Laptop does not start. Fixing the problem.

Laptop does not start. Fixing the problem.

If your laptop does not start at all or it starts but will not boot properly, it’s possible that you can fix the laptop at home without taking it to a repair center. Here are some troubleshooting tips for you. I’m not sure if I can cover all situation at once, so I will update this post as more examples come into my mind.

Situation 1.

The laptop appears to be dead. You plug the AC adapter but the LEDs (power light, hard drive light, battery charge light, etc…) do not light up and the laptop will not react at all if you press on the power button.

First of all in this situation check the AC adapter. You can test the output voltage with a voltmeter. If you cannot do that, find a known good AC adapter and use it for testing the laptop. It is possible the laptop appears to be dead because the AC adapter is bad (and the battery is discharged). If you know that the AC adapter is working properly and it outputs correct voltage but the laptop is still dead, most likely you have a power issue on the motherboard (or power board on some laptops) and it has to be replaced.
If you have to replace the AC adapter, make sure you use a correct one. The output voltage must be exactly the same as on the original adapter. The output amperage has to be the same as on the original adapter or higher, but not lower.

Situation 2.

When you plug the AC adapter the power LED and the battery charge LED light up. When you press on the power button the laptop powers up but will not start. There is no video on LCD or external monitor.

If the power LED lights up it indicates that the laptop is getting power from the AC adapter. Most likely there is nothing wrong with the adapter but just in case test it with a voltmeter to make sure the output voltage is correct.
Also try this. Unplug the AC adapter, remove the battery and wait for 1-2 minutes. After that plug the AC adapter ans try starting the laptop again. Sometimes this trick helps.
It also could be a memory related problem. Try reseating the memory module, just remove it from the slot on the motherboard and install it back. Try installing the memory module into the other slot (if it’s available). If you have two memory modules installed, try removing them one by one and start the laptop just with one memory module installed.
If the laptop starts fine with one memory module in both slots, but will not start with the second memory module in both slots, the second memory module is faulty. Replace the module.
If the laptop starts fine with both memory modules when they are installed in the slot A, but will not start with both memory modules installed in the slot B, the slot B is faulty and you’ll have to replace the motherboard or use only one memory slot.

When you press on the power button, the laptop makes a series or short and long beeps and will not start up. There is no video on the screen.

In this situation test the memory module as I described in the situation2. Try installing a known good memory module. Most likely you are getting a beep error because of a faulty memory.

Situation 4.

You start the laptop. It sounds like the laptop is booting normally (hard drive LED is flashing) but there is no video on the screen

In this situation test the laptop with an external monitor. If the external screen works fine but there is no video on the laptop LCD, most likely there is a problem inside the laptop display assembly. Go to my previous post witch covers laptop video problems in more details.

Situation 5.

You start the laptop and it starts making repetitive clicking noise or grinding noise.

Most likely you hear this noise because of a faulty hard drive. You can remove the hard drive and start the laptop without it. If the noise is gone, the hard drive is your problem. Replace it.
If the laptop makes clicking or grinding noises and you still have video on the screen, you can run a hard drive test utility. I usually use Hitachi’s drive fitness test. This test is reliable and easy to use.

Situation 6.

The laptop boots into Windows ans works for a while, but after that it shuts down by itself without any reason or warning. You restart the laptop but the same problem appears again

Most likely it’s a heat related issue. Listen for the cooling fan, make sure it works.
Also this problem might appear because of a faulty memory module, try some tips from the situation 2.
The laptop still boots ans you still can see the screen, so you can run the memory test. I usually use Memtest86+. Run the memory test and if it fails, replace the faulty module.

Situation 6

The laptop starts normally but video on the screen has lines, some strange characters or other defects

It could indicate a problem with the laptop LCD screen, video cable, graphics card or motherboard. Here’s my previous post witch covers troubleshooting bad images on the screen in more details.

