Dell XPS 12 - Won't start / power up after hard reset


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Dell XPS 12 - Won't start / power up after hard reset

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Last night I was using my XPS w12 in laptop mode on battery and it finally got down to 7% of capacity.  At that point it shut off the screen and I moved to my office to connect the AC adapter (thinking that it would simply turn the screen on when there was sufficient power. .  The screen never came back (I waited 15-20 minutes) but the battery was charging.  At that point I attempted a hard reset by holding the power button in the on position for 5-10 seconds. 

When I tried to power up, nothing happened.  No backlit keyboard, no screen, nothing but the fan.  The light never came on in the switch either. So I tried another hard reset with the same results.  I even tried powering up with the "D" key held down for on board diagnostics and got nothing but the fan startup.

I thought it might be an overheat issue so I let it set for an hour and tried again - nothing but the fan. It appears that the laptop doesn't pass the initial diagnostics and won't even get to the point where the bios starts to load. 

 I truly thought my laptop was dead and ready for service.  I took it into the office the next day so I could call Dell Pro Support. Just  for giggles, I plugged it in with the AC adapter and tried to turn it on - viola!  it started working again.

I had this problem once before and it started working after 2-3 hard resets. I was working on a proposal when the laptop went down. I tried hard resets over a 4 hour period with no results. It baffles me why it would start OK the next morning.

I was wondering if anyone else has had the same problem.  I'm running the A07 BIOS (the most current) and my XPS 12 is configured with 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD with an i7 processor and Intel wireless card.

Any suggestions on diagnosing this? The hard part is when if fails, the failure is total - you can't get to the diagnostics. When it comes back everything is fine and there are no events in the event log that relate to the failure.

All Replies
  • Hi GChristy,

    I would suggest you to run hardware diagnostics on the system for hardware functionality, by following the steps below:

    • Reboot and tap <F12> 3-4 times 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.
    • In case any hardware component is bad, you will get a corresponding error.

    You may reset the system BIOS to defaults. Follow the steps below:

    • Power on the system and tap <F2> at the ‘Dell’ logo
    • Press <F9> on the ‘System Setup Utility’ screen and then press ‘Enter’
    • Press <F10> to ‘Save Changes and Exit’ and press ‘Enter’ again

    Hope this helps. Please feel free to reply for any further questions.

    Thanks & Regards
    Amogh G
    To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region USAIndia. For helpful Dell Support Videos, you may click Here

  • Having a similar issue with my XPS 12 laptop (A07 BIOS, 8GB ram, 128GB SSD, Intel wifi).  The power switch has worked intermittently since the laptop arrived last week. Then a few days ago it stopped working altogether.

    Had a Dell tech out today who replaced the power switch, mainboard and connecting cable, after which the laptop powered on fine.  I left it running for 20 mins or so and returned to find it in the powered-off state.  Again it will not switch on.  Spent a good amount of time on the phone to Dell support, who got me to disconnect the battery and a few other things - none of which got the laptop working again.

    So looks like Dell will be coming out to investigate again. 

    Would be interested to hear if anyone else is experiencing similar XPS 12 issues. Wondering whether it might be BIOS related or a common hardware issue?

  • Dell came out again today and replaced the motherboard again.  However the machine would still not boot - until the XPS's own LCD display was disconnected. Looks like the screen is shorting it out.  Hopefully will get a replacement screen tomorrow.

  • The screen and cable were replaced on Friday.  The laptop has been working well over the weekend.

  • having similar issue. sometimes XPS won't start up at all. turning display to tablet mode and return to laptop mode seems to help sometimes.....

  • Amogh - The suggestions you have would be great if the laptop would actually display something and you could interact with it.

    When the problem occurs, the laptop is totally inoperable. When it recovers, it works fine.

  • OK - I've narrowed it down to the following:

    When the laptop is "asleep" it eventually goes into power down mode. It appears that connecting a power adapter to the laptop at this point will cause it to go into a confused state where, when the power button is pushed,  the laptop fan comes on but no light on the power button or on the keyboard - the screen  stays blank.  The laptop fan runs (it's very quiet - you have to hold the laptop up to your ear to hear it.)

    I don't know if the cause is a low battery or if the problem is simply with the state of the CPU at power down.  I just know that when it happens, it if I disconnect the power adapter and hold the power button until the laptop fan shuts off, the hard reset allows it to come back normally.  If you leave the power adapter attached, it will charge the battery but will not allow the laptop to start.

