Help! My Laptop Won’t Turn On

Most of us have already experienced it at one time during our tech lives: the heart-stopping moment when your laptop suddenly won’t turn on. It gives us nightmares, both at work and home. You’d probably want to know why as soon as possible. However, you might want to consider what you need to and don’t need to do first. Here are some good starting pointers:

Don’t use the battery (for a while)

The most common problem with unresponsive laptops usually comes from dead batteries. You can try the traditional method of removing the battery first, then holding the power button for 30 seconds (or a minute). Then, connect the AC adapter/charger to turn it on and voila! Problem solved. Alternatively, you can try to simply turn on the battery to check if the battery is causing the problem. This is a straightforward method, but too basic, and it relies purely on the fact that it is the dead battery preventing the laptop from turning on. A good starting self-diagnostic test, nonetheless; one that you’d do first before checking anything else.

Confirm if it is caused by overheating

If the laptop won’t turn on after suddenly shutting down or turning off without your presence, confirm first if the unit initiated a thermal shut down. Some older laptops will sometimes refuse to power on if the unit is still outside of normal operating temperatures. Of course, the simplest solution is to let it cool down, and by that we mean let it cool down naturally. Do not use fans or any other external method; just let the laptop sit idle for a while. After the laptop cools down to room temperature, try to turn it on again. The laptop usually gives a notification that it had initiated a thermal shut down after it’s successfully turned on.

Keep other boot devices out

If your BIOS is configured to boot on another device by default, then the laptop might not completely turn itself on. Remove any USB data dongle, DVDs, or any other media that is inserted in its respective ports/drives. Then, check to see if the laptop turns on properly or boots. Alternatively, change your BIOS settings so that the laptop boots directly to its HDD. This sort of problem usually arises with newer laptops, which still have the default settings from the tech store. If the configuration has not been changed since the unit was set up, it can sometimes lead to this type of problem.

See if the screen is working

Okay, so, maybe, the power indicator is on, but it just stops there. Perhaps, it is caused by a faulty screen. Check if the normal, non-visual signs of a successful boot-up are still there, for example, if you still hear the OS startup sound or if you can still log in (from visual memory). Upon confirming the screen problem, your first remedy is to connect the laptop to an external monitor if you need to use the unit at that time. Otherwise, you might have to do a bit more technical work, such as checking specific BIOS settings and some other methods that might already require more technical help.

Christian Crisostomo
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