Arun Says:
August 1st, 2009 at 1:32 am

I have 2 yr old Toshiba A135-S4527. When I press power the blue light on power button comes on alongwith the small power LED in the front. The fan spins for a while and goes dead. No activity on HDD or DVD. Dark black screen. Any clue what could be wrong? I used it previous night and turned off in normal way. Next evening when tried to switch on the problem was noticed. Already tried removing memory and HDD, putting on AC power only, removing battery and AC power and keepning aside for few hours. Nothing helped. Thanks in advance for any suggestion.

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Raj Rakesh Says:
July 31st, 2009 at 3:06 am

I have a dell inspiron 1420 laptop which is out of warranty and I dont wishh to have renew it.
Around 2 months back it started to have a display problem which was due to the faulty motherboard(UX283) with nvidia 8400 card. I got it replaced and as it was replaced i got indulged in a different problem.

Then the system started to get off (not shutdown) during boot only, giving an error code of #M1004 which is an overheating issue, but actually there is not as such any heating. The fan runs normally and the system is cool enough.
It may fail to boot 9 out of 10 times but once the OS get booted then it worked fine without any display problem.

But now the problem has changed slightly. Now it seems that the system may remain on for a fixed time say about 25 seconds. The system may get booted to OS or you may enter the BIOS etc within this time but once the period gets over it gets off. I mean the now the system can have power for only those few seconds.
I have got my motherboard, LCD as well as the memories replaced with new spares sent by the company. The motherboard has been replaced thrice.
I have also checked the processor, hard disk and heat sink with properly working spares from other laptop of same model.

What could be the probable problem ?
Is there any solution to the problem as with all the major parts working fine independently as i described or the system is irrepairable.

Please suggest me something useful.

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mohammad ayyoub Says:
June 15th, 2009 at 4:40 am

I have toshiba satellite M70-122 its not working its I have change the hard drive with other new one when I try to istall winxp it give me massage (no hard drive available) and in the piose setup its give me hard drive non please if you have any soluation about this issue

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JOEYMANTERA Says:
June 8th, 2009 at 11:34 am

I HAVE THIS MSI MS-171 LAPTOP, ITS A PAIN IN THE ASS. MAKE SURE YOU PUSH IN THE HARD DRIVE TOWARDS IN THE SATA SLOT AT THE SAME WHEN YOU ARE SCREWING IT IN. IF YOUR LEFT CLICK MOUSE BUTTON GETS STUCK IN THE DOWN POSITION REMOVE THE TWO FURTHEST HDD TRAY SCREWS. FOR SOME REASON THE HDD IS AT AN SLIGHT ANGLE SO WHEN YOU PUT THE HDD COVER ON IT PUSHES THE MOBO IN CAUSING THE MOUSE LEFT CLICK TO GET STUCK. PLAY WITH IT AND YOU SHOULD GET IT RIGHT.
I’M JUST CURIOUS HOW TO UPGRADE THE BIOS I FOLLOWED THE WEBSITES INSTRUCTIONS BUT THE BIOS WONT KICK OF THE SOFTWARE IN MY USB.

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Manpreet Says:
June 7th, 2009 at 11:07 am

Thank you very much for your advice…..
my acre 6920 just went dead and wouldnt strt up………it was getting the power but the hdd light went up fr a second and then dead…..

i took your simle advice and removed the battery and then switched it on…….and to my utter suprise………it came to life…….i booted in safe mode
the device manager showed ‘consumer ir device’ not working properly…..

i dont know what that means….

maybe it had something to do with acer arcade……as i was playing music on it while making a presentation when the music got stuck on one note and then the laptop froze…….so i had to shut it down forcefully…..

i am grateful as i have been able to save my prsentation now…..

Just to know things better……..what could have caused it?…….and how to prevent it from happenning?….



Removed the fan and reseated the CPU,nothing.

Make sure the CPU is LOCKED in the socket. There should be a screw on the socket which locks/unlocks the CPU. Install the CPU and turn the screw into “Locked” position.

In order to start any laptop with video on internal or external monitor you need three major parts: motherboard, CPU and memory.
Minimize the laptop as much as you can and leave only three main components. Try it again. If still nothing, it’s possible one of the parts is bad.

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