Dell Power Button Lights

| May 6, 2010

Use the Dell power button lights to help diagnose problems with your Dell computer, such as a failing hard drive or a bad motherboard. Most newer models of Dell computers now have a diagnostic LED surrounding the power button on the from of the computer. When you press the power button to boot the PC, the light should be green and remain green under normal circumstances. Any other lights will help you troubleshoot the power issue you are having.

What Dell Power Button Lights Mean

A solid green light means the computer is operating normally.

A solid yellow light indicates the power supply is operating normally but the computer is not processing data. This could mean there is a problem with the CPu or another component on the motherboard.

A blinking yellow light indicates the power supply is receiving power from the wall, but not functioning properly. This generally means the power supply itself is bad and should be tested or replaced.

A blinking green light means the computer is in standby mode.

Conclusion

dell power button lightsYou should consider visiting Dell Support and downloading the manual for your specific model, as these light codes may change depending on the model of your Dell computer. So use the LED power light codes if your Dell computer has them. Also pay attention to any unusual beeps or sounds coming from the computer. Then join us in our free computer tech support forums and we’ll try and help you solve your PC problem. Sometimes, however, a service call to Dell will be required.

If your system is still under warranty, you should always just call them first, as tampering with your computer may void your warranty.

If you have other questions regarding your Dell power button lights, be sure and join our free forums and ask. Or read more Dell computer help articles here.

Category: Dell

Dave

About the Author ()

Dave has been providing free computer repair and tech support advice online since 2002. Join us on our forums and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and other helpful computer articles. Connect with me on: Google+

Comments (60)

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  1. Natisha Suire says:

    I have a question about my dell computer. Sometimes when i turn it on my computer it will beep pause beep pause will do it 6 times, the led light stays green and blinks. Sometimes i have to unplug the cord from the back to get it to work and sometimes it wont work for weeks at a time. Can you please let me know what you think could be wrong with it.
    Thank you
    Natisha

    • Dave Dave says:

      Your best bet is to look in the support section of the Dell website. You computer is generating a beep code that could mean something different depending on your model.

  2. Manini says:

    I have seen from you’re suggestions that a blinking orangey yellow light means there is something wrong with the power supply. However, it has always been working fine and i’m not sure how i could replace this.
    Could this also be happening because my PC has been on for more than a week and a half, and never on standby mode but full power.
    Also, Sometimes people accidently press the main power off and on again, could this be the reason that it is not turning on? Or is it simply the power supply?
    Thank you

    • Dave Dave says:

      Try unplugging the power cable and then hold the front power button for abut thirty-seconds. This discharges capacitory that might be retaining power. Plug it back in and try powering it back on normally.

  3. John Gardner says:

    My daughter has an inspiron 1520. It works well when using the adapter to charge the battery, but it will not operate with the cord attached. I think it might be a battery or cord problem but am not certain.

  4. Dave Dave says:

    There should be a key on the keyboard with a display icon or a sun icon that controls the brightness up and down. I have never see it go so bright that it can wash out a display, though.

  5. Rick says:

    The yellow lite on the front of my Dell is a constant yellow. On the mother board there is a capacitor that has a little bulge at the top. I know that capacitors should be flat on top……….could that be the problem ?

  6. Brown says:

    435t i get the run around from dell about upgrading my processor to an i7 950, 960 and how these will effect my psu. I want to take my psu from the standard 475 watts to 700, 750. I do not want injure my mother board. What would be a safe upgrade in psu?

  7. Brandon says:

    I recently took my motherboard out of my Dell Dimension 3000 and put it in another case and plugged everything back in the right way it turns on i get the green light for a second and it goes to solid yellow. I have two power boxes and I have tried both of them and now I’m clueless the monitor wont come on but is says its working correctly I am so lost.

    • Dave Dave says:

      Did you use the power supply from the old Dell case? Also, the connections from the old Dell’s front panel and the new case may be different–confirm that these are correct. You can “jump-start” the mobo by shorting the two power on pins with a flathead screwdriver. If that starts the computer, then you know the switch wires are connected wrong.

