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How to fix a laptop that won't turn on

Dead laptop? Here's how to power on.

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If you’re having trouble turning on your laptop, whether it is brand new or a few years old, it can be frustrating. Especially if you’ve got all your important documents, downloads and saved games on there. Yikes. But there’s no need to panic just yet. There are things you can do to try and fix the issue for yourself before getting a professional involved.

So we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to identify and troubleshoot power issues for laptops.

Introduction to laptop power troubles

One of the most worrying laptops issues you can have is when they don’t turn on. It’s critical to determine the root of the problem before starting any fixes. In most cases, the issue could be related to a power source problem. While still frustrating, it can be a much easier fix than a hardware issue. So let’s check that first…

Preliminary checks

Obvious stuff first. Check if your power cord is plugged into a functional power socket, adapter/charger and the laptop. Try a different socket to confirm that it’s definitely an issue with your laptop or charger.

Checking laptop's power supply

If your laptop is still not turning on after the preliminary check, you need to focus on the laptop's adapter/ charger. Plug in another adapter to your laptop to see if it’s an adapter problem, just make sure that it’s compatible with your laptop’s power requirements first.

Another way of checking the power adapter is to test it with a multimeter, a handy gadget that will show you if there’s an electric current flowing.

How to check laptop indicator lights

Laptops have built-in indicator lights to show the power status and other notifications. So if your laptop's indicator lights are not turning on, it can be a sign that power is not reaching the computer's internal circuitry. Check your laptop's user manual to find out what the various indicator lights on your laptop means. It can be a shortcut to working out the exact problem.

If you’re getting no lights on your laptop at all, it’s on to the next phase.

Hardware troubleshooting on a laptop

If the above steps have not solved your problem, the issue might be related to hardware. To troubleshoot, it’s possible to remove and reinsert various hardware components like memory modules, internal hard drives and SSDs.

Only do this if your user manual states that it’s ok the access these components. Unlike desktop PCs, most laptops aren’t built for user intervention and you may invalidate your warranty if you’ve got one active. If in doubt, take it to a professional.

If you’re comfortable with hardware (especially if you installed the components in the first place) always be cautious of electrical discharge. If in doubt, just let a professional take care of it.

How to check external accessories and hardware compatibility on a laptop

If you’ve recently attached an external device, make sure it's compatible with your laptop. Incompatible devices may drain your battery or put a heavy load on your power supply, causing your laptop to shut down. Disconnect any external device and perform start-up attempts.

Cooling and ventilation issues on laptop

Does your laptop feel hot? Laptops can automatically shut down if they overheat from the processor or other components because of poor ventilation and cooling. Make sure your laptop's vents, fans and other cooling devices are free from debris and adequately cooling the laptop.

CMOS battery check

The CMOS battery ensures the laptop retains date and time and boot-up settings. A dead or low CMOS battery can cause your laptop to fail to power up. You can buy a replacement battery and get instructions for replacing it from your laptop's user manual.

Advanced power reset techniques

Advanced power reset techniques include rechecking all connections, draining residual electricity, and resetting the BIOS. Before you try anything, makes sure that you’re being cautious and follow the user manual guidelines.

Draining laptops residual electricity

If your laptop has residual power on the system board after shutting down, it can cause issues with powering up the device the next time. In this case, try disconnecting the power cable, remove the laptop battery then hold the power button for at least 30 seconds to drain any residual power. This issue is far more common than you’d think.

After you’ve tried this method, try turning your laptop on with the charger cable in but the laptop battery left out. If it turns on, you need a new battery.

If that doesn’t work, go through the whole process again but this time try powering on with your battery in but your charger disconnected. If it powers on, then the issue is your charger.

Hard reset procedures on laptops

Sometimes, a hard reset may clear software bugs and reset the BIOS. For laptops, you need to locate the hard reset pinhole or button on your laptop and follow the user manual's instructions.

Professional assistance and support for your laptop

Most of us aren’t comfortable messing about with laptop hardware and it’s not advisable if you don’t know what you’re doing. In that case, it’ll save you lots of stressful hours by just talking to someone who knows what they’re doing.

When to seek professional help for your laptop

If you’ve tried everything you’re comfortable trying, there’s no point putting off getting some expert advise. First of all, why not try 24/7 Currys Tech Support. We’re all busy and you can chat to them remotely. Describe the issue and what you’ve tried and they’ll advise you on the best course of action.

Warranty and support services

Your laptop may very well have an active manufacturer’s warranty. Get in touch with them and they’ll advise you what they can fix and what it might cost you. One of the best extra warranty services around is Care & Repair, which means that Currys Tech Experts are always there for you should something go wrong.

FAQs

What should I do first if my laptop won't turn on?

Check the laptop's power cord, adapter and ensure you have an uninterrupted power supply.

How to do a battery inspection on a laptop

If your laptop is still not turning on and you suspect that the battery may be the culprit, try removing the battery and then reinserting it. If you just want to check your battery, you can run a diagnosis on your laptop to check battery health.

How can I tell if my laptop’s problem is hardware-related or due to software?

If your laptop battery and power adapter seem to be powering on, then your laptop's issues are likely software-related.

Is it safe to open my laptop for troubleshooting hardware issues?

We recommend that you only troubleshoot hardware issues if you are comfortable and knowledgeable about the process. If you're unsure, we don't recommend opening your laptop and suggest seeking professional help instead. Some manufacturer warranties explicitly tell you not to open up the back of your laptop. So always check before you do anything.

If you need to replace your laptop charger, we probably have a match. And if you’re looking for something new, we’ve got a huge choice from top brands including ASUS laptops, HP laptops, Acer laptops, Lenovo laptops. Not sure where to start? Our Laptop buying guide is a great help.

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