The Texas company said 200,000 to 400,000 laptop computers sold between February 1 and November 30 last year may have flawed memory modules that can cause data to be lost or corrupted.
Micron Technology manufactured the defective memory, said Julie Nash, a Micron spokeswoman.
Dell and Micron are working out financial arrangements to pay the cost of replacing the defective memory, she said. Neither company would estimate the cost to replace the up to 400,000 pieces of defective memory shipped to Dell last year.
"It's an immaterial cost to Dell," said spokesman Rob Crawley.
The problem crops up only when affected notebooks are brought out of sleep or suspend mode and the system hangs or shows a Windows blue-screen error.
Dell began notifying customers who bought the possibly defective Latitude and Inspiron laptop models two weeks ago, Crawley said. The company asked customers to run a memory test to determine whether their machines are affected. If they are, Dell will arrange to replace the memory.
The 32MB and 64MB memory modules that may be faulty are in the Latitude CPia, CPir, CPt, CPx and CS models and the Inspiron 3500, 3700, 7000 and 7500 models.