How to Troubleshoot the Dell Latitude D800

Written by andrew aarons
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Dell released the Latitude D800 portable computer in 2004 and 2005. The system originally shipped with Windows XP, and so Dell only offers support for the hardware when the system is using XP. As with any laptop, the D800 is subject to errors and issues from time to time -- from intermittent freezing to not turning on at all -- that you may be able to fix on your own.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Disconnect all peripherals from the D800, leaving only the AC adaptor connected to the laptop. Turn the system on and watch for error messages on the screen. If nothing appears on the screen at all, check the three lighted icons on the panel -- the number, caps and scroll lock buttons. The D800 is programmed to display error codes, called flash codes, using these buttons.

  2. 2

    Check the lights for error flashes. In normal circumstances, when the system boots cleanly, these lights flash briefly, then go out and the Windows splash screen appears. When the caps lock button blinks, you need to reseat the memory; when the caps and scroll lock buttons flash in unison, you may need to replace the system board because the PCI bridges are damaged. There are about 20 different flash combinations, and Dell provides a list of all the Latitude error codes at

  3. 3

    Look for error messages during the boot process, should the Latitude D800 get past the power-on self test, or POST, and to the Windows splash screen. If Windows boots normally, it's possible that one of the devices you have plugged into the system -- a webcam, USB device, printer or external hard drive -- is causing an issue. Plug your external devices in one at a time to see if you can recreate your initial error.

  4. 4

    Tap "F8" while the system boots if you can't get into Windows. This calls the advanced Windows boot menu. Choose "Last Known Good Configuration" and press "Enter." Wait while the system reboot. If Windows still doesn't load, tap "F8" again during boot and choose "Safe Mode." You can troubleshoot the operating system from this version of Windows, which doesn't load device drivers. If you can't access Safe Mode either, it's likely that your Windows operating system is corrupt and needs to be reinstalled. The D800 doesn't have a hidden recovery partition to restore the system, so you need to use the Dell Recovery CD to load XP and all of your drivers.

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