Computer Won't Turn On
Computer Won't Turn On

We’ve all been there—pressing the power button repeatedly, hoping that our computer will spring to life. But alas, nothing happens. Before you panic, let’s walk through a comprehensive troubleshooting procedure to diagnose and (hopefully) fix the problem.

Initial Checks

  1. Power Connection: Ensure your computer is properly plugged into a power source. If using a laptop, ensure your battery is charged or the charger is connected.
  2. Cable Integrity: Inspect the power cable for any visible damage or wear.
  3. Power Outlet: Try plugging another device into the same power outlet to ensure it’s working correctly.

For Desktop Computers

  1. Power Supply Unit (PSU) Check: The PSU might be the culprit.
    • Listen for any sounds from the PSU fan.
    • Check if the back of the computer where the PSU is located is warm.
    • If you’re comfortable, open the computer case and check if any LEDs on the motherboard are lit.
    • Make sure the proper voltage is set on the PSU for the country that you’re in. In the USA that would be the 115V setting (or something in that range such as 110V). If you’re seeing a setting of 230V or similar, you risk damaging the components inside the computer.
  2. Front Panel Connector: Sometimes, the power button wire can get disconnected from the motherboard. Ensure the front panel connectors are properly connected.

For Laptops

  1. Battery Issues: Remove the battery (if possible) and connect the laptop directly to a power source using the charger. Try to power it on.
  2. Charger Problems: Inspect the charger for any damage and ensure it’s the correct charger for your laptop model.

Advanced Troubleshooting

  1. RAM: Faulty or improperly seated RAM can prevent a computer from booting.
    • Turn off the computer and unplug it.
    • Open the computer case (desktop) or back panel (laptop).
    • Remove the RAM sticks and then reseat them properly.
  2. Graphics Card: If your computer has a separate graphics card, ensure it’s properly seated. You can also try removing it and using the onboard graphics (if available).
  3. External Devices: A malfunctioning peripheral (like a printer, USB device, or external hard drive) can sometimes cause boot issues. Disconnect all external devices and try to power on the computer.
  4. BIOS Reset: If there was a recent BIOS update or configuration change, it might be causing boot problems.
    • Refer to your computer’s manual to reset the BIOS to its default settings.
  5. Hard Drive Issues: If you hear clicking sounds, it might be a sign of a failing hard drive. In this case, you’ll need to replace it.

Still No Luck? If you’ve tried the above steps and your computer still won’t turn on, it might be time to consult a professional. It could be a motherboard issue, a short circuit, or another complex problem.


  • Could software issues prevent my computer from turning on?
    While software issues can cause boot problems, they usually won’t prevent the computer from powering on. You’d typically see at least the BIOS or a startup screen.
  • I smell a burning odor from my PC. What should I do?
    Immediately unplug your PC. This could indicate a serious electrical or component issue. Consult a professional before turning it on again.
  • Can power surges damage my computer?
    Yes, power surges can harm your computer’s components. It’s advisable to use a surge protector.
  • How often should I replace my computer’s battery or PSU?
    While they can last several years, their lifespan can vary based on usage. If you notice reduced backup time or other power issues, consider a replacement.
  • Should I attempt to repair the motherboard myself?
    Unless you’re trained, it’s risky to repair or tamper with a motherboard. Always consult a professional.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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