Mashing keys

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Sep 17, 2020
229
64
64
London UK
I have had a Dell XPS laptop die on me after I could not remember how to start the advance boot menu to start in safe mode. I thought it was F8 on start up, but this did not seem work. Then I thought it might be a combination of F8 & Ctrl, Alt, Fn. I tried all of these, mashing the keys so I would not miss the entry point on start up. Well this just killed the laptop, and now wont even start. Just before I was going to remove the CMOS battery, the power light was indicating that it was a processor failure (according to a google search), but now does not even do that. Is it possible I may have stumbled on a key combination that have could have increased the processor voltage (or something similar) and fried it. I know it must be VERY unlikely, but cannot understand that mashing a few keys could trash the dam thing. A new motherboard is so expensive, it is not worth replacing, better off buying a new laptop. Anyone else had a similar problem?
 

Paul F

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
42
15
Toronto
You could try removing the battery, waiting a bit, then replacing it for a true power off/on reset cycle. 'Googling' offers this suggestion for XPS 15 9530: F2 for BIOS, F12 for boot options, Fn+Power button for Pre-boot System Assessment
 

JimWilliamson

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2020
52
21
`never had such a thing happen.

It's my belief that, for a general purpose computer, "software can't kill hardware". I highly doubt a key sequence could have caused the undesired condition. Now, physical impact of said mashing - was it hard enough for an on-the-edge component to physically cross the line?

/threadjack/

Follow-up (as I know there will be some interest) on the "software can't kill hardware" comment. The only condition I heard of is software that would run a video card / monitor at a refresh rate out of bounds to damage a monitor.

In comes over-clocking - but would we call that software? It's typically human tweaked.
 

PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
989
2
407
Ontario, Canada
could try removing the battery
To emphasize this suggestion, you should unplug it from the wall at the same time. With no battery, and no wall power, it will be forced to fully power down. (Except for the CMOS, which is something you can try again after trying this full power down.)
 
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Troy

Member
Oct 20, 2020
6
2
Does the laptop actually power up but fail to boot, no access to BIOS/UEFI/other menus?
Or does the power light blink once and then forever hold its peace?
 
Sep 17, 2020
229
64
64
London UK
Does the laptop actually power up but fail to boot, no access to BIOS/UEFI/other menus?
Or does the power light blink once and then forever hold its peace?
The laptop starts but nothing on screen, fan then runs at full speed. Cannot even enter BIOS, or F12. I know the screen is OK because there is a Key combination to test the screen on power on, holding the D key on power on I think, which displayed coloured screens. Power light is lit.
 

Paul F

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
42
15
Toronto
I expect you have tried a lot of the suggestions on the internet. I does seem strange that 'mashing' the keyboard would break the computer. Have you tried a cold boot while holding down CTRL + ESC to see if you can get the BIOS Recovery page? Also, with not much to lose at this point, does the keyboard have a cable that would let you see what happens if it's removed?
 
Sep 17, 2020
229
64
64
London UK
Have you tried a cold boot while holding down CTRL + ESC to see if you can get the BIOS Recovery page?
Yes I have tried every combination of keys possible on boot, but no joy! Thanks for the suggestion though.

Keyboard? I don't think it is a keyboard issue, as I said it more pressing keys rather rapidly rather than "mashing".
 

Paul F

Active member
Sep 17, 2020
42
15
Toronto
One last thought: try booting with power from the AC adapter only i.e. unplug the AC adapter, remove the AC battery, hold the power button down and release after ~20 sec., plug in the adapter (leave the battery out) and see it it will power up. It's worth trying in case it works.

 
Sep 17, 2020
229
64
64
London UK
One last thought: try booting with power from the AC adapter only i.e. unplug the AC adapter, remove the AC battery, hold the power button down and release after ~20 sec., plug in the adapter (leave the battery out) and see it it will power up. It's worth trying in case it works.
Tried that but still dead! Machine does not start, and pressing the power button again (to turn off) results in fans starting up, then off. Thanks anyway.
 

DanR

Dan
Sep 17, 2020
256
75
Tried that but still dead! Machine does not start, and pressing the power button again (to turn off) results in fans starting up, then off. Thanks anyway.
Quite possibly a failed system power supply. Nothing to do with "mashing" keys, rather, a sequence of successive re-starts pushing an already failing PS over the edge.
 

DanR

Dan
Sep 17, 2020
256
75
But the Display test works (holding D while powering up) Surely that would not work if it was a failing PSU.
Hmm . . . I'm no expert here, but . . . I'm thinking that the LCD display probably does not consume all that much power with the test. But the fans and the HDD trying to spin up consume much more? So, the supply might be able to temporarily power the display test, but not the fans and HDD? I'm probably wrong. Sigh.
 

Troy

Member
Oct 20, 2020
6
2
The laptop starts but nothing on screen, fan then runs at full speed. Cannot even enter BIOS, or F12. I know the screen is OK because there is a Key combination to test the screen on power on, holding the D key on power on I think, which displayed coloured screens. Power light is lit.Sorry, I have not

The laptop starts but nothing on screen, fan then runs at full speed. Cannot even enter BIOS, or F12. I know the screen is OK because there is a Key combination to test the screen on power on, holding the D key on power on I think, which displayed coloured screens. Power light is lit.Sorry, I have not
Sorry about not getting back to this right away, and sorry about the "double quote" here.

The reason I asked about this is that I have 2 power supply bricks for a HP laptop. The first failed, I'm guessing, open switcher in a boost circuit (not going to de-pot the thing). A voltmeter confirmed that the output was a few whole volts lower than rated output voltage. This makes it incapable of either running the laptop or charging the battery. The laptop stopped powering up when the battery was finally depleted to minimum safe charge.
The second one also failed, likely same reason.