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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    System will not start up

    I am helping a friend who has a Dell Dimension 501 - all of a sudden, she can not start up her system. The Power Button blinks orange (which is not normal) but when she pushes it to start the system, nothing happens. I can see there is a green light on the motherboard. I have tried holding in the power button for 7-10 seconds but this does not change anything. I have plugged the electrical cord into a different outlet - nothing changes. Could it be the power supply?

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System will not start up

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Leif on 13-Aug-08 17:09. to sort out a difficult link...)</P>According to Random Fix, it could be one of many, many things.

    Hope you can find something useful there!

  3. #3
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    Re: System will not start up

    A solid amber was a sure sign for me that the PS is dead. We had about 20 or more Dell power supplies that went bell up.

    A quick google brings this as the first hit. One thing mentioned is removing self powered USB items.

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    Re: System will not start up

    OK - I read your suggestions and Mbarrons and tried blowing out the USB ports with no luck. Then I replaced the CMOS battery and HOORAY - it worked - EXCEPT now when I start the system up, after a brief period (and before Windows XP fully starts, I get the message INPUT SIGNAL OUT OF RANGE with a countdown clock and the monitor turns off. I went into the SETUP process and could not find anything to change in the video settings. I put in a different video card and got the same results. Now I have booted into safe mode and the monitor is staying on just fine. Any further suggestions?

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System will not start up

    That sounds like the setting for your monitor is something the monitor doesn't like/support, and it is turning itself off to protect itself.

    What kind of monitor do you have? You can probably only access the (right-click) Desktop > Properties > Settings > Advanced in safe mode now, so set it to something safe like a low resolution and slow refresh rate and try again. Unless your video card has gone sick...

  6. #6
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    Re: System will not start up

    I was able to get the system to start in Safe Mode and was able to backup the personal files, pictures, etc. I left the system on over night (in safe mode) and had no problem with it. That would mean the Power Supply is not the problem - would you agree? Also, if the system works in Safe Mode and stayed on all night - does that mean the motherboard is probably OK?

    I am in the process of reformatting the hard drive and reloading Windows XP. We will see what happens after this.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System will not start up

    It certainly sounds like the PSU and motherboard are OK. I would guess that the failure of the battery munged up some stored video setting, leaving it in an 'illegal' state. Re-installing should start you off with default values for the video - good luck and let us know how you get on!

  8. #8
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    Re: System will not start up

    Now I am thinking it was the video card. I got XP installed and updated without a problem. But then I went to video settings and tried to adjust it from 800 x600 to 1024 x 768 and the computer reacted funny - the monitor lost its picture and I got the floating box that said it had lost the signal. So I restarted the computer, went into setup and changed the settings so it would recognize the onboard video card. I then shut the computer down, removed the video card and restarted and so far, no problems. I was also able to change the settings to 1024 x 768 without a problem.

    Man - this is a lot of trouble shooting to fix the problem. For awhile, I was seriously thinking of scrapping the system and scavenging the parts. Thanks to everyone for their help and suggestions.

  9. #9
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    Re: System will not start up

    Whoops - I spoke to soon. The darn thing is acting up again - getting the blinking orange light at the start button - then the system won't restart. I unplug the electrical from the surge protector and replug it - sometimes it starts and usually not. Hello Scavenged parts. Just can not tolerate a system like that. Again, thanks for your help.

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System will not start up

    Sorry to hear that. Perhaps there is some mix of problems which are going to be hard work to track down, and probably just not worth it.

  11. #11
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    Re: System will not start up

    On Dell desktop systems, the blinking amber power switch indicates either a power supply or a motherboard failure. If you have an owner's manual or a service manual for the machine, check to see if the diagnostic lights shed any light (both manuals are available for download from the Dell Support site).
    John
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