Most of the time, computers will work as we would expect them to. You turn them on, boot to your desktop, and connect to the internet for your daily work or play. This is, of course, a computer’s intended behavior, as it provides us with the basic functionality we use with it everyday. But what if your computer isn’t doing what it’s supposed to? What if it’s not booting, or even turning on?
This does indeed happen from time to time, and there are several different things that can prevent a computer from booting. If you find yourself with a dead computer, then don’t panic. There are some very simple tricks you can try and get your system up and running again.
When it’s totally dead…
To start things off, let’s say that your computer is completely dead. It won’t turn on at all, no matter how many times you press the power button. The power light may or may not turn on, and perhaps you can even hear the fans spinning inside. But even if it is showing at least some signs of life, it’s still dead, and nothing is displayed on the monitor. If that is the case, there are a few things that you can try before throwing in the towel.
Check the Cables
The first, most basic thing you can do is to make sure that everything is connected properly. This may seem pretty obvious, but sometimes, a simple cable issue can be surprisingly easy to miss. Verify that all of the cables are connected to the correct ports, and that none of the connections are loose or unstable. If you have a cable that’s in bad shape, now might be the time to replace it.
If you have a faulty power cable that plugs directly into the wall (and that does not come out of a power brick) then stop using it right now, and replace it immediately! This cable is carrying up to 120V AC power, which is extremely dangerous, and can even be deadly in most cases! Even if your computer is booting, and the cable appears to be working fine, it should be replaced as soon as possible if any of the metal wires on it are exposed!
Performing a Power Cycle
If everything appears to be connected properly, then the next thing that you can try is power cycling your device. This is incredibly easy, and just about anyone should be able to do it. All you have to do is unplug the power (along with all other cables), wait for about 30-60 seconds, and plug it back in.
When reconnecting the cables, we recommend that you start with just the most basic ones needed to operate the computer (such as the power, monitor, mouse, and keyboard). If it works with those, then you can try connecting your other devices (such as an external hard drive, speakers, etc).
Checking the Outlet
Another thing to consider is that maybe the problem is not related to the computer at all. It might be worth it to try plugging it into a different wall outlet, and seeing if that makes a difference. While troubleshooting, it is recommended that you don’t use a power strip or extension cable, and instead plug the system directly into the wall. This reduces the number of variables, and helps narrow down the cause of the problem.
It has power; it just won’t boot.
If your computer is able to power up and even display a picture on the screen, then you are already a few steps ahead. There are still many potential causes for this, however the chances of fixing it are much higher than they would be if the system was completely dead.
Let’s go over some of the most common symptoms of this type of problem.
Automatic Repair Loop
If you’re using a Windows PC, then you may receive a message that says something along the lines of “Preparing Automatic Repair” or “Diagnosing your PC”. This generally happens as a result of Windows not being able to load a certain system file or component that it needs to function properly. Unfortunately, this in and of itself can be caused by many different things, making it a bit tricky to figure out exactly what’s going on. However, there are still a few basic things you can try.
If you are able to access the recovery menu, try selecting the “Startup Settings” option, and see if you can boot to Safe Mode. If that doesn’t work, then you can also try selecting the “Last known good configuration” option in the startup menu to see if that resolves the problem. If you have System Protection enabled, then a System Restore might be worth a shot as well. If that doesn’t work, and if you don’t care about loosing your installed programs, then there is a good chance that resetting your PC will get you back up and running.
An audible clicking sound coming from your computer can be caused by a few different things, such as a fan or even a faulty capacitor. However, the most likely cause of this is a failing hard drive (especially when your system won’t boot). In this case, you will most likely need to replace the hard drive. If you have any important files on it, then data recovery may also be necessary. A hard drive can fail at any time, and that’s why it’s so important to make frequent backups of your files. Prevention is the best cure here, so save yourself the time, money, and headache of data recovery by making frequent backups.
Boot Device Not Found
When your computer tells you that it is unable to detect a bootable device, then the hard drive is, again, the most likely culprit. This error is fairly common with solid state drives, which can fail very suddenly, and without warning. Usually, data from a dead SSD is unrecoverable, so backing up your data is especially important when using an SSD!
Solving this problem might be as simple as replacing the hard drive, or even just making sure that it’s connected properly. That is, of course, assuming that you’re confident in your ability to open up the computer without breaking anything. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then it’s very easy to cause more damage, and make the problem even worse. If you have any doubts, then it might be a better option for you to get help from a professional who has a lot of experience under their belt.
If all else fails…
Finally, if you’ve tried everything and your computer is still not turning on, then the issue you are dealing with is most likely too complex to resolve without proper equipment and training. Sometimes, it’s necessary to get professional assistance in order to resolve a problem. If this is the situation you find yourself in, don’t worry, because we can help you! Our expert technicians can find the cause of almost any startup issue, and will even diagnose it for free!
We are always more than happy to help, so please feel free to give us a call!