A computer that won’t turn on can easily throw a person into panic, especially if they rely on the machine for work. Reaching over to press the power button only for nothing to happen doesn’t have to be a cause for alarm. Pressing it over and over won’t make it turn on any faster, either – unless there is a short in the switch at which point it could turn on. If the fans on the computer don’t turn on when pressing the power button, it’s time to troubleshoot the power supply. Troubleshooting power problems on a computer is an easy task and a great deal of the time, the fix can be easy enough to manage.
1. Power Socket
As time marches on, it is easy for a power cord to eventually work its way out of a socket. This happens quite often if the socket is under your desk and near your feet. In order to make sure it is properly and tightly plugged in to the socket, remove and then re-plug in the power cord so that the connection is firm again.
Another problem that you could be faced with is that the socket itself could be faulty. Although this doesn’t happen too often, it’s still a good idea to plug the computer into a socket you know for certain works. Switch the computer’s power cord with something that is currently working to remove any doubt.
2. Power Switch
If your computer is on the floor or tucking into a little area, sometimes the switch in the back could get hit. If you have animals that can go behind your computer, this could happen more often than you’d think. Most power supplies will have their own on/off switch in the back and this needs to be flipped to “|”. If you don’t have a switch in the back, that’s OK. Not every power supply does.
3. Voltage Switch
Sometimes, the voltage switch on the back of the computer can be moved. This usually happens when you are working on it, moving it, or otherwise moving something behind your computer’s tower. This switch allows for usage within areas like the United States for 110v or for European countries that use 220v. Make sure it’s in the correct position for your current location.
Having the switch in the wrong position doesn’t mean it will instantly hurt the power supply. Most of the time, the power supply simply refuses to operate if it detects the wrong voltage. Some have stated that the switch has caused power supplies to “pop” and no longer function. This doesn’t happen as often as you may think, however.
4. Power Cable
Another item you could check is the power cable itself. This is another item that doesn’t usually fail, but it’s possible. If you can test the cable or replace it with one you know for certain works, you can eliminate the cable as a cause. Just remember to plug in the cable tightly into the wall socket and into the power supply socket.
[Recommended read: Understanding The Differences In Computer Cables]
5. Possible Short
Now that the obvious has been eliminated as to the cause of your loss in power, it’s time to start taking a closer look on the inside of the computer itself. There are a number of things that can cause a computer to not turn on when it comes to the internal operations of your computer. Just make sure the computer is completely unplugged when working with these components.
If your computer uses a 4-pin rail for additional CPU power, make sure it is plugged in tightly.
Unplug the main power connector, which will be a long bar with a bunch of wires in it that connects to your computer. Plug it back in tightly.
Unplug all CD Roms, hard drives, and other peripherals that are using your power supply and try to turn on your computer. If it turns on, then you have a device that is causing the short. It has been known to happen in old floppy drives to disable power.
Remove the RAM from the computer and try to boot it up. It should give you a “beeping” error code to let you know there is no RAM installed.
If the computer still doesn’t power on, then you have one of four possible problems. Bad power supply, faulty motherboard, bad on/off button, or a damaged CPU can all cause this same problem depending on manufacturing of either of these devices. At this time, you should consider professional help.
People make troubleshooting a computer far more difficult than it needs to be. Grant it, it’s a sophisticated piece of technology. A lot of the time, problems are caused by external elements that could have been avoided. Too many tech support specialists have been called out only to discover that a cable wasn’t plugged in all the way. Always check the simplest explanations before you work yourself into a panic. You’d be amazed at how often you can fix your own computer.