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How to power reset your laptop computer

Updated May 16, 2020

Did you turn off your laptop, and now it will not start up again? Maybe you closed the lid, and now it will not come out of sleep mode? If so, you may need to power reset your laptop computer.

How to power reset your laptop computer

This has to be one of the most frustrating problems with laptops, you press the start button, and nothing happens. No lights, no sounds, no display. It seems like it is entirely dead. And in a way, it is. If your laptop computer turned off while you were using it, a power reset would not help. That would be a completely different problem.

The problem is that the system has built-up residual electrical charge in the capacitors. And the only way to get it to run again is to discharge the electrical load. The majority of the time, it is a quick fix. But there are times when it is not a quick fix. Let me explain. This procedure requires that you completely disconnect all power sources, ac adapter, and battery.

If you can remove the battery in your laptop from the bottom of the case, this will be pretty quick. If the battery is inside the laptop case, then it can be tricky, as you will have to disassemble the laptop to get to the internal battery. If you feel uncomfortable about taking your computer apart, please contact a local computer repair specialist like Geeks in Phoenix.

  1. Disconnect all devices from your laptop. This includes docking stations, USB devices, external displays, etc..
  2. Disconnect the ac adapter.
  3. Remove/disconnect the battery. The following steps require access to the battery.
    A laptop computer with a battery that is accessible from the bottom
    If the battery for your laptop is accessible from the bottom, remove it and proceed to the next step.
    A laptop computer with a battery that is accessible by removing the base
    If the battery is not accessible from the bottom, you would need to disassemble your laptop to gain access to it. Before you or a technician takes the computer apart, try step #4 first. If, after trying step #4, your laptop still does not startup, then you may need to disassemble it to get to the battery.
    A typical internal battery connection inside of a laptop computer
    Some batteries connect directly to the motherboard, and some connect via a cable. Depending on the type of battery your laptop has, you may or may not have to remove it.
  4. Hold down the Power button for 15 - 30 seconds. By holding down the Power button, you release all of the residual power left in the laptop. If you had to remove the base to get to the battery connection, place the bottom back on the computer and put it back in the standard operating position. Do not worry about screwing the base back on yet. Once you have discharged the laptop, you will reassemble it.
  5. Connect the ac adapter and plug it into an ac jack. Most instructions for releasing the residual electrical charge will have you reinstall/reconnect the battery first, then connect the ac adapter. If you leave the battery removed/disconnected, you avoid any issue that the battery might have, like low output.
  6. Press the power button. If the problem was a built-up residual electrical charge, your laptop should startup. The only error you might encounter is a warning about the battery missing.
  7. Shut down the laptop. If all went well, your computer started up and booted up the operating system. Just turn it off as you usually would.
  8. Disconnect the ac adapter.
  9. Reinstall/reconnect the battery. If you had to remove the base to get to the battery connection, you can reconnect it and screw the base back on to the laptop.
  10. Reconnect the ac adapter and start the laptop up again.

How to build a computer

Updated May 19, 2020

Are you thinking about building a computer? Have you already got the parts and don't know where to start? If so, I am going to show you how to assemble a computer.

How to build a computer

In a recent article, I discussed things to keep in mind when building a custom computer. There are plenty of websites like PC Part Picker that will generate a parts list. But once you have purchased all of the parts, you'll have to put them all together.

In this article, I am going to assemble a computer from all the separate components. If you don't have all of the tools or are kind of scared of possibly making a mistake, please contact a local computer shop and have them assemble it for you. If you live in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, feel free to give us a call.

Tools required to build a computer

Tools required to build a computer

  • Anti-static wrist strap
  • Wire ties
  • Snipers (for trimming wire ties)
  • Needle nose pliers (optional)
  • 3/16" nut driver (for stand-offs)
  • #1 Phillips screwdriver
  • Thermal compound (may or may not be required)

Building a computer step by step

Cable management is one thing you will need to keep in mind as you are building your computer. Take the time to secure all wires, even if it is temporary.

Don't be surprised if during your assembly that you have to cut and replaced some wire ties. When you perform cable management, this is normal. Just make sure you have plenty of extra wire ties handy.

And remember to put on the anti-static wrist strap and attach the clip of it to a metal portion of the computer case before you start building your computer.

