd rather test the solution given in a previous post : removed CMOS battery.
Quite radical, but if there is no other way...
I removed the CMOS battery, it no longer beeps, but it does not POST either. just stays powered on for about 30 sec, then turns off.