A reference guide to the Vostro Desktop Diagnostic Indicators


A reference guide to the Vostro Desktop Diagnostic Indicators



Dell Vostro Desktop systems have a long history of built-in diagnostic indicators. These can be audible beeps, power buttons that display different states and colors, specific diagnostics LEDs or a combination of them all. Indicating 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 mean. They change through the various models and years. These indicators are merely a starting point to narrow down any troubleshooting you 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 need. Alternatively, you can contact technical support for further help and they are looking for these indicators as well.


Table of Contents:

  1. Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop Series (2007 to 2011)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2011 to 2014)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2014 to 2019)
  4. Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2020 to Present)
  5. Vostro Desktop Audible Beep Codes
  6. Diagnostic Indicator Guides

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: Does your system complete POST without stopping on a particular error code and then shows 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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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2007 to 2011)

This series used power button LED state and colors. The power button is located on the front of the chassis. You could identify these models by their flat black front face and side panels or lids.

Vostro Desktop 2007-2009

Note: Click the title of the section you want to open below, to see the contents.

Vostro 200s to 230s, 400s to 430s

LED Status System State Suggested Next Step
Off Off The computer is either turned off or is not receiving power Troubleshoot a No Power issue
Blinking Amber Blinking Amber The computer is receiving power, a device might be faulty or incorrectly installed Troubleshoot a No POST issue
Solid Amber Solid Amber The computer is in a fault condition including the power supply Troubleshoot a No POST issue
Blinking Blue Blinking Blue The computer is in Standby Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation. If the problem persists, listen for a beep code
Solid Blue Solid Blue The computer is on and working ok If the computer is not responding, troubleshoot a No Boot/No Video issue

Vostro 320s to 360s

LED Status System State Suggested Next Step
Off Off The computer is either turned off or is not receiving power Troubleshoot a No Power issue
Blinking Amber Blinking Amber The computer is receiving power, a device might be faulty or incorrectly installed Troubleshoot a No POST issue
Solid Amber Solid Amber The computer is in standby Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation. If the problem persists, listen for a beep code
Solid White Solid White The computer is on and working ok If the computer is not responding, troubleshoot a No Boot/No Video issue


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2011 to 2014)

This series used power button LED states. The power button is located on the front of the chassis. You could identify these models by their flat black front face and side panels or lids.

Vostro Desktop 2011-2014

Note: Click the title of the section you want to open below, to see the contents.

Vostro 260s to 270s, 460s to 470s and 20 (3010)

LED Status System State Suggested Next Step
Off Off The computer is either turned off or is not receiving power Troubleshoot a No Power issue
Blinking Amber Blinking Amber The computer is receiving power, a device might be faulty or incorrectly installed Troubleshoot a No POST issue
Solid Amber Solid Amber The computer is in standby Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation. If the problem persists, listen for a beep code
Solid White Solid White The computer is on and working ok If the computer is not responding, troubleshoot a No Boot/No Video issue


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2014 to 2019)

With the latest series, the diagnostics indicator Beeps have been removed from Tower systems but remains in All In One (AIO) systems. Instead, the Power Button state now gives a blink and color shift pattern to indicate where it had a problem.

Vostro 2014-Present

Note: Click the title of the section you want to open below, to see the contents.
Power Button LED Status Power State Description
Off Off S4 or S5 Power is Off. LED is blank.
Blinking Amber Blinking Amber - The 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 likely that the power supply is fine.
Blinking White Blinking White S1 or S3 The system is in a low power state, either S1 or S3. This does not indicate a fault condition.
Solid White Solid White S0 The system is in S0 state. This is the normal power states of a functioning machine. The BIOS turns the LED to this state to indicate it has started fetching op-codes.
Power LED Problem Description Suggested Resolution
1 Motherboard: BIOS ROM Failure Contact Technical Support
2 Memory Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots
3 Motherboard: Chipset Contact Technical Support
4 Memory Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots
5 RTC Power Failure Replace the CMOS Battery and Contact Technical Support if the issue persists
6 Video BIOS failure Contact Technical Support
7 CPU Contact Technical Support


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Desktop series (2020 to Present)

The tower systems that are currently being sold and supported has swapped over to an Amber blink code. This is common with Dell's notebook systems. The PLED is generally white.

Vostro 2020

Note: Click the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Power Button LED Status Power State Description
Off Off S4 or S5 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 likely that the power supply is fine.
Blinking White Blinking White S1 or S3 System is in a low power state, either S1 or S3. This does not indicate a fault condition.
Solid White Solid White S0 System is in S0 state. This is the normal power states of a functioning machine. The BIOS turns the LED to this state to indicate it has started fetching op-codes.
Note: You can customize the power-button behavior in Power Options. For more information, see Me and My Dell at www.dell.com/support/manuals.

Inspiron 5880, etc.

Note: The blinking patterns consists of 2 sets of numbers. They split into First Group(Amber Blinks), Second Group(Amber Blinks).
  • First Group: The Battery LED blinks in Amber up to 9 times then pauses for 1.5 seconds before running the second group.
  • Second Group: The Battery LED blinks in Amber up to 9 times then pauses for 3 seconds before running the first group again.

Example: No Memory detected (2,3), The Battery LED blinks two times amber followed by a pause, then blinks three times Amber, pause, etc. This pattern continues until the system is powered off.
LED Behavior Problem Description Next Steps
Amber Blink Code
1 2 Unrecoverable SPI Flash Failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further help
2 1 CPU Failure
  • Run the Intel CPU diagnostics tools
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further help
2 2 System Board: BIOS, ROM Failure
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2 3 No Memory or RAM detected
  • Confirm Memory installed
  • Troubleshoot memory further
2 4 Memory or RAM failure
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
2 5 Invalid Memory Installed
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
2 6 System board, Chipset Error
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 1 CMOS battery failure
  • Troubleshoot the CMOS battery
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 2 PCI or Video card or chip failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 3 BIOS Recovery 1
  • Recovery Image not found
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 4 BIOS Recovery 2
  • Recovery image found but invalid
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 5 Power Rail Failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further help
3 6 Paid SPI Volume Error
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further help
3 7 ME error
  • Contact Tech Support for further help
4 2 CPU Power cable connection issue
  • Reseat the Power cable
  • Troubleshoot the PSU BIST
  • If the problem persists contact Tech Support for further help


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Vostro Desktop audible Beep codes

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

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

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

Note: Click the title of the section you want to open below, to see the contents.
Diagnostic Beep Codes
Code Cause Suggested Resolution
1 BIOS ROM Checksum in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
2 No Memory Modules detected Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots
3 Chipset Error
Time-of-day clock test failure
Gate A20 Failure
Super I/O chip Failure
Keyboard controller test failure
Contact Technical Support
4 RAM read/write error Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots
5 Real-Time Clock Failure Replace the CMOS Battery, Contact Technical Support if the problem persists
6 Video BIOS test Failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
7 CPU Cache Test Failure Contact Technical Support


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Diagnostic Indicator Guides


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

If you are seeing an unrecognizable code, one that is not 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: SLN304426

Last Date Modified: 06/11/2020 08:57 AM

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