  1. Unpack the computer case.
    Unpack the computer case
    Make sure to do an inventory of all the parts (screws, drive caddies, etc.) that come with it.
  2. Install the I/O panel in the rear of the case.
    Install I/O panel in rear of case
    Be careful installing the I/O panel as the metal edges can easily cut your hand.
  3. Install the stand-offs for the motherboard.
    Install the stand-offs for motherboard
    Some cases have stand-offs built-in, others do not. If your case does not have them built-in, check the hole pattern on the motherboard or the motherboard manual to ensure you have the stand-offs in the correct locations. Hand tighten them using a 3/16" nut driver.
  4. Install the motherboard.
    Install the motherboard
    You may have to work it a little bit to get it under any tabs on the I/O panel. Then attach it to the stand-offs using the supplied screws.
  5. Install the CPU.
    Install the CPU
    Make sure you have the notches in the CPU aligned correctly to the socket on the motherboard. Refer to the motherboard manual for the correct way to secure the CPU in the socket.
  6. Install the CPU cooler.
    Install the CPU cooler
    If you are using a new cooler, it will have thermal compound already applied. If you are rebuilding an existing computer, you will need to clean any current thermal compound from the CPU and cooler. Then you will need to apply a new layer of thermal compound. Just spread a thin coat of thermal compound across the entire surface of the CPU. A business card works great.
  7. Install the memory modules.
    Install the memory modules
    The modules will have a notch in them, so they will only go into the slot one way. Check the memory modules against the memory slots on the motherboard for the correct orientation. Also, refer to the motherboard manual for the proper installation order.
  8. Install the case fan(s).
    Install the case fan(s)
    Some cases come with fans already installed, and some don't. If you have to install the can fans, make sure you have the airflow correct. The airflow should go from the front of the case to the rear of the case. The fans have directional arrows printed on one side of them. Once installed, connect them to the appropriate fan header(s) on the motherboard. Refer to the motherboard manual for the locations.
  9. Connect the front panel connectors to the motherboard.
    Connect the front panel connectors to the motherboard
    Refer to the motherboard manual for the locations of all the pins (power button, power LED, hard drive LED, audio jacks, and USB jacks) for the connectors.
  10. Install the drive(s).
    Install the drive(s)
    Depending on your case, you may have separate carriages or combination carriages for Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD). If you are installing an M2 SSD, refer to the motherboard manual for the correct location. If you are also installing CD / DVD drive(s), you may have to remove knock-out metal panel(s) from a 5 1/2" bay in the front of the case. Be careful, twisting it back and forth to break it free, as the metal can be sharp and cut your hand.
  11. Install the cables for the drive(s).
    Install the cables for the drive(s)
    Refer to the motherboard manual for the port location and numbering. If you have M.2 drive(s) installed, check the manual to find out if it shares resources with any of the SATA ports. You will want the primary (boot) drive to be attached to port 1.
  12. Install any expansion cards (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).
    Install any expansion cards
    Refer to the motherboard manual for the locations of the PCI-e slots. Here is an article we wrote about installing expansion cards.
  13. Install the power supply.
    Install the power supply
    Depending on the power supply, it may or may not have the power cables already attached. Route the wires thought the case making sure not to cut them on any sharp metal edges.

Make sure to trim all of the wire ties, and remove the protective film from the case. Attach the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and go into the BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) to verify and change any of the settings. Refer to the motherboard manual on how to do this. When you have finished editing the BIOS settings, you will be ready to install the operating system.

My digital toolbox 3

When it comes to repairing computers, every technician has what I call a digital toolbox. It is software that they use for specific tasks, like finding information on hardware or cloning drives. So here is another installment of my digital toolbox.

My digital toolbox 3

CPU-Z

Screenshot of CPU-Z

When it comes to finding the specifications of your motherboard, processor, etc., you could open your computer case and disassemble the components to get that information. Or you could download and run CPU-Z.

CPU-Z will display all of the information on your CPU (Central Processing Unit), motherboard, memory, and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). It can even benchmark your existing processor against preloaded reference CPU's.

I recently needed to find out what specific memory a laptop was running. Instead of tearing it down to look at the memory modules, I just ran CPU-Z. If you need to know the specifications of your computer's hardware, CPU-Z is a great way to do it.

Click here for more information on CPU-Z

Samsung Data Migration

Screenshot of Samsung Data Migration

Now upgrading your HDD (Hard Disk Drive) to an SSD (Solid State Drive) can be tricky. But if you purchase specific Samsung SSD's, you can utilize their free cloning software, Samsung SSD Data Migration.

