Ask Dell Knowledge Base

Ask Dell Knowledge Base

  • Welcome to the Ask Dell Knowledge Base

  • The content below will assist you in finding information and solutions to issues that are not covered by your Dell Limited Hardware Warranty. Please select a topic from the list to get started.
Using the SupportAssist application provides automatic computer updates and detects issues that can be resolved for you. Refer to the following links depending on the hardware you want help with.

Dell SupportAssist for PCs and tablets

SupportAssist for enterprise systems (servers, storage and networking)

Your data is priceless, and that’s why you’ve chosen to store it on a Dell system. In this Security section, we’ll help you secure your information, and protect your investment using the information in the following articles:

Remove virus, spyware or other malware
Secure my wireless network
Physically secure my Dell computer or monitor

Visit our Security Center for more information on computer security, digital privacy and online safety or view our video on how to protect your system. Link to Video

Microsoft also provide comprehensive security information on their Safety and Security Center. External Link

For additional help with hardware and software not Dell branded, please visit the website of the manufacture of the hardware or software.

Security is awesome...when your password is working. Which type of password are you having trouble with? Windows Password, Forgotten Password, Dell "My Account" login Password, Administrator Password or Creating a Windows Password Reset Disk.

If you are having problems logging into your Microsoft Account with your password please see our article on Problems with Windows password or Microsoft Account or if the issue is with a newly created account try Newly created Microsoft account does not allow login. If you receive error messages like "Your account has been temporarily blocked" or "Call us overprotective, but we need to make sure you can receive a security code" then the following Microsoft Support options are available to you:

If you have lost your Windows Password we have articles for each Operating System which may help, please select the one below which applies to you: We also have some related videos on how to reset your password in Windows 8 and Windows 7 (in English). Link to Video
If you are experiencing poor performance, you can optimize Windows and perform routine maintenance. For details, refer to the Optimization and Maintenance of Windows Knowledge Base Article relating to your operating system below: If you believe your system may be slow due to a Virus, Malware or Spyware, please reference that section in this document. We also have some related videos available for How to use Win 8 Troubleshooters and Improve Windows 7 Performance with MSCONFIG. Link to Video
We have listed below general Windows topics which may help resolve your issue, however, for the most comprehensive information on Microsoft Windows we would always recommend visiting the Microsoft Support website. External Link

WINDOWS 10 - If you want to know about Windows 10, here are articles on general topics:

You may have a query relating to the Windows 10 upgrade notification in taskbar. Part of the reservation process is the Windows 10 App will appear in the taskbar of your Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 system. You can learn more by visiting, Windows 10 FAQ External Link are located off of the main reservation page. It is recommended that you review these to understand the reservation process and requirements. Additionally Microsoft has also launched the Windows 10 forum in Microsoft Community. External Link

  • Systems on a domain network will not show the Windows 10 App in the systray due to network Group Policy settings. For Domain Windows 10 upgrades, see your network administrator. This reservation process will only reserve your copy of Windows 10. The download for the update will not be available until July 29th, 2015. This is what you will see when you reserve a copy.
  • Windows 7 or Windows 8 users, you must upgrade to Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 to qualify for the reservation. Windows RT is not eligible at this time.

WINDOWS 8/8.1 - If you want to know about Windows 8/8.1, here are some articles on general topics:

For further detail on how to use Windows 8/8.1 please ask your question on the Microsoft Answers forum or access all Windows 8/8.1 material on the Microsoft Support website. External Link

WINDOWS 7 - If you want to know about Windows 7, here are some articles on general topics: Other general Windows related topics and articles:

For how-to's and troubleshooting information on Wired and Wireless networking, browse to the Dell Networking and Wireless Support Center.

For more information on how to turn the wireless antenna on and off on a Dell Computer, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article How to Turn the Wireless Antenna On and Off on a Dell Computer.

Refer to the Dell Knowledge Base article Identify your Internet Browser and get support for any issues for any additional help.

