And for those who have the problem I did. Maybe I can save you $50.
My Dell (Dimension Desktop E510) began having issues some time ago. When we (rarely) restarted it, it would not want to start up again. The first time, we clicked the button a few times, pulled it forward and peered into the tangled mess in back. I noticed an orange blinking light in the neighborhood of the DSL cable. I removed the cable, and clicked the button. It started right up.
It happened again and again, and each time the ‘fix’ was a bit different. Once it was the USB cable from my Kodak EasyShare dock. Always there was an amber / orange blink behind the start button when it would fail. Eventually I was removing handfuls of cables each time, and each time it would eventually start back up.
When we returned from camping, it was after I removed the larger monitor cable.
I called Dell earlier this week and requested backup/restore disks so I could wipe the whole hard drive and start anew. They arrived quickly, and Friday night I began the process of ‘backing up’ my photos and documents and such. Saturday morning, the process was completed, but the computer was ‘tangled up again and I had no toolbar at the bottom, and other than frozen screen-saver, the only working window was the ‘finished!’ one for the backup. I couldn’t shut the computer down onscreen, so I reached down and held in the main button for several seconds.
And that was all she wrote.
Of course, I will continue to write:
Naturally, it did not restart, so I removed everything, including the monitor cable. No luck. Just an orange blink behind the button when I pressed it.
I called Dell, and they told me that the orange blink was code for a power supply issue. And that since my one-year warranty had expired last year, I could take advantage of the $49 fee-based tech support. I would not have to open the computer (not that I was afraid to), and they were confident the problem could be rectified. They did NOT think I would need to purchase any parts for this problem.
I told them I’d call back after consulting my husband.
I did so, and browsed the yellow pages for computer repair, and did a few more troubleshots myself. I recalled once having to unplug it from the wall and then holding in the button to ‘drain’ residual power from the unit. I thought certainly this would work.
It did not.
I tried about fifty gazillion configurations of cables and plug- and un-plugs and holding the button in for varying seconds and minutes.
Each time I was rewarded with an orange blink on attempted restart.
I got out my debit card and called Dell again. Once I was finally transferred to the correct department and someone with a workable version of English, the fun began.
I began by explaining what I had already done: removed all external cables, drained the power, etc.
She began by having me plug the unit into a different wall socket.
Of course, nothing.
Then she instructed me carefully: “Shut down the computer completely, please.”
Me: “Uh…. I think it already is..” Isn’t that why we’re here?
“Of course. Remove all external cables please.”
Me: “Um… I did that already.” This is what $49 gets me?
“The blinking orange light indicates a problem with getting power to the components.”
Me: “Right.” The other lady already told me that for free.
“Remove the power cable and hold the button in for 5 to 10 seconds.”
Me: “Okay…” I already explained to you that I did this, remember?
“Please look at the back of the unit near the power cable.. What color is the light there?”
Me (looking): “There is no light there.” I thought we went over the model details so you could find the right schematics…
“Ah, okay. No light. Please turn the power off completely.”
“Remove the side of the unit so you can access the interior.”
Me: “Okay..” Isn’t this what we weren’t going to have to do?
“Remove all cables from your CD/DVD drives and hard drives.”
Me (wracking my brain for any evidence that I’ve ever seen or recognized a hard drive before, and coming up empty): “Where exactly is the hard drive?”
“I will tell you exactly.” (brief pause) “Remove the plugs from the hard drive.”
Me (seeing something vaguely familiar, and wondering about it): Is it long, and rectangular? What does it look like?” Huh? That doesn’t “tell me exactly.”
“Ah, I will tell you. There are two cables, one from the power, one from the motherboard. Please remove both.”
Me (taking a good long while to figure this out, but finally finding something with 2 cables from the appropriate places): “Okay..” Thanks for being so clear.
Me (replacing, plugging, and attempting): “I get an orange blink.”
“Unplug the unit, press and hold the button for 5 to 10 seconds, and remove the side cover…”
Me: “Okie dokie.”