A reference guide to the XPS Notebook Diagnostic Indicators


A reference guide to the XPS Notebook Diagnostic Indicators



Dell XPS Notebook 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 XPS Notebook Series (Prior to 2008)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook series (2008 to 2014)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook series (2014 to Present)
  4. XPS Notebook Audible Beep Codes
  5. 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: 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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Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook series (Prior to 2008)

This series used power button LED states and a diagnostics LED pack on notebook systems.

XPS Notebook 2007-2008

(Fig.1.1 XPS M1330)

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

These models had a block of keyboard status LEDs on the front of the chassis that either lit up solid Green, flashed Green or were Off. I've included a table below with what these indicated.

Keyboard LEDs

(Fig.1.2 Caps Lock LEDs)

Icon Description
Caps Lock light - Turns on when the Caps Lock is engaged
Scroll Lock light - Turns on when the Scroll Lock is engaged
Number Lock light - Turns on when the Number Lock is enabled
Flash Code LED Pattern Description Next Step
CPU Code Flash-On-On The microcontroller is handing control of the system to the processor. This code persists if no processor is detected.
  • Reseat the processor
  • Contact Support
Memory Code On-Flash-On The memory has encountered an error.
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
System Board Flash-Flash-Flash A system board component is faulty.
  • Contact Support
Video LED Flash-Flash-On The video card is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Contact Support
Keyboard LED Flash-Flash-Off The keyboard is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the keyboard cable
  • Contact Support
USB LED Flash-Off-Flash The USB controller encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Remove any USB devices
  • Contact Support
No Memory On-Flash-Flash No SODIMMs are installed.
  • Install the memory module(s)
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
LCD LED Flash-On-Flash The LCD encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Reseat the LCD cable
  • Contact Support
Modem LED Off-Flash-Flash The modem is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the modem
  • Contact Support

Status LEDs
(Fig.1.3 System Status LEDs)

If the computer is connected to an electrical outlet, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Solid blue — The battery is charging.
  • Flashing blue — The battery is almost fully charged.

If the computer is running on a battery, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Off — The battery is adequately charged (or the computer is turned off).
  • Flashing red — The battery charge is low.
  • Solid red — The battery charge is critically low.


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Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook series (2008 to 2014)

Systems during this time period only used LED states to show the Battery and HDD status. The power button state is indicated the XPS logo on the chassis lighting up. (Please check out the beep code section for diagnostics indicators for these models.)

XPS Notebook 2011-2014

(Fig.2.1 XPS 15)

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

XPS Logo LED

(Fig.2.2 XPS Logo LED)

LED Status System State
Solid White On
Flashing White Standby
Off Off / Hibernate

XPS Battery LED

(Fig.2.3 XPS Battery LED)

LED Status System State Battery Charge Status
AC Adapter Solid White On / Standby / Off / Hibernate Charging
Off On / Standby / Off / Hibernate Fully Charged
Battery Solid Amber On / Standby Low Battery (<=10%)
Off On / Standby / Off / Hibernate
Off / Hibernate
Not Charging


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Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook series (2014 to Present)

With the latest series, the diagnostics indicator Beeps have mostly been removed from these systems. Instead the Power Button state now gives a blink and colour shift pattern to indicate where its had a problem.

XPS 2014-Present

(Fig.3.1 XPS Ultrabook)

Note: Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Note: Diagnostic Error Codes will always supersede any other use of the LED. For instance, battery codes for Low Battery or Battery Failure situations will not be displayed when Diagnostic Error Codes are being displayed.

XPS Battery

(Fig.3.2 XPS Ultrabook Battery Status LED)

Power Source Status Power State Description
AC Adapter Off S0 - S5 Fully Charged
White S0 - S5 Charging
Battery Off S0 - S5 Battery Discharging
Solid Amber S0 - S5 Low to Critically Low
  • S0 - ON - System is on
  • S4 - Hibernate - System in in hibernation mode
  • S5 - OFF - System is off
Note: The blinking patterns will consist of 2 sets of numbers. These are represented by First Group (Amber Blinks), Second Group (White 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 White 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 white, pause, etc. This pattern continues until the system is powered off.
Power LED Problem Description Suggested Resolution
Amber White
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 / RAM detected
  • Confirm Memory installed
  • Troubleshoot memory further
2 4 Memory / 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
2 7 LCD failure
  • 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/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 4 Power Rail Failure
  • EC ran into power sequencing failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 5 SBIOS Flash Corruption
  • Flash corruption detected by SBIOS
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 6 ME Error
  • Timeout waiting on ME to reply to HECI message
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting


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XPS Notebook audible Beep codes

In addition to the various types of diagnostics LEDs, there are a number of audible beep codes across some of 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 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 problem persists
6 Video BIOS test Failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
7 CPU Cache Test Failure Contact Technical Support
8 LCD Failure Contact Technical Support


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Diagnostic Indicator Guides


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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.
Contact Us


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Article ID: SLN309624

Last Date Modified: 09/14/2019 10:00 AM

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