Computer won’t turn on? Try these solutions


Have you ever experienced hitting the power button to turn on your computer, only to find that it won’t boot? Most of these situations are easily fixable.

This article will provide several solutions for when your computer does not boot up properly. We’ll explain what you should do in each situation, and give you tips to troubleshoot if none of these options work.

If your computer is running abnormally or shutting down unexpectedly, be sure to check out our other article for more information about why this happening.

Here are some common problems you may encounter:

  • Your computer turns on but no image appears on the monitor (also known as a black screen)
  • You hear faint sounds coming from inside your computer, but it won’t turn on
  • Your computer turns on but the image is unclear or distorted
  • The power LED lights up, but no sounds or movement can be detected from inside the computer
  • Your computer turns on and there’s a buzzing noise coming from the speakers
  • No lights turn on when you press the power button

If your monitor is displaying nothing:

  1. Make sure that both ends of your video cable are plugged in properly.
  2. Ensure that your monitor is turned on and plugged into a working outlet.
  3. Make sure that you’re using the appropriate connection for each end of the cable (i.e., VGA for VGA connection; DVI for DVI, etc.).
  4. If using an HDMI cable, make sure that you’re using an HDMI port on your computer and the appropriate input on your monitor.

If your monitor displays nothing but is still turned on:

  1. Ensure that both ends of your video cable are plugged in properly.
  2. Try another monitor if possible to see if it works with your computer.
  3. See if there is a display output selection key where you can select between “extended” or “mirrored” screen options (i.e., Fn+F7). Use this key to change the settings around until you get a display.
  4. Try unplugging the video cable and plugging it back in.
  5. Try restarting your computer with the monitor plugged in.

If your monitor is completely black or not displaying anything:

  1. Ensure that both ends of your video cable are plugged in properly.
  2. Try another monitor if possible to see if it works with your computer.
  3. Check your graphics card settings (if applicable) to change screen options like resolution, color depth, etc. (i.e., Fn+F7).
  4. Restart your computer with the monitor unplugged; then plug it back in after windows boots up again.
  5. Update your graphics card drivers if available via
  6. Make sure your monitor is turned on and plugged in properly before booting into windows.
  7. Your graphics card could have a faulty connection with the motherboard or have failed.
  8. If you’re not able to boot into windows, try connecting a different device to your computer via HDMI, VGA, DVI(or vice versa) to see if it will turn on (an external display may be needed for mirror mode).
  9. You can also use an Ubuntu Live CD or USB to boot into Ubuntu and test another screen that way.

If you get video but without sound:

The most common solution for this is to check if your sound drivers are installed correctly.

If you get no video at all:

  1. Your computer could be having trouble initializing its video card (this is not likely).
  2. You may also try booting into safe mode by holding shift while pressing reboot and selecting ‘Safe Mode’ upon startup. Do note that this will disable any software or drivers you’ve recently installed.
  3. If none of the above solve your problem, try booting into recovery mode by holding shift while pressing reboot and selecting ‘Recovery Mode’ upon startup. If you get a message about an error attempting to run startup repair from the CD/DVD or USB drive, there may be other problems with your installation.
  4. If all else fails, you can reinstall Windows from scratch using this guide. Do note that doing so will erase everything on your computer’s drive unless you do a file backup beforehand.


If your computer will not boot into safe mode

If your computer will not boot into safe mode, you can still recover your files from the recovery partition on your PC’s hard drive if it is intact.

In most cases, problems trying to start up Windows are caused by faulty hardware or corrupted device drivers. You should try disconnecting any recently installed hardware and then attempt startup again. If that doesn’t work, reformatting the entire system drive may be necessary to repair these types of damage. For more advanced users, using a command prompt to fix startup issues with advanced Boot Configuration Data repair utilities is an option as well.

Replace damaged hardware

If none of that works or you don’t want to lose the data on your computer, then it may be necessary to replace the damaged hardware. This is often the case with a bad hard drive or mainboard.

If you’ve ruled out these issues as possible causes of your computer not starting, then it may be time to replace whatever device isn’t working. This could include components such as hard drives, motherboards, and memory sticks. It’s also possible for software issues to prevent Windows from booting properly; errors during installation, missing files, and malware infections are all potential causes.

Although there are many symptoms of the computer not turning on, most of them hinge on the source being hardware-related. One of the most common sources is overheating, which can be resolved by cleaning out your computer’s fans, checking its vents, and dusting off the inside of the tower itself.

Hardware settings

Another really common problem that causes computers to not turn on is a glitch in the hardware settings. To resolve this, you’ll need to access your BIOS (Basic Input Output System). This usually requires you to enter commands using shortcuts like F2, F10, Delete or Insert. The specifics vary depending on what type of motherboard you have and how old it is, so you’re going to want to check up on it if you’re having problems!

Fix Software issues

It’s also possible for software issues to prevent Windows from booting. An incomplete installation, missing file, malware infection, incorrect device configuration in system files, etc., are all examples of problems that might cause this type of behavior. As long as you have important data backed up elsewhere, reformatting will likely solve these types of problems easily.

One example of an issue that can arise with a computer that won’t start is a computer that only powers up to the point of displaying an error message on its monitor. Error messages can vary depending on the source, but they’re often associated with a hardware failure. In this case, there may be faults with the RAM or power supply, and it’s best to contact your manufacturer for service.

If none of these options are possible, you may have to look into getting someone who does computer software repairs. Since this is a very complicated process, it’s best if you can find someone else who knows how to fix computer start-up issues by themselves. However, some people may be able to do it with online tutorials or YouTube videos. Depending on what your problem is, Google Search can be an excellent resource for advice and step-by-step instructions that will help you get back up and running in no time!

Final note

If you’re not able to turn on your computer at all, the first thing you need to do is check if it’s plugged in. You’d be surprised how many people don’t plug their cords into the wall properly or unplug them when they shouldn’t!

Everything should work now. But there are still things you can do to troubleshoot and make sure your computer is running as efficiently as possible – like cleaning out your fans, checking your vents, dusting off inside of the tower. These steps can exponentially increase the life of your expensive electronic device!

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...