How To Complete a Dell Diagnostic

December 2016

Running Dell diagnostics is one way for you to check your computer hardware without any additional equipment and without destroying any data. The diagnostic tests can provide important information that is needed when talking to Dell's customer service personnel. However, some issues can arise when it comes to performing diagnostics on an encrypted hard drive.

Dell engineering has confirmed that DST/PSA/ePSA hard drive diagnostics can be performed on encrypted hard drives, even without an administrator password. While it is true that the data is inaccessible, the diagnostic can access areas on the hard drive that will allow them to test and store results. These diagnostics can also be performed on Bitlocker encrypted drives.


How To Run a Dell Diagnostic

Here is a quick run down of how to perform Dell diagnostics across a range of devices.

Enter a Desktop Computer Diagnostics

You can access Dell Diagnostics on most Dell systems by pressing the F12 key during startup and, then, choosing Diagnostics from the menu.

Enter a Notebook Computer Diagnostic

Hold the Fn key and the power button simultaneously to boot into the diagnostics. Alternatively, you can also press the mute button while powering on one of Dell's e-series notebooks.

Another option is to tap the F12 key during startup (when the Dell splash screen appears), followed by Diagnostics.

Enter the Diagnostics on a Windows Tablet

The pen can function at either the default calibration or at a custom-set calibration. It is recommended that you use the pen online while it is calibrated to your custom settings. Calibration optimizes pen performance for each user.


Power on your system and immediately press the volume up button. This should be done before the Dell logo splash screen is displayed.

From the Boot Menu, you can either select the Diagnostics button onscreen or press the volume up button to move your pointer to the option. Press the volume down button to confirm your selection.

The ePSA utility will begin automatically.

Enter the Diagnostics on a Enterprise Server

Tap the F10 key to enter the lifecycle controller. Alternatively, you can tap the F11 key to enter the boot manager.

Next, choose the Diagnostics option from the menu.

N.B. This procedure applies to systems running 11G and above. The procedure for systems running 10G and lower is a bit different. To do this, you will need to tap the F10 key to launch Utility Mode.

Run Online Diagnostics

Another option is to run PSA diagnostics from the Dell Support Site.

Head to the Dell Support Site, and enter your Service Tag or Express Service code number. Then, go to the Diagnostics category.

Run the Quick Test. This may take up to 10 or 15 minutes, depending on the hardware in your system.

Use an ePSA Error Code After Diagnostics

If you have already run the ePSA diagnostics and have taken note of the error and validation codes, then you can log a service call using the Enhanced Preboot System Assessment.

You will need to enter the error and validation codes as seen on-screen as well as the service tag of the faulty computer. Simply follow the prompts to complete the process.

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