Using US Laptops in Europe - voltage concerns?

My understanding is that as long as the power supply “brick” can handle the voltage range (120-240), then a US laptop should work o.k. in Europe, no? Is there an adapter for the 3 pronged power supply?

My wife is traveling in Ireland and apparently killed her laptop, and I wondered if that might be the reason. It’s a brand new Dell xps 1330. Here’s the message she sent if anyone can help or has any advice:

I got an error message when I tried to turn it on, something like “Interactive login has failed, please see log for more details.” then, nothing. A black screen. The worst part is it’s still on, lights on the side and I can hear it, but the screen is black and it wan’t respond to anything. I can’t even turn it off

Definitely sounds like a hardware failure - hard drive controller? Other than suggesting trying to boot into safe mode, and taking the battery out and holding the power button down for 30 secs (which I think reverts Dells to factory settings), I can’t think of anything else she can do until she gets back. If she had an O/S cdrom she could try booting from that.

Just thought I’d see if anyone had any advice for my poor wayward spouse!

I carry my Dell all the time from central américa (110) to europe (220) and never had any kind of problems because of wattage.

I was just in Germany a few weeks back and I had no trouble at all plugging in my US laptop with an adapter.

It’s probably not related to the power supply. Laptops are designed to work anywhere. The power adapter will moderate the voltage.

Without the power adapter it’s a bit different. A friend of mine once plugged in a hair dryer they’d bought in the US into a British power outlet, and it melted.

The DC adapters for laptops are usually designed to take either voltage. That’s why the AC plug is detachable, the only difference in Europe is they give you a different plug.

thanks guys - that probably wasn’t the problem then.

Any advice on resolving the prob beyond what I suggested?

Sounds like it might be disk failure or filesystem corruption. I think that message means that it couldn’t load the user’s registry hive, so she might have lost her profile directory. (I had something similar happen when an AV scan happened to have my profile directory locked at the time I tried logging in, at least.)

Normally I’d try booting from a Linux rescue disc for further hardware diagnostics, or the OS disc and try a repair or chkdsk from the recovery console, but it doesn’t sound like those are options right now.

How did they manage that? British sockets and US plugs are shaped so differently it would take an inspired fool to manage to plug the one into the other.

You can get prong adapters that will let you plug a US-style plug into the various European types, and some people don’t realize that those alone won’t do the voltage conversion necessary (they’re strictly adapters to the different shape, meant for appliances that can already handle different voltages).

Yay - the “take battery out and hold power for 30 seconds and reboot” apparently worked, at least for now.

Is it possible the error message and the black screen are unrelated?

Perhaps she hit the function key for swapping the display to an alternate display? I’ve done that and it’s just like what you describe where the LCD goes blank, but the box keeps running. It can be confusing as hell, espeically if you were trying to troubleshoot an error message and it inadvertantly switched to an alternative display mode. Usually there are three settings to toggle between: “onboard,” “outboard,” and “onboard and outboard at the same time.”

Glad to hear it’s fixed!

That is 100% possible!