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Solutions to a PC that won’t turn on issue

Boot problems, usually described by users as PC not turning on, can take a number of forms depending on the cause. We will try to discuss all the common boot problems in this post.

If your computer fails to turn on, it may be due to either a hardware malfunction or a software issue. Hardware issues are generally difficult to diagnose and fix so we don’t usually recommend average PC users to attempt a fix. Software problems, on the other hand, can be fixed relatively easily so it’s up to you if you want to do our recommendations here or not.

 

Below are the specific topics that we discuss in this material:

  1. PC seems to power on but Windows stops at a blue screen (Blue Screen of Death)
  2. Windows loads but won’t go beyond the “Starting Windows” or splash screen
  3. Computer turns on but immediately turns off
  4. Nothing happens when pressing the power button

We are happy to announce that we are now accepting questions about Windows computers in general as well as requests for assistance regarding a Windows problem. Windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You also want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.


PC seems to power on but Windows stops at a blue screen (Blue Screen of Death)

Usually known as Blue Screen of Death(BSOD), this issue usually happens anytime. It can occur during boot up, or all of sudden in the middle of doing something. Machines running Windows Vista and above will usually get the infamous blue screen with the message “Your PC ran into a problem that it couldn’t handle, and now it needs to restart.” This message is accompanied by a STOP code or error that can help you isolate the cause so make sure that you write it down before attempting a fix. BSOD is usually caused by bad hardware or a corrupted/incompatible device driver so getting the STOP code is always good practice. If your PC restarted right after BSOD and you did not have time to take note of the STOP code, your PC must have been configured to reboot immediately after a system failure. If you’re interested in making sure that this does not happen, you need to uncheck Automatic Restart under Control Panel>System>Advanced system settings>Start-up and Recovery>Settings. You can’t obviously do this if you’re currently having trouble logging in to your PC in the first place so you must do either after you’ve fixed the issue, or before you’ll encounter this trouble.

Fixing BSOD issue can be time consuming and solutions vary depending on the STOP code. The internet is usually a rich repository of solutions so don’t hesitate to use Google to search for a fix for a particular STOP error. There are a number of questions or steps that you should consider in order to fix BSOD. Below are some of them:

  1. What were you doing BEFORE BSOD occur? Did you add a new hardware, install a driver/update/program? If you did any of these, try to undo the modification after your PC restarts successfully by, for example, rolling back the device driver via Device Manager. If it doesn’t turn on normally, your only option is to do a system restore to force the machine to disregard the recent modification.
  2. Check if there’s enough hard drive space. BSOD can sometimes occur if there’s no more room to write or save in the hard drive. Try to keep about 200GB as unused space to prevent BSOD or other performance issues.
  3. Install system updates and other updates from Microsoft.
  4. Do regular virus scans. This is more of a preventive measure rather than a solution but some antivirus packages do offer features that can scan the master boot record (MBR) or boot sector, which are the usual locations of malware that can result to BSOD.
  5. Use default settings of the BIOS. If you’re fond of tweaking some things in your PC’s BIOS, BSOD may result out of it. Make sure that you revert all BIOS settings back to default to fix the issue. How to do this varies by BIOS so make sure to consult your motherboard’s manual. You also want to make sure that the BIOS firmware is updated. In some cases, a corrupted or outdated BIOS can lead to BSOD.
  6. Ensure that all internal connections are properly seated. Loose connection for even a single component may lead to problems. I actually experienced BSOD due to a bad connection in one of the hard drives so try to unplug and re-plug cables and connectors.
  7. Replace the bad hardware. This only applies if BSOD occurred right after you installed a particular component, such as a RAM chip or hard drive. You can also try to contact the maker of the device itself so see if its firmware needs updating, or if it’s compatible with your rig.

Windows loads but won’t go beyond the “Starting Windows” or splash screen

If you are able to power the PC on but Windows is unable to go past the splash screen, or if the PC keeps rebooting when it reaches the splash screen without any error, the problem may have something to do with Power On Self Test (POST). POST is an automatic diagnostic test run by a computer before it powers on. This test is managed by your computer’s BIOS so it doesn’t need an operating system in order to work. In fact, this test happens before Windows operating system is started. POST is basically ran by BIOS to verify if important peripherals like keyboard, mouse, memory, display, etc., are present. Sometimes, POST can lead to boot up problems like the one we’re trying to fix here. POST-related problems are usually manifested by on-screen POST error messages, or even beep codes. If you’re hearing beeps that are not usually present when you turn your computer on, you most likely have beep codes.

  1. To fix POST-related problems, you must either start by looking at the BIOS error on the screen, or the beep codes you’re hearing. Beep codes usually happens if there’s a video card issue and you can’t see anything on the screen.
  2. Sometimes, disconnecting and reconnecting peripherals and internal connectors can help in dealing with this problem. Make sure that you also check the connection of the hard drive to the motherboard. The same is true for the RAM, optical drive, etc.
  3. Test the Power Supply Unit. Sometimes, a defective power supply unit can appear to power a PC but booting becomes problematic. A lot of boot up issues are caused by bad power supply units so make sure that it’s working properly. There are many guides on how to do a PSU test so Google can again, come handy in this task.
  4. Check the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Although the chance is slim that the CPU may be causing the problem, it’s still worth checking if you continue to experience the same problem after doing the steps above. A poorly installed CPU can come loose after some time so you want to make sure that it’s seated properly. If you don’t know how to do this, find some guides that’s applicable for your computer and particular CPU type.
  5. Finally, make sure that you clear the CMOS. This is done by doing a factory reset of your computer’s BIOS.

