Our Dell Inspiron 1100 Has Overheating Problems Again


Our Dell Inspiron 1100 notebook computer has been working pretty well since I cleaned it and added more thermal grease last summer. But these past few weeks, it has started to shut off again occasionally. I opened it up and cleaned it just as before. This time, the heatsink was completely clogged up with dust; while I was at it, I cleaned the old thermal grease off and added some more. I also installed the Dell Inspiron 8x00 fan control software to monitor temperature. Below are a few photos of the disassembly process.

As in photo 1, use a screwdriver to pry the top plate off. Remove the screws holding the keyboard down (photo 2). Lift out the keyboard, remove the center screw, then lift out the right-hand cover--what you'll see is photo 3. Remove the four screws holding the heatsink down and the fan connector; you'll be able to lift the assembly out for cleaning, as in photo 4, where I've added some new thermal grease.

As Jordan notes below, remember to unlock the ZIF CPU socket before trying to pull the heatsink out. Often the heatsink is sort of "glued" to the CPU from over-dried thermal grease. Unlock the CPU to let the CPU/heatsink come out easily, where you can carefully pry them apart with a small screwdriver. Similarly, remember to lock the ZIF socket after re-inserting the CPU.

2005/07/30 Update: Our Inspiron has been running well for a few months again. I really appreciate all of your comments, and others appreciate them, too. To that end, below is a short list of comments that are particularly helpful. (Of course, reading all of them could help with your particular case.)

  • Wendy writes that these instructions also work for the Inspiron 5100.
  • Fred writes that updating the BIOS was important in his case.
  • Several are reporting that after taking the fan/heatsink/CPU apart, the laptop doesn't boot anymore. Both Robert and AK detail how to reassemble and solve this issue.
  • Dan reminds us that oils from our hands affect the cooling ability of the heatsink.
  • Voytec details his experience, and links to some documentation of the procedure.
  • Guillermo writes about some best practices we should observe.

Lastly, a little disclaimer: this process worked for me, but I can't say that it'll work the same for you. You're probably voiding the warranty by doing this. You're doing this at your own risk!

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I am having a similar problem with mine, and upon removing the heatsink unit I realized that the cpu was attached to heatsink and am unable to separtate it, do you have any suggestions as to how to resolve this? Was this the case with yours?

I'm having the same problem with my Dell Inspiron 1100. This causes the computer to run really slow as well. The heat actually caused part of my power supply plug to MELT when it was in the socket. Thankfully, Dell replaced that at no charge, but when I told them about the amount of heat and the fan always being on, they suggested I BUY a cooling pad. I don't think this is right. I hope you post any solutions you might have. This will most likely be the last Dell I will ever buy.


Hey, great website ;) "learning css myself"... Could you please explain what method you used to remove the actual CPU from the heatsink??

I removed the heatsink unit and the CPU was glued on, I suppose the thermal greese has hardened like a rock..... I didn't want to try and pry it off to damage it, so I only blue the dust off...

Its for my g/f's computer; keeps crashing from over heating goes up to 70'c

Thank you so much for this post. I have been looking for a while for instructions. By the way, these instructions work for the Inspiron 5100 as well.

As to the CPU sticking to the heatsink: I used a jewler's screwdriver to gently pry up under the green board, alternating on all four sides, careful not to scratch it. And it popped off.

Then I used rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to loosen the old baked-on grease. I also had to use my thumbnail (carefully) to get the harder stuff off.

It's only been running a few minutes but already my CPU temp is 40C-50C and my HD temp is 33C. This is incredible. It was running 60C-70C (CPU) and 50-54C (HD) before.

I am glad to find this website and I was very surprised to know that someone like Dan will take precious moments out of his time to create this website for us people who badly need it.
I was able to pull out the heatsink with in 5 minutes without any problem. I removed the old greese and applied new heat sink greese from Radio shack ($2.17 incld tax). My laptop is working great..no heat and no fan noice.
THANKS DAN for your great help

I forgot to tell you that before applying greese, you must clean your heatsink by blowing air through the heat sink vents. I also unscrew the fan which attached to the heat sink with three screws.
I also forgot to give credit to sherree for creating this website. Thanks both of you for the help

Thanks for the further details, Wendy and Zach. I'm sure some will find it helpful!

I just found and applied your fix for the overheating issue and downloaded the fan monitoring program. I think this is going to fix our problem also. You have done a great service!
Thank you

Dan, you absolutely rock. I was in a panic mode an hour ago. I was at the local library trying to do a lesson plan for one of my teaching classes, and my Dell Inspiron 1100 just shut down, BLAM. Yes, it had done this before, but only under really heavy CPU loads. The problem was obviously getting worse. I figured it was something like a heatsink compound problem, but I thought I'd go into work and see if anybody else had similar problems.

I expected AT MOST to find a text description of how to fix the problem. You put up pictures! I easily took my laptop apart, scrounged around work for some rubbing alcohol and heatsink grease, and 20 minutes later, my laptop is running smooth. I can barely hear the fan running.

Oh, I was surprised to find that I can pull my entire CPU from my laptop in sleep mode! I thought it had shut down again from a thermal overload, but it had just gone to sleep. Don't try that at home!

Thanks again, I hope someone can help you out as much in the future.

Thanks for at splendid homepage.
I also experienced that my 1 year and four month old Inspiron 1100 suddenly shut down without warning.
First I tried Dell. They told me that the problem was probably the heatsink : A new heat sink cost 200 dkr. (approximately 33$) but they asked for 1800 dkr. (approximately 300$) to do the �out of warranty reparation�
� too expensive if you ask me compared to the price of the price of a new laptop.

I the found this homepage and tried � due to the description on this page - to clean the heatsink/fan. It didn�t work out. I also installed the �Dell Inspiron 8x00 fan control� and could see that I got a temperature problem.

Then I ordered a new heatsink/fan at Dell - to the price of 300 dkr. (apprx 50 $) including transportation.

I installed it but this didn�t do the trick either. There were no sign of life from the fan. I even tried to put back the old heatsink. But nothing helped. I could only start the computer when it was cold and then it only ran for 10-20 minutes.
I got rather pissed off - so I restarted the computer 40-50 times. Suddenly I got some kind of BIOS-error and after restarting the computer again everything seemed to work fine - great. The next day I called Dell to ask them whether my problem was a BIOS-problem. They couldn�t tell me but suggested it could be some combination = heatsink+BIOS problem. I then asked them whether I should update my BIOS � they told me that this was a good idea. I found the update file on Dells homepage (I1100A32.exe) I installed it � I turned on the computer but then got a bit scared because again there were again no sign of life from the fan (almost got pissed again). But the computer didn�t turn off. After a while the CPU got hot and when the temperature reached 55 degrees Celsius the fan started to work �> a happy man again.

Well the point is: Before trying to clean your heatsink or ordering a new heatsink from Dell you may try to update your BIOS first. If you update your BIOS the fan may turn on (and Off) at another temperature than before - so be patient. If you use the �Dell Inspiron 8x00 fan control� you can control CPU-temperature yourselves.
Thanks again
Pedersen, Fred (Denmark)

When I emailed Dell with the problem, they told me I needed a new motherboard and CPU! However, by the time that I got their message, I'd already pretty muvh followed the procedure here, pulled out a dust bunny the size of Wyoming, and everything worked fine.

In a lot of cases, including mine, removing the heatsink will be unnecessary because the heatsink is well bonded to the CPU and no dust is getting in to hurt the cooling. OTOH, the fan must be pulled and compressed air used to clean out the entire area under it, especially the cooling fins to the rear, where the real cooling takes place. If this isn't enough to keep the machine from spontaneously shutting down, then you can clean the CPU and put on some new heat compound, preferably something with a better heat conductivity than Dell's.

Remember also to get the most up to date BIOS. BIOS A32's text file says that it's supposed to "update thermal table to improve the "Thermal dust" issue on Inspiron 5100," and who knows, maybe it helps the 1100, too. BTW, don't get too impresssed by or afraid of the heat readings you get with fangui; they change with the BIOS version, and I have no idea which BIOS, if any, shows the coolest, or most accurate, temperatures.

I removed the heatsink/cpu, and now my keyboard/LCD isn't working, any ideas.

Thanks Dan,

Your website was a great help, I did what was written and so far so good.....no heat!

Does anyone know if I should have used the expensive Artic Silver compound instead of the generic stuff?

Keep up the great website, you have a fan in me..

Jordan on the sunny Mediterenean Coast in Croatia

Had the same problem, upgraded the bios and sprayed out the fan and it works much better.

Of note, if you try to upgrade the bios and it says it can't because you're at a phoenix bios, you'll have to upgrade to A22 and then on from there. I went to A32 which is where the fan control fix appears to be.

Excellent advice and guidance that will help me cure the identical problem on my Inspiron 1100. Just one question, mine sucks air through the back and blows out the bottom where the heat can't escape easily. Is my cooling fan going backwards? Can someone check theirs? Thanks robert@homelectrix.co.uk

Great site. Thank you!

I just replaced my heatsink and reassembled.

The fan comes on when I power-up, but the display does not appear and the system does not boot-up. I didn't disconnect anything else that I'm aware of. Any thoughts/ideas?

Seems like the same problem as Chuck (June 8 post).

Robert (6/14) - My fan runs the same as yours.

!!! Warning !!!

Following (or perhaps, deviating from) the above procedure may damage your computer!

At least, based on my experience and the posts of Chuck (6/8) and Glenn (6/14).

I followed this procedure on my Inspiron 5100. My CPU was also bonded to my heatsink, and initially, I did not remove it. After cleaning the heatsink and vents, I reassembled everything. After this, my laptop would no longer boot even to the BIOS. It powers on (fan runs), but no more.

Thinking that perhaps the CPU did not seat correctly, I disassembled it again, and this time separated the CPU from the heatsink, re-seated the CPU and reassembled. Still no luck. I'm still not 100% sure that the CPU is seating correctly. My best (and only) guess is that the socket or CPU was damaged due to some misalignment when screwing the heatsink back in it�s mounting with the CPU attached. Obviously, I don't know what it looked like when it before I removed it, as it was impossible to see, but it just doesn't feel solid. But no matter what I do it doesn't seem to seat any better.

I would think twice before performing this procedure, or at least (if my guess has any accuracy) make sure you remove the CPU from the heatsink.

Thanks a bunch!

I had the same problems with my Inspiron 1100 and your page was a great resource on how to fix the problem. After spending 20 minutes cleaning out the heatsink and fan it runs much cooler now.

Hi, reporting back on a successful repair. There was a thick layer of dust across the copper cooling fins that was only visible after taking the fan out of the die cast section, and after cleaning out, the air flow now expels heat through the laptop's rear vent. The CPU chip remained firmly glued to the heatsink throughout. On re-insertion to the motherboard I aligned the chip's pins to the socket whilst the socket was in its unlocked position, then I gently turned the socket's locking screw whilst easing the heatsink assembly into place. Maybe those that didn't reboot after re-assembly need their CPU chips re-seating.

I have the no video problem afterI cleaned the heat sink and fan and re seated the processor, has any one found out a way to resolve this??? Too much thermogrease perhaps?

Lo and behold, I jumped the gun on the previous post. There is a really easy solution if you loose video after reseating the CPU. There is a ZIF mechanism for laptops just like for desktops. Obviously no room for a lever so instead there is a small turn screw on the left hand side of where the CPU sits.

If you look closely, there are small LOCK and UNLOCK icons on either side of the space wher you would turn. After seating the CPU, simply turn the little notch to UNLOCK then back to LOCK, screw your heat sink and fan back in, replace all screws and parts. Blowing out the dust does help a ton but I think I will update the BIOS just to be on the safe side.

A.K., my friend, you are a genius. I could sense that I was making a jackass mistake regarding the seating of the processor, but could not figure out what it was.

Use the screw, problem solved.

How hard should I screw heatsink to CPU? May I use other thermal compound like arctic silver 5 or arctic ceramique?

hi, i read this forum and it completely applied to me. i went out, bought some new themral compound, cleaned my cpu and my heat sink, applied the new compound, put it all back together and....no fix. my temp started out at about 65-70 degrees when i turned it on, but now it starts at 60 -70, but then rapidly heats up hack into the 70's range. could i have done something wrong? maybe used bad compound? i cleaned the dust out too but to no avail. any response would be GREATLY appreciated, ty all

Hey I am studying to dell certified and came accross this website in research.... When removing the processor FAN assembly You have to make sure you do NOT touch the copper tubing on the thermal cooling system OILS from your hand will cause the copper tubing not to disipate heat properly..... just extra info I thought might help

I found some precision info about the proces.
1.Removing EMI shield and thermal cooling assmebly and other stuff): http://docs.us.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins5100/sm/index.htm
Cleaning and adding new thermal compound (it's very important to do it properly!):

My cpu temp: idle temp = 36-38 grades(celsius).
max(100%) cpu use for ten min. = 65-70 (64 -after hovering dust without any parts removing.
I'll give you some info about cpu temp after replacing thermal paste for ceramique. (maybe in two weeks - busy right now)

I tried this fix on mine. Now when I try to boot it up, all it will do is stay running for a couple of seconds, the num lock light will flash nine times and then it shuts itself down. Any ideas on what might be going on?

Finally I done it. I've cleaned radiator from dust and I've changed thermal compound. I warn everybody it's not easy (its very hard to do all process properly. When I was trying to remove heatsink from cpu I almost break pins(legs) of cpu (My advise is: change cpu socket position to open when you try to remove hatsink). The heatsink came out with cpu attached to it. (The legs of cpu were little curved.)It wasn't easy to separate Cpu from heatsink (I used my swiss army knife to do it. (It was impossible to do it with plastic - non scratching knife). Next I cleaned cpu and heat sink surfeces with izoprophyl alcohol(high purity). Then I cleaned radiator from dust ( I think that the best way to do it is to use direct stream of water). Next I applied some arctic ceramique thermal compound and replaced all the parts. Now I have 36 temp idle and 62 max with 100% cpu use (when temp reach 62 fan kick to next gear and temp fall to 60). These temps could be lower after 24 houres. (thermal compound needs some time to be fully efficient). So if you really want to clean radiator and change thermal compound - read first this: http://docs.us.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins5100/sm/index.htm
ps: Use only the best thermal compounds and apply them properly!!! (arctic silver 5 or ceramique or ocz +ultra5).

Hey I am having the same problem with not getting any response from the monitor after cleaning out the fan and heatsink and re-assembling the computer. my cpu is stuck to my heatsink and i am wondering if it asolutely necessary to seperate the two. i have taken the advice of using the unlock/lock screw and am still have no luck!! any helpful words?

Lets see, my problem is when I press the power button, the HD, power, etc lights turn on green and orange,and blink randomly(absolutely randomly, no order) No video is recieved by the display. Its become as useful as a paperweight. Dell has no answer for the problem, other then the mobo or processor is fried! I have another 2.0ghz intel celeron laying around just of a differnt fsb. but if the procesor was fried the lihgts wouldn't spiratically blink as they do. So my problem is finding a mobo for under 300 US american dollars. http://www.laptopparts.com has a replacement mobo but for 500 friggin' dollars. And its not covered unedr warranty so i don't even wanna know how much dell would charge for jsut the mobo itself. so if anyone can find a replacement mobo for the 1100, it'd be greatly appreciated.
AIM: shavelieva

Thanks for the information!
It is also a good practice to wear an anti static wrist strap when opening your electronic components.
I would also remove the battery before opening the laptop just to be on the safe side.
The processor can be removed by sliding a small screw between the heat sink and the processor a few times until you get a groove in between the paste, then you can pry them apart.
Also, the screws are numbered 1-2-3-4 on the fan assembly, This should be the sequence in where you should tighten them when you are putting it back, it should only be snug not Gorilla tight as for these components are very delicate.

Thanks again Dan

Worked great for me :). Thanx for the info.

Ok from the research that I have done I have determined that this is a 400fsb cpu, it is not prescot ready. So Has anyone actually had any luck upgrading this cpu from the stock 2 gig?
I have found upto 3.0 ghz celerons that are 400 fsb, and I have a customer that is interedted in upgrading so If anyone has had any luck in this upgrade on the cpu please let me know!

Followed Dan's directions, ran down to Radio Shack and purchased $2.00 heat sink compound. Used reasonable care and took my time. Working like a champ. Dell claims there isn't a problem with cooling on the 1100. I would disagree based on what I see here.
Thanks for the link to the fan monitor applet.

Hello, I was reading some of the comments about the dell 1100, My son called me this morning saying that he was unable to boot his computer, I asked him to try dc and ac, both no boot, nothing. When I came home I the only light that comes on when I press the power button is the amber battery light. I came across your web site looking for help. I have noticed that prior to total power down it was have heating and fan issues as described above...looking for help

My laptop is new again! Thanks.

Everything runs better. I went from 70C to 50C (even under heavy CPU loads).
For those who messed up their notebooks doing this procedure, it's not hard to fix, just get a tech person you know to look at it. Piece of cake.

I have had this problem since May with my 1100 and dell suggested it being a virus or something else that has nothing to do with them. This website is exactly what I've been looking for since then and I'm glad I have finally found it

I was reading everyones post, I ended up cleaning out both my Dell 1100's the same way about a year ago, but I am really dissapointed about the amount of heat I have, even after it is cleaned thoroughly. Also even my power supply heats up very hot. I bought a cooling pad which works great, but its a laptop and it makes an already bulky laptop even bulkier. I have had my laptop for atleast 3 years, and hardly used it because of the size and heat issues. I started using it again but more as a desktop replacement then a portable laptop. I wish Dell would do something to help us out, maybe a nice fast fan would be great. Anyways glad to see everyones in the same situation as me. Hope we could figure out a better way to cool an already bulky laptop? Any ideas?

Thanks for the tips and pictures!!! I was worried about my own overheating/shut down issues and feared how much it would cost to send my 5100 to Dell for service....but thanks to your Bio's update tips, pictures and $2.09 at Radio Shack for Heat Sink Compound I tore into my laptop like I knew what I was doing. So far, 5 hours later it is still running cool and quiet.

Great post! Just finished up and my 5100 seems to be much improved. The only difficult part was separating the cpu from the heatsink... I ended up using an exacto knife to delicately remove the thermal compound from around the edge before popping the two apart. Prepackaged alcohol swaps worked pretty well for cleaning off the compound.

In response to "By hello , written on July 25, 2005 at 11:27 PM." I am having the same issue with my Inspiron 1100. I was using my laptop, when it suddenly had a complete power down. Thus far, I have not been able to boot it up from either the battery or ac power. Even though the AC adapter is plugged in and the green light is lit on it, there is no light on the laptop present. Any suggestions? Please reply to ymp5845@fsu.edu

I have a Dell Inspiron 1100. One day it stopped working, no lights or activity on the Laptop. The power pack works well. I'm wondering if the overheating issue is burning out the Motherboards? I checked Dells FAQs and found that it has to be the Motherboard. Do you think overheating has damaged to motherbard. Thanks for your time.

PS. Great Web Site, Thanks for spreading much needed information Dan.

Hi Steve S,

This is the same issue that I am currently experiencing with my laptop. If I hear a response I'll pass the info along to you as well!

I also had an overheating problem with my dell inspiron 1100. I sent it back to dell under warrenty. When they returned it I received a notice that if I had it repaired and it wasn't under warrenty it would have cost approx 300 - 400 dollars and asked me if I wanted to purchase an extended warrenty, I didn't. The overheating problem came back approx 3 months after the warrenty expired. I called dell and told them I was having the same problem and they said that warrenty parts are only covered for 90 days. Found this board and followed the instructions, only I used the Arctic Silver #5 along with the cleaning compounds. Cost was approx 7-10 dollars for everything. Took apart the heat sink, cleaned the cpu and the heat sink, followed the directions for the application of the Arctic Silver grease/cleaning compounds. Installed the program for the Dell inspiron 8000/8100 fan monitoring and now as I type this I'm looking at a temp of 41 degrees where as before it would hover around 55 to 60. The warrenty work that dell performed stated that they replaced the cpu and fan unit. When I took the heat sink off the cpu I found a "glob" of heat sink grease smeared on the cpu, over the edges and not totally covering the unit at all. Oh well, not another dell. Thanks for the help and info.

I've had a Inspiron 1100 laptop for over a year now. I've been using it mostly for gaming and i plan on building a new computer in the coming few months. I was just wondering if there was any possibility in replacing the Celeron into a Pentium 4, when i first purchased the inspiron 1100, it had a customizable option upon purchase to switch the celeron into a p4, But i don't know which one i should buy. Judging on how well the cooling fan works under heavy load, i was wondering if someone could tell me what pentium 4 they could recommend which won't overheat in my rig. I was thinking of maybe a 2.8 ghz, but i don't know what effect it would have on heat. Also, does this motherboard support hyper-threading? i can't remember if you need a certain mobo to use hyperthreading or its just a feature that is supported by all motherboards.

Just to let everyone know... This seems to be resolved with the latest bios version. After installing the latest bios update the machine is running much cooler, and the cpu usage seems to be better regulated as well

I just had my 1st overheat shutdown on my Inspiron 1100...I downloaded the fan control utility..my ? is what is the proper cpu temperature range....I'm not willing to try and repair this myself so what would be a fair price to clean fan etc...Thanks

By hello , written on July 25, 2005 at 11:27 PM.

I have the exact same issue that you described. Did anyone give you a fix????



Follow up to my previous post. After opening up my laptop, I reapplied the heatsink compound, but it didn't do anything to fix the situation. After some more poking around and consulting with one of my CS friends, the motherboard is pretty much shot. Does anyone have suggestions if it's better to buy a new motherboard or buy a new laptop?

just finish repairing my friends computer inspirion 1100 same problem as you guys have.
Did not try to open and clean up the fan and cpu
the only thing that I see is the fan is at the bottom of the laptop (manufacture design error)
the only thing that you can do is download 8000/8100 fan control and have it inclined so it can have cool ventilation. Try not to block the fan.

I wanted to tank you for the great document on the 1100 and it overheating issues. I was able to resolve the problem without a major setback. My fiancee and I thank you!!! I Linked to you on my linkroll and also on my weblog, thanks again for saving us so much time!!

I has the same problem with my Inspiron 5100. but instead shuting down by itself , it freezes in about 5 minutes after I put it on. Nothing brings it back but a turn off , as it stoped responding to any command even to CTRL+ALT+DEL.
I removed CPU and clean it with industrial alcohol and pun mmore thermal paste , reassable back and not it is not going more then 40 degrees celsius. before was in 50's degree all the time. THANK you all.

I have the same problem someone was having here a few months back. "I tried this fix on mine. Now when I try to boot it up, all it will do is stay running for a couple of seconds, the num lock light will flash nine times and then it shuts itself down. Any ideas on what might be going on?". I tried the cpu reseating a few times already and i just don't know...

Hi- I'm so fustrate with the current problem with my Dell Inspiron 1100 that I am ready to sell it for parts. Here's the situation. The symptoms are keyboard keys are switched (j=e /=z etc) and sometimes the keyboard "window" key is pressed so when I press D - all windows on screen close and when I press R the RUN interface comes on. From boot, can not enter the bios, regardless if I press F2, F3, Ctrl Esc, but I could get into dos with F8. The last thing is Dell logo does not appear on reboot. The last action I did to this computer was adding 512mb of RAM, but I don't think it affected the computer that way. HELP!!! Much appreciated.

working in China

All I can say is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I wasted about 2 hours of my time yesterday trying to have tech support explain the fan replacement procedure..(this was after explaining to them that I did NOT need a new Motherboard...at least I hoped I didn't). Today I put it back together with your help. Things are running smooth, quiet and cool.

Thanks again.

Dan (Inspiron 5100)

Useful information on how to disassemble a 1100. I had a small piece of paper stuck in the heatsink/fan area. No clue how it got there.

Dell sent my a new heat sink assembly since I didn't want to lose my computer to them for 5-10 days.
AK's comments were the key (you must unlock and then re-lock the ZIF mechanism to properly seat the cpu). I didn't do that first and my 5100 wouldn't boot. I followed AK's instructions and presto, everything works fine, runs quietly, and very cool. I will now blow out the fan on a monthly basis (it was so clogged you couldn't see through the vents). Thanks everyone.

I have an inspiron 5100 and made it to the point of removing the metal shield, and unscrewing the labelled 4 screws. I am unable remove the fan/heatsink--do i just have to yank really hard? I am afraid of damaging anything.


Thanks so much for this page. I had never attempted anything like this before, and it went very smoothly. Until the video didn't come up, but fortunately other feedback explained how to take care of this too. My 1100 may limp along for another couple of years now!

Dear Dan,

Thanks for this page.. Also, to Voytec and AK for the helpful hints.. I managed to reduce the idle temp. to abt. 50C from 68C..

At first my laptop didn't boot up but then I realized the CPU wasn't locked into the socket.

Earlier I couldnt install service pack 2 bcoz my computer would shut down in the middle but now this gives me confidence that I'll finally be able to do it..

thanks a lot!

I was also having the same problems as many of you are, I was extremely frustrated and ready to take apart my computer. I figured that I would first try another route. I went to CVS, bought some of that dust cleaner spray and sprayed all in the bottom of the fan, tons of dust came out, then sprayed in the back fan(exhaust), it seems that the exhaust was blocked because it did the trick, no more annoying overheats or shutdowns due to dust...it took two seconds, and I didnt even need to touch a screwdriver.

Hi ya, i have an inspiron 1100 and one fine day there was condensation in and around it all out of the blue. It refused to work on ac or dc and had the power light up green and battery light up amber all throughout but no startup. 2 days later it powered on and refused to go beyond the boot load page. Neither the F2 or F12 keys do much. The screen freezes after a while and auto shuts down. Any ideas on what is goin on?? thank loads guyz....

Thanks a lot for the info. I removed the heatsink and I could not believe my eyes when I saw the amount of dust on it. Used air pressure on it and around, now I am happy. Laptop runs fine now. ;-)

Thanks, took it apart using your photos, I removed the black fan from the metal frame and spied a thick velvet layer of dust on the inside of the copper fins. I carefully removed the dust layer with a piece of uncooked spaghetti (note: uncooked). then put everything back together. posting this message on the fixed machine :) I had no need to seperate the cpu or add grease... Thanks!

I am having the same problem as some of the others, which includes it not booting up. Mine turns on for about 4 to 5 seconds and then shuts off with just the power light turning on. This only occurs when the processor is seated. If removed, it doesn't turn itself off, so its something with the processor. Im hoping I don't have to get a new one and my desktop has a prescott so I can't do a swap. I will greatly appreciate any help! Thanks!

I contacted dell support over email last night and they told me that the heat sink was the problem, which doesn't sound correct since it does the same thing with heatsink unplugged and in no way attached to the processor. I'll try it though, unless anyone knows of anything.

Jeff, I'm not sure what might be happening with your 1100, but I'm quite sure that trying to run it without the heat sink is a bad idea. There's probably some kind of thermal protection for the processor to keep it from burning up, but I wouldn't want to chance it. Similarly, the processor gets so hot so fast that I bet it'd only stay running for a few seconds.

Based on what you're describing, I'd start over with the reassembly process: be sure the processor is seated and locked correctly, the heat sink seated and screwed down, the fan attached, the keyboard attached. Maybe something wasn't in all the way or something like that. It would also be worth flipping the notebook over and reseating the RAM.

That worked fine! Thanks - ps . . I used a desktop heatsink I had laying around with the dell one aside to see if it was the heatsink, I wasn't running it with nothing, but yeah thanks a bunch, its working great!

Interesting article. I have an Inspiron 1150 however it quite happily runs as long as it likes at high temperatures without any performance or stability sacrifice. Ive performed tasks several hours long whilst the CPU sits at a toasty 80 degrees without a problem.

I'm having the same problems that AK and Robert had - no video after cleaning out the fan and heatsink. I've tried unlocking and locking the screw to the left of the CPU to no avail. Anyone have any ideas on how to fix my computer?

I have a Inspiron 1100 for two years now and i love it had to get a new hd the firts one Dell had was crap and died on me so they replaced iut for free Mine wwas running at around 45 and then i put a cheap laptop pad from regal LOL and just put a real small fan on the desk behind it blowing underneath laptop and now i have been up running for about 8 hours straight and have not got hotter then 39 i love it its running fast and smooth

Thanks to your photos I was able to replace the fan in my Inspiron 1100.

Thanks a lot for your help. I had a lot of problems with this before I saw the website. I took out the processor, put it back in and got the no video thing. I was happy when I turned the screw and found that it would work! Right now my computer is at 37degrees so i guess that's okay. I don't know how to find out what it is at 100% cpu usage but I'm sure it's about the same as everyone else.

As for my CPU, it completely attached to the heatsink, like a lot of people here.I was actually a little afraid of prying it off, so i didn't.

