How to fix a computer that won’t start

Updated: April 05, 2023
6 min read
How to fix a computer that won’t start
by Christine Tomas
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Computers are an integral part of our daily lives and play a vital role in our personal and professional endeavors. However, there are times when our trusty machines may encounter issues that prevent them from starting up properly. Whether it's a software glitch or a hardware malfunction, a computer that won't start can be a frustrating and stressful situation. In this article, we will explore some common reasons why a computer may not start, as well as some troubleshooting steps that can help get your device back up and running. From simple software fixes to more complex hardware repairs, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to get your computer back in working order.

Before we start

Save your time and let professionals resolve your issue in minutes!
Want to start solving your problem immediately? Experienced Howly troubleshooters can fix your issue ASAP. They’re already waiting for you in the chat!

The benefits you’ll get while troubleshooting your issue with Howly experts:

    • Qualified help with laptops HDD
    • Quick advice right in your device 24/7/365
    • Expert reply within 60 seconds
    • Clear step-by-step guidance
    • Limitless number of follow-up questions
    • Understanding and empathetic help till your laptop HDD issue is fully resolved
    • All answers you need in one place

Potential reasons why your computer doesn’t start

There are several reasons why a computer may not start, including:

  1. Dead power supply: The power supply unit (PSU) may be faulty or may not be providing enough power to the components.
  2. Malfunctioning motherboard: The motherboard may be damaged or have a hardware failure, preventing the computer from turning on.
  3. Corrupted operating system: The computer's operating system may be damaged or corrupt, preventing it from booting up.
  4. Faulty RAM: The computer's memory (RAM) may be faulty, preventing the computer from starting up.
  5. Overheating: The computer may have overheated and shut off to prevent damage, preventing it from restarting.
  6. Failed hardware component: A hardware component such as the hard drive, graphics card, or CPU may have failed, preventing the computer from starting.
  7. Malware or Virus: A malware or virus may have infected the computer, preventing it from starting.
  8. Incorrectly configured BIOS/UEFI: The computer's basic input/output system (BIOS) or unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) may be incorrectly configured, preventing the computer from starting.

How to troubleshoot potential computer hardware issues

Remember that many hardware problems cannot be fixed immediately. If the computer does not start, it is better to take it to a workshop than to fix it yourself. Most hardware problems are due to poor connections or minor glitches. In this case, the hard drive will most often be in order, that is, your files will not be affected.

Back up the contents of your hard drive

How to fix a computer that won’t start

Do this before you start repairing your computer. To do this, remove the hard drive from your computer, connect it to another computer via an IDE to USB adapter (or SATA to USB adapter for older hard drives), and back up the hard drive on the other computer.

banner 3

Check the power cable

How to fix a computer that won’t start

As cliche as it may seem, check again if the power cable is connected to the computer and to an electrical outlet, and the outlet is working.

Connect your computer directly to an electrical outlet to see if a surge protector or a power strip is causing the problem.

If you are using a laptop, make sure the power adapter is securely connected to it.

Try a different monitor

How to fix a computer that won’t start

If the computer is on but the screen is black, there might be something wrong with the monitor. Recheck your monitor connection and then try another monitor (if possible).

Remove the battery from the laptop

How to fix a computer that won’t start

You can work on a laptop without a battery if you connect it to a power source. If the laptop starts without a battery, something is wrong with the battery, which will need to be replaced.

banner 6

Check the power supply

This is an important step as it ensures that the computer has a proper power source to turn on.

  • Make sure the power cord is plugged into the computer and the outlet. Make sure that the outlet is working by plugging in another device to confirm.
  • Check the power button to ensure that it is functioning properly. The power button may be malfunctioning and not providing power to the computer.
  • Inspect the power cord and the outlet for any damage or frayed wires. If the cord or outlet is damaged, it will not provide power to the computer.
  • Check the power supply unit (PSU) of the computer, it may be faulty or not providing enough power to the computer. If you suspect that the PSU is faulty, you can replace it with a new one.

