How to fix a computer that won’t turn on

When a computer won’t turn on, it’s usually a simple repair you can do yourself. Frequently it doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t require any parts. If you do need parts, you can expect it to cost $70 or less and get it done in less than an hour. Here’s how to fix a computer that won’t turn on.

First things first: Try just unplugging it for a few seconds, then plugging it back in and turning it on. For a lot of computers, particularly desktop computers, that’s all it takes.

If a desktop computer won’t turn on after that, it’s probably the power supply. I’ve covered a cheap way to test a standard ATX power supply before. All you need is a paper clip. If the power supply is dead, it’s a cheap repair. Take a photo so you can see where everything goes, then unplug all of the connectors and unbolt the power supply. Take it to a nearby computer store you trust and buy a replacement. You may end up with an off-brand, so here’s everything you need to know about buying off-brand power supplies. Bring it home and plug it back in.

If your computer is a laptop, that’s easy too. My method of fixing an HP Elitebook is one of the most popular things I ever wrote. That method works on any other brand of laptop too. It just happens that at the time I wrote that piece, I worked somewhere that had HP Elitebooks. If the laptop still won’t work after that, it may be the AC adapter. Proceed with caution, but you may be able to use a substitute AC adapter.┬áBelieve it or not, the AC adapters usually go bad before the laptops they came with. If you find or borrow a suitable AC adapter and the laptop still doesn’t work, you may need to take it to a reputable repair shop to see what they can do for you.

One thought on “How to fix a computer that won’t turn on

  • December 9, 2016 at 11:24 am

    You know, I’ve been wondering if it wasn’t the AC adapter. By a process of exclusion.


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