Recently I upgraded my Inspiron 8600 RAM from 1G to 2G (Dell says that's the max) with chips from an Amazon supplier. For several days the machine worked well, but just today it froze in the middle of an app. I finally had to powerdown. On powerup, the capslock LED blinked 10 times, and the other LEDs stayed off, then the machine would power down. This occurred every time I powered the machine up. Since I'd just replaced RAM, I concentrated on that area.
1. Remove all RAMs - machine powers up with capslock + scroll-lock lit. So I guess it's not simply the RAMs disappearing.
2. Reseat RAMs, swap RAMs, put either 1G RAM in slot A alone - all of these get the 10 flashes of capslock.
3. Replace the original two 512M RAMs. Machine boots successfully, and seems to work OK (but slower, alas).
My guess is that the two new 1G chips died. How come both at once? I don't know. I wonder if 1G chips are problematic on the 8600? Well, the Amazon advert said that compatibility was "guaranteed", so I'll be calling their toll-free number. I hope it was a quirk and not a fundamental 8600 problem.