The are many causes of problems booting a computer, from user errors to hardware or software errors. These are the top five causes in my experience.
Problems Booting A Computer #1—Electrical Error
One of the top causes of problems booting a computer is an electrical problem. Sometimes the computer isn’t plugged into the wall. Yes, sometimes people have this problem—they forget that they unplugged the computer during a storm or their children (or pets) were fooling around and the cord came unplugged.
Another reason—which embarrassingly happened to me once—is because a never-used light switch got turned off. In my case, I was so sure it was an electrical problem that I called an electrician. When he pointed out that the light switch was simply turned off, I was quite embarrassed.
If you have an older house or other electrical problems, you may also want to check your circuit breakers or fuse box to make sure the plug for your computer has power.
Problems Booting A Computer #2—Dead Power Supply
Closely related to electrical problems are dead power supplies. If your computer power supply doesn’t work, your computer won’t do anything. (Note: some high-end server-quality computers have redundant power supplies.)
Modern power supplies tend to be robust, but if your power supply was a bit too underpowered for your computer, it could fail prematurely.
The sign of a dead power supply is that your computer does absolutely nothing when you press the power button. Lights don’t flash and there are no noises. If you don’t have an electrical problem and these are your computer’s symptoms, you probably have a dead power supply.
The Top 5 Problems Booting A Computer
Problems Booting A Computer #3—Monitor Problems
Sometimes your computer boots just fine—but you don’t notice it because your computer monitor isn’t working.
Most computer monitors have a small light which indicates they’re turned on. If that light is the appropriate color, make sure your monitor is still connected to your computer; like any other cord, these can come unplugged unexpectedly, giving you the impression that you’re having a problem booting your computer.
You can also try borrowing a computer monitor from a friend and then booting your computer. If your friend’s monitor doesn’t work, then you know you have a genuine problem booting your computer.
Problems Booting A Computer #4—Bad Disk Drive
If your main disk drive goes bad, your computer can’t read your operating system (such as Windows), so your computer will start booting and then stop. Sometimes it will display a helpful error message, but sometimes it will just display a cryptic error code or no information at all.
The only obvious cure for this problem is to buy a new hard drive and reinstall Windows on to it. Once you have a working version of Windows, you can try to recover the data off of your old drive. But if you are into geeky things then maybe you could try to fix the boot sector of your hard drive. That is something that definitely stops your computer from booting.
Problems Booting A Computer #5—Disconnected Hardware
This is a problem I’ve had several times from moving desktop computers around in my car. Parts inside the computer aren’t fully screwed or pushed in, and so the movement of a car ride loosens them up. They don’t completely fall out, but they move around enough that they don’t work.
Your computer needs several pieces of hardware to successfully boot, including computer memory (RAM) and a graphics card (on desktop computers). If any essential hardware gets disconnected, you’ll have problems booting your computer. I have even had a CPU dislodge, not sure how, but was moved out of place during travel.
Again, your computer may display (or beep) a cryptic error code. If you can, search Google for that error code plus your model of computer to find out what it means. Then open the case of your computer, disconnect the power, keep one hand on the metal part of the case to ground yourself, and gently push in every removable part and cord of the computer. Hopefully that will fix your problems booting a computer.
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