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A reference guide to the XPS Notebook Diagnostic Indicators

Summary: This article is a reference guide to the diagnostic codes available on each model of XPS Notebook and what those codes actually indicate.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Symptoms


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 (2014 to Present)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook series (2008 to 2014)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the XPS Notebook Series (Prior to 2008)
  4. XPS Notebook Audible Beep Codes
  5. Glossary of Acronyms
  6. Diagnostic Indicator Guides

Cause

 

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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Resolution

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.

SLN309624_en_US__23XPS_prod_shot_2018_BK

(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.
 

SLN309624_en_US__26XPS_ultrabook_Battery_LED_BK

(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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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.)

SLN309624_en_US__19XPS_prod_shot_2011_BK

(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.
 

SLN309624_en_US__21XPS_14_Logo_LED_BK

(Fig.2.2 XPS Logo LED)

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

SLN309624_en_US__22XPS_14_Battery_LED_BK

(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 (Prior to 2008)

 

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

SLN309624_en_US__3XPS_prod_shot_2007_BK

(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.

SLN309624_en_US__5KybdStatusLED_4300_2007_BK_01

(Fig.1.2 Caps Lock LEDs)

Icon Description
SLN309624_en_US__61395072784135.Caps Caps Lock light - Turns on when the Caps Lock is engaged
SLN309624_en_US__71395072803479.Scroll Scroll Lock light - Turns on when the Scroll Lock is engaged
SLN309624_en_US__81395072849604.Num Number Lock light - Turns on when the Number Lock is enabled
Flash Code LED Pattern Description Next Step
SLN309624_en_US__91366966117019.D1 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
SLN309624_en_US__101366966165505.D2 On-Flash-On The memory has encountered an error.
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__111366966202304.D3 Flash-Flash-Flash A system board component is faulty.
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__121366966228164.D4 Flash-Flash-On The video card is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__131366966275542.D5 Flash-Flash-Off The keyboard is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the keyboard cable
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__141366966307652.D6 Flash-Off-Flash The USB controller encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Remove any USB devices
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__151366966334560.D7 On-Flash-Flash No SODIMMs are installed.
  • Install the memory module(s)
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__161366966369858.D8 Flash-On-Flash The LCD encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Reseat the LCD cable
  • Contact Support
SLN309624_en_US__171366966398453.D9 Off-Flash-Flash The modem is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the modem
  • Contact Support

SLN309624_en_US__18XPS_m1330_LED_BK
(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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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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Glossary of Acronyms:

Refer to the table for definitions of the acronyms within this article.

Acronym Definition
BIOS Basic Input/Output System
CFG Resource Configuration
CPU Central Processing Unit
DIMM Dual In-line Memory Module
DMA Direct Memory Access
EC Embedded Controller
HECI Host Embedded Controller Interface
LCD Liquid Crystal Display
LED Light Emitting Diode
MBF Motherboard Failure
MBIST Memory Built-in Self Test
ME Management Engine
MEM Memory
NVRAM Non-Volatile Random Access Memory
PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect
POV Post-video Activity
PRV Pre-video Activity
PSU Power Supply Unit
RAM Random Access Memory
RCM Recovery Mode
ROM Read Only Memory
RTC Real Time Clock
S0 System Power State S0 – This is the Working State, where your Windows PC is awake.
S1 System Power State S1 – In this sleep state, the CPU is stopped, and your computer is in standby mode.
S2 System Power State S2 – This state is similar to S1 except that the CPU and system cache are lost because the processor loses power.
S3 System Power State S3 – In this state, data is saved to RAM, hard drives, and other hardware are shut down.
S4 System Power State S4 – In this state, RAM and other data are saved to the hard disk.
S5 System Power State S5 - The System is off.
SBIOS Small Board Interface Operating System
SPI Serial Peripheral Interface
STD Boot Hand Off
STO Storage Device
TPM Trusted Platform Module
USB Universal Serial Bus
VID Video


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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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Additional Information

Article Properties


Affected Product

XPS

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021

Version

6

Article Type

Solution