We have detailed below information on Installation, Activation, Use and Upgrading the various versions of Microsoft Office, however, for the most comprehensive information on Microsoft products we would always recommend visiting the Microsoft Support website or the main Microsoft Site to purchase Office products.


OFFICE 2010/2007

When attempting to locate your product key for Office 2010 you will need to follow these instructions.
If you purchased Office 2007 (or any earlier version) -Your product key for the Microsoft Office suite will be located on a sticker that is on the package that contained the Microsoft Office disks. If you are having problems activating the software using this key, see this Microsoft Document.

If you purchased Office 2010 - Dell ships most home computers from the factory with a basic version of Office 2010 named Starter. If you purchased any of the Office 2010 full versions, you will use the activation code (product key) that is on the Microsoft Product Information (MPI) card enclosed in the packaging to activate the full version. Please note that if you purchased a "Fast Track" system, the MPI card will be sent separately by mail. Go to Microsoft Office and click the Download link at the bottom of the page. Enter your Product Key information as found on your MPI card and complete the form as indicated. OFFICE 365
We have detailed information below on both Inkjet and Laser Printers to assist you with troubleshooting and general maintenance/running of your Dell Printer. In addition to this information, full Printer User Guides can be found in the Manuals section of the Dell Support Site.

This article contains information on how to set up email using various email applications such as Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Yahoo, as well as resources for troubleshooting email issues.
Dell Backup and Recovery is a flexible, automated backup and recovery application which is designed to reliably protect your most important digital documents and memories in just a few clicks. Backing up your data with Dell Backup and Recovery can protect against data loss resulting from:
  • Virus attack
  • Accidental file deletion
  • OS/software corruption
  • Hardware failure*
* if data is backed up to a secondary drive or the cloud

The Dell Backup and Recovery Application comes in two versions, Basic and Premium. You can also purchase a Cloud Storage option along with the Basic or Premium versions that will allow you to back up online. Details of the latest product can be found in this article, Dell Backup and Recovery 1.8: Overview and Install, or you can download from here - Download Dell Backup and Recovery. For further information on the product please visit the Dell Backup and Recovery website.

These article links provide information on Dell Backup and Recovery: Creating Bootable Factory Backup and a Rescue Disk.

SYSTEM RESTORE is a built-in Windows tool designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your computer, System Restore should be used prior to restoring to factory condition. Select your operating system to continue with System Restore:

Time to Complete: 20 - 30 Minutes. Here are some informative videos on this topic if you have Windows 7 - How to use System Restore outside Windows 7 (English only) and How to use System Restore within Windows 7 (English only). Link to Video

MANUAL REINSTALLATION is the most time-consuming and difficult path to restore your computer to factory condition. You will reinstall the operating system directly from the CD or DVD, install the drivers, configure the OS, install critical and recommended updates, and install your applications. Time to Complete: 120+ Minutes. Select your operating system for instructions:

WINDOWS 10 WINDOWS 8/8.1 WINDOWS 7 WINDOWS VISTA After reinstalling Windows, some devices may not function properly if the drivers are installed out of order. To Learn more about Installing Drivers in the Correct Order. For details on how to transfer data between computers see these articles Windows Easy Transfer and Transfer Files From One System to Another. External Link

Refer to Dell Knowledge base article, How to replace common parts in your Dell Desktop or Notebook, for help in replacing of common parts for Dell desktops and Notebooks.

Monitors and display issues can come in many forms and we have included some of the common queries below. Additional information can be found on the Dell Monitor Support page.

Brightness, Contrast, or Geometrical problems

The Screen is either too bright, too dim, or has a black space on the top of the screen or bottom of the screen. Select the appropriate option for further instructions - Desktop or Laptop.

Blank Screen or No Video

Either there is no display on the monitor or the screen has horizontal or vertical lines going across it. Select the appropriate option for further instructions on possible resolution - Desktop or Laptop.