This is an outstanding site with much knowledge and wisdom. I've read it all and feel inspired but afraid.

My 17-month-old Inspiron 1100 died in June 2005. I have been battling ""fix-it, don't fix it.

I feel overheating was the cause of the demise but Dell Tech Support told me a new mother board was needed...$400+. What do I look for. The battery is good as is the power supply. It will not power up. Help!!!


Hi! I own a Dell Inspiron 1100. I am a 2nd year law student and purchased the laptop about 2 years ago while I was still working full-time. However, I didn't start using the laptop daily until last summer. Several weeks ago my laptop started to shut off upon starting up. I called Dell and they had me take the battery out and go through the reboot process. Everything worked fine. Then about a week later I began having problems where the AC power would switch to battery power as soon as the battery was charged 100%. In order to switch back to ac power (even though it was plugged in) I would have to turn the system off and then turn it back on. I called Dell again. They told me my motherboard needed to be refaced and gave me another number to call. The next morning when I went to turn it on I was unable to start it. Since I'm a student I needed a local fix and since it isn't under warranty I brought it to a local shop. They said there are problems with the motherboard. If i need it replaced it would be $1000. If they can repair it, it would be $400. Am I being ripped off? Is this a part I can buy on my own and install myself? I have noticed that my laptop does get fairly warm and the fan is noticeable when running but nobody has mentioned this could be part of the problem until I read this site. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thanks -- Tedd

Yes, I would have to say that you are being ripped off. I bought my Inspiron 1100 for a total of 850, I don't know how much yours cost, but 1000 dollars to replace the motherboard is worth more than the whole thing. Also, I'm pretty sure that there really isnt anything they could do to fix the motherboard, if something went wrong, I would assume its going to be like that. To me, if they knew a great amount on circuitry and electronic devices like that, the place possibly could fix it, but I am also pretty sure that a new motherboard would only be about 200 tops, new. Goodluck,

The problem with my "dead" Inspiron 1100 is mostly solved. After a good dose of compressed air into the heatsink opening and fan grill, I attempted to power up and Lazarus arose. Do not trust Dell's diagnoses: they said I needed a new motherboard. I have a screen message saying my attempt to add hardware (tried to install a WiFi card) was corrupt and needs to be removed. That should be an easy fix.
Thanks to all for your sage postings. I may still have an overheating problem, but maybe a bios update can overcome that. This site is a gold mine of information.

I am having the same problem with my Inspiron 1100. I cleaned the heatsink and re-assembly back based on instruction, which includes re-seat CPU. After this process, the computer is not booting up. I re-assembly several times, it still does not work. I am really worrying about if my CPU got damage during process. Any suggestions and help!!! Much appreciated.

William, I had the same problem and was extremely worried, but eventually, I just repeated the process and then swapped the ram modules around and then when I turned it back on, everything worked fine. I'm not sure why the ram reseating / swapping fixed the problem but its sure worth a try if you haven't already done so. Also, make sure none of the pins are bent on the processor. It didn't look like any of mine were but after further examination, I saw one out of place. That also could have fixed it.

Thanks, Jeff.
I repeated process several times and swapped the ram modules based on your suggestion, but no luck now. I think I have exact same problem as your previous problem. I will try again.
Thank you again.

Off topic, but very much related since you have had the guts to take your inspiron 1100 apart.

This model dell's main drawback is a lack of internal mini-pci wireless card, yet the 1150 and 5150 with the same body type do have integrated cards.
It's well known that you can add your own mini-pci cards in most laptops these days that don't have one, with the slot being under they keyboard. But I'm hoping this model has that capability too because it was never offered as an option. But looking closely at your pictures, there does seem to be a slot available for a mini-pci card. Do you have any recollection whether there was a mini-pci socket in that spot? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

I just followed these directions and pulled a 1/16in (1-2mm) thick sheet of dust out off the cooling fins. I'm sure this was just about cutting off airflow through the heat sink.

For quite some time, the system has been running at 70C under load even with the fan running at high speed. It would idle in the 55-60C range with the fan on. Recently, it has begun shutting down under heavy load and reaching 80C. Now it's idling around 42C. I put it under load last night and it sat at 62C with fan on high.

I'm wondering if those of you having problems after reassembly might have allowed some dust to fall into the CPU socket. This might be preventing a good connection.

I had the same problem as many here - I'd turn on the computer only to have it shutdown after 4 - 5 seconds. Fixed it by reseating the ram. Thanks for the tips!

I have been using the I8kfangui for a few months now with no problems on my Inspiron 1100. Recently I have been having problems where the fan will not turn on. Without the fan utility the fan never runs. But with the utility it tries to turn but only does for about a second on 2 seconds off when I use the temperature control setting. When I switch it to direct fan control it will work but it runs for 3 seconds stops for 2 seconds then back on for 3 seconds then back off. When I restart the computer the fan will run constantly during startup with no problems. I ran a diagnotstic test for the fan and it gave me an error code: 3700:011B
Msg: Expected fan on high rpm of 4600 ,Detected fan rpm = 0. When I ran the test the fan did run on high for about 2-3 seconds and then stopped. I then recieved that error message. The diagnostic does not even detect that the fan is spinning. I bought 4 different fans from ebay and they all do the same thing so I'm thinking it isn't the fan. Also tried reseating the ram, and have installed and re-installed the fan numerous times making sure everything is connected correctly. Since the fan runs fine on boot I have no idea what is wrong. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance

Thanks for the great info. I also forgot to unlock the CPU from the socket so my display was black, after some panicing I read AK's post uptop and realized what I forgot to do. Operating at 40-55*F down from the 65*F - 76*F I was running at before.. Thanks again I was worried I was going to have a boat ancor on my hands. PS: Was in at dell for a new fan 6 months prior so I would reccomend giving it a shot of compressed air atleast every 6 months to keep things cool ^^

Guys, thanks a LOT!!! My fan was on all the time, with temperatures of around 70°C, according to i8kfangui, which by the way is a brilliant little program. I opened up the laptop, and found a big dust clog in front of the copper plates. I carefully removed the dust with a screwdriver, put everything back, and since then I am at 50-60 the most, and most importantly, once the fan comes on at slow speed (which unlike the high speed is bearable), it takes no time to cool back the processor!!!

Dell 1150...no lights, wont power up, power supply shows voltage, doesn't appear to be faulty power connector. what is the procedure for the cooling fan, heatsink, processor workaround?

I'm having trouble getting off the first piece of plastic with a screwdriver, i don't want to snap the plastic on accident...any specific instructions?

hey this page rules!! but i still ca't fix mi inspiron, i've tried everything you've suggested but i still can't make it to power... =(
i hope te get some help from you guys!! thanx in advance!

Charles: based on some of the experiences I've had with by Inspiron 1100 -- Dell said I needed a new mother board, try this.

De-power the unit. That means unplug it and take out the battery pack. Leave it unpowered overnight. When you power up, make sure you leave the power button depressed for an extended period -- like 10 seconds of longer and listen for any clicking and look for the green power light to come on. That procedure worked for me and the problem was not a dead mobo, but rather a sporatic (sick, sick) hard drive. We are not in the process of replacing it. By the way, the overheating CPU is a direct result of overwork and overstress when the CPU is truing to make connection with a hard drive that is running sporatically. The heat goes up (assuming you don't have a furball in the cooling duct) in direct proportion to the amount of work it is performing. Again, this is based on my experience with my Inspiron.

I have an Inspiron 1150 that when you power it on comes up to the screen for safe mode, last known good, etc. If I select to "start normally" it shows the XP screen like normal then goes to black screen with mouse pointer.

Dell said the motherboard was bad...what say you?


I followed the procedure posted here but then I lost video. The processor is thoroughly and firmly attached to the heat sink.

Should I pry back and forth with a knife to separate the two components?

I tried the locking/unlocking mechanism (with the CPU attached to the heatsink) and the computer boots up, but not correctly. When the XP logo pops up, it has vertical and horizontal lines convering it and when the desktop should appear, there is (how should I say) static. This leads me to believe that the processor is not completely seated correctly.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Phil: try the de-power routine, outlined above and determine how hot the CPU gets during the time you get the safe mode screen and before it goes all black. There may be some other issues besides a bad mother board. Try starting up on your Windows XP disk, as though you are reinstalling the operating system. See if you get a different result. If you do, this is further proof of some glitch other than mobo.

When i first reassembled my computer i didn't realize but when i tightened the heatsink screws the cpu didn't fully lower into place. The screws tighened and the cpu holes were lined up, but i had to gently press the heatsink into place and that fixed it right up.

I have this problem with my Dell Inspiron 1100. When I turn on my labtop, it has the dell screen then it becomes the Window loading screen, it is suppost to go to the Window's Window(with starts button and stuff) But instead my labtop reboots itself. So again it is Dell screen -> Window loading screen -> reboot forever and ever. Do any of you ever experience that? Can anyone help?

I got an 1100 from a friend. His mother fried the NIC with a static discharge, but the broadcom utility shows almost nothing wrong with the port, except it can't recieve traffic. It can detect a link, but otherwise does not work. I disabled the on-board NIC in the BIOS.

The previous owner had tried re-installing XP to fix the NIC (it was a hardware problem, so OS reinstall won't fix it, duh!) and the machine was in a state of chaos. The original system restore discs weren't available.

I used the restore discs for my Dad's 5100, which as it turns out, is very similar to the 1100. The XP Pro CD installs perfectly, and the driver/diagnostics CD gets me all the drivers I need.

During install and after install, it runs flawlessly UNTIL you try to get on the network, then it is subject to random and very frequent lock-ups.

For network, I've tried:

3COM 3CCFE574BT 16-Bit PCMCIA 10/100 Card (it's not CardBUS)
Linksys WPC11v3 PCMCIA 802.11b Card (also not cardbus)
D-Link DWL-G122 USB 802.11b/g Adapter

I updated the BIOS to the latest version, Cleaned the heat sink, used Arctic Silver 5, the whole nine yards.

It works great for days straight (I've even used programs to spike the CPU to 100%, a procedure I always use to heat-cycle Arctic Silver). The procedure had my CPU tem spiked at 138*F for over a day without a lockup.

Whenever I hook it up to the network though, no matter what adapter I use, it works for a very short while, then locks up.

I've re-installed XP with the on-board NIC disabled, so it doesn't even know that NIC exists, nor is the driver installed or is it showing up in the hardware manager. I'm relatively certain that there's no hardware conflict. After the fresh install the only card I've tried is the wired 3COM. Works for a little bit then locks up. Any other advice?

Inspiron 1000, same problems, overheating and shutting down, finally tokk apart and look, no heat-sink grease at all(on CPU). back together and so far so good, also threw away fan filter.
I'll update how long it lasts.

I must say that you have a wonderful blog entry for the Dell inspiron 1100. I just cleaned up all the dust inside the fan housing and now my dell runs sooo quiet. Before this, my fan was running at max speed at all times. Thanks so much !

My own Dell 1100 had the same problem as described, it would close down when at 78 degrees (meltdown!). So, i stripped it out as per your recommendations, found no heatsink compound at all on the cpu. Running like a dream now. Thank you for the hints and tips. Vic

I have an Inspiron 5150 and am having similar problems. It shut down from overheating. But now the problem is that the a/c adapter won't charge the battery. If I remove the battery, and plug it in, it still won't turn on. No light come on or anything. It acts like it has no power at ALL. I've tried three different cords, so that can't be that. I've also tried another battery, and it works fine. Dell tell me it's the motherboard, but if the computer runs off the battery, it works just fine. I'm just not so sure it's the mother board. Does it sound like I need to goes through this prcedure...and will this work the same for 5150's?

Okay, I got impatient and went ahead and did all this to my computer, and it didn't fix my charging problem. I'm sure it helped my computer, but it still won't charge the battery, or turn on when the battery is out(and it's plugged in). Again, dell tells me I need to spend $400 on a new motherboard, but does anyone have any other ideas. Anything! I'm desperate.


It sounds like the power control circuitry is not working properly. It could be something simple like the part the power plug goes into breaking off the motherboard or a bent/broken pin inside that connector, or it could be something small on the motherboard like a surface mount fuse or burned up resistor, but surface mount components are difficult for normal people to troubleshoot and replace. It could also be a much more complex failure than just one or two of the microscopic surface mount components, such as an integrated circuit (microchip) that burned up.

While troubleshooting my own problems, I had my Inspiron taken apart to where no two parts were still assembled, and I can tell you that on the 1100 and 5100, the power control circuitry and the power connector is unfortunately all part of the motherboard.

I suppose what I'm saying is that Dell is pretty much correct. I guess if it was my own laptop I'd be looking to see if the 3 pins on the power connector on the back of the laptop were still intact. If so, I'd check to see if maybe the solder came loose or it otherwise broke off the motherboard. Checking this requires a LOT MORE taking apart than this how-to covers, and you could break stuff or otherwise incorrectly reassemble and damage things. I've worked on computers all my life and fixed a lot of laptops in the last 10 years and also do automotive work, so I have a method and a nack for knowing how something is supposed to go back together once disassembled. I can't say I'd recommend for anyone to dive right in without a service manual or step-by-step instructions on this. It's a daunting task, and considerably more involved than just re-doing the heat-sink compound, although you're about 40% taken apart once you get the heat sink off the motherboard.

If the power connector is firmly attached and soldered to the motherboard, I'd examine the motherboard near the power plug for signs of burned up electronics, but if the power cord, the power jack on the back, and the solder connections on the motherboard are all okay, the only way to really fix that would be a new motherboard, so it's probably not even worth checking.

Best of luck!

I have the same Inspiron1100 as you...and the same no-charging problem that you have. Unlike you...I do know the source of my problem. Perhaps after reading this, you may realized that your problem is the same as mine. The actual problem is the AC/CD Power Supply unit. Due to extensive wrapping and unwrapping (twisting and all that stuff) of the power cord...my power cord has developed a crack in the wire. My crack is not in the thick wall outlet section of power cord...but in the thin, smaller section right where it comes out of the power supply portion. So...your problem may be fixed (just like mine) by purchasing a replacement AC/DC power supply unit. Cheapest price I could find..after an hour of Googling, is at Ebay. The place I originally started my search. Good luck. Hope that helps.

Well, she said she tried different cords...

My dad's 5100 power brick did the same thing as yours though. The thin cable to the laptop broke and shorted out because he used to wrap it up too tightly. My old NEC did this as well 10 years ago. You've gotta be gentle with the power bricks!

wow this is happening a lot to this type of computer. Which happens to be the one I have and it is happening to mine. The overheating thing. I have done what you all have suggested and thanks a lot I will see if it works for mine.thanks

I have 2 1100's that boot up great and the fans spin but no video. I have reseated cpu and swapped out the graphics cards but no luck. Can anyone also help me force my bios without AC or Battery. I have A02 on another 1100 of mine that I cannot update the bios?
Anyhelp is much appreciated. Any good motherboards are also in need.

What software are you all using to monitor temps...just the Inspiron 8x00 fan control, or other?? Also, do you think it matters whether to update bios the windows method or from dos boot disc??

Thanks just cleaned out my fins and reapplied some heatsink grease 1100 seems to be working great now... THANKS A BUNCH!

Have a inspiron 5100, took it apart today. i wanted to upgrade to the 5160 heatsink but i dont have one with me to compare with. the 1100/5100 uses a 3 wire while the 5160 uses a 4 wire. i think it can be cut and resoldered. i took off the heatsink and cpu, cleaned it with a qtip using brake cleaner, worked like a charm. let it dry for a few minutes and then applied artic silver 5. feels better so far. cant realy guage it because i dont have the a32 bios. currently runnig the a22. so i cant use the fan program. now the fun part, heat cycle it for a bit.

Excellent site. My 1150 was having the same overheat problem. I had previously cleaned the heatsink by just using compressed air and spraying the vents in the back & bottom of the computer.

After visiting this site, I decided to go ahead and remove the heatsink, fully clean it & apply Artic Silver. So far so good.

Can someone point me in the right direction to find that fan control software for the 8000/8100?


Duh, found the link at the very top.


Everyone here seems pretty knowledgable, so I figured I'd throw this out there.

PC: Inspiron 1150
The power socket came loose and eventually snapped off the motherboard. I've got the socket re-soldered to the mb (through some small wires), but I still can't get my battery to charge or laptop to power on. I think it shorted something out when it broke, because as soon as I connect the power cable to the socket, I read ~5V on the first 2 battery pins, but as I leave my DMM on it, the voltage drops down to 0.0 (faster at first, then more slowly).

1. What should the voltage be at the power socket? I verified its getting 19.5V, but it's only putting out 6.5-7V.

2. Anyone have the pinout for the battery connector? I only see voltage on the first 2 pins, not sure if there should be power on any others.

Sorry for the off-topic questions, just getting desperate. Thanks.

You guys are LIFESAVERS! Lately, my Dell Inspiron 1100 has been nothing but a waffle iron giving my leg a burn. (Seriously, it couldn't run Starcraft without sounding like a vacuum cleaner) So I googled and found your guy's page! How lucky was I?

I followed the steps, but I want you guys to update your first post, because I keep finding things that get me closer to the solution. People, be sure before you power it up to:

-Get a q-tip and some rubbing alcohol and rub the sides of the baked on grease if it happened to stick to your heatsink
-Be sure to SCREW LOCK IT! Take out the processor and put it in the socket UNLOCKED, and then once its safely seated, thats the cue for locking :)

I don't know how to thank you guys anymore, you saved me some skin on my legs and figured out a problem which has been happening for nearly 2 years!

Hii, i went to radioshack and the girl never heard of thermal grease but i still opened up my laptop (dell inspiron 5100) and got all the dust out but i found no thermal grease in it. i think it was there but it dried out because i see a very faint stain. can somebody tell me the name of the grease they bought at radioshack? i dont know if i was saying it wrong or something.
also, would getting the cooling situation fixed also speed up my computer?
thanks janet

My Insperon 1100 was overheating big time. After reading all the inputs to your site I made the decision to open my 1100 and have a look. Before I started I bought some thermal grease at Radio Shack and ran some tests and recorded temperatures and CPU loads along with fan speeds. I ran the tests with and without my cool pad. With my cool pad on and fan speed on high and CPU load at 100% the CPU temperature topped out at 161 deg F (That is about 72 deg C).
I followed the manual instructions to remove the keyboard and the EMI Shield. Next I removed the fan from the Thermal Cooling Assembly with the Thermal Cooling Assembly in place. My intention was to clean the fan - and I did. But I discovered that dust had accumulated on the cooling fins inside of the Thermal Cooling Assembly. There was a layer of dust about 1/32 inch thick covering the entire area of the cooling fins. I removed the dust layer (It looked like a thin felt pad). Then I replaced the grease (only because I had bought it) and re-assembled the 1100. I retested at 100% CPU and got 136 deg F at low fan speed and No cooling pad. My Inspiron 1100 is running about 25 deg F. (that's 14 deg C) cooler.
I am convinced that my problem was not the grease but the dirt blocking the cooling fins (radiator). I say this not only because it makes sense, given the amount of dirt I found, but also because my fan speed in rpm was cut in half after cleaning. This suggests that the fan is now moving more air. When it was blocked, the fan speed increased because much less air was being moved. The fan was under a kind of "no load" condition that caused it to spin faster.
I recommend that if you are having over heating problems with your laptop and it is not brand new, open it up and clean the fan and air passages of all dirt and any other obstructions. Do this without removing the heat sink or replacing the thermal grease. This is a much less risky and simpler procedure. If that does not give you good results then by all means replace the thermal grease.
Please pass this on and let me know if others have the same success.
Stan Kaszupski

I agree with the last post as i clean my fan and passages about once a moth as i am on here alot proabaly more then most as i am disabled and it gives me something to do. With regular cleaning my 1100 runs farliy cool even with heavy use as i am a webmaster and do alot of graphic work.
This baord as got to be one of the best i have ever seen keep up the great work

I have a similiar problem with my Inspiron 5100, except that I cannot get it to start at all.

A light or two comes on for 5-10 secs. when you try, the DVD drive moves a little, and then nothing... it shuts down and will NOT startup.

It won't get to the overheating point because you cannot get it running! Until a week ago, it'd start once a day or so, run as long as I wanted, but then once it is shutdown.. NOTHING.

HELP! My problem matches some descriptions on here, but I have not seen any resolution to it... anybody know?


thanks everyone for the info

First of all, thanks for the great website. I had the same overheating problems as most people and I actually replaced the fan and heatsink altogether. Now, when I turn the power button on, it sounds like the computer is booting up, the light stays lit for a few seconds and then the computer shuts down. The monitor doesn't work at all. I took the whole thing apart again and checked all the connections and still nothing. Any suggestions???

re-cycle the ZIF Socket screw, turn it CCW then CW about 1/4 turn to make sure the CPU is locked in. Then, check the video card and the memory. My dad's 5100 had similar problems that were solved by removing the RAM and making sure that the RAM was installed properly and securely.

Thanks for the info, I'll try that. I have done all of the items you mentioned EXCEPT re-seating the processor. RAM has been out, put in different configs, the video chip has been replaced (since I thought thats what it was originally), all the drives re-seated....

Will try the processor and post back.

Thanks so much!! I have an Inspiron 1150 that has been putting off enough hot air to heat my apartment. I tried the fix posted on this website and it worked like a charm. Large amounts of dust blowing out. My 1150 no longer sounds like a 747 during pre flight.

ok i have a 5160 and i hate it, its lounder than a vacuum cleaner and its like a furnace on my lap. I've read the posts but still fear that im gonna F something up with this thermal grease application. could some post a detailed step by step to this or email me at ericmarfat@hotmail.com many thanks otherwise this thing is flying out the window of my 17th floor nyc apt

Something to try! Mine experience has been successful. First, it the power like or Num lock lights blinks, and the laptop won't turn on, make sure the screw that secures the processor down it in look position, there is a sensor that will not let the laptop turn on if it is not tripped. Second on the overheating issues, take the processor, clean off the old thermal grease off of the heatsink and and the processor with alchol. Blow out the heatsink with canned air!

This solution has worked for me, and may help some people who have opened their laptops and still have the same problem. I basically did something to reduce the load on the CPU.

My Inspiron overheated since the CPU had to do a lot of extra work to find the extra memory on my hard drive that it needed to run programs. It could not run VS 2003 without overheating, then crashing. So, I increased the amount of virtual memory availiable until it had no overheating problems.

Here's how to increase the virtual memory under WinXP Professional. It may or may not work on Home edition.

Goto Control Panel -> System. Click on the 'Advanced' tab, and go to Performance -> Settings. Under the Visual Effects, select 'adjust to best performance'. Go to the Advanced tab. Under the advanced tab there's a section called 'Virtual Memory.' Under virual memory, select 'Change.'
A new window called Virtual Memory will appear. Select custom size. Increase the minimum and maximum values depending upon how much space you have on your hard drive. For example, I set the minimum to 3000 mb, and the maximum to 4000mb. Before, I only had 384 mb of hard disk space available for memory. Now my programs run much faster, w/o overheating my laptop. My powercord is also cool. Also for the first time in a few months I'm able to work with the laptop on my lap w/o getting burned

Wow! I am extremely impressed with the wealth of knowledge present on this site! I am playing with a Dell Inspiron 1100 that was dropped over in Afghanistan by a friend of mine.

Current status is no power-on lights for the laptop itself, and the ac adapter is showing one hot pin at 20V with green light on. I've stripped it down to the mainboard, but there is no sign of any visible damage. Any hope for this laptop?

Hey I have an Inspiron 1100 too. I was wondering if you could help me diagnose and fix it over the net? Everything works great except the powerjack ( I think?. It charges just fine but it will not run on the powercord alone. Have an ideas on what it might be? Any suggestions on how to fix it?

Thanks a lo

Thank you for putting up this website! We got as far as cleaning the fans on our 5100 but then had the boot up/display problem. I found this website with some Google searching. The post about unlocking and locking and then screwing everything down absolutely saved us. You might consider making note of that in the instructions at the top. Thanks again!

Thankyou, I have the Inspiron 5100, it used to cut out after five or ten minutes and would not turn back on until it had cooled right down, your instructions worked a treat, my computer has been running for hours now with no problems and no cutting out and turning off, you have probably saved me a fortune, thanks again


Hi Just finished putting one back together for a customer, had the same problems, found out it was very important to turn the cpu locking screw to the fully locked position, that means all the way clockwise till it meets the lock icon

Sher and Dan,
Thanks for the info. My boss is having a simalar problem with his laptop. I will try the suggestions posted on your webpage. I get back in a few days.


Good guide. You may want to include, however, that the heatsinc usually won't just "lift right off" because of the thermal grease. Instead, I have found that unlocking the cpu retention thing--by twisting the flathead screw between screws 1 and 3 (on the left side when looking at the screws)--makes it easier to take the heatsinc out (and safer, since you don't have to worry about pulling the cpu out when it doesn't want to do so). Once the cpu and heatsinc are off, it's easy to just use that same flathead screwdriver to pop off the cpu (put the flathead between the top of the cpu and heatsinc and twist).

IMO this is safer (although in both desktops and notebooks, i have never done damage to my cpu by removing it while it is "locked" in) and, since the cpu will already be off, it is easier to clean (of course, you could just remove the cpu yourself)

Also, note that the best place to lift off the heatsinc is on the bottom between pins 1 and 4.


note too that good THERMAL PASTE can make all the difference. I personally recommend ARCTIC SILVER 5 because it is simply the best on the market (about $10 at newegg.com or any other store/site i've visited). Remember when applying it, though, put a dot the SIZE OF A RICE GRAIN in the middle and then push the heatsinc on firmly. DO NOT APPLY PASTE ALL OVER THE CPU--MORE IS NOT BETTER. A thin layer (which happens when that rice grain spreads out) will provide maximum heat transfer. Hope all goes well for you all.

Thank you alot for you , the subject and the comments from others are very helpfull . it helped me to set Inspiron 5100 back working again.

Thanks again

I'm so frustrated by the constant problems with the Inspiron that I'm ready to watch a laptop fly out the window.

I had the overheating problem, and sent the laptop off to Dell for replacement of the heat sink. Got it back, and noticed it was sooooo slow. THen all of a sudden it wouldn't boot, and got into the loop where XP screen appears and then error message pops up. So, what does Dell tell me, to reload Windows. I'm glad Dell thinks anyone that buys there product has interest in being a tech person. Because that's what I've become!

I have a 5100 that won't power on now light nothing. My power supply is working.I am told that I probably need a new motherboard. I have also heard that it may just be the power chips on the board. Can I change these? Any ideas.

Thanks for this website/blog. Overheating Inspiron 1100. Dounloaded the 18KfanGUI and read temps around 70 deg C. Based on what I read here that's pretty dam hot! Running the fan on high would only bring the temp down to 50 deg at best with no programs runniung and the fan continuing to run on high. Well here we go. . . I read all the info from Dell including what to do first, Removing the keboard, emi shield andd keyboard. OK, here we go. . . out comes the fan removing the 4 screws in order. Woops, the CPU came out too really stuck to the cooling unit. Not good 'cause I've bent pins before taking things out not straight up. CPU and cooling unit came out at an angle. Well, OK let's blow the AeroDuster on the cooling fins from the inside of the fan out through the cooling fins. Nothing! Now what? So I blew the other way and a big dust ball blew out through the fan. That's it! Back together. My CPU was firmly attached to the thermal unit so I put it in the same way it came out - at an angle. Seat the 4 screws in order and put it back together. NO BOOT!!! Back apart and sure enough I bent one pin on the CPU. Bask together. Well after two more round trips I finally decided the CPU wasn't seating properly. I finally figured out that the Cam that locks down the CPU was locked and the pins wouldn't go in. I was lucky. This time I separated the CPU from the cooling unit and cleaned and applied more thermal grease. I opened the cam lock, and wa-la the CPU seated. Installed the cooling unit and put everything else back together and now the computer boots and the 18KfanGUI program says 38 deg C with slow speed cutting in at 45 deg. All is well!
NOTE! Dell notes say NOTHING about the cam lock for the CPU. My CPU came out with the cooling unit inspite of the fact that the cam was locked. But it wouldn't go in with it locked. I was very lucky I didn't break a pi ir two on the CPU. Thanks again for this website! Fred


We have a Dell Inspiron which started shutting itself down. I found this excellent website that showed me how to pull it apart to clean out.

Unfortunately I can't seem to move the CPU case out of the laptop. One of the plastic straps that are used to lift it out is perished (due to heat/age, perhaps) and snapped when I tried to lift the unit out. It seems to be pretty well stuck in there. So I removed the fan cleaned it, which wasn't too bad. What was clogged up and somewhat grotty looking was the vent at the back across what appears to be a copper heat exchanger. I've cleaned all that out and will see how it performs.

Thanks again for the advice, folks.


This is fantastic!

