Dwight Watt - Newspaper #6 4/29/2009

Question: My computer will not turn on, what can I do?

Answer: Your computer not turning on may be a simple problem or it may be the result of damage to the power supply or motherboard. I am going to lead you thru some steps from simple to harder to try to fix the problem.

First check the obvious. Everyone knows you need electricity but some times it is real simple. Check to make sure your power cord is plugged in good in the electrical outlet and into the power supply on the back of the computer. Next make sure there is power to the outlets where the computer and monitor are plugged in, if a power strip that the breaker is not disconnected it and that the strip is securely plugged in the outlet. Make sure the power cord for the monitor is plugged in wall also. You would be amazed the number of times this has solved the problem. See if the problem is solved.

Second disconnect the power cord from the back of your computer (power supply) and then depress the power switch on the front of the computer (the one you turn it on and off with) and hold depressed for 10-15 seconds. Then plug the power cord back in and try turning on the computer. This resets the power supply.

The next steps involve working inside the computer. If you are uncomfortable doing that then call a computer maintenance professional.

Open the case. Ground yourself (to kill static electricity) by touching the power supply. Unplug the power cord from the back of the computer. If you have a modem card in the computer remove it and try restarting the computer after plugging the power cord back in. I have seen a modem card that was fried in a thunderstorm completely make a computer dead and when it was removed (and replaced later) the computer worked fine.

Next remove any other cards that have been installed in the PC on back and try starting the computer. Sometimes a card going bad will affect the computer just like a damaged modem card. Try starting the computer after reattaching the power cord.. If it works then put the cards back in one by one and you will determine the bad card.

If all of this fails then you will need to take your computer to a computer maintenance professional to diagnose the problem. You need to consider at this point also how much you will be willing to pay to repair the computer as the costs of replacing motherboards can some times be more expensive than buying a new computer. Power supplies usually do not cost a lot.

Hopefully one of the first steps solves your problems. Always backup your computer, however in this case there is a good likelihood your drive is still good and can be used in a different machine.

Send me your questions about computers to me at the paper or to my e-mail dwight@dwightwatt.com and tell me you read this in the paper. I will pick a question to answer each week.

(c) 2009 by Dwight Watt
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