How Do I Get Into Computer Diagnostics on a Dell Laptop?

by Ty Arthur
computer help image by Kelly Kane from

No one wants to be left without a fully functioning laptop, whether you need your Dell computer for business or just for having fun on the web. If your laptop experiences frequent crashes or other problems you may want to run diagnostics to resolve the problem on your own. Your Dell laptop includes three main diagnostic options used for locating and fixing problems, which are all accessed by first restarting the laptop's operating system.

Dell Diagnostics

Step 1

Save any open files and restart your Dell laptop. Tap the "F12" key when the blue Dell logo loads on the laptop's LCD screen.

Step 2

Use the down arrow key to navigate to the "Diagnostics" option in the "Boot" menu. Hit the "Enter" key and wait for the "32-bit Dell Diagnostics" screen to load.

Highlight the "Test System" option and hit "Enter" to bring up the list of available diagnostic tools. Highlight the tool you want to run, such as "Express Test" or "Extended Test," and hit "Enter."


Step 1

Close down any programs currently running on your Dell laptop and open the "Start" menu. Click "Shut Down" and choose "Restart."

Step 2

Wait for the blue Dell logo to appear while the laptop begins restarting the operating system. Hit "F2" to access the laptop's BIOS menu.

Use the arrow keys to navigate through the Dell BIOS menu. Hit "Enter" to access any of the options and make any necessary changes. Press "F10" and tap "Enter" to save your BIOS changes and restart the Dell's operating system.

Safe Mode

Step 1

Exit any programs you are currently using. Power off the Dell laptop completely and turn it back on again.

Step 2

Hit the "F8" key repeatedly throughout the boot up process until a set of text options appear on the screen. Navigate to the menu option named "Safe Mode" and hit "Enter."

Make any necessary changes with the laptop loaded in safe mode. Return to the "Start" menu and choose "Shut Down" and "Restart" to exit safe mode.


  • Certain Dell laptop models use a different key to load the BIOS menu. If the "F2" key doesn't work, you need to either tap "FN" and "F1" at the same time or "FN" and "Escape" at the same time.
  • The safe mode option prevents any programs from automatically loading on your Dell laptop, such as virus or spyware software. Accessing safe mode lets you run an anti-virus tool or manually delete virus files if you have trouble removing the software normally.


Photo Credits

About the Author

Ty Arthur has been writing technical and entertainment-related articles for a variety of online sources since 2008. His articles have appeared on and many other websites. Arthur attended the Great Falls College of Technology and studied both computer science and creative writing.

More Articles