You flip open your laptop to get some work done, expecting to see your login screen, but nothing happens. The screen is black, and there are no signs of life. What do you do when your device won’t power on? Here’s a checklist of potential problems to help you troubleshoot before calling in the professionals.
Tip #1: Ensure You Have Power
If your battery is completely drained, your laptop will need to get power from somewhere to power on. Check your charger to ensure that it is plugged in on both ends (the connections are fully engaged between the computer and the charger and the charger to the outlet). Make sure the connections are clean, dry, and free of dirt and debris. If your charger is plugged into a power strip, disconnect it and plug it directly into an outlet instead. Look for any physical damage all along the cable, like chew marks from pets or frayed or exposed wires. If you have a spare charger or a friend’s charger that fits, try plugging that in instead.
Some chargers have LED lights that turn on when they are plugged in and getting power from an outlet; if the light is not lit, your charger or outlet may not be working. Some outlets are connected to light switches that must be turned on for the current to be live. Your problem may be as simple as purchasing a new charger or plugging into a different outlet.
Tip #2: Remove the Battery
A laptop battery that won’t charge or is malfunctioning is another common problem and can cause the computer to not turn on at all. Batteries typically only last 2–3 years before they need to be replaced. If your battery is removable, take it completely out of the laptop, and disconnect the charger. Wait 30 seconds, and then plug in the charger, leaving the battery removed. Try turning on the computer. If it boots up as usual, your problem is likely the battery! If your battery is not removable, plug in the laptop and hold down the power button for 15 seconds. Wait 60 seconds, then press it again to try to turn it on.
Tip #3: Disconnect All Devices
If you have any devices plugged into your laptop—like USB mice or keyboards, any little USB wireless receivers, USB hard drives, or docking stations—unplug them and try again to start the machine. Sometimes, these devices can malfunction and interfere with the normal operation of the computer.
Tip #4: Connect an External Monitor
If it looks or sounds like you’re getting power to the machine but the screen is still dark, you can try plugging in an external monitor. Connect it through an output port (HDMI, mini-HDMI, DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, DVI, or VGA) with an appropriate cable; on some machines, it may be necessary to activate an external display mode (usually via one of the function keys). If your laptop’s output looks fine on the external display, you may just have a problem with the screen.
Is it time to call a pro?
If your computer still does not turn on after trying these steps, you likely have a bad hardware component. At this point, you'll need a pro to help diagnose the problem. An experienced technician will find the source of your issue, give you repair options, and advise you as to whether to repair or replace the computer or its components.
Dymin’s expert computer service team will diagnose or repair your laptop within 24 hours, reducing your downtime and getting you up and running again as quickly as possible. Come into our store or contact us to arrange free pickup (and return delivery) in the Des Moines metro area for all your computer repair service needs.