Troubleshooting a Desktop Computer That Won't Boot Up

Having trouble getting your desktop computer to turn on? Learn how to troubleshoot common issues like power supply problems, unresponsive apps and more.

Troubleshooting a Desktop Computer That Won't Boot Up

If your desktop computer won't boot up, it can be a frustrating experience. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue and get your computer up and running again. First, try a different power supply. If the power supply is faulty, it could be preventing your computer from booting up.

If that doesn't work, try starting your PC in safe mode. This will allow you to access the system settings and restore your computer's previous settings. Next, check for unresponsive apps or disconnect any USB devices that may be causing the issue. If you're using PCIE* based storage, such as an NVMe SSD*, make sure your configuration is set up correctly.

PCIe* is the serial interconnect that allows the chipset and CPU to connect and communicate with the hardware installed on the motherboard. There are a limited number of “PCIe*” channels that must be properly distributed among the hardware that uses them, including the GPU, expansion cards and some storage solutions. Once you open up the system, check that all cables connected to the storage unit are connected correctly and not loose. If you're using an M.2 unit, make sure it's correctly placed in the correct slot on the motherboard.

The motherboard's CMOS (complementary metallic semiconductive metal) battery is a battery-powered chip that stores essential system information, such as the basic hardware configuration and the date. The CMOS failure is usually indicated by a clock that constantly restarts or a BIOS error message that involves the CMOS. The lifespan of these batteries is typically around a decade under typical usage conditions, but this can vary. If you're using an old or used motherboard, it's worth checking that the battery is working properly. They are relatively affordable and the replacement process is often simple. If the computer that isn't working is a laptop and its battery recently ran out, it's not uncommon for it not to start up, even if it's now plugged into the wall outlet.

Plug in the laptop and let the battery charge for at least half an hour before trying to turn it back on. If a driver is out of date or corrupt, it can cause Windows to become unstable and sometimes cause the computer to not boot with Windows. If you don't know which drive to boot from, you may need to take a look at the drive itself, as the capacity and brand are usually clearly listed on the label, and this information is often referred to in the BIOS as well. This is more important when initially building a computer that has never been properly booted up or when adding new hardware to an old system, since the lane assignment is unlikely to change without installing or removing the hardware. Adjusting these settings allows you to boot from a disk or external storage, which can be useful for something like a BIOS update. If you find a faulty piece of hardware, replace that hardware and then test your computer to see if Windows can boot correctly. One option to try to update or reinstall a driver is to boot your computer in Safe Mode (selecting the Safe Mode with Networking option).If your computer seems to be doing something but won't boot into Windows, there are several possibilities as to why.

If there is no new hardware on the computer and it cannot boot with Windows, continue with troubleshooting steps such as checking for malware infection or updating/reinstalling drivers. Once you are in BIOS or UEFI mode, make sure that your computer is configured to boot from its main hard drive, disable fast boot and look for any other unusual settings that may be causing startup problems. If your computer can start Windows properly after removing new hardware, try reinstalling it. If your hard drive is working properly or if repairing a hard drive problem doesn't fix the Windows boot problem, continue with other troubleshooting steps such as updating/reinstalling drivers or updating/reinstalling BIOS. If your computer turns on clearly but doesn't boot properly in Windows, it may be infected with malware such as a virus or ransomware. Help your computer charge fully and quickly with our guides on the best charging cables, HDMI cables and USB-C cables. Finally, if none of these steps work, consider updating or reinstalling BIOS on your computer. This may not be as relevant if you are using a pre-designed computer or if your computer was working and then started malfunctioning but if you are building a new PC - especially if you are using an old motherboard - updating BIOS can be useful for solving boot problems.

Carlton Picchetti
Carlton Picchetti

Hardcore internet buff. Certified twitter nerd. Wannabe bacon aficionado. Evil tv maven. Proud social media evangelist.

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