How to Fix a Computer That Won't Turn On

An open computer with wires boards being fixed.

Few computer problems are more vexing than when your computer won’t even start. Often there are hardly any clues and too many reasons why a computer won’t turn on. Add to that the fear that something expensive needs to be replaced and you may rightly feel stressed.

Most people fear that all of their data is gone forever when their computer won’t start. A piece of hardware may have failed or be causing a problem but that hardware isn’t usually with the hard drive, the part of your computer that stores your files. Your music, documents, emails and videos are more than likely safe, if unavailable at the moment.

There’s a good chance you can figure out what the problem is and get your computer up and running again. The following troubleshooting guide applies to all PC devices and may help you to fix a computer that won’t turn on.

Fixes for No Sign of Power

If your computer won’t turn on and shows no sign at all of receiving power, (fans, lights), it’s rarely a worst case scenario. Try these steps:

  • Make sure you’ve turned on every power switch and power button
  • Check for disconnected power cable connections
  • Plug your computer directly into the wall, removing any power strips, battery backups or other distribution devices between the computer and the wall outlet
  • Plug a lamp into the wall outlet you use for your computer to verify that the outlet is indeed working
  • If you’re using a desktop, check to see that the power supply voltage switch is set correctly. If the input voltage for the power supply unit doesn’t match the correct setting for your country, the computer may not power on at all
  • For a tablet or laptop, remove the main battery to see if it will run without it. If it does, you need to replace the battery
  • Check the power receptacle on the laptop or tablet for broken or bent pins and bits of debris that might be preventing it from getting power. You may need the services of a professional to fix anything more that’s wrong with the receptacle
  • Replace the computer’s power cable or AC adapter – a common reason why tablets and laptops won’t turn on. This isn’t a common problem with a desktop but it does happen
  • If your computer is more than a few years old, you may need to replace the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) It’s a battery-powered chip that provides start up information like Hardware settings and costs very little to replace
  • The power button may not be properly connected to the motherboard
  • In most cases, related to a desktop that’s not receiving power, a faulty power supply is to blame. It will need to be tested and replaced, if necessary. However, an ozone smell or very high-pitched noise in combination with no power at all is a sure sign that the power supply is bad. Unplug the computer immediately.+50

Computer Turns on Then Shuts Off

If your computer is turning itself off before the operating system loads, it may be anything from an electrical short to a serious hardware issue. Try these steps:

  • Check to see that the power supply voltage switch is set correctly (see above)
  • Inspect the inside of your computer for issues that can cause shorting. It’s very important not to miss a simple electrical short or you might replace costly hardware unnecessarily
  • Test your power supply
  • If the power button on the front of your computer's case is shorting out or even just sticking, replace it
  • Reseat all internal data and power cable, memory modules and any expansion cards. (Reseating means to unplug or remove something and then plug it back in or reinstall it) Although the keyboard and mouse are rarely the problem, unplug and reattach them as well.
  • Start the computer with essential hardware only to see if it stays on. If it does, reinstall each piece of nonessential hardware, one component at a time and test to see if your computer comes on to see what hardware is causing the problem
  • If your computer continues to turn itself off with nothing but essential PC hardware installed, a POST (Power On Self-Test) card will help identify which piece of remaining hardware is to blame.

PC Comes on but Nothing Happens

If your PC comes on but you don’t see anything on the monitor, try these easy troubleshooting steps:

  • Make sure the monitor is turned on
  • Check for disconnected or loose monitor power or data cable connections
  • Make sure that your computer is coming on from a completely powered-off state
  • Turn the monitor’s brightness and contrast settings all the way up
  • If it still doesn’t work, get help!

The Blue Screen of Death

A STOP error is when your computer starts to load Windows but suddenly stops and displays a blue screen with information on it. It’s more commonly referred to as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and is a common reason why a computer won’t turn on.

  • If you just made a change to the computer, such as installing a new program, there’s a good chance that this change caused the BSOD
  • Undo the change using Last Known Good Configuration or System Restore, or Roll Back the device drive to a version prior to the update
  • Scan for viruses
  • Ask a techy friend for help
Tuesday, August 2, 2016