My wife's Dell 5100 just started shutting down on her yesterday, I work on pc's on the side, but this is my first go at a laptop in this way. We can't afford to replace it, and I was so concerned that either the CPU or worse, the MoBo was dead...

I am heading out to Radio Shack today to get some more thermal grease, and plan on tackling this little bugger today so she may have her laptop back in working order!

Great information, and thank you for making this available to those of us who can't afford to go out and replace an overheating laptop!

Hey, thanks for a great post, and lots of helpful comments. On the CPU Lock/Unlock bit: after several tries, I did the steps in the following order:

1) unlock the CPU
2) screw in the screws numbered 1-4
3) lock the CPU

Worked great, thanks again!

I did what I said I was going to do, payed $2 for the heatsink compound, followed the steps I found here, including removing the memory and reinstalling it, booted like a brand new pc and is working great right now!

Thanks for the info!!

Hi there and thank you all for the great info. Thank you Dan and Sheree for hosting such a great site!!! This information was worth so much more then you could imagine to me. I do have a question though. Before doing the process my computer operated at 60-70 degrees. This winter I was kinda enjoying it keeping my lap warm, but realized while sitting on a plain it was to HOT.
I do want to I am now operating between 40-50 degrees. I see there are a good bit of lower numbers on the site here. Could it be because I used Silicone Grease from Radio shack instead of the other types of greases listed above? Any insite would be appreciated. I mean, what info you have given me so far has been more then appreciated, but any more info would be great. Dan and Sheree, not that you charge for your info, but why don't you consider placing a paypal Donation link on your website. I will be first in line to click on it.
Dell Inspiron 1100 (Celeron Windows Xp)

Hi, i found this website really useful, i work on desktops alot, and i do not do much work with laptops, and a friends 1100 was overheating to the point where it would shut off, so i said id take a look at it. Well i followed all of the steps, i cleaned the old grease off, applied new grease, and put it all back together, and i got no video. I tryed turning the locking screw to unlock and back, and reseating the cpu, but still no video. I know there is no way somthing could have just broke when i was doing that. I might have to reseat the video card maybe? I dont know so if you have any suggestions please let me know ASAP. Thanks alot

Try removing the memory and putting it back in, that's what I had to do, and good question on the grease, couldn't find the arctic silver, will have to get some of that next!

Wish I knew about the grease. As for the other guys problem. You know I had to take things apart twice. Seems for some odd reason I had to re-seat the processor twice before it worked. When I pressed power button light came right on, pressed it again power light right out, nothing else happening, so I knew it was not just video, although at first I thought 100% thats what it was, but then it struck me. I didnt fool with the video, or mememory, so back to the processor, and it worked fine. If I can be of any help feel free to email me. Still looking for that Paypal link :-)

There may be some misconception here. It is the main processor, the CPU, the pentium chip that is attached to the thermal cooling unit via thermal grease and "conduction" It is not "memory" that you are removing and applying thermal grease to.
See/click on this link: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins5100/en/sm/cpu.htm#1084976
The ZIF-socket cam screw secures the microprocessor to the system board. Take note of the arrow on the ZIF-socket cam screw.

The CPU/Microprocessor will come out when yoou remove the thermal cooling unit if it has a good bond to the cooling unit EVEN THOUGH the cam screw is locked. Un lock it first just to be safe. Separate the CPU from the cooling unit. Clean and apply new thermal grease to the CPU, then insert the cpu back in the black square socket. Push it down completely (assuming you have no bent pins) then lock the cam screw. Then install the thermal cooling unit and screw in the four self contained screws in order. Plug in the fan to the mother board. Reinstall the emi shield. Plug in the keyboard and screw it down. Snap in the top nameplate blue strip.

Dear Friends,
Thanks for establishing this great website.
I have a problem with my DELL Inspiron 5100.

The story started just two weeks ago, When my laptop couldnt charge if it was ON, or on Standbye. I has to turn it off to make it charged.

One day, after a Trip, itried to turn it on, But the following is happening :
1- I turn the power button On
2- I looks like turning of, but as soon as fan runs, it turns off. it all takes 3-4 seconds. No display, No sounds or beep.

Any suggestions will be appriciated.
Thnaks in advance !

Yes ramtin i also having the same problem as you, but i have an 1100 and i spent 2 hours on dell chat support, and all they can say is the mobo is dead, but i dont see how that is possible when the hard drive is accessing info, and the cdrom works

I almost forgot... When you have completed this procedure, your battery will last 60% longer. At least mine does. *That doesn't mean everyones will. I guess that stands to make sense though. Run a machine cooler and there is less running of the fan, so less power being used. Wish I could say it more technical, but thats my explanation.

Dell Inspiron 1100 (Intel Celeron)

Hi all,

Reading this page, I decided to have a go myself and see if I could get some dust out of my Inspiron 5150 (P4 2.6 GHz). I removed the display bezel, keyboard and EMI sheild. However I could not remove the heatsink/fan, and when I put it back together, it wouldn't boot.

I went to bed feeling very unhappy, hoping that I hadn't just turned my £700 (1 1/2 years ago) laptop into an expensive paperweight. So, this morning I used a friend's PC to look up the service manual for the 5150, and found the correct procedure for getting the HS/fan out. Basically, you have to completely disassemble the laptop, so it's not one for the faint-hearted!

Off comes the screen, off comes the palm rest, I'm into the guts of my trusty laptop. Off comes the heatsink/fan, and lo and behold I've managed to bend a pin on the processor. I very carefully straightened it out, hoping it wouldn't snap. It didn't, and I re-aligned a few other pins that looked a bit off to me.

I took this opportunity to remove the solid wall of dust that had formed on the fan side of the copper heatsink, which cannot have been helping things. I then put everything back together (about 20 screws to do), put the battery in, crossed my fingers, pressed the button....

I've never been so happy to see a Windows XP logo in my life!!! It lives, I'm typing on it now. Disaster averted.

So....my recommendations for 5150 owners - read the service manual, take it apart properly and don't try to re-seat the CPU when it's still attached to the heatsink. I found that mine came off very easily with a little pressure from a screwdriver.

I'm going to get some thermal grease and do the job properly now I know my way in and out of the thing.

I've put up some photos of my experience at: http://www.bits.bris.ac.uk/niall/5150pics
It's just a directory, the files are 500kb - 1mb in size.

Hope this is of some help to someone. It's heavy and hot, but I love my 5150.


Thanks to Stephen's suggestion (a few comments above), I've added a donation link. If this information has helped you save your notebook, please consider making a small donation to support this site.

I had to take apart my brothers Inspiron 1100 laptop to fix his issue. After reseating the cooling fan, I put everything back together, now his LCD is not working, does anyone have any ideas on what could fix this?

Thanks in advance,


Dan, was the cpu stuck on the heat sink when you removed it? If so you will want to make sure you seperate the two b4 putting it back in. It seems you can bend the pins, plus seperating it will give you a chance to place new thermal grease on it. When I took mine apart it wasnt re-seated correctly, and it almost seemed like the problem was the video, but it wasn't. The problem was the CPU not being seated properly. In some cases like the ones listed above folks even had bent pins. Read through all the posts above, and take advantage of any links, and pics. If I can help you anymore let me know.

Thank you so much for posting this helpful information. What a life-saver! I am in San Francisco on business and my laptop slowed to a total crawl. Some $1.49 heat sink compound and the temperature monitoring software you mentioned got me up and running in less than half an hour. My Inspiron 1100 used to run well into the 60ºC temps but now stays in the very low 40s, an awesome improvement!

I found a way to fix the overheating problem, I went to bios (by pressing F2 when laptop starts, pressed Alt+P until I found something about technology speeding up processor and disabled that speed up, now the fan is not heard, very quiet and doesn't overheat anymore.

Thanks to all for usefull suggestions.

I had a simillar problem with my 18 months old Dell inspiron 5150 notebook. It used to switch off itself after keeping it on for 30 min. I cleaned the fan and the colling assembly. There was a plenty of dust. I dindnt replace the grease. Later I could not able to switch it on again! I followed the suggestion of locking and relocking the cpu by ZIF mechanism (sugessted in above postings) severla times, even then I could not able to start my notebook. I was quite sure that the cpu and disply card are sitting properly.

Finally I could able to start my notebook!

The main problem was with the EMI shielding (metal sheet below the keyboard). Don't screw it tightly (even you can check in its absence). There are three pins (bendings) below this plate. Probably they get pressed when we fix the screws very tightly. This mechanis me helps in avoinding the accidental switching on of the notebook when the display panel is closed. One more hint: push the black think cable card of the key board inside the grew of the EMI plate dont leave it between the keyboard and the EMI plate. It develps extra pressure.

Now my notebook is working perfectly without making much noise.

Regarding "Our Dell Inspiron 1100 Has Overheating Problems Again": I just wanted to say thanks for the pictures, etc.. on opening up the laptop. I needed to put some thermal paste on the processor/heat sink and couldn't quite figure out how to open the case. Perfect help! Thanks.

thanks for the great info man. my laptop has been overheating for couple of months(76 celsius on 100% max cpu use) and as a result, slowed my computer to a crawl at many occasions.

ever since the 'fix', everything's smooth, with temperature reaching 53 celsius at max cpu usage.. I consider that a major improvement from before! at idle time, the computer's around 30s and 40s.

as for those people looking at this site for solutions, I suggest that you guys get the BEST possible thermal compound available. In the beginning, I purchased a $5.50 no name anti-heat compound and followed the procedure with NO RESULT. I went to compUSA the next day and decided to retry my hope, and bought a ARCTIC SILVER paste ($12.00). I retried the procedure, and THANKFULLY, everything's under control.

lesson of the day: always buy a good brand products, especially when you deal with computers, regardless of how much more expensive it is. It's a good investment, and gives you a much better result =)

Never again will I buy a dell... i have a dell Inspiron 2200, and it overheats constantly. After approx. 20-45 minutes i lose wireless internet, and it decides to go blue on me and "dump all physical memory". What does that mean? And should i dissasemble and fan-clean my computer? I am not reading about many 2200 models on here, are they usually cooler and is mine just a rebel, or is there a possible fix for my computer make?

Wow, I'm glad to find a support group for users of the Dell 1100!
Well, my fiance' is the proud (not so proud now) owner of one, and last night it died. (the computer not her)

She left it sitting on the bed for a while and when I picked it up to see why the "blue screen of death" was on, it nearly burnt my hands! Windows will no longer boot now, all we get is the blue screen that says something to the effect "there is a hardware problem, reinstall windows". we tried that and the it doesn't work either. I think the mother board or something inside burnt up, cause it has ran hot for a while. Any thoughts?

Jason Spangler
Owner of a dead Insipron 1100 and a Sony Vaio RZ22g that has the loudest fan mother in the world.


Most laptops should never be set on a soft fabric surface. Especially the 1100. It sucks air from below and blows it out the back. All you need in this case is to suck in a piece of lint or several pieces from the bed. or not suck air at all.
Normally the computer would have shut down by itself from over heating. You should have seen a text message to that effect. However if the over heat switch (software) failed then you could have a more serious problem. In any event if you got a message that the operating system should be reinstalled and you were able to do that, then you computer is still working.
What do you see now on the screen?

it says to check to see of any recently insalled hardware is working properly (there is no recently installed harware) and if the problem persists, to reinstall windows. When Karen tried that the thing would not do anything but buzz. I have tried to start it in safe mode and even that wont work. We are going to take it to comp USA to get it checked, but either way I was thinking about getting us a new laptop anyway. I'm just VERy cautious about getting a Dell at this point thought! I've been eyeing a 6000, but I think i better go for the extended warranry if I do! thanks for the feedback.


Want to thank all the people who shared their knowledge regarding Dell overheating issue. I have a Inspiron 5100 and it was running around 62C idle. Encouraged by this website, I took it apart myself. I did not remove the cooling assembly, instead unscrewed the fan only. I found a lot of dust accumulated between the fan and the colling fins. Cleaned it with compressed air, and now my laptop runs 52C idle. Excellent ! Thanks guys.


My laptop power supply's light didn't shine green anymore & my Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop still worked till the battery died. I got a new power supply that works but when I press the power button the laptop does not go on. The only light that flashes for only a while is the orange battery light. Please help me to fix this problem cause it can't be my motherboard.It's two years old

Hey All,

I wished I'd found this site a long time ago. Last week the PA-9 power cord on my Inspiron 1100 died, but a local computer repair shop sold me a used genuine Dell PA-9 they had sitting on their shelf. The unit charged the battery and everything was running great, until a few hours of operation later the screen went blank. I shut off the system and now it won't reboot, although the power light and fan will run when I hit the button. There's no indication the HD is cycling up.

What do you think? Did the different power supply fried the MOBO? Should the local shop fix it for free?

Gratefully, Rob

I have a Dell Inspiron 1000 with 256 MB RAM. I am wodering if I can increase the RAM to 512 MB. If yes, where can I get a cheap 256 or 512 RAM?


I've been having the by now famous - "overheating of the laptop, failure of heat sink".

So i take it to a technician and he opens the laptop and watches there for a while without any clue and then says - it might be more work.

Sensing that he does not anything, i ask him to reassemble and he does that. I then try to switch it on and..lo and behold ..the LCD won't turn ON...It's &*%$* up....

I absolutely have NO &^*%$in idea why the LCD screwed up...we did not drop it or remove any parts...we did not even reachout to that section at all....WHY WOULD THIS HAPPEN..

I heard couple of posts above with teh same probloem. Could anyone come up with a solution.

I hate to go to the technician fellow again.


To Sam:
Get or find a different "technician" Sounds like your first guy didn't know what he was doing. He probably succeeded in removing the cooling unit BUT in doing so he removed the CPU along with it without unlocking the cam lock. Then he put the cooling unit(with the CPU still stuck to it) back while the cam lock was still in the locked position. The CPU then sits on top of it's socket and doesn't make connection AND doing so usually bends a pin or two on the CPU. Read the following Dell documents. This is not hard to do if you follow the instructions. once you have the cooling unit out and the CPU un-attached from the Cooling unit pad, blow the dust out of the fan and fins using "AeroDuster" (canned pressurized air from Radio Shack or computer store). Also remember to clean the interface between the cooling pad and the top of the CPU and apply thermal grease befor reinstalling.

OMPORTANT: for the Inspiron 1100 remove EMI Shield only. and


Regarding the LCD not working.

My father in law bought an inspirion 1100 about two years ago, and about six months ago the LCD stopped working.

On a whim a few months ago, I opened it up to investigate, and actually took the LCD panel out of the lid of the laptop. I found that there is a power/signal? cord that runs up the back to about the middle, and then plugs in to a socket.

In this case the plug into the socket was just slightly disconnected. When I simply pushed the plug back in and powered up, the LCD was working again.

It ended up well for me... my father in law had bought a new laptop in the meanwhile, and when I fixed the inspirion 1100 he just gave it to me :)

Now I'm running Ubuntu linux on it, but am concerned about the heating issues, and I've found that the wireless ethernet connection is persistently dropping after 10 to 30 minutes (ifconfig reports the connection up, but I get routing errors). I don't know if the two are related, but I can't really use the laptop for a desktop replacement, until I can resolve them.


hey ive got a inspiron 5100 and i am having some problems with it ive already done the cleaning the heat sink and fan out which that went really good but there are two other problems that i am having..they are that my keyboard doesnt work well some keys do and some dont and also my cd-rw/dvd drive doesnt work either anyone have any suggestions without buying new parts..haha

hello. i have an inspiron 1100. when i removed the heatsink, my CPU came out along with it. i was pretty sure that the CPU was put back into place, and when i tried to turn my laptop on, it wont turn on at all. when the powercord is plugged in, the three lights on the bottom light up for a split second and then turn off. so basically, my battery wont charge and my computer wont turn on. i removed the heatsink many times and put the chip back on locking and unlocking, but i still can't get anything besides the lights turning on for a split second. what's the deal with my laptop?? thanks in advance for any help.

Well I was having problems with my laptop and stumbled across this guide...

I've never operated on a laptop before, but I've tinkered with larger computers before. I didn't have any thermal grease but thought I'd take a look in my computer anyway to see if there was any dust lying around (I'm using an Inspiron 1100 btw).

Well, things didn't start well. As I was removing the top panel, I accidentally pinged off the F4 key from my keyboard. Now my computer looks even more personalised!

The screws came out and out popped the keyboard. I unscrewed the four main screws and made sure my laptop still worked. It did. Excellent, I thought. Then I tried to pop the assembly off and... oh no! My CPU is stuck to it!

I cleaned everything out - there was very little dust and hair but I thought that I'd done all I could so I popped the screws back on and tried to start my computer again. Blank screen. Oh dear.

I bit of fiddling later and all was well again. I locked the CPU back into place, screwed everything back in and now my computer is running pretty much the same as it was before.

A terrifying experience, but very interesting as well. I definitely learnt a thing or two, and I definitely plan on reopening my laptop with some grease ready next time.

This is an excellent guide, and the fan utility has helped my computer keep cool. I'm actually anxious now to open it up again and have a look, my only experience with laptop maintenance was adding some memory about half a year ago. And remember folks - unlock the CPU before trying to pry the heatsink off!

To the poster above me (D), have you tried unlocking the CPU bay, reinserting the CPU and then locking it back into place? Worked for me. Give it a whirl.

I have 2 laptops a 5150 and a latitude. I had them both on my counter. The dc adapter connections for both are the same as for the voltage is the same as well. The amps are different the latitude is 4.62 and the 5150 is 6.7. I plugged in the wrong adapter by accident into the 5150 and turned it on. I got the message saying " the adapter you are using is too low to run system at optimal level. Switching to battery power. I plugged in the proper adapter and it did not recognize it. I tryed to solve the problem before the battery ran out, but did not. Its dead and won't charge. The system is brand new i only used it for emergencies. I know there is nothing wrong with the it. I believe it is a glitch in the dell bios. I need to to find a way to re-flash the bios or totally reset it somehow. Why does dell use that logic verifing middle pin? That's what causes these types of problems. Have you found anything regarding this issue. We are not the only ones who have encountered this. It is not a hardware problem, its a glitch . I wish i knew what kind of signal that center pin sends. I need to find a way to duplicate it or send a different signal to shock it out of that state. What have you learned from your experience?

I L O V E whoever made this website. I will contribute something as soon as I get my bank account from the red to the black. Anyways
My laptop, no boot after cleaning heatsink and fan yada yada. I was about to boot the laptop my selp to the trash can. I even took in apart all the way down to the mother board. Everything! I put it back together. Somehow found this site as a last hope before actually thrashing it. read about the unlocking and relocking the ZIF or ZIP thingy and it Worked ooowwwww yes. I am a wedding photographer and although I have all back ups of clients photos, I did not back up my business forms and my website folder. NOw I am back to life. Thanks so much!


Well, it happened to my Inspiron 1100! My unit won't charge or accept power from an adapter. When I plug the computer in, the lights on the front flash for a split second, and then, nothing. I've checked my two adapters' voltages, and they are working correctly.

I am lucky to have about 15 minutes of charge in my battery, which should get my important files off the hard drive!

Is there any way to charge the battery, besides through the motherboard? Has anyone come up with a separate charger? Anyone got an old Inspiron with a good motherboard

I appreciate any ideas!



My friend bought a motherboard to fix his Inspiron 5100 -- they sent him the wrong one and sent a MB replacement for an 1100.

He wants to get rid of it as they won't refund his money.

Contact me at bozz5384@yahoo.com if your interested.


I'd just like to thank the person who created this article.

I have a Dell Inspiron 5160. It had REALLY bad overheating problems. I called Dell (because it was still in warranty) and they told me to send it in.

After sending the laptop in to them, they told me that the problem is due to a liquid spill in the laptop. What the hell? I have had no liquid near the damn thing. They tried to tell me that the price to repair it would be 600 USD!!!

I told them to send me it back and i'd fix it myself. So i opened it up and took it to pieces. I then removed this lining of dust that was covering the heatsink. I put some Arctic Silver grease on the CPU too.


So i'd like to ask Dell, where is this 'liquid' problem now?

Bunch of fools.


I have an Inspiron 1100 I am working on and the following is happening. When the machine is plugged in via the AC Adapter the machine will turn on for about 10 seconds then shut off. If i turn the machine on using just battery power the machine will run untill the battery dies. The only thing is i get no display and the numlock key just keeps flashing. Any one have any ideas that had a problem similar to this one maybe?


I also am the owner of a Dell INspiron, I just replaced the keyboard, the palm rest/touch pad. I need to replace the AC Power Jack. OK This is where I am having the problems I have the old one removed from the motherbaord but now I dont know where it needs to be saudered. Does anyone have any help for me?
Thanx so much in advance.
Kind Regards, Leona

I also have an Inspiron 1100. On occasion the cooling fan will run constantly and the system will slow down. I found it easier to clean without disassembling the laptop. While it is running, you can clean out the fan with canned air. A large dust cloud will emerge.

First of all! THANK YOU for the awesome site!....You guys've saved the skin on my legs. I do have another problem though and I hope someone can help me. I have a Inspiron 5100 with 30GB. I was in the process of cleaning out some programs i don't use and no matter how much i take off i always show as having 15GB left. Does Windows XP take that much space? Do i Have it installed twice? If so how do I remove one? The only other significant program i have on there is Adobe Photoshop 7.0. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks again for the help.

If you remove the cover over the heatsink then remove the three screws to remove the heatsink fan so that you can clean that lets the air leave the rear of the case. I have never needeed to remove the whole heatsink. You can use http://rsdsoft.com/hdd-thermometer/index.php to keep track of your temperatures. 140F is the critical for this laptop. clean when you start getting close to this. Its that simple had mine 2 years and its still fine just doin that.

I have inspiron 1100 and planning to upgrade from 256(2X128) RAM memory to one 512 to replace one 128 from current. But the 512 RAM is a SODIMM memory. I look at my current memory is DDR type.
Can anyone tell me whether I can replace this 512 SODIMM RAM?

A chance surfing of the web landed me at this site and what a differnece it has made to my Inspiron 5100 it is so quiet now!! It is spookily quiet.
Worth emphasing the unlocking off the zif socket before you lift the processor and fan unit out and remember to lock it back when you are done. Take your time cleaning around the fins you wouldn't believe how much dust and dirt gets in there.

Thanks again

Coventry UK

Further to my earlier post I have now also updated the BIOS to version A32. This was painless and was done in two steps from the original version A06 to version A22 then to version A32. Now there are times when the fan goes off all together thanks to the revisions in the BIOS - pure magic!

Coventry UK

Hi Dan & Sherree...
Thanks for this blog entry with the pictures...
It helped me to resolve my laptop's overheating problem. make is Dell Inspiron 5100.
It is 2 years old, i neither cleaned my fan assembly nor applied thermal grease/heat sink component.
With the instructions in your blog, i got the thermal grease/heat sink component and i could open the laptop myself and fix it :)
Bangalore, India.

Thanks for the info. My CPU temp finally follows the CPU load rather than just hanging out in the high 60s C. Right now I idle at around 40 C.

To chan: I upgraded my ram recently from 512 mb to 1 gig. I just used a couple of 512 mb sticks of Corsair ValueSelect (200-pin PC2100 SO-DIMM).

(My household has two 1100s -- one P4 and one Celeron -- and I did the following on both tonight:)

Separating the heatsink from the CPU was no big deal. I used a little flathead screwdriver to try to scrape at the old, hardened compound on there, but I eventually just pulled apart the CPU and heatsink with my fingers. With the CPU off the heatsink, I stabilized the fan with the aforementioned screwdriver and blew duster into the vents in the heatsink. Huge clumps of dust were dislodged this way from the heatsinks of both 1100s. I cleaned the heatsink and CPU's metal heat spreader with 91% isopropyl alcohol and a disposable wipe for polishing jewelry. After I got off all the old gunk from both surfaces, I applied Artic Silver 5. There are instructions for its application at the Arctic Silver site.

This seems to have done the trick in fixing my heat problems. Thanks again.

i've strange problem with my dell 1100,look like its dead,

when i press the power button the 3 leds blinks, no boot screen and no battery charge, what should i do? it happend after i cleaned my fan,
where is that sensor ,how can i make it work again?
is it dead?

Hey People
I have had this 1100 for over a year and i always ran windows xp and i was always runninghot not over hot but real hot over a week ago i installed suse 10 linux in it and since then i have been running real cool i would have to say about 1/2 the temp of running xp

I have this exact same problem.

By Leona , written on April 3, 2006 at 10:34 PM.

I also am the owner of a Dell INspiron, I just replaced the keyboard, the palm rest/touch pad. I need to replace the AC Power Jack. OK This is where I am having the problems I have the old one removed from the motherbaord but now I dont know where it needs to be saudered. Does anyone have any help for me?
Thanx so much in advance.
Kind Regards, Leona

Was looking for a solution to my overheating problem for my Dell Inspiron 1100, and God smiled on me I found this page. Thank you Dan and Sherre for this page, what a great service you are giving all of us who need it. After dismantling and cleaning the fan. My computer wouldn't boot. So, back I came and A.K. your a genius, who would have thought something so small. Tried the lock and unlock screw step and it fixed me. I have downloaded the fan program, if it still gives me problem I'll be going to get the thermal grease next. Thank you, Thank you.


My laptop was overheating and i took it apart to look at it my usb ports stop working need some help if they are replace abl.

I am grateful that your web page was here. I was also having trouble with my Inspiron 1100 overheating. It has not shut down lately, but has done so in the past.

I have a different problem that I could use help with. Somehow a screw got stuck in the wireless network card slot and three pins are now bent. I would like to find a way of removing and repairing or replacing this part and do not know for certain how to do this.

I have a ?.
I have an inspiron 1000 and i ran teh program to control the faqns but it won't deterct any of them or the cpu temp. Does this mean my fans aaren't working? Because before i found your website i assumed the fans weren't working becuase my laptop was way to quiet and it kept shutting itself off on me everytime i bumped it after a while. Do you think cleaning the fans would help or may it be a connection problem witht he fans?

I should have known don't try to fix it if it isn't broke. I recently took apart my computer to clean the fan as above stated. Didn't thermal grease it at the time. But, I did want to to that so I got the thermal grease and did that. When I reseated my CPU, the pins got bent. So, I tried gently to straighten them, to no avail they broke. Now I have a new CPU and upon putting that in. Still no video. The computer does boot but no video. Anyone have ideas as to if my ZIF socket is gone or what else could be wrong? I greatly appreciate any feedback, as I am completley lost.

Thanks, Rhonda

Most probably you did not unlock the zif socket cam screw. See http://docs.us.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins5100/sm/cpu.htm#1084976 That shows this.
Unlock the zif socket. plug in the cpu. Lock the zif socket. attach fan assembly. The reason you are not getting video is that you cpu is not fully seated in the zif socket.

Thanks so much Fred for the info, I tried that, and still no video. But I did notice that the Zif socket screw is hard to turn to the lock postion. I am wondering if I didn't damage it the first tie when I bent my CPU pins. I am also 100% sure that the CPU is seated correctly.

Still working on it.

Thanks, Rhonda

Rhonda (or anyone else),

I still have a newly refurbished Dell Inspiron 1100 Motherboard for sale. I posted a while back that my business partner had needed one for his 5100, and got sent the wrong one. He noticed it upon trying to install it, contacted the company, but to no avail so he bought the right board for his 5100.

This board is UNUSED since the re-furb, and should be in perfect working condition. $200 takes it (shipped in the US). He had $275 + shipping into it, so its a good deal.

If anyone needs it, please email me at bozz5384@yahoo.com

I am having an overheating problem with my Dell Inspiron 5150 and Dell has "fixed" the problem by making my 3.06GHz computer a 1.56GHz computer. I have been arguing with Dell about this problem for 2.5 yrs. and they still have not satisfied my request. I am trying to get a class action lawsuit started and would appreciate an email from anyone that has seen simlar overheating problems. Someone must stand up for the consumer and make Dell pay for their lies and poor customer service!!!

Sorry, I didn't realize the email address was not posted on the comments. Please respond to DellFraud@gmail.com if you have had similar problems.

What a wonderful, informational site! Our Inspiron was having heat related issues as well. I was prepared to follow the steps so many others have done here, but first thought to take the vacuum cleaner to the air inlet and exits. Luckily for us, this has solved our problems. The laptop runs much cooler, the fan runs less (e.g. quieter) and no more auto protection shutdowns! I would suggest anyone try their vacuum first!


I finally got around to clearing out the innards of my 5100, which looks identical to your 1100. I found a large dust bunny the size of the cat in the heatsink assembly.

I had an anxious moment when I managed to pull the processor out with the heatsink, but I managed to reseat the whole caboodle in the right place. After screwing everything back together my peak temperature during flat out has fallen 13C (about 22F if my arithmetic serves me right): With FanGUI cranking along I can probably play games with it on my lap and not risk my naughty bits catching fire.

