How to fix a computer

In this article, we will tell you how to fix a Windows computer that won’t start. Most of the time this is due to a hardware problem, but sometimes the computer software is the cause.

The computer won't start
The computer won’t start

How to troubleshoot hardware

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.

Back up hard drive
Back up hard drive

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.

Check the power cable

Power cable
Power cable

As cliche as it may seem, check again that 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 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

Try a different monitor
Try a different monitor

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 and connect the power adapter to it

Laptop battery
Laptop battery

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.

Open the desktop computer case

Desktop computer case
Desktop computer case

Do this to check the power supply and the connections of the internal components.

  • First, ground yourself with a special bracelet or simply touch the metal case of the computer.
  • The laptop can be checked for hardware problems, but you are unlikely to fix it yourself, so we recommend taking the laptop to a workshop.

Check the power supply cables

Make sure the cables coming out of the power supply are securely connected to the motherboard.

Check the power supply

Older power supplies often fail, but it’s easy to test them. A bad power supply is the most common reason why a computer won’t start.

Replace the failed power supply

If the test showed that the power supply is defective, we recommend replacing it.

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

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 the processor is not causing 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)

Discrete graphics card
Discrete graphics card

Now connect the monitor to the integrated graphics card (on the motherboard). A faulty graphics card can cause your computer to not start.

Install a new video card if necessary.

Get rid of non-essential equipment

Try starting your computer with only essential hardware connected to it. This means that you need to disable the discrete graphics card, additional drives, PCI cards, and additional RAM modules. Now try turning on your computer.

If the computer starts with the required hardware, connect the non-essential hardware one at a time to find the source of the problem.

Seek additional help

If the computer still does not start, replace the main components, take the computer to a repair shop, or buy a new computer.

How to troubleshoot software issues

Try starting your computer

Press the power button “Power” on the computer.

If your computer won’t even turn on, try troubleshooting your computer hardware.

Hold ⇧ Shift while the computer starts up

Additional options will open.

Additional options will be presented in white on a blue background. If they don’t appear, restart your computer while holding ⇧ Shift.

Click Troubleshooting

Click Troubleshooting
Click Troubleshooting

You will find this option on the Select Action screen.

Click Advanced Options

Click Advanced Options
Click Advanced Options

This option is at the top of the screen.

Click Startup Repair

Startup Repair
Startup Repair

You will find this option on the left side of the screen.

Click on your account name in the middle of the screen

Your account name in the middle of the screen
Your account name in the middle of the screen

Enter password

Password
Password

Enter the password you use to log in, and then click Continue.

If you don’t have a password, just click Continue.

Let Windows check your computer

Windows checks the computer
Windows checks the computer

This may take several minutes.

Follow the instructions on the screen

On-Screen Instructions
On-Screen Instructions

Depending on the problem, you may be prompted to take some steps to fix it, but the system will most likely fix the problem automatically.

Restart your computer

Restart your computer
Restart your computer

If Startup Repair didn’t work, reinstall Windows. Back up your important files, and then follow these steps:

  • restart your computer with ⇧ Shift pressed and go to the “Select Action” screen.
  • Click Troubleshoot.
  • Click Reset this PC.
  • Click “Keep My Files”.
  • If this option did not work, restart your computer and use the “Remove everything” option.
  • Confirm your choice and then follow the instructions on the screen.

Reinstall Windows using the installation media

Reinstalling Windows
Reinstalling Windows

If none of the above methods was successful, reinstall Windows from the DVD or USB drive you used to install the system. Reinstalling the system will delete everything on the hard drive, so use this method only as a last resort:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7

Adviсe

  • If you don’t know how to handle computer parts safely, take your computer to a workshop.
  • Starting problems can be caused by anything from dust to corrupted system files, so finding the exact cause can be tricky.

Warnings

  • Wear a wrist strap or touch the computer while it is plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • Turn off and unplug your computer before touching its internal components.