If the power supply is not the problem, then you can move on to the next step of troubleshooting. However, if the power supply is the problem, resolving it will get the computer to start.

Look for loose screws

A loose screw can cause a short circuit on the motherboard. Gently shake the computer case and listen for a metallic rattle. Use your fingers or long tweezers to pry the screw out of the computer case.

Examine the cables

banner 9

Look for uninsulated cables, as exposed wiring can cause a short circuit. Replace such cables.

Reinstall accessories

Try removing and then reinstalling the video card and RAM modules; do the same for all cables. If a connection is loose, this may be the reason why the computer does not start.

You can also try to reinstall the processor, but this is a difficult task and most likely it’s still not the problem. Moreover, when reinstalling the processor, it can be damaged – in this case, the computer will not work at all.

Remove the discrete graphics card (if present)

How to fix a computer that won’t start

Removing a discrete graphics card from a computer can be a bit tricky, but with the right tools and steps, it can be done safely and efficiently.

  1. Before starting, make sure that your computer is turned off and unplugged from the power source.
  2. Locate the graphics card in the computer. It is typically located near the back of the case and is connected to the motherboard with one or more cables.
  3. Remove the screw(s) that hold the graphics card in place. These are typically located on the back of the case and can be accessed by removing the back panel.
  4. Carefully release the graphics card from the motherboard by pressing down on the tabs that hold it in place. These are typically located on the sides of the graphics card.
  5. Gently pull the graphics card out of the computer. Be careful not to damage any of the connectors or cables that are attached to the graphics card.
  6. Once the graphics card is removed, you should clean the contact points of both the card and the slot using a clean dry cloth.
  7. To reinstall the graphics card, simply follow the steps in reverse. Make sure that the graphics card is securely seated in the slot and that all of the cables and connectors are properly attached.
  8. Reattach the screw(s) and reattach the back panel of the case.
  9. Plug in the computer and turn it on to see if the computer starts properly.

It is important to be gentle and cautious when removing the graphics card, as improper handling can cause damage to the card or the computer. It's also a good idea to refer to the computer or graphics card's manual for specific instructions on removing and reinstalling the graphics card.

Seek additional help

If the troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue and the computer still does not start, you may need to consider replacing key components, taking the computer to a professional for repairs, or purchasing a new computer.

How to troubleshoot software issues

How to fix a computer that won’t start

Try restarting your computer in a safe mode

Safe mode is a diagnostic mode that loads a minimal set of drivers and services, allowing you to access the computer without loading any unnecessary programs or drivers. This can be helpful in identifying if the problem is with a driver or program that is loaded when the computer starts up normally.

To enter safe mode, you will need to press the F8 key while the computer is starting up. This key is usually pressed before the operating system logo appears on the screen. Once the Advanced Boot Options menu appears, you can select the "Safe Mode" option and press enter.

Once the computer has booted into safe mode, you can check if the issue is still present. If the computer is able to boot in safe mode without any problems, it is likely a problem with one of the drivers or programs that is loaded when the computer starts up normally. To fix this issue, you can try disabling or uninstalling the problematic driver or program.

It's worth noting that, in some cases, the F8 key may not work due to some configurations or hardware changes, in that scenario you can try different key combinations such as F2, Del or Esc.

Additionally, if your computer is running Windows 8 or later, you can access the advanced startup options by going to the settings, Update & Security, and then Recovery. Under the Advanced startup, click on restart now, and the computer will restart with the advanced startup options.

Reinstall Windows using the installation media

How to fix a computer that won’t start

This step is typically taken as a last resort if none of the previous steps were able to fix the issue.

A reinstallation of the operating system will erase all of the data and settings on the computer and return it to its original state. It is important to back up all important data before proceeding with a reinstallation, as all data will be lost during the process.

To reinstall the operating system, you will need to have a copy of the operating system installation media, such as a USB drive or DVD. You will also need to have the product key or license for the operating system.

