DIY Solutions

Power On... But Little Else (1 of 4) Posted at 02/08/10 - 10:18 PM
You press the power button and nothing happens... devastating! Here is the first of four steps to prevent your desktop or laptop from becoming a permanent doorstop.

PCs are physical machines. Most have moving parts (with the exception of ultra-portables, like my eeePC from Asus). They all spend their operational lives exposed to millions of electrical pulses each minute, as well as the occasional "knock" from less than careful users.

As a consequence, their parts will, inevitably, wear out. Some parts, such as power supplies and batteries, are easily replaced. Others, like BIOS chips and capacitors, are not.

Here is the first of four diagnostic steps that will help you eliminate the most common "no power" causes for desktops and laptops. For the most part, they apply to computers running the three main operating systems: Microsoft's Windows (e.g. Windows 98/2000, XP and Vista), Mac (e.g. Tiger, Leopard and [insert third cat type here]) and Linux (e.g. Ubuntu, Red Hat, Suse).

BEFORE YOU BEGIN
If any of these steps successfully resurrects your computer, you should be ready to immediately copy your critical data off the machine. There is no way to tell if the fault was temporary, intermittent or predestined. Consider that this may be your one and only chance to back up photos, music, typed documents and other important files, so don't miss it.

FIRST: Check the obvious
This may sound silly, but check the power cord. This step will test the cord and the wall socket.

For safety's sake, flip off the switch on the wall socket before proceeding. Unplug the cord from the back of the computer, leaving it plugged in to the wall. Plug the cord into something else (e.g. the monitor, a printer... basically anything that uses the same sort of plug and has an obvious way to assess whether there's power, such as a status light).

If your test fails, one or more of four things is likely true:
  • The wall socket is faulty
  • The cord is not correctly connected at one end or the other
  • The cord is faulty
  • The fuse on the cord's plug has blown
Moving or replacing the cord is simple and inexpensive.
Author: Jim
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