  8. john taylor says:

    My power connection jack into my laptop is not going all the way in. I have checked it and there is no obstruction. A message keeps coming up saying the AC adaptor cannot be determined. It then says my system will slow down (which it is doing) and the battery won’t charge. Would you direct me to someone who can repair my power jack.

  9. sheon says:

    My computer was working fine. I moved it to another location. When I tried to re start it, my monitor has a notice on it. ( going into power save mode.) and then my screen goes completely out. Nothing will work.
    Thank you so much for any help.

    Scincerly
    Sheron

  10. Steve says:

    My Dell Laptop all of a sudden doesn’t recogonize my battery. If I unplug the ac cord it shuts off immediately.

  11. Katrina says:

    My dell inspiring 1420. Does not have a light problem but just will not go past the bootup menu. It just continues to start itself over. I really need some help thanks

  12. gone says:

    Hello,

    I have got an amber light blinking everytime i try power the PC on. I have replaced PSU and a working one does the same thing. Called DELL tech support and they advise could either be IO Panel or Mobo. The tech guy said they would send me some links to my email to help me troubleshoot but havent heard anything as yet.

    Can anyone here please suggest anything else I may have missed. Where to buy IO Panel to try or even mobo?
    Thanks
    Gone

  13. rohan says:

    my dell loaded up normally for a few seconds then the screen went blank with only its product number and a message saying disabling is prohibited. esc didn’t work to get off the screen and neither did ctrl alt del didn’t either so i turned it off at its power button. after a few seconds i tried to turn it back on again but the soft ware was unresponsive. also the disk drive started to flash, it started beeping and the lights 3 and 4 where lit. these numbers where located between the power button and the disk drive almost at half way.

    any ideas on how to solve the problem? i believe it to be either a virus or a problem with the hard or firm ware but dont know how to fix such a problem

    please get back to me

    rohan

    • Horst says:

      Hi Rohan,

      More than one year later, I’m sorry. But we have exactly the same problem. Did you find a way to fix it?
      Thank you!

      Adriaan

  14. ED says:

    My Dell Inspiron 1150 has been blinking dim every so often. Today it just stayed dim. Any ideas of my problem and correcting it. Thanks

  15. Sam Hood says:

    Since moving to Belgium I have used my desktop sparingly and have had no trouble with it.
    But today I booted it up and for 10 seconds it started up as usual then it just stopped.
    It is a Dell and when you start it the green button comes on but after the 10 sec. or so it shuts off and the green goes to an amber flashing light. It does not even come up to the blue screen.

    I then have to manually hold the button in to turn it completely off. I check what I could and made sure the switch on the back was on 220v, instead of US 110v.
    Any ideas?

  16. Andrew Smyth says:

    I have had my dell for almost 1.5 years and just before my year warranty ran out my computer stopped working…the power led started flashing yellow…and would not boot. By the time I called them they said my warranty had expired and wanted me to pay to speak to someone. I replaced the power supply and now 4 months later it is happening again. Is there another cause other than the power supply or a resource I can use to find out what’s really going on here…I ‘m not sure I trust that the big supply failed again…Thanks in advance.

    • Sorry to hear that. A blinking yellow (Amber) light indicates a bad power supply. You can also inspect the motherboard for bad capacitors (coke can looking things). But the problem is likely the power supply again. If you replace it and it works, make sure you are also plugged into a quality power strip.

  17. sam says:

    hi there i need help bad my husbands computer when he turns it on it wont boot up and it keeps saying disk read error please help

  18. Hopefully, it’s just a bad power supply. You can buy a power supply tester at your local electronic shop.

  19. Lee says:

    I have a Dell Vostro 1520. For no apparent reason the power button has started to flash its blue light after I shutdown computer (Start orb > Shutdown button in start menu.) I checked control panel > power options > system settings > When I press the power button: Shutdown. Also right clicked Start orb > properties > Start Menu tab > Power button action: Shutdown. The blue flashing power button light should only happen if machine is in hibernate/sleep mode. Apparently machine is not shutting down like it should. Problem began after doing a routine system image. System restore did not solve problem nor did last known good configuration. Any thoughts on why this is happening? Thanks.

