You switch on your desktop or laptop when you get up in the morning and it refuses to turn on. Not so much as a single word on the screen, a sound from the fans, or even a change in screen colour. Nothing at all. What do you do?
Disconnect all cables including the power supply cable. If its a laptop, remove the battery as well. Wait about 5 minutes, and press the power button once or twice. Then reconnect the power cable (and battery) and make sure it’s plugged in securely at both ends, check to make sure that the adapter isn’t disrupting the power supply if you have a laptop, and press firmly when you re-try the power button, holding it down for several seconds. If none of this causes your computer to boot, move on to the next step.
Check the Outlet
You can test the efficacy of your outlet by plugging a lamp into the same outlet you’ve been trying to use for your computer. If you can turn on the lamp, your outlet isn’t the problem, so try the next test.
Remove/Replace the RAM
Take out the RAM, one stick at a time. If you have a laptop, disconnect all cables before using a screwdriver to open the slot cover on the bottom of your laptop. Take out the battery first, then try removing one stick of RAM. Replace the battery and attempt to power on. If you can’t get your laptop to boot, replace the RAM and try removing the next stick, remembering to take out the battery again. If your laptop boots, you have a problem with the motherboard that can be temporarily circumvented by replacing your active stick with twice as much RAM. For example, if you had two 1 GB sticks, leave the inactive RAM slot empty and install a new 2 GB stick in the active slot. This will result in a slower overall speed, but it’s a temporary fix to tide you over. The same principle applies to desktop computers – simply open your case and remove RAM one stick at a time from the motherboard. If you can’t get any results this way, try the next step.
Replace the Power Supply/Battery
This is often less expensive than replacing the motherboard, so you may want to try it next. To verify that your power supply needs replacing, you can purchase and use a power supply tester for under $20, or you can simply take a chance on replacing it. For laptop users, it’s relatively easy – just replace the battery and/or power cable. For desktop users, it’s more complex than that. You’ll need to follow specific directions for mounting the new power supply with screws and connecting all the cables to the devices in your case.
Replace the Motherboard
The last and most drastic step is to replace your motherboard. This is a complex process that should be performed by a professional in most cases, as static electricity can easily ruin your new component and there are extensive directions to follow. However, if you think you’re up to the challenge, make sure that the power supply is removed, all motherboard connections are removed and labelled, and all plug-in cards and other obstacles preventing board removal are taken out. Next, remove the old board and secure the new one, then follow the directions for reattaching connections and reinstalling cards. Replace the cover, connect all cables, and power on. Keep in mind that everything will need to be reinstalled, so follow the prompts on your screen.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships.org. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.