Artlady needs desktop computer help!

Hi y’all! :waving:

I mostly use my Dell laptop for everything. It is about 2 years old and is in front of me now as I type these words.

But, I have a [B]Dell Desktop[/B] sitting at my left…it is about 5 years old. I maintain the antivirus and microsoft updates on it…just in case of a crash on the laptop…
I will have a backup computer. :eyes:

However, I tried to power up the old desktop today (by pushing the button on the tower, as usual)…and nothin’.

[U]It is plugged in[/U]. I tried un-plugging it for a minute, then re-plugging it…the “on” button lights up…but the computer doesn’t come on.

It should be mentioned that I haven’t tried to turn it on in about 3 months. But, I have let it sit idle longer than that on other occasions, and it powered up just fine. It should also be mentioned that our city has had 2 power outages in the past month. One outage lasted all day…and the other one occurred when we were out-of-town.

No one lives in my household except me and DH…and he doesn’t know what a computer “on” button is! So no one has tinkered around with it in my absence.

Does anyone have any idea what has happened?
Do you have any “fixes” I can try?

I will be very grateful for any and all feedback. Even if it is to say “Make funeral arrangements. Your desktop has died.”


I don’t know very much about computers either, but I have made a lot of interesting mistakes that have added to my knowledge. One of the details I learned is that your computer can be turned on but if your moniter isn’t on also, you won’t see anything. My Dell moniter has an on button separate from the on button on the CPU. Hopefully, this helps.


Have you tried the power supply on the computer. My dh is the one that is savvy on cumputer. I read him your story and that is what he said that could be the trouble. If it is also 5 years old he said it could be toast. Contact Dell and see what kind of power supply you would need.
Hope this helps, if you have found the problem great.


First things first, while the power is turned off, unplug the main power plug then unplug and replug every other plug to and from the computer. Check that the monitor is on. Verify power is running to the wall outlet.

Turn the computer on.

Does your computer make any sound at all? Do you hear any whirring or buzzing or a high pitched frequency? Any beeps?

If you hear nothing at all, I suspect that the problem is either the power plug or the power supply in the CPU case. The power supply could have gotten fried during an electrical storm. (Been there, done that)

If you do hear a whirring or something, then power is making it to various parts of the CPU case. There should be at least one fan in the case, can you visually check to see if it’s coming on? If it is, then you might have a more serious problem like a dead hard drive.

I wouldn’t recommend trying to fix this yourself unless you know what you’re doing. Call Dell support or take it in to a repair shop.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

My first thought is the monitor.

When you turn on the CPU, do you hear anything running? A green light usually indicates all is well with that part of the computer.

However, if you’re not seeing anything on the screen, the problem is probably the monitor. This has happened at work before. One of the power outages could have fried the monitor, or it could have simply bit the dust.

Do you have a neighbor whom you could borrow a monitor from just to test it out?

Good luck my friend!:hug:

Both of my computers are plugged into surge protectors. When the power goes out, one computer is always fine. The other (mine) won’t turn on. I have to crawl under the desk and flip the power switch to the surge protector off and then back on. Then and only then will my computer turn on.

Just a suggestion. :slight_smile:

I was also thinking it could be the surge protectorl. I had one that I had to flip off and on again after power outages.

I am not a computer expert by any stretch…but if the power light on the tower is coming on it would make me think it is something with the monitor. Either it blew with one of the outages, it is no longer plugged into the tower, or it is not turned on. Just my $0.02

In addition to the other things make sure the surge protector is on…there is usually a light on it. When we had a young cat she used to step on it and turn it off occasionally. Since it is a surge protector it may have something that needs to be reset as well, but I don’t know for sure.

The surge protector is on. The monitor is on. The surge protector is on. The belly light (“on” button) for the tower is on. The light for the monitor is on.

However, when I press another button on the monitor, it displays these words: [B]In Power Save Mode. Press any key on keyboard or move mouse. [/B]But when I do, nothing happens.

I will keep investigating and follow the steps that Silver suggested.

Ima beginnin’ to think it [B]is[/B] the monitor that has blown out. Ouch. New monitors are pricey. I never dreamt that it could be the monitor! It’s a 17" flat screen. I may take the monitor to a friend whose tower we know is working, and see if my monitor will work with his tower.

[COLOR=Blue][B]Thanks to all for your input. [/B][/COLOR]Anyone else wanna weigh in on this?

17 inch monitors aren’t that bad anymore. For around $200 or less you can get a good one. Your computer is 5 yrs old though so take that into consideration…will you be upgrading soon? If so you could get a monitor now and then buy just the CPU or wait and buy the whole shebang. :wink: I am loving my new Dell so far!

probably completely irrelevant, but is the internal battery (ie the one that maintains your clock/calendar etc) in your computer ok after not turning it on in so long. It went on one of our computers and buggered it up til we figured out what the problem was

Yeah I sure do need to think about these things! My Desktop Dell has only 512 mb memory, and 80 GB hardrive…and they were the best you could buy at that time! 512 MB memory!! 80 GB hardrive!!

