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.

How to fix a computer that won't turn on
When hitting the power button doesn’t work, there are usually some simple fixes you can try. Even if your computer needs repair, you can probably do it yourself.

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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