It’s a horrible feeling when you push the power button on your computer, wait for something to happen––and nothing does. At most, a few lights blink feebly, and a hum from within seems to indicate that it’s trying to start up, but then it doesn’t. Your stomach lurches. What’s wrong with your computer?
Well, there are a number of different reasons why you’re computer isn’t starting up. Let’s start with the most obvious one: a lack of power. If it’s a desktop computer and it’s not plugged into the wall, it’s not going to start up. If it’s a laptop with a depleted/defunct battery and no AC power, then it won’t start up either. If you haven’t forgotten to plug the computer in, you might have forgotten to make sure the power strip is on, if your computer is plugged into one. You also should check to make sure the power adapter is working. Putting your ear to it when you try starting the computer, you should hear a hum if it’s going.
Sometimes the power cord is frayed or damaged somehow, which means power isn’t getting from the wall to the adapter, or from the adapter to the computer. Sometimes, there is no power coming from the outlet itself; to test this possibility, check to see if a lamp works with it. If power doesn’t seem to be the issue, the next problem might be a hardware issue.
For example, one fateful day, I dropped a phone on my MacBook Pro and the computer went blank immediately. I tried to turn it on, but it wouldn’t start. As it turned out, the blow from the phone had screwed up the logic board (or the motherboard on a Windows PC) and required a total replacement. A bad motherboard is a likely culprit if the power seems to be working fine, and as this is the piece of hardware that houses the CPU, you have no choice but to get the computer fixed.
Another hardware problem contributing to why your computer won’t turn on might be a bad hard disk drive. Computers typically boot from the internal hard drive if there is no bootable CD or an external hard drive connected to the computer. If your computer’s internal hard drive is damaged or scrambled, your computer might start booting but fail to finish. This doesn’t mean that your hard drive is beyond help, but something might be loose. If it’s not the hard drive itself, it might the OS installed on the hard drive that is acting up.
One way to see if the OS is bad on a Windows machine is to try booting into Safe Mode by holding down F8 when you’re starting the computer. If you can’t even boot into safe mode, it’s probably a problem with the hard drive or video card. If you can boot into safe mode, you might try reinstalling the OS.
If, after going through all of these possibilities, the computer won’t turn on still, then you will want to consult with a computer repair technician or go to the manufacturer. Just don’t tell them you dropped a phone on it.