How to troubleshoot your Dell Inspiron laptop that won’t power on

One of the frustrating issues a computer user can encounter is when you find out that the PC has become unresponsive and won’t turn on at all. This post addresses this issue. We also include some tips on how you can distinguish a No Power issue to other similar symptoms. We’re hoping that as a Dell Ispiron owner, you’ll find our suggestions helpful.


Before we proceed to the main topic, we would like to remind you that we accept requests for assistance regarding their Windows computers. If you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, send us your issue by following the link at the bottom of this page. Just remember, windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, the more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.

Know the symptoms

Average PC users tend to generalize problems especially when it comes to their machines not booting up properly. For instance, a lot of people tend to simply say their “computer has died” when nothing appears on the screen, or if it fails to power back on. In order to effectively fix a problem, we want to make it a point that there are four types of power- or boot-related problems any user can encounter with their machines:

  • No Power
  • No POST
  • No Boot
  • No Video

No Power means that the PC is totally unresponsive — no LEDs, fans not turning on, no beeps, no signs of life at all.

No POST (Power-On Self-Test) indicates the computer is not working but still shows signs of life. It makes diagnostic beeps and some LEDs are on.

No Boot means that the computer is having trouble loading Windows and is usually indicated by an error message or code in the screen.

No Video refers to a situation where the tower (CPU) appears to load normally but nothing is displayed on the screen. This can either be due to bad graphics chip or malfunctioning monitor.

Now that we have identified the four possible scenarios that are usually construed as one and the same by many, we hope that you’ll be able to figure out which one is happening in your own machine.

This troubleshooting article covers No Power scenario.

Verify if it is a power source issue

Since we are dealing with your Dell Inspiron laptop here, the first troubleshooting step that must be done is to know if its power source — battery, AC adapter, or docking station — is the cause. Depending on the type of power source you’re using, simply skip the ones not applicable for you. Otherwise, you can check all three to be on the safe side.

Check the battery

Dell Inspiron laptops uses two types of batteries. The first one is the type that’s integrated with the main board. This type of battery attaches to the bottom of the chassis and charges when you connect the charging cable to the power outlet. If you disconnect the machine from the mains power,  the battery kicks off to power the system. Batteries of this type have LED indicator to show their charging and battery level status. Be sure to check the documentation for your particular model to see if the battery is simply not charged.

The second type of batteries that one can use in a Dell Inspiron laptop are those that are fitted in cages in the media bay of the machine. These secondary batteries are designed to further extend usage when your laptop is unable to charge. Again, make sure that you double check if a particular battery you’re using is the main reason for your trouble by taking note of the LED indicators.

For more Dell battery troubleshooting tips, you can follow this link.

Check the AC adapter

The next logical troubleshooting step that you must do in this case is to make sure that the AC adapter is working. The AC adapter is composed of a special cable with a simple mechanism that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). The cable has one end that connects to the mains power and the other to your laptop’s DC in connector. Be sure to check the adapter for obvious signs of damage. If everything appears normal, try our AC adapter troubleshooting tips by following this link.

Check the Docking Station

Some users may opt to charge their Dell laptops differently with the help of a docking station. Basically, it’s another device with a special port that connects directly to the bottom of the laptop chassis. Like the AC adapter, it connects directly to the mains power via a power cable. It also has its own set of LED power indicators that should help you tell if it receives power from the mains, or if it’s passing power to the notebook. If you have a docking station, make sure to consult its documentation to help you diagnose if it’s the one causing the No Power issue in your notebook.

Ensure that power outlet is working

Before you start working on troubleshooting your Dell laptop, make sure that you have access to a known working power outlet or mains. To do that, try to connect another device and see if it conducts power properly. If a second device can charge or get power normally using that outlet, you’re good to go.

Verify (all three) power peripherals

If you’re using all three power sources mentioned above, be sure to disconnect all of them. If you’re not using a docking station, refer to your laptop documentation on how to remove the battery in your laptop.

If you’re using all three power sources, try to see if the system works when one of them is removed. You should be able to do so with only two parts for power. For example, if you have a docking station, try using another known working docking station and see if that will fix the problem. The same is true for the battery. Remove the one currently connected and replace it with another one. Do the same for the AC adapter.

Keep in mind that some Dell Inspiron models may require that you take the laptop apart in order to remove the battery. In this case, we recommend that you contact Dell first so they can walk you through the process. This can also help you avoid voiding the warranty.

Disconnect as many removable parts as possible

One of the common reasons why a Dell Inspiron notebook fails to power on is a faulty accessory that shorts a component or parts. Such occurrence can lead to the motherboard not getting enough power, or other critical components or circuit being blocked from receiving required energy to run. If you have a lot of accessories being connected to the notebook, be sure to disconnect them. This should include external hard drives, CD/DVD drives, SD card readers, Bluetooth card, mobile phones, flash memory, among other things. Once you’ve removed all non-system critical accessories, connect the laptop to a known working outlet and use a good battery or AC adapter to power it back on.

If your phone powers on, put the disconnected accessories one by one. Be sure to attempt to power on the notebook after adding one component at a time. This is the most effective way to determine if one of them is causing the problem.

Contact Dell technical support

If all our suggested troubleshooting steps above won’t help fix the problem, there must be serious hardware or software issue causing it. Be sure to let Dell know so they can take a look at your notebook.


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