Thanks for posting the pictures, they were a great help. I doubt I'd have had the courage to pull my computer to bits without seeing them first.



After reading all this and installing the fan utility, I find that just applying my hosehold vacuum to the fan ports lowered the CPU temp of my 1100 about 10 degrees, without the need for surgery. (I avoid surgery whenever possible and so do my computers!) It's still a little warmer than some report here (60's), probably still a little dusty in there, but my CPU-hogging surface-modelling program no longer shuts down unexpectedly, and I no longer lose work.

So, many thanks for this very helpful website!

Thanks Chris Franklin for the tip! I also have a Inspicrap 1100 that over heats pass 70 degrees. After 2 years of use it started crash due to the heat. Anyways, I used my vacuum out the 3 fan (back, side, and bottom) ports and it running on avg 60 degrees. Its sill crappy but alot better.

Dan, You have to take the fan apart from the CPU and clean. You should run between 40 and 45 deg C

inspiron 1100 here....
will not boot, but will not even charge, LEDs do not come on, bought 3 diff power cords, still doesnt boot.

I saw above this has happened to others but no solution-except maybe mobo, I am NOT putting $300 or so bucks into a laptop thats worth $300.

Dell is a joke, always has been

My friend has an Inspiron 1100 and it doesn't boot up. The light flashes then dies. I wonder, does anyone know how I can remove the BIOS battery? I think it's soldered on. I bet it should reset everything; It did with my laptop.

Hi guys. Well, after carefully reading all of the threads posted here, I have decided to take the leap and do the thermal gease replacement and air spray dust cleaner myself. I went to Officemax today and bought 2 cans of compressed air and I ordered the Artic Silver 5 product online today as well. I'm going to follow those directions that are posted on the Artic Silver website, ( articsilver.com ) to the "T" on how to place that type of thermal grease on. I did not find a local seller of Artic Silver 5, but fortunatly, the Artic Silver website has a state to state listing so you can order it from whatever shop is closest to you. The price of the container of Artic Silver 5 is $6.50 and about $2.00 for priority shipping. I should have it in the mail in a few days.
Also, I will be doing a follow up to let you all know how it went for me when I start the repair as soon as I get the Artic Silver 5 in. It'll be nice to play my games such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Diablo 2,.. etc again, as well as internet and other things as well without the slow downs, shut downs and me feeling down about the laptop I bought new from Dell in March of 2004.

I don't know if Artic Silver is absolutely necessary, but what the heck! I used Radio Shak generic thermal grease with OK results. Both HDD and CPU run 40 degrees C @ low fan speed and 6-10% CPU load. At a high load the temp of the CPU shoos up to 55 then the high fan kicks in and knocks it back down to 45 degrees or so. (using Diefer version 2.2 fan control on "Normal" set.)
Good luck - keep us posted.

PAST POST ON June. 7th, 2006:

Hi guys. Well, after carefully reading all of the threads posted here, I have decided to take the leap and do the thermal gease replacement and air spray dust cleaner myself. I went to Officemax today and bought 2 cans of compressed air and I ordered the Artic Silver 5 product online today as well. I’m going to follow those directions that are posted on the Artic Silver website, ( articsilver.com ) to the “T” on how to place that type of thermal grease on. I did not find a local seller of Artic Silver 5, but fortunatly, the Artic Silver website has a state to state listing so you can order it from whatever shop is closest to you. The price of the container of Artic Silver 5 is $6.50 and about $2.00 for priority shipping. I should have it in the mail in a few days.
Also, I will be doing a follow up to let you all know how it went for me when I start the repair as soon as I get the Artic Silver 5 in. It’ll be nice to play my games such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Diablo 2,.. etc again, as well as internet and other things as well without the slow downs, shut downs and me feeling down about the laptop I bought new from Dell in March of 2004.

----- UPDATE -------- UPDATE ------- UPDATE------

Hello ladies and guys!

Alright, well, I haven't recieved the Artic Silver 5 in the mail yet, but, I decided to open up the hood of my 1100 anyway. Well, I unscrewed the 4 screws and then I unscrewed the 3 screws holding the fan itself in, and I pulled both the fan and the thermal cooling unit out of the 1100... and of course the cpu was stuck to it, even though I turned that smaller lock screw to unlock it.
Then I took the fan out of the unit. The fan had a fairly nice amount of dust on it, so, I got the compressed air and I blew all the dust off, both front and back as well, then I used a Q-tip to wipe anything left on it. Now, this is the part that freaked me out "COMPLETELY". Ok, so as I was looking inside the thermal housing unit where I took the fan out...to my complete shock and suprise... the copper slots inside at the end were 99% clogged up with a thick "WALL" of dust! No wonder my 1100 was blazing hot on the bottom and top, no wonder I could no longer play DVD's in their entirety or any games... this was why the fan was almost always on full blast and bogging down to almost a stand still and video on the screen. So, once again, I got my trusty can of compressed air and I blew all the dust out and then I cleaned what little was left on it with a Q-tip.
The result? Well, now with all the thermal parts and fan vent on the bottom of the 1100 completely free of dust... I turned on my 1100 and the first thing I did was load up Diablo 2. Wow! the game is lightning fast with no slow downs, PERFECT! No heat blazing from the bottom or top of the 1100 and also the fan rarely goes on full blast, I remember that whenever I went on the internet, the fan would be on high most of the time... now, it just comes on every now and then, and when it does, it doesn't take long at all before it turns off. Also, I noticed that the heat now directly comes out from the back of the laptop where the copper fins are.
I am so happy that I could dance a jig right now! I was making plans to buy a new laptop and giving this to my little brother for college... but, now, this 1100 has new life in her and she is like a brand new Dell Inspiron 1100! When I get the Artic Silver 5 in the mail, I will still put it on though... I know it'll run even cooler than what is is now.

Thanks for creating this site you 2!

I wish all you fellow 1100 owners the best with yours! I am a happy fellow.

I guess you could leave the fan/cooling assembly stuck to the CPU. Seems to be a good bond for thermal conductivity. Except that you don't know how complete it is - say 50% of the mating surfaces are bonded or? My suggestion would be to run the Diefer utility and monitor the temps. Do the thermal grease later when you need to clean the dust again.

BTW Google Desktop, if you use it, also has a HDD and CPU temp monitoring plug in.

Thanks for the advice Fred. Yeah, I'll still lay on the Artic 5 greae the next time I open my 1100 up... I'll do it in about a month. But as it stands, I had downloaded the temp mod before and I recall it at about 71C. I'll download that program again as I am certain that my 1100 is right now only doing about 45C

thanks for the website. we do scouts too.

brian in california

I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 (2.4GHz) that I've had for two and a half years. Recently it started shutting down on its own. Found this site and followed the advice to remove fan and heat sink. I used compressed air to reverse blow out the cooling vents. I (very gently) pried the chip from the heat sink and cleaned the old, dried thermal grease from both the chip and the heat sink using a Q-tip and rubbung alcohol and reapplied fresh grease making sure to have good coverage on both the heat sink and the chip. I reassembled the machine and the difference is AMAZING!! The fan is now barely audible and there have been absolutely NO PROBLEMS with overheating. Bought the canned air and thermal grease at Radio Shack for $9.61. Best money I've ever spent.

Recently, my laptop a Dell Inspiron 2200 dropped out of my hands onto the floor. It was in the powered on state when that event happened. After that event the power LED was off. On pressing the power button (had to press it a few times), I got a screen that said something to the effect "some device attached to the modular system tray is loose/not connected properly". That screen let me choose to ignore the error and proceed further, which I did. Subsequently, it booted, although extremely slowly. I then shutdown and powered on again. This time, the said error screen was not presented. It booted, but again extremely slowly. And has been that way since that event. It used to boot in about one or two minutes before the event. After the event, it takes about 6 to 7 minutes to boot. Once it boots up, the slowness is gone. I am noticing also that the fan is going on much more frequently than before. Almost every click of the mouse is causing the fan to go on. Not sure if the fan aspect was always that way and that now I hear the fan sound only because something about the fan might have broken.

I thought of getting some opinions before I open the laptop to take a look inside. Any ideas about how to approach both the boot-time slowness and the fan going on so frequently? Any help will be highly appreciated.

Very informative web page this one.


Shaken Baby Syndrome!

(Sorry I couldn't resist. Get thee to a backup hard drive the next time it boots and backup everything.)

Do you mean that the root cause of the slowness and the fan going on frequently is most likely with the hard drive? Or were you just reminding me to backup everything before I ventured into potentially destructive things associated with opening up the laptop?
Either way, thanks for he reminder.

Neville -
Slowness of boot probably has to do with the hard drive. In any event, if you dropped the thing you should back it up real real soon. See Best Buy, you can get a 160 gig usb drive for under $100 (watch the sales) Pocket hard drives (size of your wallet) are more expensive than the bigger ones.
You might want to download the 18KGUI from Diefer to watch your fan speed and temps. http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/
There is also a way, if I remember, to have the CPU run very slow - a setting in the operating system. But you would have had to deliberately done this. Other than that you may have shaken loose some plug-in component such as NIC, Blue Tooth (if you have it) etc.
Bottom line. Do not open till you have backed up everything.

Just wanted to say thanks.
Same problems with overheating as everyone else.

Followed the steps as well as installing the Temp monitoring software.

Once I removed the "Filter" from the heat sink fins everything went smooth as silk.

Again, thanks

This site is great, but I have problem after the cleaning fan. The system does not boot up. Nothing displays on screen and I can't hear HD turning. What did I do wrong?? Any info is appreciated.

To E. Park: Go back and read the parts about bending pins on the CPU and the locking device etc. Tkae your time. Good luck

It's a very good website. I have cleaned my Insprion1100. It works good now,but I have met a very strange problem.When I play movies use MPlayer, the CPU 's load will be up to 100% and then the CPU's temperature will up to 75C . I doubt maybe it is the Graphic Driver's bug.Does somebody else met it? Any info is appreciated.

Jared, just a shot in the dark, but the first thing I would think to check is that the BIOS is up to date. The latest version is A32.

Chris Thanks for you advice.Because I have heard some words about A32 BIOS'profile is more noisy than before version . So I back to A31.
Last night I changed my Graphic Driver to a lower verison v3889 then the high cpu usage problem have disappeared.
And I cleaned the thermal cooling unit again .Now the temperature is 40--45C in normal condition,and when the cpu is on 100% loading the temperature is only 62C . It's strangeness!

since I am a novice I need exact printable directions and pictures or diagrams before I attempt to get into my Inspiron 5100 laptop and clean the fan, and/or remove the cpu and replace it with new grease. etc.
Do you someting I can download and follow the pictures and directions exactly so I don't mess up my machine anymore than it is?

Thanks for the helpful sites.
What is the latest bios update I am suppose to use on the Dell 5100 laptop? Somewhere you mention its on a CD where do I get or download this? Is it necessary to flash update your bios?
If after I get or download the bios update and burn to a cd what do I do next providing the laptop is functional?

Conrad: I encourage you to go to the Dell.com web site and learn for yourself about the latest and greatest bios and how to flash it. In my opinion I see no need to update your bios if you are having no identifiable problems caused by an outdated bios.

I guess I am ready to do something.
All I can tell you is when I turn the machine on only the orange light comes on..this is without the battery pack installed.
With the uncharged battery installed (? if it has any charge) the orange light comes on and for just an instant, a green one comes on and goes off just as fast.
While waiting for a reply I have battery reinstalled and the computer on hoping it will charge up.
So, what do I do now?

I have had my Inspiron 5150 for 2 1/2 years and it started to run a little hot so I searched the web and found several articles regarding this issue. I first blew out the vents and that helped greatly. I then found that the fan in the Inspiron 5160 has a larger fan and heat pipes as well as being a physically larger unit. I picked one up on EBay for $7.06 delivered and installed it in my 5150. Since the 5160 heatsink unit is bigger I had to remove my modem and jack and trim a small piece of plastic from one of the modem jack supports. If you need your modem this would not be appropriate for you. I have DSL so I went ahead with the swap. Finally I used Artic Silver 5 thermal compound on the heatsink. My laptop now runs cool as a cucumber. Idle temp is 29c and max temp is 60c after a vigorous game of Doom 3. I am running bios A25 and the fan is always on low and when the temp gets to 59 the fan speed goes to medium.

What is a Dell Inspiron 5100 used worth in $?
Anyone out there willing to fix my machine if I pay postage both ways and a little $ for the help?

Good news folks,
computer boots when charged BUT MOUSE PAD doesn't work. I understand that a USB mouse would work... is that right?
Also the computer comes up with a split screen
and my son "george" doesn't remember his password so how do I get rid of this screen and go straight into windows?
Getting Happier,

Thanks for the great site,
I purchased a 5100 several months ago, replaced the thermal grease and cleaned the heatsink--and it has worked GREAT (until last night).

Suddenly, the notebook won't power up. No fan, no harddrive. The green and the amber light are on, but I can't get anything else. I've tried reseating the processor and the ram, but to no avail. Anyone got any ideas?

I have an Inspiron 5100, and these instructions worked borderline perfectly - i'd definitely recommend that people double check the instructions on what happens when the CPU comes out as that happened to me, and if you bend any of those pins - you're screwed.

enormous thanks for the information on this site. currently my cpu is running a full 10-15 degrees cooler without the cooling tray than it was on it.

i find that if u bend some of those pins you have a 50-50 chance of bending them back if ur carefull because i accidently bent one pin and i got it back and it never caused any problems with my computer running good and i find that the arctic silver 5 cpu puddy works best on laptops...well it did on my inspiron 5100 anyway.....EVERYONE KEEP THAT IN MIND......Jordan

Conrad i have a dell inspiron that im thinking about getting rid of for parts...i dont know what its worth right now because it has a bad keyboard and cd drive but everything else is good on it you can use it perfectly with an external usb keyboard thats what i do i just dont have any money to fix it...so if your interested let me know.....e-mail me at Jordan_GTbiker2002@msn.com

Thanks for this site!! I was having heating probs with my 1100 also, never shut down but don't use it for more that 20-25 mins or you'll burn your legs or whatever it sat on!! I downloaded that fan control and at idle it was 60-68C!!! and at full load about 99-130!!!! I was a little scared at first to try to pull it apart but hey why not! There was enough dust to make a good handfull!!The only problem i had was getting the chip if the heatsink. Other than that ,everything went well. No she idles at 20-26C and at full load about 60C max!!! No i have to come up with a new name for it besides kneeburner!! Many thanks again!!

One more post,
If all else fails and I format my drive, does anyone have the list of all the drivers I need to reinstall? Its the Dell Inspiron 5100.If you have a download site and exact list that would help immensley.

Conrad, if the problem is that the notebook is overheating, formatting and reinstalling will fix nothing. If you're leery of taking things apart to clean, first try the temperature monitoring software (link near the top of the page) to see if that really is the problem.

After going through all this, I think that trying to reinstall a CPU still stuck to the heat sink is a VERY bad idea.

First because of the likelihood of bent pins -- I was very careful and still had one -- successfully straightened, thanks be. With the heat sink off and the socket "open", the CPU just drops into place; there's little chance of bending a pin.

And second because new Arctic Silver with no further removal of dust seems to have dropped the CPU temp on my 1100 about 20 degrees C at max load. I have a surface-modelling program that runs the CPU at a constant 100%. Previously it would stabilize at 77C; with new grease it stops at 59C, with the fan whispering at 3700RPM instead of roaring at 6000. If I force the fan speed it drops to 55C. I think now that the new grease made more difference than the cleaning, and it was dead easy to do, using the excellent instructions at Arctic Silver's website. Apparently the stuff degrades over time.

In reply to Matt,
This procedure was performed on a Dell Inspiron 1100 and no instructions were given for a 5100. You did that on your own. Just remember that this was based off of a different machine and that Dells are mass-manufactured POS's.

what about the 1150? My daughter has had an 1150 inspiron for about two years and for the past year or so it has had problems with high temps as well. Also, the power adapter just started to have problems. Looking at Dell's web page there are many others out there with this same problem and Dell won't fix it. I'll call them tomorrow and ask but I won't expect much. I'll probably have to buy a new computer and try to get this one fixed?

Any thoughts?

If I chose to reformat my Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop would the disks from a 1100 laptop work? That is install Windows XP and especially all the drivers?
Conrad K.

Hello all. I'm so glad I found this page. Let me describe to you some of the problems I've had with my Dell Inspiron 5100:

I installed 2 x 512mb of ram in the spring. Two weeks ago, I started having problems with my electrical adaptor. Soon, the adaptor would only function if seated a certain way. Finally, it didn't provide electricity at all. I ordered a new one, in the mean while I opened it up, and discovered that the feed line to the computer had a burned out short in it.

Fast forward to the day I recieved my new electrical adaptor. I happily plugged it in. My computer started...the screen never turned on...and the laptop suddenly stopped working. I was flabbergasted (love that word). At one point, I got the computer to boot correctly. However, upon leaning on the laptop (with my wrists) to type, the laptop suddenly went off, completely. Again, I was confused.

So, I set out to solve my problem with the traditional scientific method that our highschoolers learn about. Switching out parts, holding the laptop at different angles. Well, I'll cut it short, after 2.5 hours of trying this, I tracked the problem down to my RAM modules under my laptop. With more testing, I determined that the computer would only boot if the "B" module had something supporting the RAM stick, aka, my laptop was saved by a napkin. So what was going on? Was something shorting out? I didn't know, and I didn't care, so I kept on using it. Fastforward to yesterday. The laptop started to spontaneously and suddenly shut off again. I was, at this point, getting a little annoyed. More tissue, more supporting of the RAM in slot B. Worked sometimes, other times it did not. Today? Today it stopped working all together. My laptop will no longer boot correctly if any RAM is in slot B. That means my 1 gig investment is currently down the hole, and I need to rely on the 512mb in slot A. Not so bad, but still confusing:

If the slot was simply malfunctioning, why would the computer not work? It almost reminded me of something shorting out. The RAM is certainly not bad, I can switch either out in slot A, and the computer will have 512mb of RAM. Do you think the slot itself is shot for good? It is, of course, soldered to the motherboard. Think I'm stuck with 512 until I do some major repair, or is there some kind of software program that might help?

Help would be appreciated.

The only 2 problems I have now with my Dell 5100 laptop (due to someone spilling something on it)
are the {} [] | \ : ; " ' . ? / are not working. Has anyone taken the keyboard out and cleaned the keys? Using what and how did you remove it?
#2 The mouse pad due to same spill is dead? How do you remove and clean and with what?
Does anyone known where to buy 5100 parts new or used that is reliable?
The fan and cpu chip are clean and fine!
Any help would be most appreciated.

This posting is very useful. I had heatsink problems with my Inspiron 5100 and couldn't able to fix it for almost 2 weeks, after reading this post..i could fix it in few hours.Awesome.
I want to thank specially to A.K (posting By A.K. , written on June 20, 2005 at 1:15 PM)

You can find almost any part for your computer on EBay. Just search on Inspiron 5150. You can pick up a keyboard and the complete lower end plastic assembly for around $10. I'm not sure what was spilled on the ketboard but I would try dunking it in some warm water. Let it dry out before trying it. You have nothing to lose. A new keyboard on EBay is around $20. Good luck.

Thanks, this website help a alot. My girlfriend's Dell Dimension 1100 was overheating and randomly shutting down when it is ideling. She had this laptop for about 3 years. It was reaching 75° just sitting there with full fan on. At first I took it it apart and it wasn't dusty. Then I went and brought some thermo grease from CompUSA ($3.99) and reapplied the new thermo grease and turn it back on and it was still overheating to 75°. I was like @E@#$. I figure it would at least bring it down couple degrees. I went back to this forum reread couple posting and realize the clugged dust is between the fan and heatsink. So I took the heatsink out again and also took the fan off (3 screws) and looking inside where the fan is blowing towards the heatsink and saw the "Evil Dust Bunny" that was causing all this problem. I took some Q-tip and remove all the dusk and put everything back in place. Now her laptop idle at 40° and goes to 55° if playing a movie.

The key to remove the fan off the heatsink cause overtime dust was collecting on heatsink and it build a nice little wall reducing airflow to the heatsink. Thanks everyone!

My inspiron 1100 has some problems that I think you can help me with. A couple of days ago my daughter turned the laptop on and the screen appeared stuck. It appeared as a window on the sreeen and it was vibrating. (you couldn't see it clearly and what you could see was the dell opening screen that identifies the laptop and the Bios and allows you to F2 or F12. This screen wasn't always there, mostly the screen was black. When the screen was on the F2 and F12 keys didn't work. I have taken the laptop apart at least 6 times. Using your excellent website I was able to replace the thermo compound. Each time I went further. At first I was afraid to dislodge the heatsink from the CPU but in the end I have done it all including reseating the memory. My fan runs much cooler now and I definately had a heat problem. My daughter tells me she would put a pillow on her legs to keep her from burning. I have ensured that the cpu is seated correctly. Do you think there is more damage than just the overheating problem. This little window on my screen was a problem in the beginning and continues to be. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

many thanks for this page. some really useful bits of advice here...
my experience with the 1150 is the common problem. cpu heats up to about 78C in about 20 minutes even if you are not doing anything, the computer crashes and then turns off!! took it apart hoping to find some huge clump of dust or something caught in the vent but no joy. gave it a clean and then tried again. absolutely no improvement at all. it seems the fan on the base does not spin that fast at all; i mean, you cant feel that much air coming out. how the %^&% Dell could design something like this is beyond me.

I urge those with problems to check out a handy little piece of software called CPUidle. It drops the temp by disabling the processor when it is not needed by the system. it has given me enough time to type this message but is still definitely a workaround rather than a solution.

also do laptop cooling pads do anything to alleviate this problem?

i hate dell. never having anything to to do with them again.

thanks everyone for all the advice...


I had the same problem as somebody on this page, where the lead in the laptop melted away.. Stupid Dells...

Does anyone know why my B module in my Inspiron 1100 has suddenly stopped working? Like the guy a few posts above, the 2 RAM sticks themselves, both 256MB sticks, work in slot A when you swap them around, but slot B fails to recognise that there is any RAM in there. It worked up until a few days ago, where I could fix it by taking them out and reseating them, but now the second slot just doesn't pick anything up at all. Help! :(

I have two Inspiron 1100's at the house. My sons was having the overheating problem and shutting down. I used this websites instructions to take it apart. I did not apply new grease as the cpu was FIRMLY attached to the heatsink and after 20 min of trying to remove it I threw in the towel. What i did do is remove the fan from the heatsink and low and behold there was the "dust bear" sorry cant call that monster a bunny. Put it back together careful not to bend any pins and twisted my little ZIF screw and low and behold after running that bad boy for 1 hr my temp hasnt broken 40c. So after this bit of knowledge, rather than going through all the trouble of tearing apart the other 1100 (that also runs hot but has not had thermal shut down yet) all i did was take the ol aircompressor to it and backwards blew the dust out. (from back of comp) and watched the puff of dust smoke billow out this one also now runs at a cool 44c. Its been running for 48 hours and prior to operation it was cooking at 68c.

Thanks to Dan and Sherri and thanks to all who had posted before me.

My 1150 had a intermittant problem freezing up on starting or while working. I suspect that one of the connections under the CPU socket had become loose due to overheating - I found a large amount of dust in the fan assembly. Machine is 18 months old and this was it's second mother board (previous one replaced under warranty due to infamous power plug problem).
Rang Dell and quoted New Zealand's consumer guarantees law which states that equipment must remain serviceable for a "reasonable time" (which I assert is longer than 18 months for a laptop.
Dell fixed (that is replaced the mother board again) at their own cost - in two days.
I'm pleased with the service but not pleased with the laptop's design.


I have a Dell inspiron 1100 which was having overheating problems despite cleaning it out and putting some artic silver on the freshly cleaned CPU and heat sink.

I overlooked cleaning this part thinking that there was a filter inside the fan to the side. There is no such beast. The dust was so thick it looked like a perfectly formed filter.

It was the third time cleaning it that I noticed.

The intake I'm talking about is NOT the one with the round hole on the bottom. It's the one with the COPPER heatsink that you can see from the back of the machine (where the power plug port connects to the motherboard). The buildup is well hidden on the inside of the fan housing away from the fan in the rectangular space tward the back of the machine(again tward the power plug port)

Also make sure you remove the battery as it is very easy to short out the motherboard with a dropped screw.

I am thankful for this site as it helped me greatly to have an actual picture to go off of while taking this beast apart.

Dude.. I will never buy a Dell again. I'm just glad I could fix this one before it exploded from the heat.


You are not alone, the 5150 has many problems. Heres some info:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/725889524

I really benefited of this page, I opened my Dell inspiron the same way you explained it here.
I'm really thankful my laptop is far better now, I wanted to donate to help such personal website to survive, but it was paypal, and I'm located out of the US and I have no paypal.

I'm the technical leader for souq.com, online auctions site in the gulf

Best Regards,

Hello I'm quite new to all this and will try to attempt to clean out my DELL INSPIRON 1150's heatsink and fan. I've been reading the posts about updating the BIOS. I have no idea how to do this. Could someone please post step-by-step instructions on how to do this? Would greatly appreicate it. Thanks very much!

I own a Dell inspiron 2500 laptop, but have been having problems with the LCD screen, the computer works fine, but the screen is not lighting up at all. Is this something I can try and fix myself or is it a more complicated issue to try and fix? Your input will be greatly appreciated. thanks.

I have a problem with my dell inspiron 5100, the computer shutdown one day and no turn on again, the hard drive and battery is dead . When I connect the power supply the computer show the power light on and the hard drive on and stay like that and nothing works. I dissambling the computer and take off all drivers and put a new battery pack but the computer do the same. Please help me with this.

Well I just took my 1150 apart and there was GUNK all over the plate and fan. Looks like someone spilled something into the fan vent. Anyways, cleaned it up, hope it works okay. Great info here, I was actually looking for how to remove memory and found this site..1150's are junk for sure!!!

Oooppsss...forgot to mention that there was a small plastic like band around the copper part and it was toast. broken in several places and so I just took it off and wondered if this matters? As I said it was pretty much broken off and just laying there anyways..


I know that Inspiron Notebooks are known for their heating problems. I've had my 1150 for about 2 years now and I've had it shut down on me many times due to overheating. Recently it's been doing this more often so I decided to cean the insides and do a Thermal Compound fix. I read all the posts on this site, which was very informative and certainy helped me learn so much about disassembling parts, cleaning the cooling fan, and cleaning the heatsink in preparing its surface for new Thermal Compound I bought at Radioshack for $1.99. Did all this without any hassles and I was quite surprised at how easy it was granted that I am not a technician and know very little about fixing laptops, until I read all the info in the forum.

My notebook took a while to power up:

* I plugged in the power supply cord and saw that the BATTERY LIGHT was on, and not flashing. I guess this meant that it was charging up?

* I pressed the power button again, and decided to hold it down for about 10 seconds. During this time, the battery and hard drive lights would blink. No sounds, just blinking. Sometimes the power light blinks too. No boot. Disconnected the battery, blew some air into the battery console to get some dust out just in case, and put it back in.

* Tried again for the 3rd time and this time it booted up!I heard the fan running smoother and more quiet than usual. I guess the cleaning did a bit of work to make the fan run more efficiently. So everything seemed to be working fine, so I connected to the internet and was looking for a BIOS UPDATE to download. My notebook has already been running for a goot 5-8 minutes, then when I finally clicked on the download update link, my notebook just shut off!

* Tired to boot up again but all I see are flashing POWER, HARD DRIVE, and BATTERY lights. No sounds, just flashing lights. Tried to power up with just the battery and without the power cable, nothing. Tried to connect the power cable and power up holding down the power button for 10 secs, nothing. I'm sure it would power up a few minutes later, but was afraid that it would just die again.

Phoned my friend and he said the BATTERY COULD BE DEAD. He said that the battery needs to be replaced after 300 charges. I've had this one for 2 years so I guess I've had this many charges by now. Does anyone know if this could be the problem? When I had the notebook on for a few minutes the battery was charging and was 87%. My friend said that even though it may seem the batter is running and charging, it will just die again because it needs to be replaced with a new one. IS THIS TRUE? I don't really trust most service people out there who charge so much money, and they scam you telling you that you need a new motherboard and all that nonesense. Any ideas on what the problem could be? Would greatly appreciate any input on this problem.

--Skye Nicolas

Hello all!

I read this thread briefly and thought I'd chip in my 2 cents. Hope it helps.

Here's some tips for you when you're cleaning the old thermal grease from your CPU and heatsink contact surface(s).

***CAVEAT*** Be sure you use the manufacturer's recommended thermal compound and method of cleaning/application! This particular method is a general guide that's applicable for most compounds but be diligent in getting the right stuff and applying it correctly. There are several types of compounds available out there.

