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. https://acsdata.com/hard-drive-click-of-death/
  • 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 18:40

Submit feedback regarding this wiki to webmaster@opensource.org

This wiki is licensed under a Creative Commons 2.0 license
XWiki 11.10.5 - Documentation