Many of us have faced a situation when we hit the power button on a laptop or desktop computer and nothing happens. That’s enough to puzzle or upset anyone. What do you do? Here are some expert tips on how to handle this problem.
Is it your power supply?
This is the first thing you should do when your computer refuses to boot. Check to make sure you are using the right power supply (delivering the right voltage) and that there is no blown fuse in the plug. Your power supply may have gone kaput or your laptop’s battery may have completely died. If your PC is a laptop, try removing the battery and plugging the charger in directly. Make sure the charger is the one that was made for this laptop. If you have several laptops, sometimes a plug from another laptop may fit, but it may not charge.
Use a screwdriver to get the fuse out of the plug and replace it with one that you know is good. Or use a spare power cable you could plug into the charger, which would be a faster way to check for a blown fuse. Check the cord too, as it can often get beaten up over time.
If your computer is a desktop, a failed power supply or a blown fuse can be a problem too, so be sure to check for that.
Is it the screen?
If you have external monitors or projectors connected to your computer, disconnect them to make sure they aren’t causing the issue.
If the computer's LED light is on and you hear some sound (like the hard drive spinning or the fan blowing air), look at the screen in dim light. Can you see a faint image? If you can, it’s most likely the inverter that is the problem. Your screen requires an alternating current, while your power supply or laptop battery produces direct current. The inverter is there to change direct current to alternating.
In theory, you could replace the inverter yourself, as it isn’t too difficult to install, but getting the right part is what most PC users have a problem with. Inverters can be pretty expensive, so if you get the wrong part, you are out of a good chunk of money.
If you hear some sounds from your computer, but there is no image on the screen, then it could be the LCD panel. You CAN replace the screen on a laptop, but it can be very expensive, so if your laptop is a few years old, getting a new one may be a better option.
With a desktop computer, if the monitor is broken, it may be harder to fix, but it’s easier to test whether the power lead or video cable might be the problem.
Is it something that’s plugged into your PC?
If the above two things checked out okay, then one other potential issue might be your Windows getting stuck before it has a chance to boot. That could be caused by a memory card or USB drive plugged into your PC, a DVD or Blu-ray disk left inside or some other attached storage device. And the message you may get will be enough to send you into a panic attack: “operating system not found”.
Most of the time it just means that your BIOS is configured to attempt bootup from a removable drive, so it looks for an operating system on your memory card or whatever else is left plugged in.
If there is no storage device that could be causing the problem and you get error messages during bootup, try booting from a rescue disk. Don’t have one? You can download it using another computer and burn it to a DVD disk, then use it on the PC that has a startup problem. Some antivirus companies offer rescue disks that let you check for malware and viruses during bootup to rule out an infection as a factor behind the problem.
Could booting into safe mode help?
If your Windows starts booting up and gets stuck, then Safe Mode is a solution you should definitely try. Hit F8 repeatedly as your computer is starting up. This gets you to a screen where you can select Safe Mode. While in Safe Mode, you can try reversing any changes that may have resulted in your system not booting: uninstall recently installed software, run antivirus tools, etc.
Have you installed hardware recently?
If you have recently installed a new sound card, added memory or replaced your power supply, it could be that the part you got is not compatible with your system setup. Try removing it and using the old part to see if this could be the reason. Also check to make sure all the wires and power leads are connected correctly.
If you didn’t install any new parts, it could still be a hardware issue. Listen to your hard drive: is it making strange sounds after you power on your PC? That would give away the real cause of your troubles. If your hard drive fails, there isn’t really a way to fix it, but there are ways to try and get important files off of it. Knowing that HDD failure is a possibility for any PC user, all of us need to be backing up our files on a regular basis to prevent their loss. Can you imagine what it would feel like to lose years of photo memories or a book you’ve been working on for months? Not much fun, that’s for sure.
All in all, when your Windows refuses to boot, it’s usually a sign that something might be seriously wrong with your computer. If you are a novice user and don’t feel comfortable opening up your PC or tweaking the system, it might be time to consult an expert.
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