  20. bo says:

    My dell won’t turn on……get the first green light but then does nothin

  21. Mike S says:

    Came home from a trip, attempted to power up my Dell desktop (model#?, circa 2005) and it did it’s typical “first attempt” to boot up. Got the black screen telling some kind of error and to either strike F1 to try again, or F2 to go to utility setup. Hit F1 and it went dark on me. Power is on (for speakers and monitor) and am getting blinking yellow’ish light on computer power button.

    Attempted it again this morning, same thing, but this time I chose the F2 utility setup option. Hit escape and it took me to the black screen with options to chose ‘start normally’, ‘start in last known config’ or ‘start in safety mode’….chose ‘start normally’ and it immediately crashed agin.

    I’ve unplugged everything and will try again this evening. Any advice on what to do at this stage would be welcome.

    • Blinking yellow light means a bad power supply. I would find out the model of your Dell–go to the Dell support site and have it automatically detect your computer. Then look for the manual and confirm that that’s what the blinking yellow light means.

  22. Mike S says:

    Okay, thanks.

    What if I was mistaken and it was a blinkng green light?

  23. samantha says:

    I left my Dell desk top on and it was working fine. I came back a few hours later and the screen was blank and the green light was blinking. I haven’t been able to get it to work since. I have tried plugging it into a different outlet. This may have nothing to do with it, but a guide line from the power company was pulled down the same day. The lights went out for a short amount of time but came back on. No other appliances or anything were affected, so I’m not sure that there was a power surge or anything. My computer is approximately 2 years old. What do you siggest I do?

  24. Susan Lucero says:

    Hi, my problem is my monitor will not turn on. The light on the monitor is yellow , and so is the light on the computor itself. Now this is the weird part, recently I got a message saying that it was plugged in wrong, (had been using the computer plugged in the way it was for months, then all of a sudden it says it is plugged in wrong. We plugged in according to the directions and it worked the monitor came on yayyy,, then . The next day I went to turn it on and the same thing happened , the monitor would not turn on, sometimes the light on the computer is green sometimes yellow, but when the monitor does not go on it is always yellow. I was told it was the video card, could this be the problem? Then I was told it was probably the monitor itself. I am totally confused and don’t want to spend money until i get a good feel about what it is. It seems the monitor will go on when it wants to like it has a mind of its own.. Please help if you can .

  25. nijo says:

    We have DELL Optiplex 755. The problem is this machine is restarting over and over again. How can be it rectified?

    • Usually means the computer is crashing and cannot recover. Try booting to safe mode by tapping the F8 key. If you can get into safe mode, run check disk on the hard drive and / or run a system restore to go back to a date when the machine was not crashing.

  26. Devin says:

    Hi, my problem is my monitor will not turn on. The light on the monitor is yellow and so is the light on the computor itself the monitor tells me that its on standby and to strike a key, but nothing happens when I do that. The screen remains blank. I was told it was the video card, could this be the problem? Then I was told it was probably the monitor itself. I am totally confused and don’t want to spend money until i get a good feel about what it is. It seems the monitor will go on when it wants to like it has a mind of its own.. Please help if you can .

    • If the monitor is showing the standby screen, then that is telling you the monitor is working and that the problem is likely the PC itself. Check the cable, too.

  27. Elena says:

    Have 435T dell, with I-7. Today put it in sleep mode in within second loud fan noise came on. If I try to power on a solid yellow/amber light comes on, the fan is loud, but that is as far as it goes. I tried changing power chords, tried turning off PC and holding power button down for 30 secs but nothing. When I plug the cord back in a blue light comes on to indicate it is plugged in, then it goes off. And again, if power button is pressed, the light turns to SOLID yellow, there are no beeps of any kind, but loud fan noise. Please help.

