inspiron 5100 powers off, fails to boot to bios, etc. - General Hardware - Laptop - Dell Community

inspiron 5100 powers off, fails to boot to bios, etc.


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inspiron 5100 powers off, fails to boot to bios, etc.

  • I've searched in here awhile back when the I5100 was working a few months ago, but mostly found people talking about overheating and motherboard issues. This could be the same, but want to verify my situation w/others.

    Inspriron 5100 2.8 GHz and so on. It takes many failed attempts to get the laptop to even power into the bios screen. Most of the time, it just flashes the middle light near the display. Bios V. A31 (A32 ran way too hot on mine). I had been using FanGUI and such to keep an eye on the temps, and keep them low and cool.

    Anyway, sometimes, just to get to bios, I'd have to physically remove the RAM, and then re-insert it. That's what led to me to try a different RAM chip, but same problems persisted before long.

    So, if, after who knows many attempts, I can get the laptop into BIOS, I have about a 70% change of actually making into Windows...often it would freeze somewhere bwt. the BIOS screen and the Windows splash.

    If I get into Windows, and everything is smooth...the laptop will do one of 4 things usually between 1 min. up to 1 hour...

    1...simply turn off entirely
    2...turns off and immediately tries to reboot
    3...freezes screen of death, physical dump of memory, etc.

    Any thoughts? I've already purshased a new Toshiba laptop, but would like to salvage what I can from the Dell. Thanks for all help and advice!
  • Also wanted to add that I've always made sure the fan/heatsink was clean...and when it crashes now, the temp is rarely above 40C.
  • Boot, press F12 and run the Dell diagnostics from the menu.

    If the RAM and hard drive pass, chances are the system is overheating (clean out the heatsink) or the mainboard is failing.
  • Does the unit behave better on a desk, or in your lap? If you leave it alone on a desk for several hours, will it reboot?

    If it behaves better on a desk and seems to reboot only when you touch it, see if gentle pressure on the palmrest or on the bottom of the unit, most particularly the edge of the "C" panel that's closest to the "M" panel's corner and the "O" screw, causes it to reboot.

    If your system is not sensitive to that kind of pressure, I think the others who have replied have the right idea -- run the Dell Diagnostics and see if there are any errors, etc. I would not believe it to be a software issue if it is having problems during BIOS but I could be very wrong!

    Good luck...

  • If you are having memory dumps?

    How much memory do you have in your computer and how much is available for use.

    Do you have 20% of your hard drive space available for your swap file.

    It sounds like you are having a memory issue. When you become short on memory your system will lock, reboot and dump memory errors.

    Inspiron 5100
    Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.66GHZ
    512 MB RAM
    40 GB Fujitsu HD
    Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated NIC
    WPC54GS Linksys w/speedbooster wireless nic
    BCM V.92 56k Modem
    SigmaTel C-Major Audio
    Bios ver. A29
    Win XP Home SP2
    pur. Jan 2004


    Own: Dell Chromebook 11, Alienware M11xR2


    Forum Member since 2004

    "If your issue was resolved, please click  Yes ".


  • Sorry...lost login info...


    I cannot complete a Diagnostic freezes up randomly.

    It doesn't behave better in any manner, it doesn't work at all basically. I cannot get it to boot to BIOS, even if it has been sitting for months (which it did after I said screw it in May).

    No pressure related stuff for the most part, but sometimes it crashes if I tilt it the wrong way. However, it crashes w/out that too.

    Memory...1 GB RAM, plenty of HDD space.

    I'm wondering if the motherboard is bad and has problems communicating w/the RAM modules. Make sense to anyone in here?
  • I'm having similar problems with my 8500 -- your comments on pressure caught my eye.  Pressure applied to the palmrests definitely had an effect on the output to the screen.  Output is mostly a mess, when something did actually work, but the pressure helped clean it up.  What are you thinking?  Has to be hardware, but what is it?  Thanks.
  • Well, just last night it failed to boot in a different way (after it rebooted itself automatically, froze, etc.). It could not find the system files. Hmm...I tried again and it booted fine. So, not only do I have to constantly reseat the RAM, but a possible HDD issue too? I'm guessing the motherboard has a hard time processing info bwt. the two?

    Does that mean processor or the motherboard itself?