HELP WITH COMPUTER STARTUP PROBLEMS…A STEP BY STEP TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE.
It is definitely a frustrating experience to say the least. You press the power button on your computer and you get a blank blue screen, strange beeps, or weird error messages. Worse than that is when nothing happens. Dead silence. What happened?
First, you need to remain calm. Pounding on the computer, cursing, or yelling will not do anything to help with computer startup problems. Take a deep breath and use a systematic approach. Some of these suggestions may seem like a bit of a no brainer, but believe me I’ve seen them be the problem.
Start with the power. Is the power cable plugged into the back of the computer? Is it plugged all the way into the power strip? Is there a switch on the wall that controls the power to the outlet? Is the power strip turned on? If you are using an uninterruptable power supply, is everything plugged in correctly. Check all these first, and then move on to the more involved possible solutions. This may seem a little basic, but believe me it can help with computer startup problems.
O.K., you have made sure that everything is connected and powered up correctly, and you still get nothing. It’s time to get a little more involved. Have you recently added any hardware? If so, remove it and try to startup again. If it starts normally, then you have found the problem. Either it was installed incorrectly, or it could be defective. Try to install and configure it again, and see if the problem persists. If you’re sure you installed it correctly, and the problem happens again, you probably have a defective peice of hardware.
If you have’nt made any hardware changes recently, and nothing happens at all when you try to start the computer, it’s time to start thinking about the power supply. The power supply in my experience is where most people will find help with computer startup problems. The power supply is the box in the computer that you plug the power cable into. It supplys power to every piece of hardware in the computer. If it goes bad, nothing will happen when you try to start the computer.
Replacing the power supply is not a very difficult undertaking. It is usually held in place by four screws that are easily accessable. You can buy a power supply at your local computer store, or you can purchase it online. You just need to make sure you are buying the right type. I usually tell people to go ahead and take it out of the computer and bring it with them to the store.
***NOTE*** Before you open the computer case to remove any component, make sure the power cable is disconnected from the computer. Also never open up a power supply, as this is very dangerous.
Open the computer case and unplug all of the power supply connections to the hardware. Next you remove the four scews that are holding it in place. Then you simply remove it from the computer case. Once it is out you will have something that looks like this.
All the information you need to buy a replacement will be on a label on the power supply. There are only a couple of things you need to know. How many watts, and what type of connection to the motherboard. Make sure you buy one with at least as many watts, but not less. If all you can find is a replacement with higher watts, that’s ok.
There are several specifications of motherboards, so you must know what type of power supply goes with which. The most common is ATX. You’ll probably find that’s what you have. Again, it will be on a label on the power supply you removed.
Once you have bought the new power supply, reinstall it in the computer case. Make sure all of the components are plugged back in, and the screws that hold it in place are secure. If this indeed was the problem, the computer will start and run just as it did before the problem started. There are no other changes that need to made.
If you don’t feel comfortable going inside a computer case you can take it to a local repair facility that can help with computer startup problems. Replacing the power supply will not cost a fortune. The part should run around $50.00, and the labor should be no more than $30.00 to $60.00. If any repair facility quotes you much more than that, I would definitely question it. I have replaced alot of power supplies myself, and it has never taken more than a half an hour.
If this does not fix the problem, there is another painful possibility. If the fan on the power supply was the first thing to go bad, it could have gotten very hot inside the computer case. If it got too hot, it could have toasted the motherboard. This is the main circuit board that everything else plugs into. Unlike replacing the power supply, this is much more labor intensive. It may make more sense to think about buying a new computer. There are ways to get any critical data off of your harddrive, and back them up to removable media.