Dell XPS m2010 won't boot

By bigbucko · 178 replies
Sep 28, 2008
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  1. Hi Everyone,
    I would appreciate any help with a problem I am having with a Dell XPS M2010 that belongs to a friend.
    It worked well for about 14 months and then started acting flaky. The system would freeze (no response from mouse or keyboard) and then on reboot would not display anything. I have been through this cycle several times. I am not sure what causes it to recover.
    Works fine running XP sp2 then freezes.
    Power off and reboot - lights cycle through, the disk light comes on for a second then goes off. The power light and bluetooth light stay on. After a few seconds the keboard lights come on and go off.
    I currently have the XP re-install CD inserted so it spins up and then shuts down. There is no display at all.

    Several times I have left it on with and without the battery to come back later and find it booted into windows.
    I have run the full diagnostics several times but they fail in random places. Typically gets through the cpu and mem tests and stops responding during video or keyboard test. It appears it is the freezing problem.

    POST seem to be running but there is no display. I pulled the ram and then power on light cycle stops in the middle - put the ram back in and it completed the cycle.
    I have reseated the video card and disk.

    During one of the times that it booted I got a blue screen with ati2dvag.dll infinite loop problem. I found a workaround (thanks Cobrakaun ) but cannot get it booted again to try it.

    The last few times it booted I was getting an error while Sonic (dvd?) tried to update drivers but it couldn't find the disk that was never included (thanks Dell).

    Any help would sure be appreciated before this beast becomes a boat anchor!

  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Sounds like CPU overheating
    or faulty Power Supply

    Try Benchtesting it
  3. bigbucko

    bigbucko TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply.
    This is a laptop and I have tried it with power with and without the battery and on battery alone.
    If the cpu was overheating don't you think this would have happened sooner?
    The fans for the cpu and video card are both operating.
    I can't benchtest it as I cannot get it to boot.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Try Memtest

    Also I got mixed up with XPS (Dimension XPS was once PC only, and it still gets me sometimes)
    Benchtest (although meant for PC again) is meant to be used when it doesn't boot

    Mind you, it still could be internal dust/grime, you may eventually need to remove the keyboard and blow out all the dust (obviously some hardware experience required) This could be just a faulty keyboard
  5. bigbucko

    bigbucko TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The XPS M2010 is a monster laptop with an attached bluetooth keyboard.
    As I said I have pulled the cover and removed the hd, and video card assy and cleaned out all of the dust.
    I would run memtest but it won't boot at all.

  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Try this:

    Disperse all internal Voltage
    • Remove all power (adaptor power Cord and Battery)
    • Hold down the ON button for 30secs (dispersing all internal voltage)
    • Plug the power cord in only (ie leave battery out, for the moment)
    • Turn on
    Did it work?
    If so, shutdown normally, and then plug the battery back in
    Continue as per normal

    If not, try reseating all components, HDD; Ram, and remove any addon devices, such as USB


    Further info

    Read: No Post Tutorial

    Power On Self Test
    • The BIOS determines if the video card or onboard video is working.
    • The BIOS verifies RAM.
    • It checks for a keyboard and mouse.
    • It looks for a PCI bus and then checks the cards that are installed.
    • The system information is then displayed on the screen.
    POST is determined by the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), which has user settings made in CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor)
  7. bigbucko

    bigbucko TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No luck.
    I disconnected power and battery overnight. Pushed the power button for a few minutes and then reconnected power but I get the same result.
    The POST is running
    Leds flash back and forth, HD light comes on for a second, dvd drive spins up (I have a reinstall disk in it) and the key board lights flash on and off. Then the power and bluetooth leds stay on but there is no display.

    Anyone know any low level diags for Dell laptops?
  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Hey, I made a new No Post tutorial H E R E
    The part about dissasemble may suit here
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Although I have certainly read much of your History on TechSpot
    And agree that you have provided enormous support, and therefore gained high respect here.

    I also have been on techboards for about 10 years (mainly in support and originally just using Kim handle, as no one ever used their name)

    I have PM'd Julio on your continual URL linking by you, and asked him if they are required
    ie These links are already in my tutorial

    Therefore I believe these posts should be removed
    Up to debate, in a respectful manner.
  11. echiloki

    echiloki TS Rookie

    Hi, I viewed your posts while trying to find out what was wrong with my XPS M2010. I have relatively the same problem. When I press the power button, it turns on, lights flash, but you can't hear anything operating, and no display on the screen. And when you press the power again, it shuts off immediately.

    I called Dell but they weren't much help. Sent the wrong size box, then sent the laptop back in a bigger box, but nothing fixed. And now I can't even get in touch with the person that assisted me with it initially. Anyway, I was just wondering if you've had any luck with yours since you last posted.
  12. bigbucko

    bigbucko TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I tried everything I could but could not get it to boot. I reseated everything (use the dell manual).

