Those of us who often use our computer, surely more than once it will have happened to us that when trying to work we have found that the PC does not want to start. Why can this happen and how to fix it?
How many times have we heard the phrase “my computer does not start”, probably thousands of times, and also on many occasions we have been the ones harmed by this problem.
My PC won’t start, what do I do?
Whether we are talking about some kind of physical problem or Windows startup, many times we face a situation that seems very difficult to solve, when in reality the reasons can be very simple.
In this guide we will bring you closer to some of the most frequent problems that usually arise and cause the PC to fail to boot properly.
Lack of electrical current or discharged battery
Although this is something really obvious, because in reality we all know that an electronic device does not work if it is not correctly connected to the electrical network or has its battery charged, the truth is that many times we can overlook that the problem consists in the lack of energy.
Let us bear in mind that our computer may be wrongly plugged in due to a series of bad connections, such as when we use a triple to connect different devices.
Therefore, the first thing we must do when we notice that our PC does not start is to check the electrical connections and cables, in order to confirm that the problem has not arisen from the lack of power to the equipment. Also of course check that the device’s battery, in the case of a notebook , is well charged.
One of the ways that allows us to immediately detect if the electrical current is reaching the computer and if all the necessary switches are activated, is to verify that the small green light on the motherboard is on.
If we have checked the electrical connections to our computer well, and we have been able to verify that the power reaches the PC correctly, but the computer still does not respond, it is time to try another approach, that of the internal power supply of the PC, or In the case of a notebook, in the charger of the same, which does not work does not charge its battery.
PC power supply problems
Another frequent inconvenience that usually occurs in this type of case is also related to the lack of power, but occasionally in the breakdown of the PC’s power supply or damage to the notebook charger.
In a large number of cases, it usually happens that the power supply is the one that has caused our computer to not start, since this fundamental component for the electrical energy to be distributed among the elements of the PC is very prone to definitive ruptures. .
Specifically , the power supply or the charger of the notebook may have burned without our realizing it for different reasons, such as power surges, incessant operation, bad or no ventilation of the PC cabinet or sudden movements among other causes.
Therefore, if when trying to turn on our equipment we notice that it does not emit any type of mechanical noise and that it also disperses smoke and a burning smell, it is because the power supply or the computer charger has burned, so we must turn off the computer immediately, before the damage is greater.
Motherboard, memory or processor failures
It can also happen that the power supply or the charger of the notebook does not present any type of fault, and that in reality it is another component that is causing the failure of our PC to boot.
It is true that one of the first elements that usually break in a computer is the power supply, but it is also true that a malfunction of the same has caused the breakdown of another of the elements that make up the equipment.
To check what the damaged component may be, it is convenient to review each of the elements by unplugging and reconnecting each one of them, until we can find the one that is faulty. In the case of notebooks this is not possible, and it is most likely that we will have to resort to a specialized technician to investigate the cause of the failure.
Typically, the motherboard, memory, or processor may be failing, so check them in that order. It goes without saying that in the event of some kind of inconvenience of this style, it is advisable not only to replace the damaged element, but also the power supply.
In the case that the power supply, the charger of the notebook and the rest of the components of our PC are working perfectly, but even so the equipment does not want to start, we must verify if the error is not given by the software installed in the pc.
It can happen that our PC does not work because there is some kind of bad configuration when starting it, a case that generally occurs when the computer starts up but never loads the operating system.
This indicates that the problem is possibly due to some kind of error or bad software configuration, so the hardware has not been affected. What is Hardware and Software? Enter the link above for more information.
Problems booting hard drives
It is common that the PC does not boot correctly due to some kind of bad configuration or connection of the boot devices, that is, its hard drives. In the case of a configuration problem, this most likely happens because the operating system may be looking for the boot files in a wrong place on the PC, therefore it will not be able to boot and it will stay in a constant repeating cycle until we turn off the computer or fix the problem.
Most of the time, this software problem arises because the disks are in bad condition or there is a bad connection between them and the motherboard. In this sense, one of the most frequent failures in what refers to the physical part of the equipment is usually the connection to the power supply, or to the motherboard.
It should be noted that the hard disk is the one that is in the second place of the producers of inconveniences in the operation of the equipment.
