List of Hardware Problems and Fixes

Last modified by Patrick Masson on 2020.02.28 at 10:16:43 PST

Possible Hardware Problems

Diagnostic strategies:

Three of the PC models we have worked with so far have had various ways to diagnose errors encountered during their Power On Self-Test, or POST.

  • HP Compaq - Red LED that flashes 1-5 times with an accompanying beeping tone, errors diagnosed here.
  • Dell Dimension - 4 LEDs on the back with A B C D labels that either light up green, amber, or not at all; error codes listed here
  • Dell OptiPlex - 4 LED numbers visible near audio input/output jacks; error codes listed here

Hard Drives:

  • The "clicking of death" - Hard drive problem where the hard drive makes a distinct clicking or scraping noise telling that the hard drive is most likely damaged beyond repair.
  • Hard drive failure warning - the HP BIOS gave a warning that the hard drive was in danger of failing and should be backed up; no known remedy, symptom of old hard drives


  • Dell Dimension 2400 - was told via light up LEDs that one of the RAM modules wasn't functioning. Removing it solved the error.

Motherboard/Power Unit: Dell Dimension 2400- unlisted LED code implies that either the motherboard or power unit is malfunctioning


  • Administrator password blocks Bios changes - either remove the battery or the CMOS jumper (should say CLRPWD or CLEAR or PASSWORD next to it on the motherboard)
Created by Lindsay Clark on 2017.06.09 at 09:40:43 PDT

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