How to run the Dell Diagnostics

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How to run the Dell Diagnostics

  • Diagnostics within windows using the Drivers and Utilities CD
    * Insert the Dimension Drivers and Utilities Resource CD, follow the prompts to load the software
    * When finished, click Start- Dell Accessories- Dell ResourceCD
    * Choose your System Type, Operating System, Diagnostics (for example, video)
    * The number and types of diagnostics will differ by system type

    Diagnostics before windows using the Drivers and Utilities CD
    * Insert the Dimension Drivers and Utilities Resource CD into the top CD drive
    * Close any boxes that open
    * Insert any non-burned data CD into the lower CD drive
    * Close any boxes that open
    * Click Start- Turn Off Computer- Restart
    * Press F12 to enter the Boot Menu
    * Press 5 IDE CD-ROM DEVICE press Enter
    * Press 2 Boot from CD-ROM press Enter
    * Choose the Diagnostics listed for your system type
    * Clicking Express Test will check all the hardware
    * If you just want to check a specific hardware item, click "Custom Test"
    * Click (for example) CDROM/DVD
    * Click the Run Test button

    Diagnostics before windows using the F12 Diagnostics
    * Reboot and press F12 to enter the Boot Menu
    * When the boot device list appears, highlight Diagnostics and press Enter
    * The computer begins to run the Pre-boot System Assessment, a series of embedded diagnostics that perform initial testing on your system board, keyboard, hard drive, and display
    * If the Pre-boot System Assessment completes successfully, you receive the message Booting Dell Diagnostic Utility Partition
    * Press any key to continue
    * Press any key to start the Dell Diagnostics from the Diagnostics utility partition on your hard drive
    * After the Dell Diagnostics loads and the Main Menu screen appears, click the button for the option you want to run -
    Express Test = Performs a quick test of devices. The test typically takes 10 to 20 minutes and requires no interaction on your part
    Extended Test = Performs a thorough check of devices. The test typically takes 1 hour or more and requires you to answer questions periodically
    Custom Test = Tests a specific device. You can customize the tests to be run
    Symptom Tree = Allows you to select tests based on a symptom of the problem you are experiencing
    * When you have finished running a test, close the screen to return to the Main Menu screen. To exit the Dell Diagnostics and reboot the computer, close the Main Menu screen

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
    Quick link for Manuals and Drivers

  • Upon turning on my PC, I received the message "Missing Operating System"... What should I expect after running the diagnostic program?

  • Hi aamna,

    This is a very old post (2007). Can you tell me the model and operating system of your Dell? When do you see this error? Are you trying to run the diagnostics?

  • I’ve got a Dell studio slim 540.  Runs on Windows Vista… I see the error upon booting… right after the initial Dell screen.  

    It just started happening a few days ago… we had a black out and when the electricity came back up, and we booted the computer, the error came up…

  • That message indicates your system cannot find the operating system, so you have a problem with your hard drive. I hope you've got your important files backed up!

    Go here for instructions on running the Dell diagnostics on your hard drive. You need to boot to your Dell drivers and utilities disc to test the hard drive. To test your hard drive using your Dell Drivers and Utilities disc:
    1. Reboot your system. When you see the Dell logo, hit F12 to enter the boot menu.
    2. Insert the Dell Drivers and Utilities disc in your CD/DVD drive.
    3. Pick the option to boot from the CD/DVD drive.
    4. You will be prompted to hit any key to continue booting from the CD/DVD drive.
    5. You will be prompted to hit 1 to run the Dell diagnostics. You may see two such menus.
    6. Select Test System.
    7. Select Custom Test.
    7. Use the arrow keys or mouse to select your hard drive.
    9. Click Run Tests.
    10. Write down any error messages.

  • i am trying to use the 'My dell' online computer diagnostic check-up on my dell dimension 4600 desktop which is 9 years old,

    every time i try to run any dell online program, it produces a 'unknown error ' message and the program shuts down - why ? is it because i have a computer that is long out of warranty and dell do not offer suport ?

  • Hi P.williams,

    Your old Dim 4600 has the diagnostics on the hard drive. Boot to the F12 partition and run it from there.