It can also happen that we have left a memory card or a Pendrive connected to the computer, or even an operating system installation CD , which can alter the order of the devices, so the system is unable to find the correct disk on which the boot files are located.
To check the failure, the best thing to do is to enter the BIOS of the computer, for which we must press the DELETE, F2, F10 or F12 keys, depending on the manufacturer, during startup, and there we can verify if everything is in order, as well as finding the defect.
It is important to clarify that those users who use several hard drives on their computer must be configured correctly from the BIOS , indicating the boot priorities of each of them.
In general, we can detect that the hard disk of our PC is not working correctly through different symptoms, such as strange mechanical noises, the increasing appearance of corrupt files, the hang of contact or abnormal activity of the computer during its use, among others.
To verify if the hard drive is working well, it is recommended to run a component scan with different tools and usage tests, even perform a reinstall of the operating system from your installation CD or DVD.
If we have detected that the hard drive fails, we can choose to format it and continue using it, but with the risk that at a certain moment it will stop working forever and in this way we will lose our information.
Therefore, the ideal in this case is to immediately replace the hard drive with a new one.
Problems with the BIOS or its battery
On the other hand, it can also be the case that the motherboard battery has been exhausted, causing the motherboard to be unable to store the BIOS configuration information. This causes that every time the PC is turned on it inevitably returns to the factory default settings.
In order to prove that the failure that does not allow the computer to start, it is best to access the BIOS configuration of the computer, for which we have to press the DELETE, F2, F10 or F12 keys, depending on the manufacturer, in the moment when the PC is starting, and there look for symptoms that the BIOS battery has run out, such as a date and time that is not correct, which could be several years ago, depending on the date of manufacture of the computer.
If we have already been able to verify that the defect that does not allow our PC to start is not found in the BIOS configuration or in its battery, in the disks and in everything else that we test, it is time to start being a little more exhaustive when testing some other items that may be failing.
Fundamental: Try to lower the temperature of the PC
Although in the past computers were very susceptible to damage due to any excess temperature in their circuits, the truth is that nowadays this does not happen so often, due to the many protections that are included with these devices with the purpose of stopping its operation in case of excess heat.
Generally, in the event of excess heat being detected, the system has the necessary tools to bring the equipment to a complete stop, thereby avoiding costly damage. If we notice that our computer turns on for a few moments and then turns off completely, it is a fairly clear sign that we have a temperature-related problem on our hands, which is usually caused most of the time by its processor.
The solution to this problem is quite simple, and can be carried out by any type of user. In this case, it is a question of changing the thermal paste of the processor, on which there are countless tutorials, both in video and in images.
All we have to do is remove the old thermal paste, carefully clean the top surface of the processor, and then apply new thermal paste. This simple procedure would be enough to be able to resuscitate a computer that does not want to boot.
But once we have already opened the PC and carried out the change of thermal paste, we could take the opportunity and proceed to clean everything we can, especially the dust on the heatsinks, components and lint on the fans, everything which can help us to better ventilate the PC and thus obtain a better performance.
Remove all overclocking
For many users, overclocking can be a very interesting tool to be able to obtain more performance than that offered from the factory by the motherboard, even more so when the most modern devices provide the necessary functions to do so, always within a certain range of values.
However, it may be that we overclock too extreme , and with it we completely stop the computer, to a level in which it is not even capable of turning on. And worst of all, it may even have worked well the day before. This is overclocking.
At the point of not being able to turn on the computer due to overclocking, we have two possible solutions. The first one is the simplest of all, but it implies that we can access the BIOS of our PC. If we can do it, we scroll to the necessary options to undo everything related to overclocking or simply return to the factory settings, with which the problem will most likely disappear.
Now, if we can’t even access the BIOS, the situation gets a bit more complicated, as we will have to touch a few things on the PC hardware. In these cases, the only thing we can do is clear the CMOS in order to reinstall the settings that came from the factory on the motherboard.
We can do this in two ways, by means of a button on the motherboard itself, especially in the higher-end ones, or by means of a jumper, joining a connector for a few seconds. In the latter case, we should always consult the motherboard’s user manual for the proper procedure.
The procedure of clearing the CMOS must be carried out with care, since if we have any special configuration, such as hard drives in RAID or other things outside the normal parameters of use, we can lose the configuration that makes them work.
PC Won’t Start: Software or Hardware Problems?
