Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to run hardware diagnostic tests on a Dell Latitude D610 laptop

Like many Dell computers, the Latitude D610 comes with some built-in hardware troubleshooting tools that you can use to try to narrow down what's causing a specific problem -- and hopefully even fix it.  The hardware diagnostics tests for the D610 can be run on startup, and they are a very good troubleshooting resource.

Follow these steps to run the built-in troubleshooter for your Dell D610 laptop:

First, shut down the computer using the standard method for the operating system you are running.  (For example, in Windows XP go to the Start menu and select Shut Down.)  Wait for the computer to fully power down.

With the computer off, hold down the <F12> key and then press the power button to turn the computer on.  The Dell logo will appear, and then a text menu will be displayed with various hardware options.  Scroll down to the last option, Diagnostics, using the arrow key and then press <ENTER>.

Various hardware tests will begin running.  The results will be displayed (either Pass or Fail) and if any component fails, a box will pop up saying "Error detected, continue testing?"  To continue, press <Y>; to stop the test at this point, press <N>.  To retry that specific component test, press <R>.  The computer will emit a series of beeps if an error is detected.

If you get to the point where the monitor colors are tested, various colored bars will be displayed on the screen and you'll see a message that says "Were color bars displayed?"  Press <Y> if you see them or <N> if you don't.

If you make it through the test, a message will be displayed saying "Booting Dell Diagnostic Utility Partition."  This is the program that allows you to run individual and more specific tests.  Press any key to begin.

At this point the system will switch to a graphical interface where you can use the touch pad and buttons to control it.  There will be options for Express Test (a quick check of components), Extended Test (a longer, more intensive check), Custom Test (where you can pick which specific component or components to check), and Symptom Tree (where you can choose which tests to run based on the problems the computer is exhibiting).

Pick the test you want to run, then follow the prompts and wait for the test to complete.  If any error codes are displayed, write them down for reference (and to give to Dell's tech support if necessary).  These tests are very self-explanatory, and once you finish one you can go back and run some others if you wish.

To exit out of the troubleshooter when you are finished, just close each open window by clicking on the X in the upper right corner.  Once you close the Main Menu, the laptop will begin the normal boot process and the operating system will load.

(Originally published on Helium.com, October 2011)

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