Well the 80 GB hardrive is all I need, even on my laptop…but the 512 memory (RAM)! Unheard of these days.

So I dunno if investing in a monitor for this old desktop is worth it.
Yesterday, I prowled around on the Dell website, and saw their new STUDIO HYBRID computers! So small, so cute and stylish! The CPU is very very small, and will stand up, or lay down. I like it very much! Such a small desktop footprint, and easy to move!

The hook is that the price you see is minus speakers (for the STUDIO desktop), minus a monitor, minus any software whatsoever. The $499 price tag grows to $1200 real fast.

I guess that is ok… some folks have their own monitors and speakers, etc. Why buy more than you have to?

For the $499 you receive 1 GB Ram, with 160 GB hardrive.
1 GB Ram is totally inefficient for the memory sucking VISTA OS.
So right off the bat, you have to think about upgrading to 3GB or 4GB memory if you want/need a speedy responder! That ups the ante by $100-$150. Upping the processor [U]from[/U][FONT=Verdana][/FONT][FONT=arial][SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2]Intel®[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2] Pentium™ Dual Core T2390 (1.86GHz/533Mhz FSB/1MB cache) [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2][U]to[/U] [/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2]Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T8100 (2.1GHz/800Mhz FSB/3MB cache) adds $175.


I dunno what to do.

Maybe I’ll just keep tinkering with my old desktop. If nothing can be resolved, I think I’d put some change into the STUDIO HYBRID before I restore the old desktop to operational status. But I’d really really like to! It’s just a backup plan in case of crashes.


The fact that the monitor gives a message stating that it’s in power saving mode tells me that the monitor is probably ok. It’s waiting for a video signal to wake it up.

There are a couple of things to check.

  1. When you power up the tower, if the system is actually booting you should be able to see the hard drive light flickering as the drive is read and on most machines if you listen closely you can heard the drive spinning.

If you do see this and hear this, then that means the machine is actually booting up and either the video card itself is fried, or loose, or the power supply is partially damaged and isn’t sending power to that section of the board, or the mother board itself is damaged.

  1. If the machine isn’t booting at all then I’d suspect either the power supply (most likely) or the mother board (less likely but possible).

Machines should always be unplugged during a power outage to protect them from the surge when power is restored, even if they’re plugged into a surge protector. Far too many surge protectors out there are inadequate.

Hi Mason!

The surge protector that powers my CPU, [COLOR=Blue]monitor, MAXTOR OneTouch external hard drive, and laptop[/COLOR]…seems to ok, because the surge protector is sending power to [COLOR=Blue]these items in blue.

[COLOR=Black]No, the CPU doesn’t make a peep. No whirring, purring or otherwise. Nada. The little belly light does show yellow. When I unplug the CPU, the re-plug, the light is out…when I push it, it goes yellow again, but nothing happens. Nada.

I purchased a new power strip the other day. It’s called the MONSTER POWER Computer Power Center PC800 HP with 8 outlets. Full capacity SURGEGAURD protection, it says. It maintains that the Monster Clean Power filtering stops performance damaging AC Power Pollution…whatever that means.
Paid $80 for the thing. Shees. Pricey little sucker. But not as much as replacing a CPU!

I think I might have to make funeral arrangements for my CPU. :pout:

Anyway, I’m gonna get everything plugged into the new power strip ASAP.

I was home for the first power outage, but never even thought to unplug the Dell Desktop. Dumb me.

However, I was not home for the 2nd power outage.
We were only aware that there had been an outage because every clock in the house was blinking and needed resetting.

I take my LAPTOP and the MAXTOR with me on vacation. So they were not here for the surge of electricity, if that is what indeed killed my DELL DESKTOP CPU.

Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.

Hi Lucy,

How does one check the [COLOR=Blue]internal battery[/COLOR]? Crack open the hood and look around? Does it look like a watch battery? :??

When I say the power supply, I mean the one inside the computer. They have multiple sections and it could be that a portion of the supply is burned out.

It’s cheaper to replace the power supply than the entire computer and would probably be worth ordering one to try it and see before scrapping the whole thing.

You should be able to find one pretty cheap at

I’ve ordered from Newegg in the past and have always gotten very good service from them.

If it isn’t the power supply then odds are high that the mother board is toasted.

I agree that it could be the power supply; they tend to get zapped when the power comes back on after an outage. That’s why a good surge protector helps. You may find one at a local computer shop too, they probably aren’t much more than $50 if that.

512 mb of RAM and 80 G hard drive??:noway: Wowzers. I have 4G of RAM and 320 G HD and Vista runs like a dream. :thumbsup: I used my old speakers and monitor so the $1400 I spent all went to the CPU and I’m glad I did it this way. That way I could upgrade the RAM and video card easily.

Yeah, Jan…isn’t that a DINOSAUR 512 MB RAM and 80 GB hardrive! Who’da thunk!

It ran pretty snappy though. And still does (if I can get it powered on). I reformatted it, and just left the OFFICE software and a couple dozen photos. No docs. I mainly use it to use internet and email…and update my ART website, and like I said, in case of a crash on my laptop. It is nice to have a backup computer.