Computer turns on but immediately turns off

If you happen to experience this problem, you must check some things to help you identify the true issue. If the screen remains black but the fans appear to be working and the CPU lights look normal, the problem may be due to a bad monitor. If you happen to have another monitor, consider using it to test if our hunch is correct. If the second monitor will confirm otherwise, you can then move on to the next troubleshooting steps.

  1. The first thing that you want to check is there’s any beep code coming from the CPU. As mentioned above, beep codes are usually produced by the motherboard if POST detects a video-related problem. Understanding beep codes requires some research so kindly look for good guides on how to do it.
  2. Make sure that your computer’s power supply voltage switch is enabled correctly. For example, if you’ve set the power supply switch to 220 V while the actual power supply is only 100 V, your PC or laptop may power on for a short time but then shuts down right away.
  3. Test the power supply. Again, just like in a previous issue above, you want to make sure that the power supply is working properly.
  4. Verify that the power button is not defective. A damaged power button can happen due to aging, wear and tear, outright shock from accidental drop, or water damage. A damaged power button can cause intermittently simulate a button push, causing the computer to restart on its own.
  5. Reseat everything. As mentioned above, you want to make sure that all connectors and cables are not loosely connected. This troubleshooting step includes reseating memory modules (RAM), any expansion cards, video card/s, power cables, keyboard, and mouse. After you’ve verified that everything is connected, restart the computer.
  6. If all else fails, consult a technician so further troubleshooting can be done such as checking if the computer can work with only essential components installed. If it does, there’s a chance that one of the components may be to blame for the problem. It’s up to the technician to isolate the problematic part.

Nothing happens when pressing the power button

If your PC does not appear to be receiving power at all when you press the power button, nor does other indicators such as fans running beeps, or lights show, the cause of the problem may be straight away hardware in nature. That doesn’t mean you won’t follow logical troubleshooting though. Below are the things that you want to try:

  1. Verify that the PC is plugged in. If you have a desktop, this should be the first thing that you want to check. Your computer will obviously not power on if it’s not connected to the power source. This step also requires that you reseat the power cable on the back of your computer to ensure that it’s not loosely connected. If you happen to have a laptop, make sure that the battery is working properly, or that the power cable is not defective. Even though your computer runs on a battery, you should make sure that the AC adapter is plugged in properly, at least during troubleshooting. If you regularly keep your computer plugged in, but it has wiggled loose and now you’re battery is empty, your computer may not be getting power for this reason.
  2. Ensure that the Power Supply Unit switch is on. Some PSUs may sport a power switch to allow a user to cut power on or off without unplugging. If your computer’s PSU is of this design, make sure that its power switch is set to ON.
  3. Plug the power cord to a different power outlet. In the event that the current power outlet may be defective, you want to connect your computer another powerstrip or wall outlet. Plug the computer directly to a known working wall outlet by removing everything in between. If your PC will work this way, that means that something was preventing power from reaching your computer. If your computer is too far from another wall outlet, verify that the powerstrip you’re using is working by testing another appliance like a charger, lamp, fan, etc.
  4. Make sure that your computer’s power supply voltage switch is enabled correctly. For example, if you’ve set the power supply switch to 220 V while the actual power supply is only 100 V, your PC or laptop may power on for a short time but then shuts down right away.
  5. Remove the battery and connect your laptop directly to the wall outlet.  Laptops and tablet can run even when its battery is removed and connected to an AC adapter. If your computer will work this way, that means that the battery is defective. You can continue to use your laptop or tablet this way as long as you’re near a power outlet of course. This obviously applies to laptops only so if you are troubleshooting a desktop, feel free to skip this step.
  6. Replace the power cable. Whether you have a laptop or a desktop, replacing the power source is another important troubleshooting step, especially if you can see obvious signs of damage. If you have a desktop, the power cable is the wire that runs between the power source and the power supply unit at the back. For laptops, the power cable is the wire that you use when you charge the battery. Defective power cables are some of the most common reason why a computer won’ turn on so make sure that you don’t skip this.
  7. Replace the CMOS battery. One of the common reasons why an older computer may suddenly fail to turn on is a spent CMOS battery. This type of battery is relatively cheap so it’s definitely worth checking.
  8. Test the Power Supply Unit. Sometimes, a defective power supply unit can appear to power a PC but booting becomes problematic. A lot of boot up issues are caused by bad power supply units so make sure that it’s working properly. Some of the common reasons why a PSU fails includes manufacturing defects, ageing, wear and tear, and power surges. There are many guides on how to do a PSU test so Google can again, come handy in this task.

 


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If you are having a problem with your Windows computer, don’t hesitate to let us know about it. We understand how frustrating computer problems can be so, more so if you can’t find the right solutions at all. Our blog exists to help PC users and Windows community deal with their problems effectively. To engage with us, just fill out the questionnaire in this link and wait for our articles to be published. In order to help as many people as possible, we only provide our solutions via posts so please don’t expect that we will respond to your emails or private messages. By making all posts public, we can share our solutions to other users in a more efficient manner. We cannot guarantee a quick response so if your issue is time sensitive, please find another way to resolve your problem.

One Comment

  1. Comment*thanks a lot but this one is disturbing me mush : its not powering ON whenever the battery is in it connecting the power cable it don’t use to display it charging indicator talk more of powering in the absent of the battery: another observation is that while I remove the battery connecting the power cable it don’t use to ON and the regulator in the power cable do blink it indicator very fast

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