1. It's imperative that the surfaces are stripped of the old grease completely. Do NOT use alcohol or any other petroleum product to clean the surfaces of the CPU and heatsink. Petroleum products don't clean the surfaces properly and/or they leave an oily film that will diminish both the capabilities and the life of the thermal compound.

2.Use a quality LINT-FREE cloth to clean the surfaces. Alternatively, a quality coffee filter will do the trick. The tiniest trace of fibers left behind on the metal surfaces will also cause you to repeat this process sooner than necessary.

I recommend you go down to your local auto-parts store and pick up a can of "Goof-Off". It's main cleaning agents are Toluene and Xylene. When these chemicals evaporate, no film of any type is left behind. This is not the case with alcohol, denatured or otherwise.

Once your CPU and heatsink are separated, clean them both with a new, clean coffee filter. Wipe the filter across the heatsink like your grounds-keeper mows the golf-course...one direction at a time. Turn the heatsink 1/4 turn and do it again, etc., until you make a full round. Then repeat the process diagonally. Use plenty of filters and change them often.

Once the surfaces have been cleaned, DO NOT touch them with your fingers. The natural oils from our hands can do more harm than the alcohol.

Once clean, place a small amount of compound (read your directions) on the area of the heatsink that contacts the CPU and rub it in. Use Saran Wrap or a clean plastic bag wrapped around your finger for the application. Rub it in like you cleaned it and take your time. You're attempting to rub the compound into tiny microscopic valleys that exist on the surface of the heatsink. Once you're satisfied, take a CLEAN coffee filter (USE NO CLEANING AGENT THIS TIME) and wipe off the excess compound in the same way you did before. You'll notice the surface of the heatsink may discolor. This is normal. Place the heatsink to the side with the mating surface up.

Place the recommended amount of compound on the CPU, install the CPU, then install the heatsink. Try to do it right the first time. Once the heatsink comes in contact with the CPU do not remove it again. If you do, repeat this process starting with step 1. The compound forms a microscopically thin seal between the heatsink and CPU. The compound is basically engineered to TRANSFER heat more efficiently between these metal surfaces than the metal surfaces themselves are able. So what we want to avoid is the presence of air bubbles (yes they can and do form in such a tiny space believe it or not) between the metal surfaces.

Have a great day!

Your web site is great but after taking the computer apart and having trouble with the screen I called it quits. Two days ago I bought notebook cooler made by altec, it has 2 large 2500 rpm fans mounted on a steel dock and runs on usb. Since I plugged it in I have been running my Dell 1100 non-stop, videos, dvd's, music etc and the temp is way below norm, not a single slow down or shut off. $30 on newegg.com or at BJ's, I would advise getting one if your like me and not a computer expert. Google Altec Notebook Cooler to see many positive reviews.

Kathi, all that little plastic band that was on there was to lift the heatsink out so you dont touch your fingers onto the copper fins becase the oil on your fingers affects the temp, its nice to have for that matter but if it needs taking out be careful so that u dont put your fingers on the copper part Thanks, Jordan

Randomly came across this page and figured I'd answer what I can here. I'm a Dell system engineer.


The plastic strap is indeed for pulling the heatsink, but if it's a model with thermal grease, you sometimes need to twist the heatsink side-to-side a little first so it doesn't yank the CPU out of the socket.

Lint-free isopropyl alcohol (67-63-0) wipes are what we use. Use of any stronger solvent is dangerous since it might erode the conformal coating (the clear coat on cpu's and circuit boards).

Skye: Did you try with the battery out and the a/c adapter plugged in? After test, is the light on the a/c adapter still lit? If it goes out then it's probably a power problem on the motherboard. Otherwise it could be an overheating problem. The fins on the heatsink often look like a dryer screen that hasn't been cleaned in a month which inhibits the computer's ability to cool itself. Two years should still be okay for the batt life. On my own laptop, I hold a vacuum to the vent areas about once a month to keep the "bunnies" at bay. I also have it propped up with a couple of Altoid tins.

Javier & Anna: Try connecting an external monitor to your laptop and see what happens. Sounds like your LCD might be dead. Especially if it doesn't even flicker in brightness for a sec when you power up.

Gareth: Make sure there is no dust in the DIMM socket, it's really sensitive about the contacts.

ed L: The fans speed varies depending on how hot the motherboard detects the system temperature. You can test the fan RPM and temp setting by running the Dell Diagnostics program (we call it Diag32) and selecting the fan test.

louis: Not sure what you mean by "it appears as a window". If you mean that the display has a 1 to 2 inch black boarder when you power on, I've seen that happen with failed BIOS updates, LCD, video card, or CRT/LCD switch.

Wow- Thanks- Glad I found ya- This saved me losts of time and $---- a couple of tries and it was done- like new-- thanks again.

Dell 5100…no lights, wont power up, power supply shows voltage, doesn’t appear to be faulty power connector. what is the procedure for the cooling fan, heatsink, processor workaround?
It worked hours before then it was shutdown and turned off.Tried to turn it on later and it was DEAD, battery light on, power in cable but no startup with or without battery.
Tell me what to do and where I can download actual procedure and pictures to follow to make it run again.
Conrad K.

Lots of good info on the site. I have an Inspiron 1100 and the dog chewed the plug that inserts into the laptop. I don't really want to buy a whole new power supply!! Does anyone have a dead PA-9 power supply--I would like to get just the plug and a few inches of the wire.

Thank you

Dear brother can you help me , i have a dell inspiron 5160 laptop which i need to get its motherboard to buy. tell me how much and where i can get it. you can send me a message for the respond.


conrad k: The batt light on the a/c adaptor is on & stays on? Do any of the lights on the keyboard bezel light even for a sec when you hit the power button? Try taking out the battery & RAM, then attach the a/c adaptor and see if the lights stay on a little longer if at all. Does the fan spin at all when you hit the power button?
Beyond here is harder:
(service manual for 5100)
Replace RAM. Next I would try unplugging the LCD (pry off the bezel starting from the right, unscrew (4) the keyboard, & pull straight up on the LCD cable to release it from the video card. Attach a/c adaptor then attempt power up. If no-go, then remove the video card (remove k/b, LCD, k/b tray, palmrest, then vid card) and test.
Beyond that & it would have to be the CPU or m/b.

AKILI FIDELE: Do a search for "dell g7399". Cheapest I saw listed was $422.

problème mot de passe service tag b7qfy0j-a95b

Hi All, I hope that someone might be able to help me out. I have a Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop, and some how the power cord became unplugged and now that my computer is chargin the battery light is flashing green (1 time solid) and then it will flash amber about 6 or 7 times. Is there any way to not make the LED flash like that?

Any advice would be helpful.


I am dealing with Inspirion 1150 with the famous busted dc jack problem. I have found the jacks at a couple of places for $35 and up. I have also found retrofit kits for aroung $50. The problem is that the charging and other circuits may have been fried by the broken jack pins or heat, so we would like to test the mb before ordering more parts. The jack is pretty mangled and continuity readings will not work, so was wondering if any one had the actual pinout of the jack or lands on the motherboard to confirm the correct position of the 3 connections used? I want to build the test jig correctly.

I am having the same problems with my 1100 inspiron i found a chip online i have never heard of it. apperantly according to the ad it is supposed to fix this problem its a L100 LVC14A i have never heard of it before if anyone knows anything please help me

I have a Inspiron 5160 which has had many problems including overheating, shutting down, and a loud fan. Now it needs a new motherboard beacause of the common problem of no longer able to charge the battery. I have read on this site and others of several Inspirons have these problems yet Dell will do nothing to fix them. If I had read this page before purchasing it, I never would have bought it!
If I replace the motherboard, isn't it likely I will have the same problem again? And could the overheating be the cause of the charge/ motherboard problem?

To all concerned: Is it not interesting that we have all had problems with our Dell laptops overheating and now there is a recall on certain batteries but not all? I just removed the battery from my Inspiron 1100 and I can not begin to tell you the difference in the temp. of my computer... The phone # for Dell Battery recall is 1-866-342-0011 and I hope that everyone that has had an overheating problem calls regardless of the listing of your computers battery number.


I just opened my inspiron 1100, to clean the fan, and re apply thermal paste, because my laptop was overheating very quickly...

I have put everything back on, in its right places, (hopefully), and i power up the laptop but the laptop wont boot, it just powers up and stays there....

what can i do about it...?

well i followed the procedure and put everythin back, but when i boot up the laptop, theres nothin on the screen.. did i do somethin wrong or can anyone help?

You probably had the same issue as i did...

when you remove the heatsink, there is a screw to the left of the cpu and there is two icons lock and unlock, when you clean your heatsink or what ever it was that you're doing, reapply the thermal paste on the cpu, and turn the screw towards unlock first and the lock it, this will lock the cpu into the socket and your laptop should boot up fine

Ok, I've got a 5160 as well. My problem is the screen. The computer turns on with no problem, but the screen does not turn on. I didn't touch the computer for about 6 months until one day, I layed it on the floor when I moved in to my new apartment and my brother stepped on it. So I plugged it in to see if the light at least turns on and the screen came on!!!! I was happy, it worked just fine until I went underway (I'm in the navy) And the screen didn't turn on again!! What the F?!! Anyone have any suggestions please. I will attempt to do a heart surgery on this notebook, but hopefully someone can respond before I do.

Hello everyone, I have a dell inspiron 1150. Same problem with overheating. Hard drive was making nose prior to fixing the heatsink. Computer booted up very slowly on the 1st try. Then would only start up in a safe mode. Now hard drive makes noise again and windows never starts up? I'm think the hard drive is shot from all the overheating? Sugggestions?

Hello everyone,

I upgraded my Inspiron 5100 processor from P4 2.66 to P4 2.8. When I look in the Bios, it reads 1.4 GHZ. It should read 2.8 GHZ. I have the latest Bios (A32). Is there a fix so my BIOS will read my 2.8 GHZ processor. When I put my old processor back in Bios picks it up 2.66 no problem. Can somebody help?

This last post above brings up another point that was never or infrequently discussed here regarding the 1100. That is the processor. I ordered the machine for my wife with the latest fastest P4 available at the time knowing full well it would suck the battery dry in quick order but no matter she would always be hooked up to the power supply.

Meaning, I think you could have gotten a Celeron at the time but in any case not a low power processor. All of which means that the 1000 and the 1100 were "cheap and dirty" "laptops" that were not very efficient with the battery and handling heat because of the high power consumption. They were cheap and transportable and that's it.

I would never ask a laptop to do a desktop's job. My Latitude D600 has a low power processor and runs cool as a cucumber all day long. It is a traveling man's special (at the time anyway).

If you want your hard drive to run cool and last longer, make sure you change your power settings so that it turns off after so much inactivity. However if you have programs running in the background, no matter what you see on the screen, your hard drive will never stop.

Sorry, I said, "I would never ask a laptop to do a desktop’s job. My Latitude D600 has a low power processor and runs cool as a cucumber all day long. It is a traveling man’s special (at the time anyway)." and that was not clear.

If you really want a good Dell laptop (or any other brand) buy the one they sell to traveling salesmen who use it hard. In my/our case it's the D600 series. It works well playing desktop running 24/7 or on the plane with a good battery life - about 3 hours. There is no replacement for a desktop or tower or whatever you want to call it. They are easily upgradable and run literally forever. I havent turned mine off in 3 years except when I added a DVD burner. It's a Dell Precision 300 series.

Hello folks. This web page is great. I skimmed through the whole thing trying to find a fix for this Insp. 1000 problem.

With battery in and AC adapter plugged in - battery light stays on. Sometimes it will power up, but never stays on long enough to do anything. It will occasionally let you in the BIOS, but will power down quickly after that. I have a few times got it to stay on till it tries the LAN boot - it dies after that (I have the hard drive pulled currently). I have it partially taken apart. It was some dirty - I carefully cleaned it. The fan spins freely.

The owner supposedly purchased a new battery and power supply before he brought it in. I am using both.

Any thoughts on this? Like I said, I have tried everything I could find on this page - cleaned hs and fan, pulled and reseated processor (2x to be sure - no bent pins), cleaned and reapplied thermal paste,etc...).



Well, I just got home and my wife told me that her power supply on her Ispirion 1150 (we purchased an aftermarket one when her OEM died) is not charging her battery unless she pushes in on it and holds it there, or if once she gets the battery to charge it must remain completely still. I'm sending her to the store in the AM to buy another Power supply, reason being is that the adapter we purchased came with multiple connectors for multiple comps. I'm hoping that this is the problem(the plug not the adapter) and not the DC jack onboard the Mobo.

If it is the Jack, has anybody had luck or experience in changing this out? I'm pretty well versed in desktops, and after college swore I would only have another Laptop..I'm a pretty heavy gamer and new games require(you guessed it) new hardware. I've build my last 5 PC's, but never have I cracked the case on a Laptop

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Pretty simple, I think.
1.)The the power supply back to the same store and demand your money back showing the store it won't work.

2.) Take the laptop along and demand the store show you that the new power supply you buy after this one will work.

3.)Buy a power supply from the same brand as your laptop - Dell

4.) Don't open up the laptop until you've done 1-3 above. Often it's a simple problem/solution like a sloppy, not to standard Chinese jack.


Many thanks to this thread! .. I had similar problmes on my Inspiron 5160 for the past 6 months, and luckily ended up on this thread! .. I had dismantled my laptop and cleaned the dust on the fan .. and bingo, my laptop is back to shape .. earlier it was getting heated up to about 72-80 ~c and my fan used to run at high speed always! but then now .. just cleaning the fan, the temperature never shoots above 55 ~c .. I have also purchased the Artic silver compound from ebay .. waiting for it to be delivered .. will apply that too .. and send another post on that experience too ..

Anyways .. thanks to the whole team here for this wonderful post! :)

Have Inspiron 1100. Has been working well since cleaning per great advice posted here....thanks. Another problem just arisen. Won't boot up. Power/disk and battery LEDs light up and fan spins briefly then shuts down after one or two seconds when I remove finger from the power button. No BIOS screen at all. Battery and AC adaptor run another computer OK so problem is internal. How do I get to the BIOS? Is there a cold BIOS reset (jumpers or anything) on the motherboard. Would an expired internal battery be responsible?

Thanks, an Aussie in need. John


Check your battery model/serial #'s against the recall list at www.dellbatteryprogram.com or call 866-342-0011 (M-F, 8-6 CST).

LeighAnn: Have you updated to the latest BIOS? Many customers were complaining about fan noise so the RPM shifts were set to higher temps. Result is quieter laptop, but it runs hotter. If you are within your warranty period, Dell /will/ fix it. I've been sent out many times for this. If you are within the first 21-days, you're garanteed new parts; after that they can send refurbished parts but still sometimes send new parts. Depends on availability & such. Have you checked for clogged vents or heatsink fins?

Lorea: Remember, Dell sells millions of units and only when something goes wrong do they post complaints.

Rahul, eric, John Martindale:
1) Any LED's (the green lights) lighting up at all when you try to power it on? Same thing if on AC-only power?
2) Take the RAM out and then try to power up, any LEDs light this time? If so, blow dust out of the DIMM sockets and reseat the RAM, then try powering again.
3) Make sure everything it plugged in correctly and firmly (LCD cable, fans, MDC, touchpad, keyboard, CPU, RAM, WiFi). Never pull a cable out by the wires, everything has a pull tab or zero-force release.
4) Does the LCD's backlight flicker even for a sec when you try to turn it on?
5) Hit the Fn-CRT/LCD keys together a few times to make sure it's set to the internal LCD. If no go & you have a desktop monitor, try with it.

Jacob Paet: The LCD is pretty sensative. The top edge of it has super fine wire and a big red warning for the techs never to touch that area. The bottom has the power converter circuit board. I'm surprised it worked at all after being stepped on.

Laz Jakab: Have you tried hitting F12 during startup and booting from your optical drive to compare boot speed? Did you run the HD diagnostic test which is also on the F12 menu?

Michael: Sounds like you got a CPU with a different FSB (Bus) speed than the existing one. Dell m/b's usually only support the one Bus speed they were designed for. Frankly, I've never seen a laptop with other than exact replacement CPU.

J West: How about with the battery out and just AC in? Also, unfortunately, when home users take apart & reassemble their computer, not taking static precautions can kill parts. The tech manual says something like, "it takes 4,000 volts before a human can feel a static zap, but even 100 volts can kill or shorten the life of an IC."

Vishwac Sena: Be careful with Artic Silver, unlike the other "performance" compounds it conducts electricity and can cause shorts if it accidentally gets on the wrong part. Watch out for the vent hole on the integrated heat spreader (cap on your CPU). Officially, Intel & AMD suggest Artic Ceramic or Shin-Etsu for this reason.

I found this site over the summer when my persistent (read: 9-month) overheating problem got to be too much. I tried the instructions for removing the heatsink and CPU and cleaning the fan of my Inspiron 1150, with some difficulty, but it didn't quite do the trick.

So I finally tried asking Dell. I never suspected they'd help, especially since I was long out of warranty.


Dell sent DHL to pick up my laptop from my home, took it to a southern state (I forget which one) for replacement of my "faulty" heatsink (their words), and sent it back within three days. And they did all of that FOR FREE. Now it runs like it's new. I am shocked, amazed, and quite pleased.

So for those of you having trouble, give Dell Support a shot. I used the option to email a technician so I didn't have to wait on the phone or be put on hold. You never know; customer support might actually be supportive. :)

HI! Looking for any help...my Inspiron 1100 is about 2 1/2 years old. It has always had a somewhat noisy fan, but the past few months it has been really noticeable. It will be going at a steady pace, and then suddenly pick up "full speed" and sounds like it's getting ready to fly away!! Also, just last week the orange "low battery" light has started flashing all the time, even when the laptop is plugged into the wall. It flashes when the computer is shut down, too. What does this mean?? My laptop also gets really hot, so I try to elevate it in order to cool it down.
PLEASE give me suggestions of what to do or what the constant flashing orange light could mean. I really don't know anything about computers, but I need all the help I can get since I am currently in Germany for the next 2 months studying abroad!!
My computer is my connection to the USA!! Thanks

I hate my dell. It has overheated and fried the prossesor. they fan was not the problem. One problem which people should know about is how hot the dell's really get. with the battery in and charging when the computer is on. The computer can reach serface temp. with the screen up to over 104 degress! also with the battery out the computer still reaches a temperature of 102 degress. well have to go. any questions e-mail me. bye,

Hi, my mate gave me his Inspiron 1100 because it stopped working. When you push the on button nothing happens no lights, no nothing. When you plug in the AC power the same happens, nothing. Ive opened it up and cleaned all the ground connections in it because they all were dirty but still nothing. Since then ive taken out the cpu then put it back in, ive done the same with the RAM and again it still wont turn on. I left it for a week or so then this morning I turned it on and I heard the fan and saw the power LED go for just a second but when I tried to turn it on again after that back to doing nothing.

Im really eager to fix this laptop but it seems like it may have a dead motherboard, its warrenty is long since expired. Im just wondering does anyone know if theres something im not doing or am I just waisting my time trying to fix it?



I have an overheating problem with my Dell Inspiron 5150, it is a pretty long story by
now and I am stuck. Maybe somebody here can give me a hint how to make my
laptop work againg, I would be very thankful.

Let me start out by saying that I have been dealing with windows pcs since the late 80s
and I think that I have a pretty good understanding on what is going on, but this time I am
at a complete loss on what to do next.

I have my 5150 since summer of 2003, XP Prof with service pack 1, it always worked,
I never had the need to try to enter the bios. I use the machine mostly for text editing,
it rarely got so warm the the fan even started, it was a very pleasant quiet machine.

Starting this summer XP started to pop up a window saying that support for XP service
pack 1 would end october 16th of 2006 and that I should upgrade to sp2. On August
15 th of this year I decided to give that a try, this is when my trouble started.

After installing sp2 and rebooting the fan constantly spins at its highest and loudest
speed and the machine shuts itself down after 10 - 15 minutes of idling.

If I look at the windows task manager I can see that no process is using the CPU,
the CPU is idle, nevertheless the fan spins and the machine shuts down.

I have opened the machine, it was not dirty, the heatsink seemed to be properly connected
to the CPU, that did not change anything.

So I decided to reinstall XP sp1, but when I start the DELL installer CD with
windows running, it says it cannot install because the version installed ( sp2 )
is newer than the one being installed.

I tried to uninstall sp2, but that either fails because my machine shuts down
or it ends with a warning saying "File not found, uninstall failed".
Does anybody here know of a trick to make windows think that
sp2 was uninstalled without actually uninstalling it, some value to change in
the registry or such?

I got myself a bootable XP sp1 CD but then I realized that I cannot enter
the bios in order to change the boot order of the machine. My machine
alway only boots from hard disk.

During boot the DELL screen says "Press F2 to enter setup" but no matter
how hard I try, it never enters setup but just boots from the hard disk
instead. The F2 key normally works ok, I even get a "key stuck"
exception when I continously hold it down during boot, but
I still cannot enter the bios setup.

I am not aware that I ever tried to enter the bios before Aug 15th.

I tried to upgrade the bios, I have A1, but trying to upgrade to
A38, which is possible directly from windows, says "Unsupported system".
DELL in this case recommends to upgrade to A22 first, but A22
can only be installed from a floppy drive, which I do not have,
or via a boot CD, and I cannot get the machine to boot from CD.

Is there a way to enter the bios, even when pressing or
any other key does not do the trick, is there some secret
magic, like ALT SHIFT Fwhatever???

Does anybody know a way to upgrade the bios from
A1 to sth newer without being able to boot from a CD?

Does anybody have any idea on how to overcome the
sp1 will not install over sp2 problem?

Because it looks as if the machine does not boot from
CD I have not dared to just format C: and get rid of
sp2, because I fear I will be stuck with a paperweight
with no operating system on the hard disk and no
other boot media in sight.

I know this is a long post, sorry.



PS: my homepage is http://www.mission-base.com if sb wants to reach me directly.

Here's an interesting problem....

My Dell Inspiron 5100 has served me well as a computer since 2003. It's on its 3rd HDD however, the first two being the Fujistus that Dell ships. They die after about a year. I opted to replace it with my own choice, a Toshiba from a local computer parts outfit. Running strong.

In all other aspects, it's been fine until a couple weeks ago. Something strange is going on now.. the computer will only charge the battery if the system is powered off. I can unplug & replace the power connector to the back and it won't charge. The battery stays where it is. The system runs fine on AC and battery, but will not charge unless the thing's *off* - standby won't let it either.

Is there a setting I've mistakenly changed? There's a mechanism to this problem that I'm not understanding... HELP !?

-The Gronk


I've actually seen this problem before...have you tried flashing the bios to a newer version?

My 22 month old Dell Inspiron 1150 died the other day. It won't do anything on battery or AC adapter. When it is plugged in, all 3 LEDs on the front will blink rapidly in unison, but there is no other sign of life. The Dell tech person told me I need a new mother board, which will cost $400. Has anyone else had this problem? I really can't afford to drop 400 bucks on this computer. Thanks.

I followed these "fan cleaning" procedures for my Inspiron 5100 and the first time it worked great and now, after the 2nd time, I have a blank screen. I cannot figure out what I did differently this 2nd time that would have caused this.

I suppose that somehow either the CPU or mobo are now fried or something. The one key difference, though, might have been that I removed the battery during the first attempt. Still, after reading how everyone else had such success w/o taking any precautions it seemed like perhaps it wasn't necessary (although I did read where others had suggested to take some precautions when performing this process).

Now, how do I determine which is fried and replace it w/o spending more than it is worth? Or do I simply cut my losses and move on to a newer laptop.


Thanks for your help with this... i had a client with exactly the problem listed... sure enough.... fur buildup over the fan side of the fins. I took the extra option of removing the fan motor out so i could get a decent squirt of air through, by removing the 3 mounting screws & 1 cable retaining bracket screw. The bracket requires a gentle pop from the top of the unit to get it to release, and then the whole assembly removes. Reinstallation is to place the fan back in place and screw down, then attach the cable mounting bracket and screw.
Job Done.

To Chaz, make sure that your CPU pins haven't gotten bent. If they have don't worry, get a mechanical pencil (without lead), and use the tip to cover them and bend them back-it works well. Now try to insert the CPU back into the socket, and make sure the pins are all lined up, and the CPU is seating.

To Dan, start looking on ebay. You should find replacement motherboards for your computer. If you aren't technically inclinded, have someone else replace the motherboard-it isn't too complicated-just lots of screws.

Joe, thanks for your advice -- I am confident that no pins are bent and the that CPU is seating perfectly.

The process is mechanically very straightforward and difficult to screw up -- which makes me think that somehow there was an electrical component that I failed to mind, like taking out the battery first and/or using an electro-static wrist band.

If I could determine whether it is the mobo or the CPU then perhaps I could go on ebay for a replacement -- but, would I then mess up my replacement in the same way as I have already done?


Yesterday I decided to clean my inspiron 1100's fan by directions of this page. It's very helpfull therefore thanks Dan.

But after cleaning operation i saw that my inspiron doesn't work again. When i press to power button it doesn't run. Only leds of it are on for a few seconds. I supposed that it died.. I opened it again to be sure that processor is seated properly. It is important to lock the processor by its screw. It didn't work again.

When I open the computer up firstly, it was running in windows.. While I was tried to remove screws by directions it went into sleep mode. I guessed that main problem is it. My computer was still in such a mode or similar somethig. I must wake up it again or change its current mode. (Actually I don't remember what i have done well but i will try to explain). Firstly, I put its battery (it was working by only AC adapter before). I pressed its power button about ten seconds. I heard a sound like it closed (disk power off sound).. I unplugged AC adapter power cable from computer. I tried to run it by only battery. It still didn't work.. After I pressed to power button ten seconds again, removed battery too.. After waiting in some seconds I plugged AC adapter and battery again and pushed to power button it worked properly..

I think cause of such problems is not hardware damage. We can fix it by some power combinations and power button attempts, easily. And I strongly suggest that don't open your computer when its plugged to power and with battery like me. Remove them before this operation.

I hope that your computers work again by this primitive method..

I have been using the I8kfangui for a few months now with no problems on my Inspiron 1100. Recently I have been having problems where the fan will not turn on. Without the fan utility the fan never runs. But with the utility it tries to turn but only does for about a second on 2 seconds off when I use the temperature control setting. When I switch it to direct fan control it will work but it runs for 3 seconds stops for 2 seconds then back on for 3 seconds then back off. When I restart the computer the fan will run constantly during startup with no problems. I ran a diagnotstic test for the fan and it gave me an error code: 3700:011B
Msg: Expected fan on high rpm of 4600 ,Detected fan rpm = 0. When I ran the test the fan did run on high for about 2-3 seconds and then stopped. I then recieved that error message. The diagnostic does not even detect that the fan is spinning. I have replaced the fan 3 times so I know that is not the problem. Also tried reseating the ram, and have installed and re-installed the fan numerous times making sure everything is connected correctly. When using the fan utility it never registers a fan speed like it used to. Is there a fan sensor in the 1100? Since the fan runs fine on boot I have no idea what is wrong. Any suggestions?

You all are gods, 2-weeks with Dell and all they want me to do is by a new board or CPU. Screw unlock/lock made it all good again. THANKS THANKS THANKS. Now if anyone knows the master password for dells. I set my Admin password and can not find it. Comp. wil not boot up past blue tag asking for password and of course now dell techs say bad board need new board. NOT
Thanks anyhow great info Too bad Dell does not sponser your site, OH WAIT THEN THEY WOULD LOOSE MONEY FROM INCOMPETENT DELL TECHS.



Kira: Check your battery serial # at www.dellbatteryprogram.com to see if it's one of the recalled ones, another indication that a battery is bad/going bad is if it is buldging or gets very hot. Try running your laptop with the battery out using only AC power to see if it still gets hot.
Another common occurance is the heatsink fins will get clogged up with lint (think of a dryer that the screen hasn't been cleaned in a month). If this is so bad that a vacuum cleaner can't pull the 'dust bunnies' out, it has to be disassembled to remove the wads of lint blocking air flow.

Andrew: I have a Fujitsu N6010 that gets around 60C on the palmrest at 100% CPU load. The CPUs are still within designed operational parameters at this temp. There are also safeguards both on the CPU die and motherboard to slow down or shutdown a CPU that goes outside the temperature range.

Joshua: You are correct, sounds like a dead motherboard. I don't know how much a replacement costs (I just do waranty repairs), but you can call Customer Care at (800) 627-9897 to find out if it's worthwhile to you.

Peter: Hitting F12 repeatedly (til you hear the beep) during POST should bring up the boot options menu where you can select which device to boot from. If you're still having trouble & want to update the BIOS you might see if Dell will send you a Portable's Maintenance CD (which is provided to Dell tech's & I've never seen a customer with one, but worth a shot). You can also reinstall your original WinXP disc from this boot menu. Up to you if you want to do a Repair install or Overwrite. If still no go & you are within waranty, have Dell send a new HD.

