DIY Solutions

Power On... But Little Else (2 of 4) Posted at 02/08/10 - 10:22 PM
You're still trying to get it working and haven't given up. That's the spirit you need for the next step.

SECOND: A Defensive PC
For a variety of good reasons, PCs (especially laptops) have aggressive protections in place against too much or too little electricity, both of which can permanently damage internally components. As such, once these protections are activated, they often remain in a defensive stance until they are manually deactivated.

The procedure for resetting these defences on desktops and laptops may differ, but the principle is the same.


The majority of desktop PCs house their power supply (a self contained metal box roughly 150mm x 150mm x 90mm) inside. It is usually located in the right back of horizontal units or in the top back of vertical towers. Often, just unplugging the power cable for about an hour will allow the power supply to cool and reset itself. Some units feature a circuit breaker that protrudes outward, when tripped. Again, unplug the power cord, press the circuit breaker back in, wait about an hour, then reconnect power.

Almost all modern laptops have external power supplies. They take the form of a small plastic brick with power from the wall coming in one side and a cable to the laptop on the other. In the case of a laptop, it is not enough to unplug power from the wall socket. You should also unplug the brick from the computer. Finally, having done both, you will need to remove the laptop's battery.

Now that you've removed all sources of power, wait five minutes. Then reassemble and try again. We've found that reattaching the wall power first (without installing the battery), then trying to restart the machine works best.

If either of these things works, backup your data immediately (and I mean, right now). Pretend that this is the last time you'll ever see your computer alive (because there's a reasonable chance that's exactly what will happen). Once you have copied off your critical data, then try installing the battery.

By the way, if this step works for either a desktop or a laptop, but needs to be done more than once, it may be an indication of a failing power component or a dying machine. You should probably perform more frequent backups and contact a computer professional for assistance.
Author: Jim
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