XPS 420 fan noise very loud and computer wont start, need help - General Hardware - Desktop - Dell Community

XPS 420 fan noise very loud and computer wont start, need help


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XPS 420 fan noise very loud and computer wont start, need help

  • i bought my dell xps 420 around christmas in 2007 and within a few weeks, when i tried to start the computer, the fan went very loud and the system wouldnt boot. After unplugging it several times it finally starts up. When you simply restart the computer, it happens too.

    I called and emailed dell support right away when it first happened, they made me run a number of tests which took hours, everything came out ok, no errors. I spent hours with them on the phone and normally when the guy couldnt help me, he would transfer it to another guy and we would het no where. Once we resolved the issue by unplugging the wire to the fan, which is in front of the pc on the bottom, and problems dissappeared, but thats not a way to solve problems.

    Im still having this issue and my warranty is up. I read many forums and seems like this problem is rare and no one knows whats wrong.

    when the computer doesnt start, the lights 1, 3, and 4 light up for a few seconds and dissapear. The following order 1 3 4 isnt documented inthe dell documentation and i have no idea what to do.

    can anyone help me? thanks

  • Same probrem here last september: high fan, no boot and lights 1,3,4.

    I bought my XPS 420 at december, 2007 too.

    After several tests suggested by dell support, they took my XPS 420 and change motherboard and power supply with no cost for me.

    Now it's working fine.

    I really think is a motherboard problem.

  • I'm having the same problem.  Loud fan noise, but can't tell which fan is making the noise (haven't opened the machine up yet.)  Getting diagnostic lights 1, 3, and 4.  Mine is still under warranty so I'll be on the phone with Dell tonite to solve the problem.  I'll post the solution when I get it...

  • I found this link in the Dell Support.  Step by step instructions for diagnostic light codes. http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/tree?journalid=78A4FFCAE7753FEDE040AE0AB6E16DD3&treeid=286725

  • Good news. After spending hours and hours trying to find the problem, i finally figured it out. by the way, 1 3 4 are not documented by dell, its a unknown error.

    Change the power supply. I bought a 700 watt power supply from frys and all the problems are gone. Now it works like brand new. Turns out the 450 watt psu that dells supply is too weak thats why most of them fail. Even after your warranty fixes it, it will go bad again very soon. Just buy a strong one and enjoy. Let me know what u will do to fix it.


    Good luck

  • I contacted Dell support regarding the loud fan noise and diagnostic lights 1 3 4.  First we tested each of the memory modules individually and they were fine.  Next we removed the graphics card and the machine started fine.  We tried putting the graphics card back in and the problem came back.  Dell shipped me a new graphics card and the machine is running normally again for about 3 weeks.  I didn't have to do anything with the power supply, and I only have a 375 watt power supply that came with the machine.  So sounds like diagnostic code 1 3 4 could either be caused by a bad power supply or a bad graphics card.

  • I just recently got the same problem.  So it looks like there may not be just one answer in regards to this error.  Great.  Angry

    It's ridiculous that something so major would go wrong so soon and for a bunch of XPS 420 owners.

  • I also own a Dell XPS 420 and today I encountered exactly the same Problem!

    In my case, the PC was running. and I left the room then i heard from out side the fan going very loud, much louder then it goes even when I do something powerleeching with it.

    The OS was not running anymore and I got Error code 1  3  4 The issue remained after several attemts for a reboot.

    I have also found that thread:  http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19248104.aspx?PageIndex=2

    There  the issue is declined as "solved", however iIcan not get out from that thread or this one, what actually caused the issue, nor did the attemt do identify any broken component succeed.

    Can sombody confirm me, that it is the Mainboard that is broken???

    Further I can offer the following thoughts and observations:

    -  There is definite no error beep to hear

    - The little on-board screen on the top of the PC is flickering for a second and then turns off

    - First I thought its because of dust, my PC was indeed really dusty, however cleaning it did not  solve the problem

    -  Usually, when  a separate the turned of PC from the powersupply , and then plug it in again,  the fan howls for a second  - this does no longer happen since I have this problem.