Gronk: There's no setting you could have changed that would make it act that way. It's a hardware failure. I'd run Dell's Diagnostic (the full version) to see if it can determine between the battery no longer being able to hold a charge, a bad AC adapter, or bad recharge section on the motherboard. Also check the battery against the recall list.

Dan: Did they also have you pull the memory out of the machine and try to turn it on? Could be RAM or motherboard.

Chaz: There's a reason I put the warning at the top of every one of my posts. If the battery is in, then there is current still running through the parts you are working on. Also have to be careful of static; takes about 4000 volts for you to feel static and only 10-100V to weaken or damage an IC.
Do the LEDs light at all when you try to power it on? If so, usually it just needs a reseat of the video daughter card and/or LCD cable. If still no go, unplug the LCD cable from the vid card & plug an external monitor to the back of your 51xx (assuming you are comfortable working with it open like this), plug the k/b cable in, the AC adapter, and test. If it POSTs then you know it's probably the LCD cable or LCD itself.

mike: Have you tried flashing the BIOS? BIOS controls the fan.

Spanky: Flaming me when you're the one that forgot your password? (DCSE = Dell Certified System Engineer, I come here for free just to help ppl) Anyway, you didn't mention which model Dell you have. If it's one that doesn't have a CMOS reset jumper on the m/b, try taking out the CMOS battery (usually flat nickel sized) for an hour & try again.

I have tried flashing the Bios many times going from old versions to new ones. Right now I have A32 installed. I think it may have something to do with the bios not knowing that the fan is actaully spinning. Is there some type of sensor that tells the computer whether the fan is on or on high or low? Could this be a problem with the motherboard?
Thanks in advance

Thanks for the pix. Very helpful to have confirmation that the route to the processor is through the strip at the top of the keyboard. The check is in the paypal mail.

(Now why couldn't they have that strip screw down, instead of requiring scary prying-out?)

I suggest that you add something to the main article (not just the followup comments) mentioning CPU mounting and the ZIF socket. When I pulled the heat sink off the CPU came with it... now, I'd done that before on a desktop so I knew I wasn't dead, but the laptop ZIF socket was new to me so I was puzzled for a while.

Since (I gather; I didn't do it myself) the fan can be removed from the heatsink assembly without removing the heatsink assembly, it might be best to recommend removing the fan and then inspecting the heat sink fins and blowing them clean.

If you choose to pull the heatsink assembly, you should assume that you'll have to replace the thermal grease, since you can't be sure whether the heatsink will pull off the CPU or the CPU pull out of the ZIF socket.

Since pulling the CPU out of a closed ZIF socket doesn't seem like a good idea, if you really want to pull the heatsink assembly then I'd suggest opening the ZIF, removing the heatsink *and* CPU, then prying the CPU off. This notebook ZIF design is much better than the desktop I worked on a few months ago, because you can open and close the ZIF with the heatsink in place; you couldn't on the desktop.

[Sorry for the long and somewhat disjointed comment; I was up late with the silly thing and am not completely awake.]

Thanks again.

My 1100 was overheating and shutting down. Was boiling hot. Finally stopped turning on at all.

I opened it and found NO thermal grease, CPU glued to heatsink and fan glued to base of computer. Had to forcefully pull the fan/heatsink out and with it came CPU which had been locked (didn't see the ZIF screw).

Reseated heatsink & CPU but wouldn't POST. Powers up, fan noise, power light on & steady green, no POST, no beeps.

Then I installed new mobo (Dell said fried), new fan but old CPU.

This time was careful to unlock ZIF screw and relock CPU onto mobo. But same problem. No POST. Cannot get into BIOS. But CD drive works, power is on.

Defective mobo or friend CPU?


mike: Yes, there is a chip on the m/b that monitors system temps & fan RPMs. The fans have 3 wires, 2 for power, & 1 for RPM signal. The fan plugs into the m/b, the chip monitors the temp & RPM, then the BIOS decides how much voltage to feed the fan based on the temp & current RPM. More voltage = faster spin. If during the Diag32 test you hear the fan spin up to max speed yet the test says 0 RPM, then the only 3 things that can be wrong are the BIOS, fan, or m/b (chip surface mounted on m/b). You've flashed the BIOS & it failed again, so next to try is swapping out the fan. Lastly & most expensive is the m/b.

Jordan: I agree, not the most elegant to have a "keystone". There is one model, which escapes me now, Dell laptop that has the bezel screwed in from the bottom side & requires no prying. My own Fugitsu N6010 laptop has the same design though -- have to pry the bezel out.
Give the heatsink a twist while the CPU is still locked in the socket, but after the HSF's spring-screws have been loosened to get it to defuse itself from the CPU. The idea of prying the CPU off the HSF is lots scarier than the keyboard bezel.

icaru: Steady on like that usually indicates display system. Make sure the CPU cam is locked & keyboard is properly plugged into the m/b. Pop the RAM out then try to power up, it should give you a POST error beep then. If so, replace the RAM, reseat the video daughter card (2 screws holding it to m/b) & reseat where the LCD plugs into the video card. Test. If same, then plug in an external monitor to the VGA port on the back (I've never tried using the S-video to a TV for testing). Test. If displays, then the problem is either the LCD itself, LCD cable has short (it gets flexed every time you open/close the lid), or the video card. Easiest replaced of these is the video card. If no display, unplug the LCD cable from the video card & test again. If still no display then likely either the video card or m/b.

Watch out for static electricity when working on your computers.

I have an Inspiron 1150, took it apart, cleaned it, cpu temperature went from 80-100 to 40 when it turns on and idling around 55. My question is I didn't see any thermal grease anywhere and was wondering when I get the thermal grease, where exactly do I put it, is there anyone that can give me detailed instructions or something off the dell website, let me know. My email is dlopre84@mercyhurst.edu, thanks.


Have two laptops and both have same problem -- orange battery light flashes for a sec when power button is pressed. Units will not power on --- Please let me know if there is a fix.

i have a dell inspiron 1100... i happened that suddenly my notebook shut down, i turned it on and worked fine for a few mins.. after that it shut down again and i couldnt turn it on.. when i pressed the power button the FAN TURNED ON FOR A FEW SECS and the YELLOW LIGHT FLASHED, but the SCREEN NEVER SHOWED UP...the battery was fully charged and i also connected to the AC/DC cord and still didnt work... i took out the procesor, the ram memory, the hdd... everythin.. after that i tried to turned it on just with the procesor, and it beeped, so then i putted on the hdd.. but still doest worked,, i putted the two DIMMS, and still doesnt worked, then i took out one DIMM and it started workin again =D

I've changed thermal compund second time (Arctic ceramique to coolaboratory liquid metal). Right now max temp. is 58 Celsius degrees in stress.
My comp - Inspiron 5100 - 2,66 Ghz.

PS: 100 % CPU usege under prime (super pi) generets less heat then 100% CPU usage under windows calculator (count 999999999999!)


Domenic: The 11xx series has a very thin amount of white thermal liquid between the heatsink and CPU as it comes from Dell. It will almost look like white paint or correction fluid. To apply it, just put a dab on the center of your CPU's IHS (the metal cap which is part of the CPU). When you torq the heatsink down it will spread it in an even circle from that point.

joe: If they do the same LED flash when the AC adaptor is connected then it's probably the motherboards.

What is the most likely result of ...

1) not removing the battery before working on the computer, even though one touches unpainted metal to discharge static electricity?

2) not unlocking the ZIF key with the result that fan, heatsink & CPU all come out together with force and a loud noise?

I have had a Dell Inspiron 8500 for just over 2 years, and it totally died. I was on the Dell Chat last night with Dell tech ( three of them ) and finally have been told that I need a new mother board. I am upset about this as it is not heavy useage and should last longer. I just found your site and am willing to try what you list,however looking at the photos you posted, my puter doesnt look anything like your photos.

There is a door ( with screws) on the back that opens to a fan. Can you help me with my mpdle so I can do this right ?

Also there are major dust bunnies that I puled out. WHat really makes me mad after reading your site, is that while on the Chat with the Dell tech ( they left me hanging with the motor running for 30 minutes and I even told them that it was getting very hot, but they totally ignored my comment about the heat. It has been only since they left me hanging and when it got extremely hot, that it not wont even power on. The green lights flash but the power wont even stay on. It appears that it is completey dead now .

Any help is greatly appreciated.

OH... and is it ok to use a tiny brush to clear out more of the dust build up ? or would that hurt the puter anymore ( if that is possible, haha)

Thank you

To add to my previous post above..

I origionally contacted dell as my computer started to shut down right in the middle of usage. The screen turned blue with white writing. I was about to get it back up and it ran for awhile and then did it again.
SInce I am not a computer lit person, I did F12 and ran the TEST. It failed at SDT or STD something ( and this is only from memory as I did not write it down at the time ) but it failed and made awful noises so I hit esc. Finally I could not get it to boot up so that is when I found the Dell tech Chat site and tried that.

It was during the time when the first tech told me to Reseat it, and gave me a link that didnt fit what they were telling me to do, and the the "session" abruptly ended with no resolution. I logged back on and got the second tech, who left me hanging after getting it up to the Dell logo and in the right top corner it said diagnostic boot selected" but it sat there not doing anything, then that tech ended the "session" as well with no resolution. The third tech told me I was out of warrenty and that the motherboard needed to be replaced .

Hope all this info helps to give a clear picture of where I'm at with my laptop. I can not afford another puter so I have to somehow learn fast on how to fix it myself.

Thank you again for any assistance you can provide.

great page, thanks guys.
any info on "dragging and slowing" hard drive for the inspiron 1100? just happened all of the sudden, won't boot-up, all i hear is a weird noise when i turn on the power.
any help would be appreciated


1) When you touch the metal on a computer you are adjusting the passive charge potential between yourself and the electronics. With the battery in the system is actively charged which can cause a short circuit when you are (un)installing parts with your metal screwdriver. Two changes for mishap, though you might get lucky. This is one of the reasons that some parts advertise the feature "hot swappable" meaning it can be added/removed while powered.
2) As long as none of the pins on the CPU were bent/broke, it should be okay.

CG: Sorry to hear about your troubles. For perspective, there are over 1000 level 1 techs (phone people) and only about 90 level 2 techs (field people, like me). Almost unbelievable, but that's what they tell me.
Your 8500 had the same chasis as a D8xx/85xx/M60 in case you have one available to scavenge parts from or to find repair instructions.
There are two screws holding the main fan on the bottom of your laptop. After that it just lifts out (there are no wires/plugs as the contacts rest against each other when it's screwed in). I'd use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust bunnies.
If you are getting LEDs to flash, it's not "totally dead". When the LEDs flash that's the laptop doing a POST (power on self test). Is the fan spinning up at all when the LEDs flash? Test with batt power only & AC power only? Test with CDRom, HD, PCMCIA, and RAM uninstalled? Test with LCD cable disconnected from the internal video card? Many things to try. Sorry no way to post pictures here which show your system.

EZ: That's likely a dead hard drive. Not uncommon. If it's out of waranty, you can get a replacement laptop hard drive (2.5") and do it yourself easily. You'll have to reload the OS (WinXP) and all your programs onto the new HD.

Dell Inspiron 2200 Will not power up. Battery led flashes for a sec and thats all. I checked three fuses on Motherboard but think that the problem is a bad cap. I refuse to accept Dell saying these boards need to be replaced when it is a simple part that needs to be replaced ---people are selling many refurbed boards on E-bay and because of this they have to be repairable!! --- Please Any Help Would Be Welcomed

Thank you DCSE :)

I got it to where the puter will start up and stay on, but it immediately goes to "press 2" or "press 12" in upper left corner, white writing on blank black background.

I have been trying to find out about fixing Booting Errors. Sorry if my descriptions are a bit off as I mentioned before, I am not that puter lit, lol.

What I am trying to ask is... is there a possibility that my boot system has been corrupted or has missing info needed to boot correctly, and if so how would one go about fixing that?

Thank you so much, your help is very much appreciated !


My wife had a problem with her inspiron 1100 running slowly, despite what we tried it continued i recently learned about the overheating a little late though, we formatted the HD and installed windows xp pro but after the install the screen isnt full it is small like 4x6 when i try to make it full screen the max resolution is 8bit at 800x600 or more what can i do to fix this, any thing would be helpful


It's about the time required as well as the logistics of doing an on-site componant level trace of a motherboard. Plus Dell doesn't stock discrete components, the parts are manufactured by various 3rd party companies that won a bid with Dell then assembled into a computer by Dell. On my own systems I've done cap replacements, but only desktop boards. Also m/b's nowadays have about 6 layers making it very difficult to find and fix traces.

Does it do the same with the hard drive removed (your HD is secured with 1 screw under the front-left, the mic & headphone ports are part of the assembly which then slides out)? It's possible your BIOS is corrupt. If it responds to the F12 option you could boot from a CD that has the latest BIOS for the 8500 (go to Dell's site and enter your service tag in the downloads section and it will list all of the current drivers & firmware). You could try the same with a USB flash drive/dongle.
If it's a bad hard drive, you could first try to reformat and install the OS. Failing that do the same as EZ (above) and replace the drive.

Have you tried hitting the Fn-CRT/LCD key combination 3 times?
Usually LCD trouble like that is driver related. Enter your service tag @
Get the latest chipset, video, LCD drivers, and BIOS. If you're feeling motivated you can get an even newer chipset pack from Intel's site. File will be named "infinst_autol.exe".
Install order is: BIOS, chipset, video, LCD.

Thank you DCSE !!!

It now started up ok but VERY slow still.

I have tried to run my Ad-Aware SE and it keeps freezing at different points. What else can I do to see what is going on ? I have run Spy Bot and it had two problems with a Microsoft firewall ? and something else Microsoft, but when I try and run my wonderful Ad-Aware it gets hung up ?

Feel it has come long way, and feel it was due to downloading the newer BIOS like you said.

Thank you



When I run spy bot the two items/problems that pop it again and again are...

Microsft Windows Security Center AntiVirus
Microsoft Windows Security Center Firewall.

How can I keep these this off as they keep popping back on after I "fix" them through spy bot ?

Thnak you

Glad you are making progress. Did you try booting into Safe-Mode (hit F8 just as Windows starts to load) to see if it still runs as sluggish? (Safe-Mode will take longer to initially load the OS, but should be normal responsiveness once at the desktop level.)
In S&D I believe you right click on an item you don't want it to check & select "Exclused this detection from further scans". I have those same ones disabled on my own Windows machines.



Thank you :)

I need some clarification please.

Why do I need to start it in safe mode ? it does start up on its own now with no problem except it being very slow.

I took off my Norton as it seemed that Norton was causing alot of problems and I installed AVG.
Ran AVG and it took almost 3 hours and found no viruses.

But isnt the puter running slow a sign that something is on it such as a virus or something ?

When you say S&D are you referring to search and destroy ?

Am I supposed to leave the Microsft Windows Security Center AntiVirus and Microsoft Windows Security Center Firewall on and just "exclude" it from the scans?

My puter is 'almost' back to normal, and for a computer illit. person such as myself this has been a real learning experience !

Thank you again,

Even if you're out of waranty it's best to still call Dell's tech support line. Often they'll still troubleshoot your system over the phone and probably have an option where you can mail your laptop to them. I have no idea what the fees are.

Safe-mode would help determine the cause of the slowness you mentioned. Running slow can be caused by a number of issues including chipset drivers, HD full/fragmented/corrupt, viruses, and CPU overheating. Safe-mode bypasses most drivers & viruses which would narrow down the root cause of the slowness whether it was the same or better.

Yes, "S&D" meant Spybot:Search&Destroy. There's no "supposed to", it's your system and up to you. I turn off those checks on my own computers since my router already acts as a firewall and I can see my virus checker in the tool tray without Windows nagging me about it.


This may sound stupid but how do I "run" it in safe mode ?

How do I do a diagnostic check in that or just hit F8 and let it do it's thing ?

Thank you

Thank you for posting here.
I am working on an Inspiron 1150. The owner contacted Dell Tech Support a year ago when the laptops battery would not charge, nor would it run off the AC adapter. Dell sent a new adapter which gave them same results, so they put the laptop in storage. Now they want it working and asked me to look into it. They have an Inspiron 1100 as well and charge the 1150's battery in that unit.

The "new" AC adapter works; it charges and powers the 1100, green light "on" on adapter.
The 1150 laptop gets no power with AC adapter in (and battery in or out).
With battery out, if I depress the power switch while connecting the DC jack at back of laptop with AC adapter plugged in, there is a brief milli-second flash of the 3 green lights on front of laptop, and thats all that happens.

It appears to be the internal jack. My question(s) is this:
1. Will Dell fix this - either replace mb or jack (for free) since it appears to be a common defect? Should I try emailing Dell Techs or can you speak for them? Michael Dell is the best at customer service, IMO.
2. If Dell won't, can you recommend a) a repair facility that would solder in a new jack and/or b) sell a replacement board (would you just use newegg.com?)?

Thanks very much for your time and replies on here.

Cleaning out the heat sink, fan and reapplying the thermal paste really made a huge difference in overall temps. Even battery time has improved cause that darn cooling fan isn't kicking in and running full speed every few minutes.

However I still find that the RAM cover on the bottom of the 1100 continues to get quite hot to the touch. I'm running 512Mb (2x256) DDR 2100.

Are others experiencing the same?

Nice of all of you to post your frustrations, experiences & techniques.

Thank you,

To follow-up,I opened the 1150 and it appears the DC jack does shift slightly on the MB when inserting the AC adapter connector to it.
Also when I connect the AC plug to it, there are 2 green lights that blink for a split second on the front of the palm rest (the first and 3rd lights, for the ac plug and battery). I said it was 3 lights in my previous message but the middle light wasn't blinking, I was only seeing part of the other 2.
Owner says they will only keep it if Dell will fix it as having been defective, so I guess I need to contact Dell now (unless you have a suggestion). However I know better than to CALL dell tech support as you will get some 3rd world country where they are trained to say "I understand your concern" and tell you to mail it in for repairs

Yes, repeatedly (1-2 times per second) hit the F8 key while the computer boots. It will then give you a boot menu. Select plain "Safe-Mode" which I believe will be at the top. Once in Safe-Mode, it will say so in the four corners of the screen, determine if the system is faster or same speed.

I don't know when the machine was originally purchased and how long of a service contract it had. If it's in waranty, there's no question that Dell should cover all parts & labor. If it's out of waranty, best bet would be to claim that it's the same issue that waranty was supposed to fix and was misdiagnosed as being a defective AC adapter when a motherboard should have be dispatched. Just claiming that the AC port should be a defect recall wont fly since the #1 cause of them going bad is end-users kicking the cord when it's plugged in which breaks the jack off the motherboard. From my experience it all depends who you talk to when you call in (the Indian guys seem to be the strictest about issuing parts).

Other than Dell itself, I don't know any nation-wide repair business that does Dells. AFAIK, NewEgg/ChiefValue doesn't have Dell branded internal componants. My best guess for parts would be a refurb company operating through eBay or Froogle.

Can't tell if it would have been loose enough to short out anything on the m/b from here. If the plastic part of the jack is intact and it appears the prongs where it is supposed to be soldered to the m/b have come loose you could claim a manufacturing defect called "cold solder joint".

There's a way to call American-only techs but I think if I posted it in public the extension/code would soon be changed since it's really for follow-up contact. Best is to call at different times in the day til you get an accent you like.

Thank you! I will follow up with Dell and see what they say and if the adapter was done during the warranty period.
I am at octinc@gmail.com
I appreciate your help and the other replies you have posted here. And thanks to Dan and Sherree for hosting this thread.

thanks for the info on overheating. I am using Dell C600. I am having heating problem as well. 18kfanGUI shows CPU temparature 52 C after running the fan full speed. I have seen it goes upto 72 C some times. The problem I am facing is my computer hangs after a while, then I have to remove battery and shut down the laptop. Sometimes it would not boot and bios takes long time to boot. Sometimes it works perfectly. I have tested my rams, its working fine. My Laptops Bios is A23. Can these also be effect of overheating ? Did you experienced the same ? Will this procedure work for Dell C600 ?

Good luck, Edward.

A C600 should never get that hot. Old Pentium3 CPUs like that were ice cubes compared to the Prescott ("Press-hot") core P4s. I'd suspect that the little system fan's bearings have gone and it's not spinning properly. You can see the fan easily from the bottom in the corner. See if it's spinning normally (fast enough that you cannot see the blades).
To replace the fan you'd have to remove the AC adapter, battery, keyboard bezel, LCD, keyboard, hard drive, palm rest, heatsink, then fan. In that order.

Just a quick thanks, and a question for DCSE.

First of all, thanks to the originators of this website. I had cleaned out my 1100 a couple times previously (4 cats in 2 bedroom apartment cause lots of dust and hair), but had never actually taken the fan out of the heat sync. WOW! The dust monster in there was completely blocking air from going through the heat sync. I had been wondering why no air came out the back for a while now.

Also did the bios update, not sure if it's really done anything though... or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

Question for DCSE:

I've returned everything to where it was originally, all same screws and whatnot, and the fan doesn't come on until the temp hits about 59. When the fan does come on now, it makes a bit of a rattling sound that can get quite annoying.
Also, I didn't re-grease the cpu as it was firmly attached to heat sync and I don't have another computer, nor the funds, to replace this one if I do something to it... Does re-greasing the cpu make that much of a difference to the temps that the laptop will run at?

Thanks for any and all information


The newer BIOSes from Dell have a higher threshold for activating the fan speeds. This was in response to customer surveys where the customers said they prefered quiet to cool.

Rattling shouldn't be happening. If the fan isn't getting squeezed by some part that wasn't reassembled the original way, then the fan bearings might be going. This might even prevent it from working in low RPM as it needs the full voltage to breakfree and start spinning.

I see the CPU fused to the heatsink all the time. Don't worry about freeing it unless you need to replace the CPU or heatsink. When it's that fused together you're assured it's making good contact (heh) which is what the thermal compound is for. Plus it's not worth the risk of damaging the CPU to get them apart.

The dust bunnies will definately make your system run hotter and might hinder the spinning of the fan. I've seen some laptops get completely clogged in just a month of daily use in a household environment.

I have a Inspiron 1150. The power connector went bad so I ordered one off ebay and replaced it. All was well for about 3 months, but now It's dead. When I plug in the power adapter the power and battery lights flash green for a second then go off. If I have the Battery in and press power, the battery light goes orange for a second, then off. I think it's the motherboard or teh CPU.

I cleaned the heatsink but no help, It doesn't make a noise.

My question is, should the battery still charge with an led on even with a bad CPU? If so, I think it's my motherboard.

Thanks in advance and for this site.

My first guess would be the motherboard. You can check for sure by trying with just one stick of memory (assuming you have 2) then, if no-go, with no memory and seeing how long the LEDs stay lit. Sometimes a short in the LCD cable can also cause it to fail POST, so try powering up with the LCD cable removed from the video card.
In my own experience working for Dell & others, it's rare that the CPU goes.

One last question before I attempt to contact Dell on the 1150 I have (haven't done anything to it yet): what is the best route for contacting Dell *if* it's under warranty - yet they (may have) failed to troubleshoot the computer sufficiently and it might be something that's covered (and not the power supply they replaced)? Shall I try calling, email or live chat? I was hoping for a Level 2 Tech. I know how to get one with Gateway, but not with Dell.
Thanks. and if email is easier, mine is listed here or in a previous message I posted.

Thanks to Dan and Sherree for this forum.


I have an inspiron 8500. Recently, while surfing the web, it locked up. While pressing crtl/alt/del the lcd changed to a white/gray screen with a message stating that the D-bay port on docking station had an unsupported item plugged into it. It also had press esc or enter to continue. Neither of these keys produced a response so I held the power button down and powered down the computer.

Immediately after this, I attempted to power up the computer. The three green led's adjacent to power button turn on for 2-3 seconds, I hear a click from the speakers then lights go off. After sitting for several minutes, the computer booted normally but locked up immediately.

I spent 3 hours with dell tech support and ended up with them recommending to send in for further diagnosis. We were able to run several tests. I believe we ruled out memory, but that's about it. It passed the low level hardware test in the bios, but the extended test was never run.

I can boot the computer up when cold but very soon it will lock up. I can apply a small amount of twist to the case and get the gray screen with docking station message to appear. One other clue....the LCD will get brighter (same as when I unplug the AC power adapter) just prior to locking up....i can also get the brightness of LCD to change by applying twist to the case.

Do you have any idea what the problem is? The computer is out of warranty and I'd just as soon repair it myself. I suspect a keyboard or motherboard.....or???

Thanks in advance!

Brian S.

I have a Dell 5160 with the "unrecognized power adapter" error using the original and still good power supply. This occurred after a non Dell, but "compatible" power supply was used. The power connector seems to be be solidly attached to MB and there is no apparent burned components. Can the CMOS be cleared or reset. If so does anyone know if there is a jumper or an on board battery. Any help would be appreciated.


Thank you very much for the information you have provided on this forum.

My dell inspiron 5160 quit yesterday. I was installing drivers for a new USB wireless adaptor the m/c froze. I did a hard shutdown and was not able to recover since then. Cannot go past the BIOS post screen and the progress bar is about 75%. I followed some of your suggestions and removed the RAM, did a powerup. The LEDs (CASE and SCROLL lock) come up and the system shutdown in few secs. I put the RAM back and the BIOS post screen appears and after 75% I get the message "Invalid configuration information. Run SETUP program". All subsequest powerups freeze on the BIOS post screen. I tried the same procedure (removing RAM and putting it back in) and when the BIOS post is in progress I pressed F2 key. no luck. Get the same message (Invalid.....)

Did I hose the system board? If not, how can I go past this point. I even tried to boot with Diagnostic options (Fn key while powering up the computer). The leds come up and when the progress bar hits 75%, the numlock LED keeps on flashing.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


There are different tiers of waranty support. These are the tech support #'s.
Gold - if you had this it'd already be fixed.
Corp - 877-671-3355
Sm Bus - 800-456-3355
Home - 800-624-9896

The general customer support #'s are the same for all but Home which is 800-627-9897.
Sometimes you can get a level 2 tech just by asking for it. Though this is less likely on the Home number.

Brian S:
You didn't mention if you actually had a docking station or are just getting a rogue error message even though you don't have one. I'd definately run the full Diag32 test, especially since it takes some time for your errors to come up. That little pre-test one is just a step above the normal Power On Self Test (POST). If the full version of Dell Diagnostics isn't on the HD's utility partition you can get it off of one of the blue Dell discs that should have come with the computer or download it from Dell.com. If Diag32 gives you an error code relay that to tech support.
My experience with 8500 has been (in order of most common): motherboard, LCD, video card. The 8500 is pretty easy to work on.
Sounds like overheating offhand. Check if both fans (system & video) are spinning fine and pass that part of the full diag test and there's not a lot of lint build-up in the fans or on the heatsink fins of the CPU or video card (both sides of heatsink which you have to remove to get to).

Was the "compatible" AC adapter's output the same (19.2V 130W I believe). Try holding down the blue "Fn" key on the left of the keyboard as you power on the system and continue to hold down for a few more seconds and see if the LEDs or on-screen msg is any different. Unfortunately, the BIOS update program requires both the AC adapter & battery to be installed before it will overwrite the existing BIOS. Software support might know a way to disable the safe-guard and blind-write for emergency.

Do you have 1 or 2 sticks of RAM? If 2, have you tried with just 1 stick in either slot? Does it do the same whether the system is warm or cold? Do you have any other 333Mhz DDR1 SO-DIMM RAM to try? My pics of the 5150/5160 m/b don't show a CMOS coin battery to remove and get the BIOS settings back to factory default.

Did you do all the RAM tests (removing all, using just 1 in either slot, etc)? The 1100/1150/5150/5160 all use the same chasis, so try what's been posted for any of these models.
Is your CAPS LOCK button stuck too? ;-)


Thanks again for all the help. I have two mem sticks and I cannot boot the m/c when I do not have ram in memory slot A. I do not have any other RAM with me.

I disconnected the battery and a/c power for a day. Yesterday, while I was dusting off the old desktop to connect to the net (can't live without a computer ) I tried to boot the notebook. It came up and I was able to see the BIOS settings screen and I was able to bring up the system. It froze again while loading XP and it stopped booting again for some time. I was able to run partial diagnostics (from CD) couple of times later. I suspected that the CPU was getting hot and got some thermal grease from COMPUSA. I was able to run full extended diagnostics last night again. No errors at all. No Luck yet today. I had a thermometer out side the vent last night and it showed 95F when I was running the diagnostics. I cleaned the fan with compressed air and the sound/heat came down compared to last week (when the computer was working)
I am clueless now.