    Sorry I can't help.
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  14. lamo

    lamo TS Rookie

    the way of low-level diagnostics of laptops is lpc post or mini-pci post. according this case, i can only think, that something's wrong with videocard.
  15. IronWill85

    IronWill85 TS Rookie

    Having the same Problem Did Anyone Solve this problem?
  16. computer101

    computer101 TS Rookie

    XPS M2010 blackhole

    I replace the video card and guess what. I have the same problem. when I was able to start it back up the audio mute button would light up and the other two volume would flash. So does this mean its the sound/audio card? Or does this mean its the motherboard? So my next solution is the audio. Then my last would be the shooting range with my M2010 as the target.
  17. DrewDelawhere

    DrewDelawhere TS Rookie

    My M2010 won't boot either....

    My M2010 won't boot either.... They are sending a new motherboard... we'll see if that fixes it.

    I have the same issue.... I powered my computer back on from standby.... it went to screen saver.... the ribbons screen saver froze... I came back to my computer and found it frozen. Crashed the power button for 8 seconds... tried to reboot... nothing... just a black screen... no bios... nothing.... Battery Light, Power Light and Blue Tooth light are on. Nothing else... it just sits there.... the Blue Dell Emblem lights up on the back of the screen. I tried plugging in an external monitor, and the monitor responded in that it was getting a signal, but nothing showed up on the screen. Any thoughts? I'm hoping that 9 month's later, someone found a solution to this.

    Here is the transcript of my chat with TechSupport... She had me pull some basic stuff to try to create a CODE on the LED's under the volumn and speaker controls which would indicate the problem.... She claims that the lack of an error code when just the WLan card was removed indicates that it's a motherboard, but I have no way to verify that... What about those folks who got this machine WITHOUT a wireless card. Does their machine flash lights everytime they boot indicating that they don't have a wireless card? Doesn't make sense, but whatever. Also lots of fun CLUELESS tech support comments asking me to do things with the BlueTooth wireless keyboard right after they had me unplug the bluetooth module! If I weren't panicing about not being able to access my files, this would be extremely funny!

    Full details from my tech support transcript at the following link...

    If you need help figuring out how to disassemble and take apart your M2010, you can view the full service manual online...

    I'll let you know if the motherboard fixes the issue. I'm dreading three weeks of "well, the motherboard didn't fix it, lets order a video card. Well, the video card didn't fix, lets order another part." I can't afford to be without my machine for that long. But I am glad for one thing. The online chat rep spoke normal american english... which is more than I can say for the telephone rep I spoke with last week regarding another computer at the office. DELL - Please STOP outsourcing american jobs overseas.

  18. DrewDelawhere

    DrewDelawhere TS Rookie

    Dell sent a tech and fixed my M2010 that would not boot

    My tech arrived 24 hours after my Chat Session with them where they informed me that it would be 2 to 3 days. She had three boxes containing the mother board, I/O board from the left side for USB & headphones, etc along with a new video card, & two power supplies to replace the power supplies I bought with my system. For short. they sent me everything that could possibly cause the problem. The only downside is that now, I don't know which part was the problem, & we simply swaped out everything.

    Things my tech learned today (Keep in mind that techs don't see m2010’s often so supervise closely. Pull your battery out & press power button for 30 seconds to try to clear power from the system.

    Step one. pull the bottom panel & your RAM, the WLan Card (leave the antennas attached if you want) & disconnect the three cables from the bottom of the mother board.

    Step two. work gently to remove your decorative plates to the left & right of the cd tray. Second, carefully finesse the CD tray. Don't force it. Don't lift it too high until you pull the ribbon cable off the back (a magnet on the screwdriver will keep you from losing the screw) & until you remove the small ribbon cable from the front (do this last). Remove all the screws with arrows from top cover. Pay close attention to which screws go back where, or just leave them in the frame and don’t tip it upside down. With the screws out, detach the cable in the center of the back without losing the screws.

    Make sure your tech is gentle with all the cables. Pull by the connector & not the wire itself. She ripped one wire out of my microphone array by accident so we have to order another one & she'll be back tomorrow to put that in. Her Rep on the phone had a hard time finding the part number for that, & is actually sending a full mother board kit again because its "supposed" to be in there. Make notes as you go about any ports that DON"T have something connected to them so that you'll know if you forget something later on.

    At some point, you need to pull the 6 screws from the base which hold your Handle. Consider doing this right after you have the hard drive & fans out, so you aren't juggling a lot of loose parts & trying not to drop the screen. Pay attention to which cables go over the frame & which ones go under the frame. Yes, you have to pull the hard drives & fans off the frame first before removing the frame.

    If you can twist the release screw on your processor chip before removing it, you might save the silicon heat transfer glue there. If not, make sure they put more silicon heat transfer glue back on before reassembling the chip on the new board or your heat sink may not work as efficiently.

    Get the frame out, then the board (taking the audio I/O board & the main board out at the same time working in unison. You have to gently pry the plastic case away from your DVI port to get the board out.) Compare the two boards. My new board did not come with a modem chip or the associated jumper wire. Make sure you transfer these across & yes, I had to pull the other chip next to it, which was included on the new board, in order to route the jumper wire properly.

