Dell Inspiron 531 - goes straight into power save mode

By laptox · 14 replies
Jan 17, 2011
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  1. have a strange problem with a dell inspiron 531c

    The computer appears to boot - but the monitor comes on only briefly and then says 'entering powersave mode' - i don't even get bios screens.

    I thought it was the graphics card - but replacing this only gives the same message - as does trying to use the on board graphics - I don't get any beeps.

    I have tried booting from a vista dvd - but nothing.

    the person who's computer it is said it had been running very slow - and she had been advised to leave it on to do updates - not good , but can't see why this stops me even getting a bios screen.
  2. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +141

    Is your monitor bad? Do you have a way to test or swap PSUs? I'd say those are the easiest places to start.
  3. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +54

    Can you get into 'Safe mode' ? (Power switch on, press F8 straight away.)
  4. laptox

    laptox TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 38

    swaped monitors - no change.
    Can't get any response at all from the keyboard - I don't even get to BIOS screen - so pressing f8 or any key has no effect - it just quickly flashes up - entering power save mode - but this isn't a windows message - it never gets that far.

    My two remaining guesses are:-

    Powersupply - not providing enough power - hence the message

    But logically what I think msay have happened is that the computer is stuck in some sort of loop whereby it goes straight to power save. Have removed the BIOS battery hoping to 'break this loop' - but still the same.

    Close to admitting defeat on this one ! - come on techspot the day !
  5. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +54

    One fairly easy thing you could try, for free, is to take out the graphic card. Let's say it has developed a fault, and is drawing a lot of current, you would get the same effect as you describe. Then if you can get to the BIOS and enable on-board graphics you can at least use it. Otherwise it may mean buying a replacement PSU, to prove that good or bad. You will have to call that 'an investment' !
  6. laptox

    laptox TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 38

    Have removed graphics card - but how do I get to bios to enable on screen graphics - if I never get anything on screen. Removing the card - and then attaching to on-board graphics - doesn't give any display ? - I can't find a jumper on the motherboard which does this - its quite fustrating as my hunch is there isn't actually a lot wrong.
  7. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +54

    Well I run a Dell Dimension 5150, and my BIOS key is F2. Can you also try a different keyboard just to rule out a fault in that too, unlikely I know but....
    As a rule, if you remove a separate Graphic card the settings in the BIOS by default are 'auto', that is to drop back to 'on-board' graphics, but if you can't get the BIOS screen up, not much can be done, without spending money.
    If you have a spare PC around, can you take the PSU from the Dell, and try it in that?
    It's a case of proving what is good. If it turns out to be the motherboard, it might cost around £40, but its probably worth it.

    Another test you can do for free, is to remove the power plug from the back of the hard drive. Power up pc again, and press F2 straight away.
    You should get into the BIOS screen then. If you do then its a possible hard drive problem/failure. If you don't then it's possible BIOS chip fault/failure, or a motherboard fault. Power off the pc, by holding in power button until it goes off, (a few seconds), and put the power plug back on the hard drive.
    You should have a better idea of what has failed if nothing else.
  8. tmbdell

    tmbdell TS Rookie

    Any Luck?

    Any luck solving this? I am having the exact same problem. Dell Inspiron 531 desktop goes straight to power save mode. Think computer is booting OK. Monitor works fine connected to another computer. Please help! Thanks in advance!
  9. laptox

    laptox TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 38

    No never solved this on.

    The person concerned took it to a shop - they replaced the motherboard - still no change, then the PSU - still no change - finally they wanted to change the CPU - but then for some reason couldn't do this.

    My techy pride is restored - because the shop couldn't fix it - but still baffled as to what was causing the issue.

    Conclusion - this one isn't easily fixed !
  10. tmbdell

    tmbdell TS Rookie

    I ended up taking mine to a shop. Thought it was the video card - I bought a new card and replaced it, seems to work again so far ! Thanks for answering!
  11. eiubenjamin

    eiubenjamin TS Rookie

    This same thing recently happened to my brothers Dell Inspiron

    ive done pretty much all the above without results...

    1. Ive taken out the battery, (i also saw a guide to switch a sleeve but this was not there at all)

    2. Ive tried a diffrent Graphic card (actually did this first) still no luck

    3. ive replaced the CPU (i still had 1 on my other pc that i take parts off every now and then)

    4. I also tried a diffrent Harddrive to run with but still no luck

    5. taken out all the plugs cleaned it etc, even tho the pc was still very clean i got a little bit of dust out but the results remained the same..

    all that basically happens is that i turn on the pc inmediatly shows an Orange light on the bootbutton (which normally would have bin Blue/cyan) i hear no beep as it its would be starting up, there is no image whatsoever on the screen, its just doesnt load up anything at all, only thign working is that all the vents are running and all the hardware seems to be responding etc, just nothing else pops up, and the keyboard has no reaction whatsoever. there is NO Bios to get into cus it simply doesnt get to that, ive really ran out of ideas ive searched through so many forums but no1 had a solution that actually worked for me.

    the guy that made the threat probably has exactly the same issue as me here, but im just totally confused dont know what to do anymore, also it just happened out of nowhere, it worked in the evening till about 1am, then he went to bed shutting it down normally, and this happened the very next morning without any error message or anything beforehand.

    i Really hope you guys are possibly known with this issue to help me out on this, thanks in advance anyway,

  12. KristyKristine

    KristyKristine TS Rookie

    Hello - Just now joined to search for answers to some questions ... my friend just called to ask about her Dell Inspiron 531- it goes straight to power saving mode, just these posts describe. I see the thread is from last year, but thought I'd ask - Has anyone found any answers - perhaps ones not posted yet? Thanks in advance ... KristyKristine
  13. KristyKristine

    KristyKristine TS Rookie

    Wondering how all turned out with the Dell that went to power saving mode? Saw your post when I looked for an answer to the the same issue for my friend. Her computer is doing the same thing now. She hasn't ever even been online with it. Barely even used it over the past few years. Any advice? I did tell her your reply about the video card. Thanks ahead of time ... KristyKristine
  14. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,243   +234

    Hi KK,
    If your Dell 531 has a third party video card, replace it. I don't believe post #9 unless the poster took the computer to Best Buy... They replaced everything but the video card
  15. Kookie85

    Kookie85 TS Rookie

    Not sure if this is any help or if you or anyone else has tried this. I have the exact same problem with my dell 531 which is about 5 years old now, and this started about a year ago. There is a button on the monitor which looks like a rectangle with a little arrow pointing to the inside of it (forgive me I don't know the correct term for this button!). I press this a few times and eventually it goes onto the actual screen. You do have to be patient as sometimes it looks as though it is a black screen but then does come on. I have no idea why it does this - it seems to be a common thing with the dell 531 as they get older.

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