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What to do when your laptop computer does not start

Are you having a problem starting up your laptop? Is it not turning on when you press the power button? If so, here is what to do if your laptop does not start.

What to do when your laptop computer does not start

If you're reading this, chances are your laptop is not starting up. Don't worry; you're not alone. Laptop startup issues are common and can be caused by a variety of reasons. In this blog post, we'll discuss the steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix the issue.

Disconnect external devices

If your laptop is not starting up, it could be due to an external device connected to it has failed. Disconnect all external devices, including USB drives, external hard drives, and printers. Try booting up your laptop again and see if it works.

Check the AC jack

When you plug in the AC adapter, does it make a solid connection with the jack? Does it wiggle back and forth when it does plugin? If it does, you can try holding it to one side or the other and see if your laptop will power on. If your laptop powers up, then you will need to have the AC jack replaced.

Check the power source

A failed power adapter is the most common cause of a laptop not powering on. What usually happens is that the power adapter output will gradually diminish over time and eventually not have enough output to power the laptop and charge the battery.

When the output from the charger drops below a certain level, the laptop will turn to the battery for power. When the battery runs out of power, your laptop will not start. If you have a spare laptop charger, now is the time to try it.

If you keep your AC adapter plugged in all the time and it is over three years old, you may need to get a replacement. If it is the original charger that came with your laptop, there should be a model number on it that you can use to order a new one.

Note: The following procedures require the disassembly of your laptop computer. If you do not feel comfortable taking your laptop apart, don't hesitate to contact a local computer repair technician.

Check the battery

If you find the AC charger to be in good working order, then it is time to check the battery. On most laptops, you will need to partially disassemble it to gain access to the battery. Most of the time, it means you have to remove the base cover (bottom).

To find out the correct way to disassemble your system, you will need to find a service manual for it. A quick Google search for the make and model of your laptop plus 'service manual' should find you a manual. For example: Dell XPS 8950 service manual.

Once you have a service manual, grab your smartphone or digital camera to take photos as you go along. The manual will show you how to take your laptop apart, but it does not show the wire colors, actual screw locations, etc. Taking photos as you disassemble your system makes it much easier to reassemble.

Now that you have the base cover off, you will need to disconnect the battery. To determine if the battery is causing the problem, you should try starting the laptop with the battery disconnected using just the AC adapter.

First, we need to release any residual electrical charge that may be left in the system. With the battery disconnected, press and hold the power button down for 15 - 30 seconds. Once done, you can connect the AC adapter and attempt to start your laptop without the battery.

Starting your laptop without the base cover can be tricky, since you have the AC adapter plugged in and be able to press the power button. With the base cover off, swing up the base so it is 90 degrees from the display. Depending on the location of the power button and power jack, you will need to either place your laptop on the left side, right side, or the back of the display.

Once you have your laptop set up, go ahead and try powering it up. If it does start, let it start up and then carefully shut it down. Disconnect the AC adapter, reconnect the battery, reconnect the AC adapter, and try to start it up. If your laptop starts, it just needed a power reset to bring it back to life. Shut it down and reassemble it per the service manual.

If your laptop starts using just the AC adapter but not with the battery connected, you know the battery has failed and needs to be replaced. You can run your laptop without the battery connected temporarily, but you may need to set the date and time when you start the computer.

Reseat the components

If your laptop did not start using just the AC adapter, disconnect the AC adapter and press and hold the power button down for 15 - 30 seconds to discharge any of the residual power left in the laptop.

Following the service manual, proceed to reseat the components that are removable/reconnectable. (drives, memory modules, and wifi card). After reseating components, try powering your laptop up using just the AC adapter.

If your laptop still does not start up, check for any signs of power going through the motherboard. Are there any lights that turn on? Do any fan(s) move when you press the power button? If not, there is a good chance that the motherboard has failed.

In conclusion, laptop startup issues can be frustrating but can be resolved. Try these steps to troubleshoot and fix the problem. If, after following the steps outlined in this blog and your laptop still does not start, you may need to seek help from a computer repair technician.

How to power reset your laptop computer

Updated May 7, 2024

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. Discharging the electrical load is the only way to get it to run again. Most of the time, this is a quick fix. But there are times when it is not. Let me explain. This procedure requires completely disconnecting all power sources, the AC adapter, and the battery.

If you can remove the battery from the bottom of your laptop case, this will be pretty quick. If the battery is inside the laptop case, then it can be tricky. Some laptops have a pinhole battery reset button, which allows you to quickly reset the battery.

If your laptop does not have a pinhole battery reset button, you must disassemble it to access the internal battery. If you feel uncomfortable 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/reset the battery. The following steps require access to the battery.
    A laptop computer with a battery that is accessible from the bottom
    If your laptop's battery 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, some laptops have a pinhole battery reset button located on the bottom of your laptop. Using the end of a paper clip, press and hold the battery reset button down for ten (10) seconds.
    A typical pinhole battery reset button on the bottom of a laptop
    If your laptop does not have a pinhole battery reset button, 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 start, 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 issues 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 start up. 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 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 attach the base back to the laptop.
  10. Reconnect the AC adapter and start the laptop up again.

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