Archive for the ‘Dell’ Category

Sound only works with earphones.

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

A recent upgrade of windows 8 to 8.1 for whatever reason prevented sound through the speakers. However, it would work through my ear buds. I have a Dell E6520 and of course Dell did not have an audio driver for 8.1.  I tried the 8.0 driver but no change.

I played around with the diagnostics and troubleshooting tools but they did not find anything.

One interesting possibility came from trying to play the test tones with the audio device.

I received this nice little message:  

Failed to play test tone.

A quick check on the Net showed someone else ran into this situation.

The steps to correct this error (at least for my situation):

  1. Right click the taskbar’s speaker icon and select playback devices(if you don’t have it on the taskbar, use the Sound control panel).
  2. Select the Speakers /Headphones and click the properties button.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. Click the Restore Defaults.
  5. Click the Test button and you should have sound

A rather strange problem and I am surprised….well?…not really that an update would do this.



Where is Hardware Management?

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I was tasked with adding several machines to a network KVM switch. The HP servers run iLO for remote management functions and they easily installed. The DELL servers use DRAC which required work to get them configured. One DELL server didn’t have a DRAC card so I had to use IPMI.

The server ran Windows 2003 which does not automatically install the IPMI driver. This is accomplished through Add/Remove Programs

  • Click Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.
  • Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
  • From the component list, select Management and Monitoring Tools, and click Details.
  • Select Hardware Management.

Wait a minute! Where is the Hardware Management option?

It turns out this option is only available with the R2 version of Server 2003. A quick installation and the option was available.

Following the same steps as above, the next step is to click “Next”

The installation wizard will start and it will ask for the Windows Server 2003 R2 installation disk.

After it’s installed; it would be a good idea to verify installation as there is a technote and a hot fix to install if the IPMI driver does not appear.

To verify installation: 

  • Click Start, Control Panel, System.
  • Select the Hardware tab.
  • Click Device Manager.
  • Click View, Show Hidden Devices.
  • Expand System devices.

Look for Microsoft Generic IPMI Compliant Device. If it exists, it’s installed. If not, enter the following command:

rundll32 ipmisetp.dll, AddTheDevice

The device should appear. If not, you might need this hotfix.

Once the device is in place, we can go about configuring it.

I will present this in another post.

As always; the useful links:





A firmware update is currently in progress. Unable to reset the RAC at this time.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

I was trying to add a couple old Dell servers to mergepoint for remote reboot capabilities. As I was configuring one, I received and interesting message when I attempted a : racadm racreset

ERROR: A firmware update is currently in progress. Unable to reset the RAC at this time.

I had upgraded the firmware and was rather concerned about this error. I really became concerned when I tried to get system information and received the following:

C:\>racadm getsysinfo

RAC Information:
RAC Date/Time = Mon Dec 17 15:24:44 2012
Firmware Version =
Firmware Build =
Last Firmware Update =
Hardware Version =
MAC Address = 00:11:22:33:44:55

Common settings:
Register DNS RAC Name =
DNS RAC Name =
Current DNS Domain =
Domain Name from DHCP =

IPv4 settings:
Enabled =
Current IP Address =
Current IP Gateway =
Current IP Netmask =
DHCP Enabled = 0
Current DNS Server 1 =
Current DNS Server 2 =
DNS Servers from DHCP =

IPv6 settings:
Enabled =
Current IP Address 1 =
Current IP Gateway = /
Autoconfig =
Link Local IP Address = /
Current IP Address 2 = /
Current IP Address 3 = /
Current IP Address 4 = /
Current IP Address 5 = /
Current IP Address 6 = /
Current IP Address 7 = /
Current IP Address 8 = /
Current IP Address 9 = /
Current IP Address 10 = /
Current IP Address 11 = /
Current IP Address 12 = /
Current IP Address 13 = /
Current IP Address 14 = /
Current IP Address 15 = /
DNS Servers from DHCPv6 =
Current DNS Server 1 =
Current DNS Server 2 =

System Information:
System Model =
System Revision =
System BIOS Version =
BMC Firmware Version = 01.23
Service Tag =
Express Svc Code =
Host Name =
OS Name =
Power Status = ON

Watchdog Information:
Recovery Action = None
Present countdown value = 300 seconds
Initial countdown value = 300 seconds

Embedded NIC MAC Addresses:
NIC1 Ethernet =
NIC2 Ethernet =
NIC3 Ethernet =
NIC4 Ethernet =

What was odd was the fact I could run the firmware upgrade without error and the card was talking to the Mergepoint.

I almost reported the card as bad but I had an epiphany and had a look at installed programs. There I found the OpenManage Server Administrator and Drac Toolkit. I uninstalled the Drac toolkit and received valid information from the Drac card.

Lesson of the day: Sometimes different versions of software which interface with a device can give false readings.

What does the Dell Power lights mean?

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Recently, I was asked what the amber 4 light meant and I had a machine which was flashing the 1 and 3 light. These could be found in a service manual, but who keeps those let alone read them these days.

A quick check of the Dell site found a document on diagnostics.

The 4 light meant a system was in recovery mode after bios pulled a checksum error.  A quick correction eliminated this condition.

The flashing 1 and 3 light was a bad PSU. A service call was made for this particular machine.

Shall I keep a service manual now?  Probably not. If I do, then this problem will probably never happen again. 😉