How To Fix Your Computer When It Doesn't Boot Up

Articles Jul 11, 2019 22:11

One of the worst thing when using a computer that it wouldn't turn on. Maybe there's something wrong with the comuter or maybe it shuts down immediately of the power up. Here are some tips to troubleshoot those issues.

Give 'er More Power

If your computer isn't turning on at all—no fans are running, no lights are blinking, and nothing appears on screen—you probably have a power issue.

Unplug your computer and plug it directly into a wall outlet you know is working, rather than a power strip or battery backup that may be acting up. Make sure the power switch on the back of your power supply is flipped on, and if the outlet is connected to a light switch, make sure that switch is turned on too.

If you're using a laptop, make sure your charger is plugged in properly and to the correct port—if it charges via USB-C, only some of the USB ports may actually provide power. A failing power supply can often cause boot problems, even if the fans and lights do turn on. So if the troubleshooting steps in this guide fail you, it might be time to replace your power supply.

How To Fix Your Computer When It Doesnt Boot Up

Check Your Monitor

If the computer sounds like it's turning on but you don't see anything on the screen, the computer may actually be booting and the monitor just isn't showing it. Check to make sure your monitor is plugged in (again, try a wall outlet instead of a power strip), turned on, and set to the right input using the buttons on the side or bottom. You'll also want to make sure the cable connecting your monitor to your PC hasn't come loose.

If these fixes don't help, try plugging your PC into another monitor if you have one—or even a TV—and see if Windows shows up there. If it does, your monitor may be dead, and you need to buy a new one.

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Listen for the Message at the Beep

No, not on your answering machine. When your computer boots, it may make a beeping sound—usually a single beep means everything is A-okay. But if the computer is having trouble starting up, it may make a series of beeps (kind of like Morse code) that tell you what's wrong.

Check the manual for your PC (or the PC's motherboard, if you built it yourself) and figure out what the beeps mean. If you don't have your manual, you can probably find it on the manufacturer's website.

If your computer doesn't beep at all, you might be out of luck—though some desktop PCs may have a header on the motherboard where you can install a cheap one, or might even have a digital display with a numerical code that corresponds to an error message.

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Reseat the Hardware Inside

There's a chance a component of your computer has come loose inside the case, especially if it was recently transported somewhere or if you were working inside of it.

If you're comfortable opening your computer up, remove the side panel and make sure the components are properly seated in their respective sockets. That includes your RAM, graphics card, motherboard cables, and the CPU heatsink.

You might also try booting without certain hardware, like the graphics card or one of the RAM sticks, in case they're faulty.

How To Fix Your Computer When It Doesnt Boot Up

Explore the BIOS

If your computer turns on and you see the POST screen but can't boot into Windows, certain settings may be causing a problem. For example, if you get an error stating that your computer can't find a bootable operating system, it's possible your BIOS is set to boot from the wrong drive. Or maybe your overclocking settings are causing the computer to blue screen immediately.

Enter your BIOS when the POST screen appears, usually by pressing Delete, F2, or some other key to enter setup. If you've tweaked any of these settings in the recent past, try changing them back. Make sure your Boot Order is set to the correct hard drive, make sure all your RAM is recognized, and that your CPU isn't overheating (if it's above 90 degrees Celsius in the BIOS, something is definitely wrong).

If all else fails, try resetting your BIOS settings across the board using the "Load Optimized Defaults" option. Just be sure to snap a few photos of your BIOS settings so you can set them back if that doesn't work.

How To Fix Your Computer When It Doesnt Boot Up

Scan for Viruses Using a Live CD

It's possible you have some nasty malware that's preventing your computer from booting. But with a live environment like Hiren's Boot CD, you can boot your computer from a CD or USB drive and scan your hard drive for malware without booting into Windows.

Download the ISO image from this page, and follow the instructions here to "burn" it to a USB flash drive. Reboot your computer and access the Boot menu—usually by pressing F11, F12, or some other key defined at startup. Choose your USB drive from the boot menu, and it should boot into Hiren's live environment.

From there, you can head into the Utilities > Security folder and run a virus scan with ESET and a malware scan with MalwareBytes. If either programs find anything, it'll let you know and attempt to fix it, which will hopefully allow you to boot into Windows once again.

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Boot into Safe Mode

If you're getting the Blue Screen of Death at startup, it could be a result of a bad application, driver issue, or other hardware quirk causing problems on boot. If you can, Google the stop code that appears and see if it gives you any insight into what's wrong.

Chances are, though, you'll have to boot into Safe Mode to fix the problem. This used to be an easy process in Windows 7 because all you had to do was press F8 as you boot the PC. It has become much trickier in later editions of Windows, but usually if you interrupt the boot process three times—say, by pressing the reset button as Windows tries to boot—it'll take you to the Automatic Repair screen, where you can click Advanced Options.

Alternatively, you can create a Windows installation drive using a friend's PC and boot from that directly, choosing your language and selecting "Repair Your Computer" when given the option. Either of these methods should eventually get you to "Choose an Option" screen, where you can click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings and reboot the computer. (If you don't see the Startup Settings option, you may need to click "See More Recovery Options" along the bottom.)

Your computer should then give you the option to boot into Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt. You can try any of these, though the most minimal Safe Mode is probably your best bet, unless you need to access the internet. This will load Windows with only the most crucial drivers and services running.

If you installed any new hardware recently, try uninstalling its drivers. If you think a new application might be to blame, get rid of that too. You might even try running System Restore to try and get your PC back to the last known working configuration. Reboot the PC normally to see if it fixed the problem. If not, you can enter Safe Mode again, or try moving on to one of the next troubleshooting steps in this guide.

How To Fix Your Computer When It Doesnt Boot Up

Check Your Hard Drive for Corruption

It's possible your data is intact, but a rogue update or other problem messed up the files that govern Windows' boot process. Thankfully, Microsoft has a few tools that can attempt to fix the problem.

Boot into the Troubleshoot > Advanced Options menu using the instructions above, but this time choose "Startup Repair." Windows will scan your drive for problems and (hopefully) repair them, allowing you to boot into Windows.

If that doesn't work, head back to the Troubleshoot > Advanced Options menu and choose the Command Prompt. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. Windows will check your drive for corruption and attempt to repair any problems.

You can also try the chkdsk C: /r command, which will do a broader search for file corruption and bad sectors. (If you have multiple drives, you may want to run wmic logicaldisk get volumename,name and replace the drive letter with the correct one from the resulting list.)

How To Fix Your Computer When It Doesnt Boot Up

Test the Drive in Another PC and Pray

If all else fails, take your hard drive out of your computer, connect it to a USB adapter, dock, or enclosure, and plug it into another known working PC. You probably won't be able to boot from it, but as long as the drive is still working—a big "if"—you’ll at least be able to grab any important data before you send the PC in for repairs.

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