Hi -
we have two Inspirons - both get really hot so will try the clean outs mentioned. But main reason for the post is that one laptop has the power on booting issues. When using a charged battery (from other laptop) it boots up fine. Will not boot up from discharged battery when connected to the AC charger. Does not charge up the battery either. AC chargers work fine on othe rlaptop. The problem laptop when booted up from charged battery and connected to AC adapter gets an error message that the AC adapter is not recognized (even though works fine on other laptop.
So when can keep swapping out batteries - but does anyone(DCSE?) know why we get the error message and why the adapter does not work? Could it be internal connections or a problem on the MB? Thanks Steve

Hey, I noticed a few people here are having problems similar to mine. My Inspiron 5100 works alright using a battery but won't power up on AC power, nor will the battery charge when it's plugged in. I just get simultaneously blinking power and battery leds. My battery dies after about an hour so it's impossible for me to just keep using battery power. I am pretty sure the motherboard got a whack of reverse polarity DC power when I tried to use a bad power cable. Does anyone know what components link the AC power to the motherboard? Thanks!

My 1100 suddenly began having power problems. For a day or so, I could balance it just so and the power would stay on. Then for another day I had to hold the power cord just so and it would stay on. Now jiggling the power cord brings on the lights briefly. Replaced AC/DC adaptor & battery. Same issues.

So I followed directions found here and opened it up. With the top off, the power problem seemed to go away. So I re-assembled it and tried again. Back to the intermittent lights coming on when I jiggle the cord.

I'm thinking the motherboard is warped causing a connection at the plug to come loose when assembled. Unassembled I'm guessing there is less pressure on the motherboard so the connection stays.

Anybody seen anything like this? New motherboard or can these connections be fixed?


This is from original post 10/11/06,
If you read all the post you see many others have problems, and these are the only ones who have stumbled to this site. Many like my self who do know how to work around the internet, computers, systems, hardware issues, and software problems have to come here to get good info that is not easily available on the Dell website or community form.

The "flaming" you point to, IS NOT DIRECTED TOWARDS YOURSELF, but to my Total Dell experience. That said your Tech help has and is very appreciated had I been able to talk to you or put through to you other than the people on the India phone network (not once or twice over a half dozen times)My experiece with dell might be different. Where I'm coming from is that all the techs had not offered any advice on solving the problem, only to sell me new Motherboard or CPU.

I have an Insprion 1100, will try your battery trick if I can find it.
Also came across site on dell but can not find it again that tells post or start up diag. problems. 1st. and 2nd. lights of the three, flash when booting up computer so may not be forgotten password may have lost something in BIOS?

Thanks, and take the post as tou will



Thank you for the reply. I was waiting for email notification and it never came but checked back on here and you had replied days ago! Thanks. I will skip the email and live chat route and call them and will keep you posted.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, Edward

Hi all!
You should see the dust bunny that emerged from daughter's 1100! I cancelled the order for the new fan that the Dell said I would need. The difference is AMAZING!!

The trick with the lock/unlock screw saved us.


A suggestion for reducing CPU heating -> less dust collecting:

The processor normally runs at 2.8GHz, though it can be 90% idle. On Linux systems it is possible to use CPU frequency scaling tools, which can scale the CPU frequency down to 600Mhz when there is no load on the CPU and upgrades it according to the load requested.

Google for p4_clockmod, cpufreq_ondemand and cpufreq_userspace.

This way the CPU creates less heat and the fan is less active, which reduces dust collecting per unit time.

Greetings Rob

Assuming the fan is spinning normally, it could be either motherboard or cpu. In a waranty situation Dell would first try replacing the m/b.

My first guess on that one would be cpu replacement since all of the componants connected to the m/b are getting power. But this one one I would definately get a second opinion on since it could also be something wrong with your cpu socket. Try the Dell live chat web site.

Does the LED on the AC adapter stay on the whole time or does it go out? Did you check the battery against the Dell recall list? Is the battery over 2 years old?
This could be a couple of different problems both of which are on the motherboard -- broken AC jack or charging section.

Jim (I5100):
That's similar to Steve's case above. In your situation a diode probably blew. I'd test the AC adapter voltage separately first then with a load. If it passed, then replace the motherboard.

Jim (I1100):
I'd take a close look at the AC jack with the case off. It's possible that you could resolder a trace if one broke loose. If you suspect a short, a single sheet of paper between the m/b & case could be used to test with it reassembled. If it's still doing the same thing then you'll know it's not shorting out on the case's RF shield & is something on the motherboard.

Reason I don't give out name, employee #, etc. is 1) not getting paid for this, 2) want to stay partially anonymous so I can speak freely whether against Dell or giving out "confidential" material like service manuals.

Rob de Graaf:
Long time ago you had to run software to manually get the CPU to issue HALT commands during every idle cycle which made the cpu run much cooler. Now with modern BIOS, Intel Speedstep®, and WinXP it's build-in many laptops (#5 in the FAQ).
Yes, of course Linux is more efficeint than Win*. .. except if you count the hours required to install Gentoo from stage 1. ;-)

a.k dude...frm last year...bloody godsend ...thanx a lot mate

I will like to know how to get special Characters on the computer such as"é,ù,',~,ü,},~..."


I am out of warranty and I do not want to spend $$$ on a refurbished MB (the computer was a dell refurbished one too). Also, I do not like the idea of paying $$$ to Dell just for the tip/info that my MB needs replacement.

However, here is the latest on my 5160 since my last posting.

A while back, I was playing with the laptop (just turning the power on to see the bios screen and off when it hangs) and all of a sudden the computer came to life. The date in BIOS got initialized and the bios setup screen appeared. I disabled stepspeed and HT from bios and the computer started working fine across many boots. Also, I upgraded bios to the latest version on the series since then.

It hangs whenever I change any thing in the bios now and I repeat the same (turning it on/off many times) to bring it back to life.

Does it make any sense?

I suspect the power cord/connector on MB as one of the issue. I may been holding the power connected with certain pressure when I booted the computer. (the plastic tip on the power connecter is broke). For the time being I am able to use it at reduced speed. It runs a lot cooler too.

I am thinking of getting a new computer some time soon. Need to decide to go for a laptop/desktop Dell/non-Dell. My old desktop is Dell PII-266 (yes. from the pre-historic era) and it is still working. That influenced me in getting this laptop from Dell. After reading about this issue with 5160 on the net and other issues with 5150, I am not sure if I want go for another Dell or not. I suspect other computers (that we buy from retail stores) also have similar issues.

Thanks for all the help

Little beyond the scope presented here, but if you mean how to add additional language fonts then go to Start->Control Panel->Regional Options where you can checkmark other language you want installed.
If you just want to be able to enter high-ASCII characters (like ©®) then you can do either:
-hold ALT then type on the number pad the decimal number equivalent to the hex ASCII (ALT+0169 is the copyright circle, ALT+0174 is the registered trademark symbol),
-go to Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Character Map which will display all the characters which you can double-click then copy/paste for use.

I'm afraid there's nothing software based that's going to repair a bad circuit on a motherboard. You can lower the stress on it, but it's going to remain randomly unstable.
If you suspect it's the power cord, then test it while just running on battery then take the battery out and test with just the AC adapter.
For new laptops, I like the specs on the Inspiron XPSM1710 with Core2Duo (I would never get a CoreDuo laptop or desktop) & FX7900 but w/o Blu-Ray (raises the cost too much) since I play computer games. If I wasn't a gamer & needed a laptop I'd just get a cheap Inspiron 6000 or Latitude D505/D600 since they seem to run cool, quiet, and reliably while being light-weight. I'd probably get a 3-year waranty since just using it once pays for itself. My current laptop is a Fujitsu N6010 which has always run hot (but never shutdown), is now starting to get lines on the LCD (2-3 years old, only had a 1-year waranty), and feels like it weighs 30lb.

Just a note which most people don't realize. You can request your on-site waranty to be performed almost anywhere in the USA. Even if your computer is registered at your home address, you can have it serviced at your work or even at an out of town convention hall.
When the phone support person asks for your address or "shipping address" explain that if a tech is going to be dispatched you would like it at a different daytime address.
I see many calls age-out because the customer was asked for a "shipping address" instead of an "address where service will be performed". End result is customer is at work all day while the tech is trying home address. Yeah, it's kind of a FUBAR with the scripts the phone support people are using.
Another confusion can occur with the "press 1 if you are calling on a wireless device" when they meant "regarding a wireless device". People on cell phones tend to press 1.

Happy Holidays!

Tried to take it apart but one of the god damn keyboard screws was too tight. Stripped it trying to unscrew it.


Problem Description: During monsoon lightnings, the laptop was connected to Internet with power supply ON. Suddenly the system SHUTDOWN. Then I tried starting it many times but could not. So left it as it was. Then tried starting the laptop next day and it STARTED. But the mouse connected to the USB port was no longer working. I tried connecting my Webcam in the USB port but that wasnt working even. My LAN port was also not working. Since then none of the ports have been working.

I am currently accessing Internet through PCMCI LAN card.

Does anyone know, where can I find the CMOS reset/clear option.

My Email: shoby_th@yahoo.com

Kindly advise.


Charles Thomas

You still might be able to extract it with the right sized hardened tip screwdriver. I've had units come in with rounded phillips heads which my screwdriver was able to turn without any extra work. Next step would be to cut a groove in the screw head with a mototool cut-off bit, then use a flathead screwdriver to extract.

I wouldn't be surprised if a surge fried your USB ports. You can reset your BIOS by either re-flashing it with the latest BIOS from Dell or select the "Factory Default" option. I'd reflash since a reset from a corrupted BIOS wouldn't help.
Personally I use a laptop surge protecter which straps to my AC adapter & includes LAN ports.
If the reflash doesn't help, then it'd need a new m/b.
Make sure your AC adapter is still OK by checking that the green LED stays lit at all times.

I recently got one of those Dells (Inspiron 1100) and even though it wasn't overheating, I've decided to replace the thermal grease. Let's say I just love opening computers. To my amazement, when I disassembled the machine, it turned out that it had plenty of silicone thermal grease applied. My bet is that the previous owner took it to some specialist who just applied the new thermal grease. Nevertheless, I smeared it off with paint thinner and applied the reliable but underestimated Arctic Cooling MX-1. The idle temperature is now 38*C and 60*C in Prime95 stress test (ambient temp. 25*C). These values will drop once MX-1 matures (approx. 200 hours)
Several remarks:
1. When opening the laptop, do it slowly and precisely. It is rather easy, provided you follow the procedure.
2. Remember to open the socket by twisting the zif screw! The CPU should come out easily (I really don't understand how people bend their cpu's pins. You must be an absolute brute to manage that!) Pry the processor off the cooler with a screwdriver and locate it back in the socket. Lock the ZIF screw and begin cleaning/applying the new thermal compound.
3. I might be a good idea to apply some grease to the fan's bearings. It seems to reduce high-pitch noises in the low rpm range. Don't use WD-40, go for a generic silicone grease/oil used for sewing machines.
4. Clean copper fins are very efficient. After cleaning them, I've noticed that the air coming out is hot on the right-hand side and significantly cooler on the left-hand side (looking at the back)
5. Separate notice: Inspiron 1100 seems to be quite moody when it comes to DIMM placement. In case it won't start (flashing Numlock led several times and turning off), take out the memory module(s) and clean the slot(s) thoroughly with a clean brush or pressurised air. It does the trick in my case...
6. Use the best thermal compound available and follow the manufacturer's instructions! I would recommend Arctic Silver 5 or Arctic Cooling MX-1 (budget range). If you feel like spending a bit more for even lower temperatures, go for Coollaboratory Liquid Pro.
Thank you for this site, keep up the good work!

I am trying to help a friend with an inspiron 5100. He thought he was having the overheating problem. He found your site and the information on the Dell site and sent it all to me. I took the computer apart cleaned and then put the recommended thermal compound on the heat sink. The fan was clean; no apparent dust buildup. I put it all together and it wouldn't turn on; I just got the battery light and power up light coming on. I let it sit for a couple of months (no time to look at it) and tried it again today after reading about someone who turned their computer off and on several times. Without the battery in place and of course with the AC power I rapidly turned it on and off and it started and booted up and ran normally for several minutes. So, I figured maybe problem solved, but when I tried to reboot it won't restart. The battery light flashes and the on light comes on brightly briefly every time you hit the start button. Also after several hits on the start button the hard drive light very dimly flickers continously. Any body have any ideas where to go next? I'll wait for a response for awhile before I go ahead and check the memory for seating as suggested in one of the posts. Happy New Year! Steve

Arctic Silver 5 is good stuff as long as you're careful with it as it conducts electricity. Last time I heard it brought up to Intel officially they said use Arctic Alumina or Ceramique since they don't conduct current.
During the cure process, it also has to be thermally cycled (heated up, then let cool all the way). Some people (me) never turn off their computers is why I mention it.

I cringed reading "pry it off with a screwdriver".
A CPU could easily be damaged that way as well as gouge the heatsink surface. Even when working on other areas of a laptop I often use a plastic rather than metal screwdriver. If the CPU is fused to the heatsink such that you cannot get it off try carefully inserting it back into the ZIF socket then twist to separate it. Failing that, some isopropel alcohol and a craft razor blade (one-sided). Don't cut yourself.

Time doesn't really heal all wounds, you'll need to diagnose it some more. Repeated surging a resistive electric device isn't so good either.
Does the 5100 stay powered up (but still no display/POST) after the LEDs flicker or does it power itself off? With all the RAM out it should power itself off too. When you turn it on while holding the "Fn" key what is the state of the num, caps, scroll lock LEDs? With the CPU out and a stick of RAM in, does it stay powered on longer than with the CPU out? Does the fan spin at all when it's powered on? Tried with the HDD removed?

Hi DCSE, and thanks for your involvement here!

Three days ago (yes, on Christmas day!) my 4-years old Inspiron 1100 died, together with its HDD. The laptop won't boot at all (the screen is completely blank, no BIOS, nothing), and the HDD is completely dead (I checked it both in another laptop and with an external power source --- I can hear no spinning - therefore no power flowing in it).

Back to laptop: I tried everything you suggested here - removed battery, RAM dimms, CPU, nothing helps. I'm giving you exactly the symptoms, hoping for a diagnostic (my first impression is that is something with the power on the mobo):

When I press the power button, with the AC power plugged in, and regardless of the hardware installed/removed (RAM, CPU), I consistently get the green light power led lighting for ca. 4 seconds, and a weird electric sound - something like a "metallic fart" (that's the best I can do to describe it) - this sound is a bit louder when I power up on battery. The fan is running at a low RPM as soon as I plug in the AC, which seems strange to me... When I press the power button, the fan RPM increases for those 4 seconds. After 4 seconds, the power light, increased fan RPM, and sound go off. If I keep the power button pushed, I can clearly hear there are 4-seconds power cycles, with a "click" sound at the beginning of each cycle. It seems like it tries to power up, but it fails after 4 seconds. The most suspect thing is that metallic/electric sound, which makes me think it's a power failure on the motherboard. That would also explain the failure of the HDD at the same time...

Any suggestions? Any chances to save the system, or better buy something new?
Thanks for your help!


People responsible for Arctic Silver 5 claim that it is not conductive but still - keep it away from anything other than the surface of you cpu's core. I think you'd have to be a _truly_ messy person to manage spilling/smearing it anywhere other than that. At least as long as we're talking about Celeron, which has a sturdy, large alu cover on it's die.
Anyway, if anyone feels uncomfortable due to lack of experience, they should go for Arctic Ceramique.

"pry it off with a screwdriver" - I'm sorry for my bad choice of vocabulary (I'm Polish :). What I meant was:
a) Insert the flat tip of a screwdriver between the edge of the green CPU laminate and the copper base of the heatsink.
b) Twist the tip _gently_. The processor should come off nicely.
c) Using a plastic tool is a great idea.
The whole operation seems to be a bit easier when the processor and the radiator are still warm. That gives the thermal compund its natural consistency of a toothpaste (it doesn't apply to all products!)
As long as one keeps it slow and gentle, it's a safe process. Intel processors of that period are protected from damage with an alu cover. The pins underneath are the most fragile part of the unit - always unlock the socket, before trying to lift the cpu+heatsink. I would've been a lot more careful if I dealt with an Athlon/Duron (exposed die)

Thans for the diagnostic routine. Unfortunately I don't have anything good to report. Going throught the list:

Does the 5100 stay powered up (but still no display/POST) after the LEDs flicker

With all the RAM out it should power itself off

When you turn it on while holding the "Fn" key what is the state of the

With the CPU out and a stick of RAM in, does it
stay powered on longer than with the CPU out? NO CHANGE.

Does the fan spin at all when

Tried with the HDD removed? NO CHANGE.


Thank you for the website. I removed the fan/cpu assy and found a thick blanket of dust inside the fan unit last night. I replaced them without seperating the cpu from the fan unit and did not have video when I powered up my 1100. I went back and seperated the cpu from the cooling unit and installed in the socket but still no video. I got frustrated and went to bed wanting to take a fresh look at it today. I went and look at the pins in the cpu today and found one bent down. I was able to pick it up with a small needle and straighten it out with two small flat head screwdrivers. BE SURE YOU ARE PROPERLY GROUNDED BEFORE TRYING THIS! I popped it in the socket, locked it down and put everything else back in. Started it up and my Video is back!! If I would have listed in the first place and removed it from the fan cooling unit I would not have had to do this. I thought I could save some time since I did not have any new heat sink grease. I guess I should have waited to do it right the first time. Now it is back to surfing the web.


I have to say thanks here for the info. Ive had Dell Inspiron 1150 for some two years and have overheating problems for the last 7 months. Ive tried everything and even made a seperate cooling unit to sit under the laptop.
I have now replaced the Thermal Grease and also cleaned out the cooling fan fins.
I now have a regular 40 to 50. Instead of up to 70 degrees.

Thankyou so much for your site.

Thanks for the website and the guys that have been contributing to it. I have a 5160 and obviously have problems with overheating. I want to do the cleaning procedure but I am afraid of damaging the system board. I got the manual that explains all the procedure to take the "microprocessor thermal-cooling assembly" and based on the comments here I have some queries. First there might be a problem to separate the heatsink (part where the four captive screws are) from the system board hence one should use a plastic tool and force it up, probably twisting a bit, is this really safe, shall I do anything else before trying this "brute force approach"? Is there a risk the system board will come up together (perhaps I should say sorry for the ignorance but that might depend on the computer and I could not see a description for the 5160 in the website)?
Second question: Where should the new thermal grease be applied on? I suspect it to be on the part of the heatsink that will be in contact with the system board, anywhere else?
Thanks very much for the help and the info

Can anyone give me a suggestion?

I'm looking to buy a laptop. My budget is very limited. Some guy is selling hie Dell Inspiron 1100 2.0GHz/1GB/40GB Laptop Computer (Model PP07L). He has upgraded the ram from 256 to a 1GB.

Below is his description:

Price: $350 CDN.

This Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop computer is in excellent condition. It comes with the original power cord, a wireless network card (details below) and a vinyl carrying bag.


- Intel Celeron 2.0GHz processor
- 1GB of RAM (upgraded from 256MB)
- 40GB hard drive
- 14.1-inch screen
- CD-RW/DVD combo drive
- 10/100Mbps network card
- 56Kbps data/fax modem
- U.S. Rebotics 100Mbps 802.11g wireless network card

All you of seems to be experts here. Let me know if that is a good price or should I bargain it down?

Dell Inspiron 1150. Without the battery in, unit will not turn on using the ac adapter. The power and battery led's on the front will flash once every 5-10 seconds. Insert the battery and the led's stop flashing. But also don't get a charge light either. So it is not charging the battery. Insert a good battery and it boots.

Now, I have been doing laptop repairs for about 5 years now with quite a bit of soldering experience and just a little bit of troubleshooting experience. But I am no trained electronics tech. We replaced the dc jack without problems, went smoothly, still experiencing the same issues.

I am thinking theres a bad diode or regulator or something of the sort on the mobo. Has anyone traced this problem down and know what needs to be replaced?

Thanks in advance.


Hi, I have a toshiba satellite 1905 which has been giving me overheating problems for the past year. It has shut down a couple of times but always restarted. I want to open it up to clean the fan to prevent overheating but am frankly scared of playing around with it. Is there any toshiba temperature monitoring software available? Or should I just buy a new laptop and transfer all my data before this one (which I've had for 3.5 yrs) dies on me?


Done and done! I did as you said and called small business, asked for level 2 and they are sending out a tech. However they said the MB is under warranty (on site) and showed the previous calls by the laptops owners were turned down for getting service. I guess you were right; better response from the SB phone number as opposed to the Home support line.
I appreciate it; they are happy.

I've had the same problem with the battery stopping to charge. I got a new power cord and discovered that removing the battery and using AC directly worked... (at this point the new cord does nothing, and my old one works great) for a while. Pretty soon, the computer would boot fine on just AC but it would constantly turn off.
Last night, in desperation I booted off the 2% still on the battery to send off a few E-mails of the files I need.
After the battery had gone to 0% I successfully did a safe turn off of the computer-and the battery started charging (hasn't for more than 2 weeks).
Is this a battery problem, adapter problem (doesn't seem likely) or a motherboard problem? When the battery has power it works terrificly, would that point away from a motherboard problem?

Update: it seems to be the power jack, or where the power cord plugs into the computer. It will work for a little while and then give out-then I just have to restart and let it sit for a min or two for it all to work again.
How hard is it to replace the power jack area (you might know, as dells frequently have this problem) would it be worth it just to buy another computer?
Thanks (same James)

I've had my Dell Inspiron 1150 for two and a half years, it's been slow and overheating for the last 18 months or so. Video and other high load functions were jerky. And in the last week it's been switching itself off because of the overheating. I downloaded the fan control utility and found out the CPU was running at about 75c.

I was ready to ditch it and buy a new laptop (which I can barely afford); but then I did a search of the problem on Google, found this page and followed the instructions on removing the old grease and blowing air through the vents.

A big wad of cat hair blew out. The removal of the CPU from the heat sink was a bit scarey, but I applied a new coat of silicon heat conductor.

The CPU temperature now runs from the low-40s to the mid-50s with heavy loads. Video and other high-load programs run smoothly, the laptop remains cool and it's running like a new computer all over again. It cost me about $20 to fix.

Thank you SO much for your instructions. It's not for the faint hearted, but it was well worth it in my case.

I also replaced the battery with a new one (the old one was giving me 10 minutes; now it's back up to over 3 hours) and I installed more to RAM (to 768MB). And now I reckon this laptop, which was a near-basket case yesterday, is now good for another few years.



I have an Inspiron 1150 that overheats as well. I am going to attempt to clean the vents and apply new grease. I have been using a usb cooling dock for about 3 weeks now and the computer is running alot cooler, however, A few days ago I noticed that the USB ports are not being recognized. I tried my camera and my memory stick and nothing is recognized.

I tried re-installing the usb ports and drivers....the weird part is the computer recognizes the new hardware (USB ports) and installs the drivers for the USB ports. However, I can't use them. I also treid renaming the CD-RW drive with a different letter. I am beggin for help here!!!

Thanks in advance.


Interesting case here. I have an Inspiron 1100, and bought a *working* system pull motherboard to replace a non-working board.

This replacement board works to a degree, but there's a problem.

I cannot use both a battery AND an AC adapter at the same time with this board, because it will shutdown after a few seconds. However, if I boot up with just a battery, it's fine, and if I boot up with just the AC adapter, it's also fine. Just not both.

The green light on the adapter goes OFF when I have both the battery and AC adapter plugged in.

One other thing that shouldn't have anything to do with the problem but is worth noting is that when I first had the original bad board looked at, the repair shop said the video daughter card was also bad. I took a chance and didn't replace the daughter card when I put the replacement board in, and the video *works*, but the bios post screen doesn't go full screen. It just stays centered on the screen in a smaller square. However, when Windows boots, Windows displays in full screen. So, I don't know if there's an issue with the daughter card or not. I'm getting a replacement for 15 bucks, anyway.

I've tried to set the bios to defaults (F9 while in setup mode), but it never does anything nor does it give me any option to set system defaults.

It's using the A26 bios at present, but I can't update the bios because the bios is written to require both AC and battery installed at the same time, and that causes a non-power condition as outlined above. Hence, the bios upgrade won't install.


Hi all, I found this site through Google. I don't have a overheat or fan problem. What I have is the BIOS is not seeing the Hard Drive. I replaced the HD with a New WD model and I still have the same problem. I was able to run the Dell Diagnostics test and every test passed. If I run the dianostics from F12 it fails to see the HD and gives me a 1-4-1 beep code. Has anyone else experienced this problem? I am beginning to think that the MB is bad. It is a Dell Inspiron 1100, Model PP07L with a Celeron 2.0 Ghz Processor.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,


Sooo, I figured I'd open the laptop up and have a look around. Although there was just thermal grease residue left, there were no obvious signs of anything having burned or melted. The frustrating part is that the prson I got it from only had it very briefly and didn't even use it a lot. When I opened the case, the inside was almost spotless... almost no dust at all.

Is it worth it to invest in a new motherboard or should I just consider this to be an oversized doorstop?

I'm having the same problem as Zach up there where the battery light flashes green once, then amber for 6 or 7 times. What's up with that?


Thanks for the help!

My fan literally stopped working it was so clogged up with dust, causing the computer to shutdown after about 10 minutes.

When I opened up the fan, it took me a good 10 minutes to clean because there were so many dust bunnies!

When I tried to restart, I had the no video problem, but then after unlocking/relocking the ZIF, comp came back on no problems.

Quieter and cooler than ever!


I posted a question to you a while back and wanted to follow up on what's transpired. In short, I replaced the MB and problem solved. MB was your #1 choice for likely suspect and turns out you were right. Thanks for your help and for having this forum to ask questions.


Brian S.

Hello. I am a Fire Investigator who is currently involved in a fire that looks like it originated at a Dell laptop. What I am looking for are photographs from people who's Dell computer has experienced an overheating condition (melted or burned components). If anyone has photos or knows someone who does, I would greatly appreciate it if you could email them to me (dschuh@atslab.com).

Thanks in advance,


I was wondering if you answered questions for Dell 1100 owners as well? I recently acquired one and I don't have a users manual or CD for it and it keeps stopping on start up and asking me for a secondary HDD password.what is it and how do I get around it? Please help.I don't know what to do and I spent money I really didn't have.

Suzukiowned, there is a way you can fix this, but it involves Dell tech support. BUT, before you can even attempt that, you need to take ownership (Dell's process of taking ownership) of the laptop. Email me at heyitsrick AT hotmail dot com
(written that way to avoid spam). I will spell out the process for you.

I'm having the same problem with my Dell Inspiron 1100 overheating. I cleaned out the fan/heat sink, but it didn't resolve the issue. Perhaps I should just replace it. Meanwhile, I decided to switch to the Apple iMAC. I'm much happier with the Mac. Proprietary parts work well together.

My 1150 turned back on after completing this task and for that it was worth the few bucks I Paypaled you. I had a problem figuring out what exactly the "cpu" was and where exactly to apply the thermal grease but once I saw picture #4 it all made sense. My CPU was stuck. Great instructions and great follow up by everyone. There was not near the amount of dust in there that I was expecting so I'm not quite sure this is my issue.

CPU STUCK AT 185 Degrees - 85 Celcius! If cold, my laptop would come on for a minute, then fade to a white screen and lock up. If warm, it immediately would fade to a white screen and lock.

I got the idea of sticking the laptop in the refridgerator and got it to book up and stay up (strange but true.) I started the I8Kfangui program with the fans running full tilt and my Dell D800 will keep running even out of the refridgerator so long as I don't tax the processor (or it will crash).

The I8Kfangui program reports that the CPU temp is stuck at 185 Degrees/85 Celcius. Where does that temp reading come from? The CPU? Is there a temperature sensor reading part on the motherboard? This can't be a virus or bios error, can it?

HELP! (fibercoax@aol.com)

Thanx for all the help with fixing the temp. I can't wait to try it out.
However, at the moment, I have bigger fish to fry. I figured while I had a chance to ask someone else with and Inspiron 1100, I'd give it a shot.
This computer has SO MANY problems (trust me, not worth listing) EVERYONE with any knowledge agrees that a reformat is necessary.
This is proving more difficult than it should be. I have all the software here. Did Dell not give us everything we need?! It keeps telling me that it can't install XP because the version on the computer is newer blah, blah, blah...
None of the disks say "recovery" or anything like that on them.
Has ANYONE done this successfully? Can anyone point me towards any useful resources?

Does anyone know what this means?:

"file \i386\ntkrnlmp.exe could not be loaded. the error code is 7"


Re: your error message above: Here's a Microsoft support page about it. It means either your Bios settings are inaccurate or your RAM (at least some of it) is faulty. Read here:


I have had the same problem with overheating on my Dell since the day I got it. It has always run hot. I just wait for it to cool off when it dies. It has me trained now.