    Put the new motherboard & audio card back in first. I don't remember if the microphone array wire goes in before or after the frame, but make sure you put it back on before you put the left fan down. There is a small black wire with two white connectors that go between your Audio I/O board & the Mother Board. make sure you connect this. Double check that you put all the correct screws back into all the right places on the new boards. Transfer the modem across if you haven't already. Tighten up the frame leaving out the 6 screws for your handle arm hinge assembly. Get your processor & video card into the new board. Don't forget the heat sync glue. They go on before the Left Hard Drive. Encourage your tech to start all 4 screws & just like a tire on the car, tighten each one a little bit so you don’t damage any pins.

    You need to reconnect your screen at this point, being sure not to pinch wires & feeding the one wire back across to where it connects underneath the right side fan. Keep in mind that your WLan card is now flopping around underneath so it might be a good time to plug it back in & while you are down there, reconnect the three jumpers that live down there. Stick your RAM back in too. Start dropping the hard drives back in & reconnecting jumpers. around the system. Double check at each step to make sure you have all the screws & jumpers in where they belong.

    Bring your top cover back, reconnect that jumper, & see if it the power button responds. You might have to hold the CD Retractor to a point short of it's extreme low to make it happy. I got a black screen saying press FN+X & that memory may have changed. Shut it back off & continued reassembly. When we finally turned it on for real, that black screen stayed up for about 2 minutes before it took us into the bios & asked us to re-enter the Service Tag. She also changed some presents in the BIOS. They gave us a CD for bios update to A55. It booted to show A05. No info on A55 so we didn’t install that Bios upgrade.

    I wish I could tell you which component you need, but I’m happy that my system works again and that my 3 years, on site warrantee was worth the money.

    As I said before and as a final thought in this whole process. I’m glad that the online chat rep spoke normal American English. which is more than I can say for the telephone rep I spoke with last week regarding another computer at the office. DELL - Please STOP outsourcing American jobs overseas. --Drew--
  19. ferrari26

    ferrari26 TS Rookie

    m2010 wont boot

    Hey, i had the same problem...just out of the blue one day. Turned computer on, and all i got were those two LED's. Power, and bluetooth. Called customer service, also kept asking me about keyboard, and running diagnostic. In the end they decided that it had to be the motherboard, so im currently waiting for a tech to call me and schedule an appointment. Hopefully its the motherboard like they said. I need my comp up and running! Thank goodness for that warrenty...
    (oh yeah...i forgot to mention i've had the computer since oct 2006, and has worked flawlessly since then)
  20. fatfree69

    fatfree69 TS Rookie

    Did anyone found out what is the problem yet?

    Was it the motherboard or video card, or both?

    I am having same problems. Power and bluetooth led on, and no boot.

  21. ferrari26

    ferrari26 TS Rookie

    Dell's technician finally came to my house last week with the motherboard they CLAIMED had to be the problem...however, swapped the motherboard in front of my eyes and still sammmeee problem. Now customer service wants to send yet ANOTHER motherboard this time claiming that it HAD to be D.O.A. But i told them firmly that i DO NOT WANT to take any chances with it, so i asked and asked for them to please send the video card and a new processor. They were way reluctant to send the CPU saying it rarely go deads. But i convinced them to send it anyway, because this was my work computer and need it to be fixed asap. The customer service tech as said they would send the plastic tops that go on the side of the CD drive. Now...I am awaiting yet another tech call, hopefully the same one to finally, hopefully, fix the problem. I am very convinced it is either the videocard, or processor....not really buying the whole D.O.A motherboard excuse...I will update after the tech comes this week.
  22. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Hey this is unrelated
    But when the tech comes can you ask him about the 595B generator for laptops?
    There's a huge thread on this, and it may help others, if he\she has any advice ;)
  23. fatfree69

    fatfree69 TS Rookie

    You know what I've noticed from searching and searching this problem?

    Every person that has tried to replace the motherboard never had their problem fixed until they switched out the video card.

    So there are two possible solutions:
    1. Motherboard & video card combo swap
    2. Video card only swap

    For some reason, everyone does the mother board swap first to find out it didn't fix it, until they did the video card swap. But no one has ever done the video card swap ONLY, and not touch the mother board.

    I will order the video card tomorrow, and we'll see if all it took was a video card swap to solve the problem.

    Just to make sure we are all talking about the same problem:
    - Powers on, but does not boot.
    - Blank screen.
    - Power LED stays on.
    - HDD LED blinks at the beginning and stops.
    - Bluetooth LED blinks every few seconds.
    - Keyboard LEDs flash once after powering on.
    - CD/DVD tray won't open, but spins for a second after powering on.
  24. itguy7305

    itguy7305 TS Rookie

    I have a friend who is a Dell Slave and I tried it for a VERY short time and unless you buy the most expensive Service Contract all your parts are refurbished. Look on the box next time it should say if it is not a "new" part. Explains why so many mobos they deem "D.O.A." makes one think who is refurbing these parts.
  25. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Well I was a Dell technician (on laptops) for 6 years, and it is true that generally refurbished parts were used (yep stacks of DOAs)
    But there were also many occasions when the part was new (due to out of stock, or because new was required: Casing; Ram; Screen etc etc)

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