Adjusting the Screen Resolution, Icon, or Font Size - Too Small or Too Big

These articles provide information on Windows Video Settings by operating system:

Lines, Fuzzy, Color or Blurry Issues

Try the following steps to resolve these issues:

  1. Verify that the BIOS and Video Drivers are installed. For more information refer to How to Use the Drivers and Downloads Website.
  2. Test the LCD in the System Setup (BIOS).
  3. Run the LCD Built-In Self Test (LCD BIST).
  4. Set or Change your Video Settings.
  5. Connect to an external monitor (if available).
  6. Check for visible damage to the LCD.
Setting up Multiple Monitors

These article provide instructions by operating system: Additional issues

This article provides information on No video on external monitor prior to Windows start screen using DVI, HDMI or Display Port connections on a Latitude E3 Series computer.
Laptop Battery issues can be as a result of the AC Adapter Not Powering on the Computer or Charging the Battery. These articles will help to resolve AC Adapter and Battery issues: No Power problems can often be confused with other start up issues. Please see our Resolve No Power article for detailed descriptions of these issues and solutions.

If your system cannot perform an operating system shutdown:

  • The computer stops responding and the mouse and keyboard do not work.
  • The computer does not shut down when using the Shut Down command or the Turn Off Computer command on the Start menu in Windows.

In this case, the computer can be safely powered off by using the power button. On the next power up, your system may display: "Windows did not shut down successfully." In this case select "Start windows normally" (you do not have to use "Safe Mode").

Changing the Power Plan in Windows

These article details how to change the power plan in Windows, and how to modify various settings for display and sleep/hibernation.

Portable Battery Pack Charge Status Indicators

The charge state of the battery pack is monitored and stored within registers internal to the battery pack electronics. This may be referred to as a fuel gauge. The charge status LEDs on the battery pack indicate the remaining charge in the following manner:

Note: Not all Dell™ portable system models have the LED bar graph on the battery pack. Check the system documentation for availability.

  • Figure 1: 81%-100% charge remaining

  • Figure 2: 61%-80% charge remaining

  • Figure 3: 41%-60% charge remaining

  • Figure 4: 21%-40% charge remaining

  • Figure 5: 5%-20% charge remaining

  • Figure 6: 0%-4% charge remaining

  • Figure 7: The battery pack has failed or is damaged.

Battery degradation status indication.

Portable system batteries as with all other rechargeable batteries degrade over time. The amount of time the battery will operate the device on a full charge will reduce as the battery ages. This performance loss is also based on the number of times the battery is discharged and charged. Dell portable system batteries provide a way to monitor the degradation. The degradation status will display after holding the battery check button, located on the battery pack, down for more than 3 seconds. The battery pack LEDs will then show overall battery degradation after the charge gauge reports the battery's current charge capacity. The degradation LEDs display the following:

  • Figure 8: 100%-80% charge performance remaining

  • Figure 9: 79-75% charge performance remaining

  • Figure 10: 74-70% charge performance remaining

  • Figure 11: 69-65% charge performance remaining

  • Figure 12: 64-60% charge performance remaining

  • Figure 13: 59% or less charge performance remaining

System Battery/Charge LED

The hinge or system battery LED can indicate many battery states. The LED can blink and change color representing the battery's current operational condition. The LED indicates the following states:

  • Temporary Battery Failure
    Figure 14: Temporary Battery Failure
  • Battery Failure
    Figure 15: Fatal Battery Failure
  • Unknown Battery
    Figure 16: Unsupported (non-Dell) Battery
  • Battery Below Low Battery 2 Threshold
    Figure 17: Battery Below Low Battery 2 Threshold
  • Battery Below Low Battery 1 Threshold
    Figure 18: Battery Below Low Battery 1 Threshold
  • Battery Charging
    Figure 19: Battery Being Charged
  • Trickle Charging
    Figure 20: Battery in Trickle Charge Mode
Maximizing Notebook Battery Life Link to Video

Article ID: SLN301684

Last Date Modified: 01/11/2019 11:55 AM

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