  28. J says:

    hello,
    I have a dell inspirion 531 desktop. We recently had a power surge due to lightnining. My computer will not even turn on. The is hoe ever a blinking green light on the back. No lights on front is there anything I can do to fix it or is it toast? Thanks J

  29. Jody Morgan says:

    I have a Dell xp home edition and yesterday it made funny sounds and today I went to turn it on and the green light comes on for a second then a solid yellow light comes. no monitor no nothing. please help…thank you

  30. Derrick says:

    I turn on the on the pc everything starts but it doesn’t get to windows screen b4 going black on my screen..on my tower one light stays solid green and the other
    usually blinks but now it comes on and off b4 screen goes blaclk..Ty

  31. Bill says:

    Recently, when I boot up my 17″ Dell flatsreen (old) is blank and the power button flashes green. (usually amber till I boot up then solid green). Tried Dell support -nada-replace. Can’t be a problem I can trouble shoot??? When it’s blank and blinking green I wait 10 minutes and it usually displays. Help

  32. missy antill says:

    My dell desktop wont boot on it just flashes a constant green light on the front and it wont do anything else

  33. Ian Durrant says:

    When I turn my DELL desktop monitor on the power light flashes green. Does this mean it is in standby, if so how do I get it out.
    Ian Durrant

  34. Susannah says:

    I have a Dell E521 with Vista. Last night I went to turn it on and nothing happened. I took the cover off and tried the unplug/push power button for 30 seconds numerous times and nothing. The only light that came on was an amber light on what I think is the motherboard (it’s in the back and has lots of little components). This morning I pushed the power button again and the amber light is on as well as the power button is flashing green. I have pushed the power button several times and it does nothing but flash. There are no lights coming on in the four diagnostic lights. Thursday night when I was working on it, a blue screen came up that said something about crash dump preparation and then computer restarted and I continued to work on it with no problem and shut it down correctly. Any advice? Thanks!!!

    • If the power light is blinking green, the computer is in standby mode. Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation. If the power light is blinking amber, the computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem might exist. Ensure that the voltage selection switch is set to match the AC power at your location (if applicable). If the power light is steady amber, a device might be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed.

  35. If the power light is blinking blue, the computer is in standby mode. Press a key on the keyboard, move the mouse, or press the power button to resume normal operation.

  36. Joe says:

    It is probably a bad wire at the connector on the charger cord. The center pin is a problem and the wire breaks off the pin easily. If your pc works ok with the cord plugged in but will not charge the battery then you know the power supply works. However if the center pin is not making a connection the pc does not know that the charger is correct and will not let the battery charge. Play around with the plug and sometimes you will be able to make it charge. You have 2 options. One is to fix the connector. I have fixed a few but its not easy. Option 2 is to buy a new charger.

  37. Amy says:

    I have a Dell Latitude 13. From time to time, when I replug the power cord, the entire system freezes. I have hold down the power button to reboot as neither the keyboard nor the mouse responds. Any ideas what could be wrong or how I might fix it? Thanks!

  38. Morgan says:

    Hi David,

    My Dell PC had been making loud noise lately – then one day it became quiet. The next day it stopped working – the power switch button is solid amber and the light on the mother board is solid green, but nothing shows on the monitor. I suspect it was the power supply failure. But from your description, if the switch light is solid amber, the power supply is working fine? How do I diagnose it?

    Thanks!

    M

  39. Morgan says:

    Supplement info
    The noise sounds like the fan. It had been very loud and had always been there as long as the PC was on. Also the energy saving function did not seem to work when the noise came out – i.e. the PC never went into idle after this noise began – I have to turn it off manually everyday.

    M

  40. Colin says:

    I have a windows vista (it says Dell on the side) when i boot it up the light is orange and there’s a clicking noise. About twenty seconds later it turn green and boots up normally but then around fifteen or twenty minutes later it restarts itself (while I’m doing homework) starts rebooting then starts switching between green and orange quickly, then it just blinks orange. What should I do?

    • Dave Dave says:

      Clicking is not good. That sounds like a dying hard drive. Do you have recovery disks for the computer? If not, see if there is a way to make them. Usually, there will be an option to create the recovery disks located somewhere in the start menu. Or you may need to tap the F8 key when booting and see if you have the option listing in that menu. If the hard drive dies, you will need those disks to reinstall the Operating System after you get a new hard drive.

  41. Colin says:

    Sorry windows xp vista and says Dell on the side

  42. Some Dude says:

    Vostro 1520 laptop. The system was working just fine, and right in the middle of being on, it shut down completely, and now will not turn on at all. No lights, no power, no nothing. It’s totally dead. I’ve ruled out the power supply and battery as being issues. I’ve taken it apart and don’t see anything obviously fried. Any clever suggestions?

    Thanks!