    - I also had an issue with the system clock, some people expected that to be caused by a low mainboard battery, i actuele did not consier the becaus some indicators let me think that issue was caused by something else (and the battery was less then only one year old) However if i was wrong - might this Error 1 ,3 4- problem be caused by a broken battery??

    -  The computer sometime showed a strange behaviour with the fan when going into the power save mode so far i did not care, becaus it actually did not bother me...   The time I did stop using the computer till the error appeared might fit to the time when it was used to change to power save mode.   - Might this be a factor involved to the issue?


    Any further help to solve the issue would be higly appreciated.




  • For me, it was the video card.  Someone mentioned in another thread that they replaced their PSU and graphics card (and motherboard?) to fix the problem but they did it all at once so the problem wasn't exactly pinpointed.  However, they did mention that they tried their original graphics card in another machine and it kept throwing errors.

    Anyway, I bought a PSU and new graphics card separately and installed them separately.  The problem still persisted when I installed the new PSU.  When I got a new graphics card, I installed it and never got the problem again.

    I can't say for sure a new graphics card will solve your problem, as I remember some saying a new mobo or mobo battery solved their problem, but that was the solution for me.  Hope that helps.

  • Since i started this thread a while back, i better let you guys know what i ended up doing.

    I bought a new motherboard to build a new pc... the video card from my dell did indeed work well. but, it had issues starting up, like the fan on the grahics card would make a loud noise than finally boot. It also burnt up the new psu.

    so i bought another PSU and got a new video card, put it into the XPS 420 and its running like a dream.

    p.s.   i recently encountered the same old problem, it wouldnt boot and only show errors 1 3 4... but since than, i keep my pc running all the time.

    my guess is that its the motherboard or the video card or both. also, the power supply unit that comes with the xps 420 is way underpowered for the graphics card that goes in it.

    Let us all know if any of you get your motherboard changed. thanks

  • ***Simple Fix**** Try it first

    I've the same problem, once about 1 year ago and again about 3 days ago.  The first time I just dusted off the fans of the pc and around the graphics card. Rebooted the pc and no more probs until 3 days ago.

    This time I removed the graphics card blew out the pc fans and case. I used a compressor to blow out the case and fans it was pretty strong and removed alot of dust from the fans. the main dust came from the vents and fan at the bottom near the front of the case. The vents were very badly blocked.

    I plugged back in the graphics card and booted the pc, it's been running perfect since.

    Worth a try before you go buying a new motherboard or PSU

  • I've been having the same problem (cannot boot up, black screen, fan at maximum speed, error code 134) on my XPS 420. I tried to unplug non-essential hardware components and switched out ram but to no avail. I vacuumed the machine and it worked OK for a while but recently the problem is back and becoming more and more frequent, which cannot be resolved by cleaning up the machine. (Yeah I know I should not use a vacuum but I don't have access to a compressor.)

    I think I'll get a new PSU and see what happens. I am still using a 256MB video card. I do have a spare video card which is slightly more powerful than what I am using, which unfortunately cannot be put into the machine right now because there's not enough power.

  • I have the exact same system XPS 420, Nvida 9800 GT bought in dec 2007 and started having the same problems in dec 2010.  Replaced the graphics card with new 9800 GT and it works perfect now.

  • I am also having the same problem with the spontaneous shut down and during failure to reboot the loud fan the 1 3 4 indicator lights and the monitor saying "entering power saving mode".  It occured rarely at first, but now occurs quite frequently.  I can get the machine going again, but it's a huge hassel.  have to unplug everything else in the room, discharge all power from the machine by unplugging and then holding the power button.  Then I plug it in again and try to restart.  Sometimes it takes up to 20 times of this routine before I finally get a successful start up.  Once it starts up it runs for a day or two , then it turns itself off again.  Does this sound like the power supply? or the video card? or the graphics card?  All 3 have been listed here as fixes, but I'm not sure which I should try?  Where should I order?  What's the cheapest way to have it installed?  Which is easiest to install?

  • I had a local computer shop, Elite Computers, diagnose and fix my computer.  The problem was the video card.  Since it was replaced I have had no problem for about a month.  It cost me about $90 for diagnostics, parts, and labor.