I'm also unhappy because the darn thing is on it's third power cord! They are expensive. Something to consider when choosing laptops.

The thin wire where the connector goes into the back of the computer is the part that shorts out from the motion of installing it and taking it out again.

It's a laptop you're supposed to be able to plug it in and unplug it over and over.

If I wiggle it, it will go from power to battery so that's how I know when it's failing.

Pain in the neck. Bad design.

I'm moving on to another brand.



I have not tried the thermal grease yet but would once I get home today. For those that there laptop does not turn on after pulling the processor, you laptop is more than likely still good. You need to install properly. Follow these steps

There is a screw that locks the processor in place. Unlock the screw before pulling or replacing the processor. And lock it after replacing processor.

I took mine out without unlocking and then put is back but nothing. I stated to panic. I then looked closely at the processor mount (one of the edges) and I saw the screw like lock. I unlocked it, put in the processor, screwed down the four mounting screws and then locked the screw like lock. And my laptop started turning on with display again.

Was wondering if anyone DVD-RW on an Inspiron 1100. Picked this laptop up from a friend and it appears that the laser burnt out in the DVD Drive. I have a replacement on order and can probably replace it myself but was wondering if anyone can provide a DIY or step by step instructions.


I have a Dell Inspiron 1150 with a broken power jack. Does anyone make a docking station that will supply power to this laptop and bypass the onboard power jack, or do I have to have the power jack replaced?



Dell's tech manual has high level disassembly instructions such as memory, DVD etc replacements...


My screen on my Dell inspiron 1150 does not turn on. So maybe someone can tell me how to fix it. The laptop does turn on, and I hear it on but I don't know why the screen does not go on, but yet the laptop does turn on.

One more from the "Thank You" section: our Inspiron 1100 suddenly developed the shutsdown-for-no-reason problem. We downloaded the i8kfan program and saw that our CPU temp was ranging from 65C to 75C, with little or no CPU load. We popped the top as per your pictures and discovered two things: first, the glop between the CPU and the heat sink was totally petrified; second, there was a thin, almost solid wall of dust inside the fan housing, right up against the copper fins on the heat sink's radiator. We had to remove the fan from the housing, clean from the inside with a Q-tip, then blow hard into the radiator from exhaust side. Voila! Clean as a whistle! We put on some new heat-transfer glop between the CPU and the sink, reassembled, and fired up anew. Temp is now ranging from 45C to 55C with little or no load, hasn't gone over 62C under any load so far, and no more shutdowns.

Thanks a lot for your help in solving this bothersome problem.

Hey all, I removed the cmos battery to replace it and then promptly lost the battery. Can some one send me the information about this battery. The chat room for Dell was not helpful at all.

Thanks in advace.

I have a 1100 and have heating problem. I was trying remove 4 screws on the heatsink but 1 and 2 screws are kind stuck to the board and won't come out. Any of you had the same problem ? Did you use WD40 or simiar to loosen up the screws?

Also, I just installed the fan control software. Unfortunantely, the temperature is saying 0 C. Is this a sensor issue? I have BIOS A06.

Thanks for your help.

Raj - can you look at the battery for the CMOS and let me know the numbers on it please? I had a problem with the screw that held the cover on for the memory and drilled the head off, then used vise grips to get the screw out afterwards, however I do not think this would work in the heat sink situation.

For Anyone Who Removed The Heatsink/CPU without unlocking the Ziff screw. No worries!

If you were like me and cracked open your 1100 eager to deal with your heat problems with a new layer of thermal grease and in the process of removing the heatsink and fan the cpu came out with it, you may have experienced the following:

-PROBLEM: After cleaning out the dust from the fan and applying new thermal grease, you replaced everything as instructed, buttoned everything back up, but the computer would not boot. No beeps, fan spins, power light is on but no display.

-SOLUTION: Open everything up again. Remove the heatsink/fan. On the left side of the cpu socket you will see a flat headed screw with symbols to the top and bottom of it indicating lock and unlock. (this is probably positioned in the middle which allowed the cpu to come out with the heatsink/fan.) Inspect the cpu for bent pins. If their are no bent pins your good, reseat the cpu and with a flat head screw driver, turn the zifflock screw to the lock position. Replace the heatsink/fan assembly, button everything back up and your good to go!

-Remember to reconnect the power plug for the fan.
-Remember to unplug both the plug plug and remove the battery beforehand. (Although, I mistakenly did this with the battery in and had no problems, but I wouldn't recommend it.)

Hope this helps!

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say thanks so much for all the info - I've never pulled apart a computer before (good to know I already unplugged it and took out the battery - gives me confidence in my common sense - ha ha).

I went so far as to take out the fan and clean it, then poked around with some bent cotton buds and pulled out masses of black dust (living in Tokyo for you!). It started again OK and sounds a lot better - no massive whirring anymore, so I'm hoping it's OK. You all kind of lost me past the fan! It's been overheating for ages and crashing, and it was becoming a bit rediculous!!! Someone needs to mention to someone else that in the designing of these things, cleaning of the fan should be an easy job - easy enough to be regular!

Keep up the great work - I'll definitely keep this site on my list!!

I have a Dell Inspiron 1150 with the same problem. However, when I follow your instructions to remove th heatsink ("Remove the four screws holding the heatsink down and the fan connector; you’ll be able to lift the assembly out for cleaning")the heatsink is still firmly attached to the top of the CPU and possibly torwards the rear of the computer. What other steps do I need to do to remove it? How do I clean those tubes out? Thanks, Ted

Thanks for your help. I was able to save my 3 year old inspiron 1100. Dell and other vendors asked for more than 200$. I was able to fix for less than 5$ . Thanks again. paypaled a small contribution for the great info.

I am at my wits end, if I send my dell Laptop to you would you fix it? I am willing to pay you.

My Inspiron 5100 was plagued with the same overheating problem. The KEY to fixing it was after removing the heatsink unit to REMOVE the fan from the heatsink. Look down in the unit toward the radiator fins. If you can't see light, you've got a mat of dust blocking the airflow. Remove it with tweezers (or other appropriate instrument). The external fins on my heatsink have always appeared clean. It was driving me batty. You have to keep the inside of the fan area clean too, and this involves removing the fan with the three little screws. I figure I'll have to repeat this procedure every few months to keep my system running cool.

Thanks to all who had posted on this site. I had taken apart my roomates 5100 to clean the fan because it kept overheating. I took the whole heatsink out (at the time I had no idea what it was I just knew I wanted to remove it so I could effectivly blow out the dust) and was scared to death when the laptop wouldn't come back on. I thought for sure I had killed it. Thanks to this page, I realized I had not repositioned the CPU using the lock/unlock screw properly, but that I wasn't the only one with heat issues. I know plan on redoing this again with some grease and some patience in hopes of solving this problem for good.

I've been having overheating problems too. My HD gets up to 63C in about 30min. Sometimes my CPU starts getting high too. I pulled out the hard drive, CD drive, battery, opened the memory chip doors, and pulled out the heatsink with the attached CPU. (I didn't seperate the heatsink from the CPU because I don't have any of that compound stuff and I'm out of the country right now.) I pulled the fan out of the heat sink unit. Low and behold I found very little dust! So I put it all back together, turned it on (after praying) and it works. The problem is that is works EXACTLY as it did before with the same overheating issues. The fan does work. So I don't get it. My online HD check says that my HD is in good condition (even though it overheats up to 63degC +. So what's the next step? Thanks, Ted

Piece of cake. 1120 working like new after following the above - disassemble fan, heatsink, cpu. Clean CPU & heatsink. Rub in Arctic 5 on heatsink, wipe off. Apply small pea-size dab on CPU. Computer now idles under 40C - working at about 100%, CPU temp rose to 43C. One thing I noticed is that two of the corners of the CPU had what looked like miniature burrs or deformations of some sort. Figuring these little areas were proud of the flat surface of the CPU - and might prevent even, full contoct with the face of the heat sink, I ran the CPU lightly over a piece 0f 220 sandpaper on a flat hard surface, just to knock off those high spots. I don't know whether this is a good idea, but, since my daughter had already tossed this graduation gift into the trash and bought an Imac, I figured what the heck.
Thanks a lot for the help of all the people on this site.

I'm having trouble cleaning my fan for my dell b130. ive got the keyboard out just fine, but dont know where or how to remove the rest of the casing so that i can get to the fan and clean it. any thought anyone? HELP!!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH. I fixed my Inspiron 1000 by following the instructions and applying thermal grease (it was just a dried up black spot before). Great instructions on how to dismantle the laptop too. I had it down to the bare bones, cleaned everything out and put a gob of thermal grease between the heat sink and the processor. The laptop was ready for the garbage before, couldn't even move it without it shutting down before and now it works like a dream, still hasn't shut down once in about 4 months. Thanks again.

After many mishaps due to not first removing the battery, I ended up replacing the motherboard, the heatsink and the hard drive. It was a lesson of what not to do, and a reminder that sometimes one should read Tech Manual's before embarking on a new repair job.

After all the damage, I then used Dell's detailed Tech Service manual for the re-installation, but nowhere did it mention about not touching the copper parts of the heatsink.

As the plastic handle broke (had to put it in twice), I did touch those parts and did not clean them before replacing everything.

The Inspiron works fine now, temp staying around 53 deg whether on idle or normal load and 46 when fan goes on. This is after only 3-4 hours up and running since putting it back together. Artic Silver says it needs around 200 hours to optimize the contact.

Question: is it worth now taking out the heatsink again to clean the copper bars? Always the risk that the CPU pins will get bent, or the thermal seal will not be as good as now.

Thanks for your expert advice!

I have the typical problem with my otherwise excellent Dell laptop (Latitude D500) - try to turn on, and if it does start up, it eventually has the screen freeze after windows is loaded, and I have to force shut down by holding down the power button. I am pretty sure the unseated cpu is the problem, because if I twist the bottom chassis of the laptop, it will start up (only to freeze a minute later when windows is loaded). Sometimes, it won't start up, but instead the lights blink (if I twist the chassis while starting, it will start, load windows, and eventually freeze). I have found that if I constantly move the internal mouse, it will not freeze. As soon as I am motionless, it freezes. Also, last night I took the laptop apart, removed the CPU shield (thin sheet metal-looking type of thing) and fired it up while putting a little pressure on the CPU board, and the computer fired up. I have heard the “legend” of cover/bracket that holds down a Dell laptop cpu four corners instead of three. For the life of me, I can't find any other info on the internet about where to buy this. Also, it seems that my CPU may be hiding under a thick square flat metal plate. Is that where the CPU is? Does the plate protect it, and send the heat to the heat sink above the plate? How do I remove that meta plate to reseat the CPU? The Dell online manual says a CPU extractor tool is needed. Is that true, or is there some other “at-home” method?

Any advise, and the source for this legend of an improved CPU bracket that keeps it seated on all four corners, is greatly appreciated.


i belong to the happy family of "hot" inspiron 1100 owners. compared to some of the sagas i read my inspiron works like a beaut. of course, at times i had burn marks on my lap after working on the pc for an hour. two things cooled my machine down quite a bit: first my battery burned out. the 1100 works fine on the ac adapter, and immediately was a lot cooler. still the performance was pathetic. i barely could run mine sweeper. i got norton (pathetic) and a registry cleaner that helped some. than i remembered from my old desktops that adding ram can do wonders for pcs. i replaced one of my 128 mb dimm ddr chips with a 512 (max) and suddenly it works again marvelously. the chip is from a net company,$35 rather than the ridiculous $85 dell wants. the machine is fast again and a lot cooler. particularly the harddrive works a lot less, does not have to help out the ram with overflow data all the time. beware of upward compatibility. supposedly the m/b can handle up to pc3200 dimm ddr, but it did not work for me. the ram in the machine was pc2100. i replaced it with pc2100 512mb 266mhz dimm ddr which works beautifully. good luch to all 1100s out there.

Here is what has been to my Dell Inspirion 5100 Laptop by a friend:The cpu was removed and cleaned on its surface and the heatsink surface
with an alcohol swab and it was reassembled with the new material you
provided. This was done three times. The copper area of the fan
supporting the cpu was blown clean although there was very little dust
accumulation. The entire computer was disassembled, checked for obvious
problems and put back together twice. The hard drive was wiped. At one
point prior to wiping the hard drive the computer did start up and
seemed fine, but it never would start up again. I did try whatever
showed up on the website you gave me and nothing seemed to work. My
feeling at this point is that there is a problem in the motherboard
itself related to power distribution.
What do I do now, I am willing to sell it to anyone now for parts unless you yourself can fix it. It doesn't even boot to a screen.
C Kussner

Hi, I have an old DELL Inspiron 1100.
Symptoms: Boots, but no display
Fam does not work. But when connected to an external monitor, everything is fine, untill the processor heats up and auto shuts down. I tried cooling the processor with an external fan unit and everything works fine. Any idea what i need to change, to make it work as a notebook again? :) thanx

Ash, could be an easy fix. You have "function" keys on your keyboard. The blue key down by the spacebar with an "fn" on it.

Pressing and holding the "fn" key while tapping the "F8" key on the top row (tap it once to see if video returns to laptop screen)will toggle the display from the external output to the LCD screen.

The toggling sequence (holding the "fn" key while tapping F8) is this:

External monitor
Both LCD and External

If your current toggle position is for "external", then doing the fn + f8 combo ONCE should result in getting video to both the LCD screen on the laptop AND the external monitor. If you tap it twice, it should go to the LCD Only. If you tap it three times, you'll be right back to external-only.

Now, you didn't say whether you already knew about that fn+f8 combo, so I'm presenting it here.

If that's not the problem, then I would try removing the keyboard (very easy to do) and checking the LCD - to - video card connection. Those instructions can be presented if the fn+f8 toggling doesn't work.

You definitely have to get that fan fixed, Ash, by the way. There are frequently available fan/cooler parts on Ebay for this unit.

C Kussner, what do you want $$$-wise to part that thing out?

Can anyone give me the major dimensions of the 5100? My girlfriend has the same overheating problem as everyone else. I was going to make here a cool(ing) stand so she can stop using a ton of books stacked up, since she's weary of letting me take it all apart. Basically I'd like to know the width, depth and where the vents for the fan is in the back. Doesn't have to be exact. I think she got the bigger option (14 or 15 I think).
If anyone could just slap a ruler down or post a picture of the bottom of it i would really appreciate it!

Thanks - J

I have an 1100 but am unable to update the Bios (from A23 to A32). I try this in safe mode but get a message that the AC adapter and battery must be plugged in before flashing. They both are plugged in and working fine (as far as I can tell). Anybody have any ideas? Thanks.


i had a stunning experience when i contacted dell regarding bios update a32. i got a new battery, but than got the message "system not recognized". i contact dell chat room, first they offer some patches, but when i mention overheating, they offer to replace fan and heatsink at no cost. also they will try to install the new bios. he mentioned "issues" that might prevent that from happening, but did not specify. get on a different pc, go to support and try your luck. as time of the day may matter, i did all this around 3:30 pm central time. good luck.

Thanks Hans, I'll try it.


thanks for this site...i have just read the comments and have not yet tried the problems. when my 1000 shuts down the hard drive light stays lit as well as the battery light (only if it is charging) any ideas???

pdukey follow the instructions and thermal grease between the heat sink and the processor. Strip the laptop right down (from the top, not the bottom) as the instructions say. My 1000 was ready for the garbage and it has still yet to shut down once since I followed the instuctions at the top and repaired it with this site. Kind of scarey stipping the laptop down that much (keyboard out, screen off etc) but trust me it's worth it. Just label all the screws etc. Good luck.

just wanted to say i cleaned out the heat sink and fan in my 1150 today. it runs like new now and the fan hardly turns on. It was overheating for the past year or so....and i just dealt with it until i found this page.

Also, make sure to unlock the cooling unit from the motherboard before removing and lock it after you reinstall it. My 1150 wouldnt boot-up because i reinstalled the cooling unit while the lock was still engaged on the motherboard.....this makes for a bad connection. I unlocked....reseated the cooling unit to the motherboard....then locked it. voila!

i have a inspiron 5100 worked well for 3 years then after few weeks ago i got a error message saying the amount of system memory has changed strike the f1 key to continue f2 to run setup utility, then my ram decreased from 512 to 256 somthing wrong with my dimm b (slot b ) so i asked dell to check it out they required 249$ to just to open and see so i decided to open and clean it up for my bad luck after cleaning the entire board nothing woked cleaned again finally it worked but stilli can only use dimm a slot not b when i use b slot it shuts down boots with this error message then from 512 it decreases to 256 i have tried it with new ram sticks too so its a issues with the slot or the motherboard please help me with this

I have a Dell Inspiron 8000 which has not been used for awhile (sitting unpluged). Worked fine last time it was used. Now at power on the blue Dell logo screen is displayed (small) and then the system hangs with the dell logo on the screen. I can not get into the bios. Any ideas on how to fix?

Thanks in advance ...

Thanks for this great reference. I've been using ice packs under my 1100 to cool it but that is becoming less and less effective. So I've put your instructions to work.

Although I wasn't able to pry the CPU from the heatsink, I did notice a lot of debris (dust, lint, etc) inside the fins and behind the fan in the pathway to the fins. Using DRY shop air, I blew out almost all of the debris. I used isopropyl alcohol (91%) to clean all the copper (including fins). At the moment, the computer works, fans work, life is good.

You Rock guys... you simply rock... a horrifying one day just came to an end when I discovered the zif lock thing here... just couldn't make out before where I was going wrong... This article Rocks...!!!

God Bless..

Inspiron 1100 has the following problem.
boots and runs fine, no overheat average 53c.
fan heatsink clean.
When powered down or reboot it will not post.
the caps lock and scroll lock LEDs and fan spins

for about 4 or 5 seconds and then the machine

powers down.
will not post or boot again unless left alone

for an an hour or placed in a freezer for 5


Any ideas wt's wrong with this laptops. "HELP"

Hi everyone,
I hope this site is still active because I can really use the help. I have a Dell Inspiron 1100 that will not boot. I followed the advice on this site:

removed the keyboard, removed the copper cooling/fan unit, and reseated my chip. I put some artic silver on it. I cleaned out the fan vents. I locked the ZIF.

Still, when I boot up, I am unable to get any video. I hooked it up to an external monitor and still no video. The computer turns on, the fan spins (and actually the unit is noticeably cooler underneath now), the CD-Rom spins but still there is no video. I am not even sure if its booting up to windows or anything because there is no sound either. No lights flash at the top of the keyboard tray but the power light comes on and so does the battery (even though it keeps flashing amber and green no matter how long I leave it to charge). Does anyone have any ideas of what the problem could be?

I have an old Dell Inspiron 8100 here...can I swap out motherboards and put it into the 1100 or will it not match up?

Any help would be apprecaited!!!

another question - does the ZIF have to be at 180 degrees? I couldn't turn it all the way to 180 and wasn't sure if I should force it or not.

Thank you so much for your post and comments! I did everything you showed and it's working flawlessly! (for now at least) :) Thanks again!

i have a dell inspiron 5160, a year ago the motherboard and fan had to be replaced, the warrenty was out a week when it broke.
i rang dell and they said it would be €450 so i gave them my creditcard details and sent it away and i got it back, when i got my statement they charded me €850 without my premission! now a year later it wont work again, i am getting a blue error screen, i could have bought a new laptop that would have been as good if not better than the one i had! any one have any suggestions on how i could fix this problem? i am not very good a computer technical things so if you could give a very detailed explanation i would be very greatful.
i was doing a google search on the problem and i found out that a lot of people have had this problem and that in canada they have brought canada to the high court and they have won the case for i think 5160 but they are now bringing another case for 5160 and a few others, i dont no if this will apply to all dell customers if they win or only people in canada.

Thanks for this very helpful site. I was not having any overheating problems but was doing research into upgrading my CPU. After reseaching CPU specs from Intel I detemined I should be able to use a faster Celeron, and by downloading an Intel utility it the 1100 motherboard would support up to 2.8 ghz. I ordered a 2.8 ghz Celeron from ewiz.com (CELE-2.8G, 4$5) and using your pics and hints installed it with cleaning, thermal grease, etc. It runs great, the CPU fan may come on a little more often but with i8kfangui for Windows and DELLFAND for Linux the temp usually runs 45-50C, never over 60C even at 100% CPU. I also use a laptop cooler Isits under the laptop) I use them on my work and home laptops and wife's Dell 1501 - anything you can do to make the electronics and hard drive cooler will prolong the life of the machine. My Dell 1100 is around 4.5 years old and running great!

Thanks for the info! I was given this laptop by a relative and it was not working. With this information, I was able to get the laptop working and I am now using it with Linux!

Once again, thanks a million!

This page has some fantastic information!
Please keep this page going.
I have a 4 year old Inspiron 1000 that just stopped working. I read all the comments on this page and prepared a list of possible fixes.
I was lucky. Fixed first time.
My screen had been completely blank at startup.
With battery in and AC connected it was dead.
I removed the battery and now my machine works.
Thanks to all the great posts on this page.
A simple fix but not one I would have thought of myself.

i need a the monitor part to the 1100. My son smashed it somehow. By the way, my sisters was overheating really bad. We finally threw it in the trash. i guess i should have saved it for parts.
- doug

my dell inspiron works great when i have cleaned all the dust and the grease off. too bad in my place theres no one selling thermal compounds. Basically my cpu is without it now since i removed the old thermal compound that has been there for like 5 yrs.
My laptop still runs smoothly with the help of some fan controlled application.

Now my Inspiron 1100 is acting up the fan continuosly runs and don't stop and mostly shuts down and wont come back on for a long period of time I also added 2 gbs of ram do u think that could be the problem ??? please help me where I can manualy fix the problem myslf without having to pay high prices and do u still use the Inspiron 1100 and how is yours runing now ?

well my dell i5100's fan runs and immediately (1 secs). it sounds like fan has gone. but i am no geniuse to work out possibility of fixing fan. So i am looking for fan to replace. any idea where i can get??

well what you can always do is take a butter knife or some small flat object to put a slight force to it and it should pop loos thats what i had to do with my laptop but after i cleaned the heat sink out and used the heatsink glue every thing ran much faster after words. i did find something that helped with cleaning the heat sink though. if you cut a small but farly stiff peace of paper weather its a buisness card or something like that to a small enouf size you can slip that through the fins on the heat sink to break the dust loos and clean it out then use a small metel twist tie to retreev the dirt and remove it that helps emencely and cleans it a lot better every little bit of dirt can inpact the amount of heat the thing releses. by the way sory about my crapy spelling.

Help! BIOS is currently A06. It will not allow me to upload the A22 or higher to get to the A32. Please advise.

Running on an unsupported system

Phoenix Technology LTD

Everyone Don't Forget To REMOVE THE BATTERY! If you don't you could fry yourself or the computer and also GROUND YOURSELF! it only takes 100 volts of static to kill a computer component and at any given time you can have up to 20,000 Volts without even felling it.

Yes. In fact, any one doing this kind of work must remove any power source going into any component. It's just good practices.

By the way, these instructions do work. One more comment, be generous when applying the compound (this works better than grease) but do not over cake.

I am intrigued, and while I am NOT experiencing any specific problems, I do have 2 concerns. I hear that flashing the BIOS can turn the 1100 into a boat anchor. Has anyone experienced major issues flashing the BIOS? Does a Pheonix BIOS complicate matters? Also, can I place a single 1Gig memory module in 1 slot of the two available and expect it to work properly?

i have 5 years old dell inspiron 5100 i blow up the heat sink once a month w/ air blower this will prevent from over heating the note book and also prevent from opening the fan. opening ur notebook may damage ur computer.

I've had my Inspiron 1100 for about 6 years and for the most part, it has ran hotter and hotter. After seeing this blog, I removed the cpu and applied Arctic Silver 5 and cleaned the fan which contained an incredible amount of dust and now it's running so much cooler.

Thank you - worked like a CHAMP!

My son's Inspiron 1100 kept overheating. Thanks for the great info and documentation!!!! The fan was very dirty and the heat sink compound was dried up. Now all I need to do is replace the power supply that has a intermittent wire. Thanks again!!

My PC was overheating and shutting off. I took my computer apart but didn't find much dust. So I installed the fan control program recomended and it worked great. Great program and thanks for the information.

I am so glad I found your site. I have an inspiron 1100 that has been the best until the blue crash screen. I took it apart and found the cooling fins clogged with CAT hair! and the heat transfer compound was simply gone. I blew out the fan/heat sink assembly, cleaned w/Laquer thinner the mating surfaces of the heatsink and cpu and put on some fresh compound. The fan was running full blast for about 4 minutes until it would crash.... now is almost in audible and runs like the day it was new. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks for getting me to use my head.

Stop the presses! :)


First, thank you for your time and consideration! I started out with intent to clean my fan based on this helpful blog: http://www.adinochang.com/archives/cleaning-dell-inspiron-5100-cooling-fan-part-1.html. But then my computer (Dell Inspiron 5100) wouldn't boot and the monitor remained blank, a similar problem as some folks reported here, but before I got here I found JoeTech's blog here: http://www.joetech.com/how-to-replace-a-dell-inspiron-laptop-heat-sink-and-fan-assembly/#comment-172492. I posted a desperate moan there, thinking I'd fried my computer since I'd done all the above without having removed the battery. Joe responded with a question which got me out of my funk and back on the bench investigating, and that eventually led me here to you wonderful people.

After reading this article, I found a solution to my problem in YOUR comments!!!

AK posted on June 20, 2005 12:02 PM (5 years ago!)
“There is a really easy solution if you loose video after reseating the CPU. [...] there is a small turn screw on the left hand side of where the CPU sits. If you look closely, there are small LOCK and UNLOCK icons on either side of the space where you would turn. After seating the CPU, simply turn the little notch to UNLOCK then back to LOCK, screw your heat sink and fan back in, replace all screws and parts.”

I immediately opened it up, “unlocked” that screw, undid the screws-with-springs, removed / reseated the CPU (it’s attached the bottom side of the screws-with-springs big ol’ case) and “locked” that little screw. I reassembled everything and powered it up. BAM! It worked!!!

Thank You!!!

In case it helps anyone,

If you think you did the unlock/lock screws correctly when replacing the CPU and it STILL doesn't work, make SURE the CPU is pressed in there pretty firmly (particularly if you've got the heat sink stuck to it already). Hold you finger down on top of it as you turn the screw to lock. I believe the DELL documentation also mentions this.

After several unsuccessful attempts it just suddenly worked for me.

Thanks for the website!

Dont have any thermal glue..but i cleaned everything out inside. Including the wall of dust that others have mentioned. It was disgusting. Took me a couple trys to get it working after having the blank screen problem. But I just kept screwing and unscrewing and unlocking and locking in different patterns (lol)... then it finally worked! Computer runs much quieter and not as hot now. And seems to be helping with the battery life as well.

I was surprised that people are still posting here, which is where I learned about what was causing the overheating problem on my 1100 and how to fix it, which means that people are still using their 1100/5100s in spite of the problems. For me there is only one reason to do this: I absolutely love the styling of my 1100-- the blue-and-gray color scheme, the way the edges on the desktop are bevelled down into the keyboard. It pushes my esthetic buttons every time I push its start button. There may have been engineering design flaws, but whoever did the artistic design gets high marks. I have other computers, but I keep coming back to my 1100 as my favorite, and it's been running reliably for 6 years now which is longer than any other computer I've ever owned.

It helps if you upgrade what you can. It will take up to 1GB of memory (two 512s), and you can upgrade the Celeron processor in your 1100 to a Pentium 4 for a noticeable speed increase. Just be sure it is one of the earlier ones with a 400MHz FSB, as the motherboard does not support the later, faster versions. My understanding is that you can go up to 2.6MHz, but the faster you go the more heat is produced, so given the overheating issues you might want to throttle back a bit. I'm using a 2.2 and it is doing fine, although the fan does seem to work a little harder (I am using the I8kGUI fan utility program).

I saw someone recommend Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound, which is excellent. Also be sure to also get their #1 and #2 cleaning fluids to clean the CPU and heatsink thoroughly when you're reinstalling them.

There are still plenty of parts available on Ebay, and if you use it on a cooling pad these old 1100s might outlive us all!

I bought 3 Dell Inspiron 5100 laptops in 2004. One died of heat related issues in 2007, the other 2 kept going until 2010 when the second one died. The one I used kept on ticking until the hdd died a month ago (I never did experience the shutting down problems. I purchased a new MacBook to replace that, but decided to see if I could fix up the Dell for my grand daughter.

Decided I'd best also deal with 7 years of accumulated dust on the heat sink. Thanks to the very specific information on this site, I don't believe I'll have a problem. Thanks to all.

i opened heatsink & processor from my dell inspiron 600m laptop to clean it.but after adjusting the fan isn't starting & processor becomes heat.only led light blinks for 5-8 seconds.I think heatsink is not adjusting as before.can u suggest me what to do now ???

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