The defect that does not allow our PC to start correctly may be due to some inconvenience in the hardware or in the software, so it is convenient to carefully review both the physical part and the system, in order to check in what state it is find everything.
If we check that the components like the power supply and the hard drive and everything else we tested are not causing the failure of our PC, it is time to think that its boot may be being disabled by some problem in the software.
Let us bear in mind that in many cases, the failure to start our computer may be due to some kind of problem in the operating system , since it may actually be Windows that does not start.
Windows doesn’t want to boot
In principle, it is important to mention that the Windows operating system, and especially versions prior to Vista, are usually very susceptible to problems related to some type of change in any of the hardware elements. Fortunately with Windows 10 many of the software compatibility problems with the hardware have been solved, making it much more difficult for the problem to be due to the operating system itself.
But if we still keep a computer with a system prior to Windows 10, whenever we change a component, we not only have to make sure that the operating system has compatibility with the new element, but we must notify the system of the modification.
One of the symptoms that usually occurs in this case is the appearance of the dreaded Windows blue screen and the subsequent automatic restart of the PC.
What we must do in this case is to enter the system in safe mode, for which we must press the F8 key during Windows startup , since in this way the generic drivers for each element will be loaded, avoiding incompatibility.
But we can also find that our system has been attacked by a virus, and that is the reason for the boot failure, so it is also recommended to carry out an evaluation with an antivirus to detect an infection in the boot files.
In any of these cases, we must use the safe mode to check the problem, and if we find the presence of a corrupt file we can replace it with an original copy, although it is usually best to completely reinstall the operating system.
Meaning of the Error sounds when starting our PC
On more than one occasion, it has surely happened to us that after having incorporated a new component into our computer, or after some power failure, when turning it on again it has received us with horrible beeps that terrify us because we do not know its true meaning. .
These sounds are emitted after the tests carried out by the system before starting by a procedure known as POST (Power On Self Test) or Self-diagnosis at power-up due to its translation into Spanish, which is a technique to diagnose the state of the hardware of our computer.
Although POST codes are an international standard , the truth is that each manufacturer includes its own series of custom error codes, and they are highly dependent on the type of BIOS that is included in these computers.
Meaning of the most frequent error messages in computers
|Codes shared by all manufacturers|
|Constant beep||Incorrect supply voltage.|
|Long beep||DRAM refresh error.|
|1 long, 1 short||Motherboard error.|
|1 long, 2 short||Graphics controller error.|
|1 short||Graphics unit controller error.|
|3 short||DRAM error.|
|4 short||Clock error.|
|5 short||Processor error.|
|6 short||Keyboard Controller Error (8042), Gate-A20 Error.|
|9 short||ROM error.|
|1 short, 2 long||Graphics controller error.|
|1 short, 3 long||Keyboard controller error.|
|2 short||Report non-fatal errors.|
|1 short||DRAM refresh error.|
|2 short||Parity error.|
|4 short||Clock error.|
|5 short||Processor error.|
|6 short||Keyboard controller error.|
|8 short||General graphics memory error.|
|1 short, 3 long||Base or Extended memory error.|
|1 long, 8 short||Incorrect graphics memory test.|
|NOTE: This manufacturer’s error messages are formed by sound sequences.|
|1 2 and 3||CMOS error.|
|1, 2 AND 1||Clock error.|
|1, 2 and 2||DMA initialization error.|
|1, 3 and 1||RAM refresh error.|
|1, 3 and 3||RAM error (64 kb).|
|1, 4 and 2||Parity error, 64K RAM.|
|1, 4 and 3||Error Fail-Safe-Timer (EISA).|
|1, 4 AND 4||NMI port error (EISA).|
|2, 1 and 1||RAM error 64 Kb.|
|3, 1 and 1||First DMA controller failed.|
|3, 1 and 2||Second DMA controller failed.|
|3, 1 and 3||First interrupt handler failed.|
|3, 1 and 4||The second interrupt handler failed.|
|3, 2 and 4||Keyboard controller error.|
|3, 3 and 4||Graphics memory error.|
|3, 4 and 2||Graphics card error.|
|4, 3 and 4||Realtime-Clock error.|
|4, 4 and 1||Serial port error.|
|4, 4 and 2||Parallel port error.|
|4, 4 and 3||Math coprocessor defect.|