    I've repeated this experiment several times with the same result every time. I'm guessing there's a bug in the BIOS that sets an error state that won't clear with the power adapter attached. Doing the hard reset without the adapter appears to clear the problem reliably.

  • Hi GChristy/ fron,

    You may perform the steps given in previous post when the system is running normally. You may update the system BIOS, please refer to the link:

    Keep me posted with the results. I will be glad to assist you.

    Thanks & Regards
    Amogh G
    To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region USAIndia. For helpful Dell Support Videos, you may click Here

  • bios is up to date, A07, did reset bios to defaults several times... problem still occures

    diagnostic test all passed....

    K_Deane , problem finally fixed since screen/cable replacement???

  • fron - the issue has not returned since replacing the screen and cable. It definitely feels more reliable now. I'll post back here if it starts occurring again, but so far so good.

  • Hi fron,

    It seems that hardware is working fine as the hardware diagnostics passed. Please check and let me know if the system is overheating. You may try refreshing the system. Please refer to the link:

    *Note: The apps that came with your PC or you installed from Windows Store will be reinstalled, but any apps you installed from other websites and DVDs will be removed. Windows puts a list of the removed apps on your desktop after refreshing your PC.

    You may click ‘Dell Backup and Recovery’ and perform pc restore by following the steps below:

    * Note: This step leads to complete data loss including pictures, music files, videos, documents and applications. Please disconnect any external peripherals as well.

    • Click the ‘Dell Backup and Recovery’ icon
    • The system restarts and comes back up, click ‘Next’ on the Dell Backup and Recovery Screen
    • The system would be checked to see if the smart repair option can fix the issue, click ‘Next’
    • once this is done
    • You will be prompted to select the backup to be used, click the factory image option or select from one of the backups. Click ‘Next’
    • You will be prompted to back up your files, select ’No, Erase my files’
    • The system goes ahead and completes the restore of the operating system. Click Restart when prompted
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to setup the system with windows

    Keep me posted with the results. I will be glad to assist further.

    Thanks & Regards
    Amogh G
    To know more about Dell Product Support, Drivers & Downloads, Order & Dispatch status -> choose your region USAIndia. For helpful Dell Support Videos, you may click Here

  • Amogh G - Since the issue with my laptop seemed to be the screen or the associated cable shorting the mainboard a diagnostic test is never going to find anything wrong and thus is not a good indicator in this case.  

    If you can boot the laptop then the hardware is not currently causing the short and is unlikely to whilst the diagnostics tests are running.

    If you can't boot the laptop then you can't even run the diagnostics (not being able to power on *at all* is usually a pretty good indicator of a hardware fault - much more reliable than the running diagnostics).  

    I don't think suggesting an system restore is being helpful in this case.

    The replacement screen and cable are still working fine for me.  It makes me wonder whether there is a weakness in the swivel screen design that increases the chance of this type of hardware issue occurring - or is the fault just limited to a particular batch of XPS 12s.

  • i'm not going to comment on "reset to factory default" when the problem is to power on the device. looks like this is a common tech-solution for idiots....

    after calling dell support, i got a quick appointment with a tech to replace LCD / Mainboard / Powerswitch and some minor parts (took him about 90 mins).

    amazing: the windows button on the display works in tablet mode, the XPS turns on when button is slipped.... 

    and he didn't reset windows ;)

    if problem should return, i'll call again, but so far everything seems fixed

    solved by replacing hardware....

  • After working ok for a couple of months the repaired laptop started playing up again.  Half the time it would not turn on and would require opening and closing the lid a few times to get it to turn on.

    Also when switched on it would randomly jump to the Start screen even when not touching the keyboard (I think this is an issue with the windows button on the screen).

    Now the laptop won't switch on at all.

    I'm pretty unimpressed with it at this point.

  • I bought an xps12 in Sept.. the same thing happened to me. You would think that this is a major issue for Dell and from June to Sept they may have actually dealt with it ..

    They decided to send me a new laptop to replace the first malfunctioning one.

    I did have another issue which appeared to be with the WiFi adapter - not software related.

    I received the new computer yesterday but haven't had time to see if the power on issue is happening.

    In my case the keyboard lit up and the fan came on but the screen was black and I couldn't engage at all .. I had to leave the computer on battery and let it run itself down to nothing.. then the next day I could plug it in and it would go again.. My business is suffering because I don't have a dependable computer. I cant afford to wait for 20 hours to do my work.

    Fingers crossed.