I have used this software before, and it does work pretty flawlessly. All you have to do is download and install the Samsung Data Migration software on your computer. The only thing you will need is a drive adapter or docking station to attach the Samsung SSD to your system.

Once you have the Samsung Data Migration software installed, you attach your new Samsung SSD via an adapter or docking station and then start up the Samsung Data Migration software.

Now you have to keep in mind that you want to have a Samsung SSD that is relatively the same size or larger (in gigabytes) than your existing drive (HDD or SSD). That way, you don't have any issues with shrinking any of the partitions. Expanding them is easy, shrinking them can cause problems.

Another thing to keep in mind is if your cloning a 3.5" desktop HDD to a 2.5" Samsung SSD and your computer case does not have a 2.5" mounting bracket, you will need to have a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter bracket.

As I mentioned before, Samsung Data Migration software works with specific Samsung SSD's, so check the user manual first for the list of supported Samsung drives.

Click here for more information on Samsung Data Migration

Acronis True Image WD Edition Software

Screenshot of Acronis True Image WD Edition Software

Now when it comes to free drive cloning software, nobody can beat Western Digital. They offer a stripped-down version of Acronis True Image for use with any Western Digital HDD or Sandisk SSD.

The beautiful thing about this software is that besides drive cloning, it will also backup the entire system, individual partitions, or just folder/files. You have to have a qualifying drive (Western Digital or Sandisk).

Now, this software will clone to either a physically installed drive or one connected via a drive adapter or docking station. It has its boot loader in which it boots to when cloning a drive.

Just remember that when using any drive cloning software, you will need to turn the computer off after the cloning process is finished and change the new cloned drive out for the old existing drive.

Click here for more information on Acronis True Image WD Edition

How to tell if your desktop computer power supply has failed

There may be a time when your desktop computer does not start. There could be a few reasons why it does not start. The first thing that comes to mind is a failed power supply. Here's how to test your desktop power supply.

How to tell if your desktop computer power supply has failed

Living in Phoenix, we have one thing that takes a toll on a desktop computer. No, it is not the heat; it is the dust. Since our environment here is so dry, we get a lot of dust.

How to clean the dust out of your computer

And since dust does conduct electricity, power supplies tend to fail. Even if you routinely clean your desktop computer, they still only have a life span of around 3 to 5 years.

So, if you press the power button, your desktop computer does not start, and there are no lights that light up, then you may have a failed power supply.

Now, if you do not feel comfortable working around electricity or inside of your desktop computer, please contact a local computer technician.

How to test your desktop computer power supply

  1. Disconnect the power cord that comes from the outlet to the power supply.
  2. After you have disconnected the power cord, open up the case and touch any metal part of the power supply or case to discharge any remaining energy.
  3. Make a note or take pictures of the connections that lead from the power supply to the devices. Once you have documented all of the power leads, then remove all of the connectors (SATA, Molex, PCI-e, ATX, MB, etc.) that lead to all of the different devices and motherboard.
  4. Create a jumper from a piece of thin gauge wire or paper clip.
  5. Plug the power cord back into the jack on the back of the power supply.
  6. Using the jumper you created, connect Pin 16 to either Pin 17 or Pin 18.
    Motherboard power supply connectior
    If the power supply fan starts to run, the power supply has an output voltage and is in good condition. If the power supply fan does not spin, it is time to replace it.

If your power supply has failed, make a note of what type and how many connectors your existing power supply has.
Common desktop power supply connections
Also, check the stated output of your existing power supply from the label on the side.

I also recommend that you use a tape measure or ruler to measure the dimensions of the power supply, (Width x Height x Depth) as you will want to get as close as possible to these for the replacement power supply.

Should you repair or upgrade your computer or just get a new one

Doing computer repair for a living, I get a lot of questions. One of my favorites has to be, "Should I repair or upgrade my computer or just get a new one." So, let's look at whether to repair or upgrade an existing computer or buy a new one.

Should you repair or upgrade your computer or just get a new one

First off, let's start with the three (3) theories I follow regarding computers and their components.

  1. Infant Mortality is the belief that if it runs for a day (24 hours), it will run for its lifetime. It is also the start of what is called the Bathtub Curve.
  2. The Bathtub Curve refers to the expected failure rate of electronics over time, as it resembles an end-to-end section of a bathtub. The failure rate starts high at the beginning of life (Infant Mortality) and then drops to almost nothing until rising again when it fails.
  3. The definition of the Lifetime of computer components, from my experience, is three years from the start of service. At three years or older, it's not if it will break down, but when will it break down. But there are exceptions to this rule, mainly how well you take care of the electronics.

