DIY Computer Repair – Will not power on

Before digging too far into troubleshooting the computer check some of the basics first. Is your computer getting power? Check the power cable to the computer to make sure it is completely plugged in, not loose. If you have a power strip, surge protector, or UPS make sure the switches are all on. Also, make sure the outlet still has power by plugging something else into it temporarily.
Time to troubleshoot?

  1. Plug your desktop directly into the wall. For now do not use any power protection devices you normally use.
  2. Locate every switch and power button on your computer system and make sure they are in the on position. If the computer boots up at this point you may need to replace your power strip, surge protector, or UPS. By the way, batteries in old UPS devices can often be replaced.
  3. Verify the voltage switch on the back or your computer’s power supply is in the correct position.
  4. Replace the computer’s power cable, the cable running from the back of the computer case to the wall outlet. You can use one from another computer or even use the one from your monitor.
  5. It’s time to open your case. Remove the power cable and anything else plugged into the outside of your computer.
  6. Most desktop system motherboards have what is called a CMOS battery that can occasionally cause this issue.  Remove the CMOS battery by popping it out of the retention socket. If the system now boots, replace the CMOS battery.  They cost less than $10 and can be picked up at most computer or battery stores.
  7. Look for the wire running from the computer’s power button to the motherboard. This is usually a black and red twisted wire. Make sure it is plugged into the motherboard and still attached to the computer’s power button
  8. Still not powering on?  The problem is probably your power supply. You can test your power supply with a multimeter or special power supply tester but the best way to verify a bad power supply is to replace it with a known good one.  Places that repair desktop computers will normally just test your system with a good power supply kept on the workbench.

At Computer Warehouse, we have a courtesy bench available for customer use.  You can bring in your system and perform basic troubleshooting and repair with the convenience of having a warehouse of parts available.