To begin the reinstallation process, you will need to boot the computer from the installation media. This is typically done by pressing a specific key during startup, such as F2 or F12, to access the boot menu. Once the computer is booted from the installation media, you can follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the operating system.

It's worth mentioning that, if you're reinstalling the operating system, you should be careful with the license that you're using, if it's not the original license that came with the computer, the computer may not boot up again.

Reinstalling the operating system can take some time, and you may need to reinstall any programs and drivers that were on the computer before the reinstallation. Additionally, make sure to install the latest updates and security patches for the operating system to make sure that the computer is secure and stable.


Why do the colored lines on the PC screen appear?

First of all, horizontal multi-colored lines on your PC may indicate mechanical damage or overheating, as a result of which the video card starts to malfunction. Another possible reason is an outdated system, including drivers. You can also try changing the screen resolution to fix the issue.

How do I know if I need to update my Windows?

The most obvious way to check the PC for new Windows updates is to go to Settings and open the Windows Update section. If updates are available, just install them. Moreover, computers often start to malfunction if the system is outdated.

What is the best program to check my computer for viruses?

Regular virus scanning will help you avoid further problems in the work of your computer system. Moreover, you have a great selection of anti-virus software to choose from. f you have Windows 10, it is best to use Windows Defender, as it is free. Our experts will provide instructions on how to scan your PC. But if you want to use third-party software, top scanning programs include BitDefender, Norton, McAfee, Avira, and TotalAV.


In conclusion, troubleshooting a computer that won't start can be a challenging task, but with a little patience and some basic knowledge, the issue can often be resolved quickly and easily. Whether the problem is a hardware or software issue, it is important to take the time to properly diagnose the problem before attempting to fix it. The article provides several steps that can be taken to troubleshoot and fix a computer that won't start, such as checking the power supply, and internal components, booting in safe mode or reinstalling the operating system. Remember that, before attempting to fix the problem, it is important to back up all important data. If the problem persists, it may be best to consult with a professional technician for further assistance. You can always ask the Howly team for additional help too.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Computers problem


Invalid Date
I had a problem with my computer and this article helped me fix it, thank you for the helpful information!
Lee Londod UK
Invalid Date
This article was very helpful, it provided clear and easy to follow steps on how to troubleshoot and fix a computer that won’t start.
Key Horkenstad
Invalid Date
I was having trouble with my computer and this article provided the information I needed to fix it.
Nick Land
Invalid Date
Thank you for the assistance! Howly, y’all are the best!
Invalid Date
I had a problem with my PC and this article helped me fix it, thank you!
Chantal Richie
Invalid Date
Thank you for the clear instructions! 👏
Bella Fix
Invalid Date
I was having trouble with my computer and this article has all I needed to fix it!!!
Michael Bahelor
Invalid Date
Eh, tried everything and had to buy another computer. At least I’vetried I guess
Kostantin Kosta
Invalid Date
Well, nothing’s worked for me. I guess I’ll have to contact you guys for further assistance 😣
Invalid Date
Can’t believe I’ve fixed my PC by myself 😎 Thank you, Howly!
Invalid Date
Thanks you so much for sharing these…
Invalid Date
I was having trouble with my computer. Found your tips just on time! 😀
Invalid Date
Very informative! Nice!
Stacy D Thend
Invalid Date
I had a problem with my computer and this article helped me identify and fix everything 🙂
Invalid Date
Great article, it provided clear and easy-to-follow steps to troubleshoot and fix a computer that won’t start 👍👍👍👍
Invalid Date
I didn’t know about safe mode before reading this article, so thanks!
Jenia Lovers
Invalid Date
I had a similar problem 👍 Can’t believe the answer was here all this time!
Western Gentleman
Invalid Date
I was able to fix my computer using the steps in this article, thanks for the help!
Invalid Date
Wow, guys! You helped me fix my laptop!
Oleya Nt
Invalid Date
Great article!!!

Write a comment

Trusted & Secured

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, and analyze site traffic.
More info