To repair or replace

With that said, let's start with the repair or replace scenario. Most of the time, if the computer (desktop or laptop) is within the expected lifetime, repairing is the best way to go. Now the exception is with the price and availability of replacement parts.

With computers over three (3) years old, you have to take a look at the cost of replacement parts and labor versus the price of a new system. If the parts and labor total more than $200, I will usually ask a client at least twice if they are sure they want to replace the part(s).

You also have to look at whether the replacement parts are new or refurbished (a fancy way of saying used). For laptop bases, lids and bezels, refurbished will work quite well. For motherboards and IO/daughter boards, a refurbished unit may or may not work out.

Keep in mind that if a particular component has a flaw that caused it to fail, a refurbished (used) part may also have the same defect and could fail just like the component you are replacing. I've had about 50 / 50 success rate with refurbished parts, with some parts lasting only months and some lasting years.

Hard drives, memory modules, desktop DVD drives, power supplies, laptop displays, laptop keyboards, and laptop fans are standard parts and often need replacement. These parts are generally easy to find and purchase. Laptop parts like hinges, display bezels, display lids (tops), and bases can be tricky. A quick Google search for computer model + part name should yield some results.

The availability of replacement parts

In my experience finding replacement parts, I have found that the computer's age has a lot to do with being able to find parts.

  • If the computer in question is under 1 year old, the only way to get replacement parts is through the manufacturer. And you can be sure that you will pay full retail price for them.
  • If the computer is 1 - 3 years old, the cost of replacement parts should go down, as the supply of parts should get better. At this point, people are starting to 'part-out' failed systems and posting the parts on eBay.
  • If the computer is 3 - 5 years old, the replacement parts will be at their lowest cost. The supply will be high, and you will be able to find multiple vendors carrying the same components. It's a buyer's paradise.
  • If the computer is 5 years or older, the supply of parts starts to dwindle, and prices go up. I had a client who wanted to replace a motherboard with bad capacitors that was fifteen (15) years old. I found one (1) refurbished motherboard at almost $500. We had the board recapped for a whole lot less.

To upgrade or replace

Now when it comes to upgrading a computer, there are quite a few things that you can do to desktop and laptop computers. The one thing with the most bang-for-the-buck is memory. Allot of systems come with a nominal amount of memory and can easily be upgraded.

The problem with upgrading memory is that many manufacturers will purchase smaller memory modules and fill up all of the memory slots with them. For example, let's say you bought a computer with eight (8) gigabytes of memory installed. The motherboard has four (4) memory slots, and each one can handle a 4-gigabyte memory module (max.), for a total of sixteen (16) gigabytes (max.).

But when you open up the computer, you find that instead of using two (2) 4-gigabytes memory modules, the manufacturer used four (4) 2-gigabyte modules. To upgrade the memory to sixteen (16) gigabytes, you have to replace all of the 2-gigabyte memory modules with 4-gigabytes modules. Why do they do it? They can get smaller memory modules cheaper.

How to upgrade or add more memory to your computer

Another way to breathe new life into a computer is to upgrade the hard drive. You can go with a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) that spins faster or a Solid State Drive (SSD) that has a faster transfer rate. Either of these should give you better performance. Combine it with a clean installation of Windows, and you will feel like you got a brand new computer.

How to upgrade the hard drive in your computer

How to upgrade your computers hard disk drive to a solid state drive

If you have a desktop computer and like playing games, upgrading the graphics card may be an option. Just make sure you know what the motherboard specification is for the PCIe slot(s) (version 1, version 2, etc.) and use a compatible graphics card. Also, make sure you have enough power connector(s) (6-pin or 8-pin PCIe).

The bottom line

You are the only one who has to decide whether to repair or upgrade an existing computer or replace it with a new one. If it has sentimental value or runs a program you cannot reinstall, then maybe you should repair or upgrade it. But if the cost of fixing it is more than the total value of your existing computer, then perhaps you consider just replacing it with a new system.

Free computer diagnostics

Repairing a PC can sometimes be expensive, and that is why we offer free basic in-shop diagnostics. Give one of our professional and experienced technicians a call at (602) 795-1111, and let's see what we can do for you.

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Repairing a computer can be time-consuming. That is why we base our in-shop service on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes for your computer to work! From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes that can take some time.

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

At Geeks in Phoenix, we have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

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Phoenix, Arizona 85008
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