A reference guide to the Inspiron Desktop Diagnostic Indicators

A reference guide to the Inspiron Desktop Diagnostic Indicators



Dell Inspiron Desktop 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 Inspiron Desktop Series (Prior to 2008)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Desktop series (2008 to 2015)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Desktop series (2015 to Present)
  4. Inspiron Desktop 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 Inspiron Desktop series (Prior to 2008)

This series used power button LED states and beep codes on Towers and All in One (AIO) systems. The PLED is generally blue.

Inspiron Desktop 2007-2008

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

Inspiron 518's, to 530's

Diagnostic Beep Codes
Beep 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


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Desktop series (2008 to 2015)

This series used power button LED states and beep codes. The PLED is generally white.

Inspiron Desktop 2011-2014

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

Inspiron 535's to 710's, and One 19's to One (2310)'s

Diagnostic Beep Codes
Beep 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


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Desktop series (2015 to Present)

With Tower and All in One (AIO) systems that are currently being sold and supported, the flashing power LED matches the standard beep code. The PLED is generally white.

Inspiron 2014-Present

Note: Please click on 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 probable 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 will turn the LED to this states to indicate it has started fetching op-codes.

Inspiron 660's, 3252's to 3655's and 20 to 24 AIO's

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


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Inspiron Desktop audible Beep codes

In addition to the various types of diagnostics LEDs, there are a number of audible beep codes across 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


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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.
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Article ID: SLN304440

Last Date Modified: 01/16/2019 11:12 AM


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