When your laptop won’t turn on, it can feel like the end of the world has finally come at last. Wild thoughts start racing through your head like what if I lost it all? What about the pictures from my wedding? What about the pictures of little Jimmy when he was a baby? What about that novel I’m writing? Will I just have to give up on my dreams and go back to work in the mines?
It may be scary, but it happens to all of us at some point. You may feel the rage building inside of you, and it may be tempting to give your laptop a good hard punch.
But laptops don’t like to be punched
And they will get you back in more sinister ways like deleting your files and programs. The first thing you should do when your laptop doesn’t turn on is take a deep breath and remember that there is a simple scientific explanation for what is happening.
It’s not plugged in
I shouldn’t have to write this here, but c’mon is it even plugged in? You checked right? Hey, we all have our moments when our brain cells go on vacation and don’t invite us.
“Of course, it’s plugged in! I’m no fool!”
Alright, very good. There are multiple possibilities here. Let’s start with the easiest. The charger is bad:
This is bad news if you don’t have another charger to test your laptop with, but good news for your pocket. Chargers, at least from TVH Computers, are pretty inexpensive. In fact, I’ve heard they go for $20 to $35 and they have 99% of models in stock. Don’t take my word for it, just call and ask. It’s a quick fix.
If it’s not the charger it could be more serious
Does the laptop show any lights at all? If yes then this is good news! Your laptop is still somewhat alive. It has a lust for life. It doesn’t want to die too young. It is fighting for survival.
If your battery is removable, there is a simple trick that often works when a laptop appears to be completely dead.
And we actually see this at the shop all the time
Are you ready?
OK, pull the battery out. Unplug your laptop. Hold the power button down for a couple of seconds. Nothing should happen.
Next, plug the power cable back in WITHOUT the battery, and press the power button NOW.
Did it work? Some of you may be rejoicing at this point. Some of you may be saying final prayers for your laptop since it did not work.
It’s a serious hardware issue
If it is not the battery or the charger, then it is likely a more serious issue. It could have a failing motherboard, or failing display. In some cases, the DC jack has just been destroyed and needs to be replaced. Either way, you need a hardware repair. Luckily I know just the place that can fix it for you (HINT: it’s TVH Computers).
“But Tyler, my laptop starts to turn on, it just gets stuck booting up”
My heart fills with hope when I hear this one.
Because all is not lost for your little laptop. All of your data and precious family photos are most likely still safe. The only thing standing between you and a usable computer is some corrupted software and possibly a bad storage device.
In many cases, it is the hard drive
When your laptop turns on but gets stuck booting, the first thing I want to test is the hard drive.
“But why test the hard drive? Do they go bad? I didn’t drop it I promise”
These are things I usually hear in the same sentence when I say I am going to test the hard drive because I suspect it’s failing. The truth is hard drives don’t last forever. They have a shelf life just like the milk in your refrigerator. Perhaps a little longer, but they certainly don’t last forever.
Is data lost when the hard drive fails?
In some cases, yes. In some cases, no. If your hard drive has just started to go downhill, there may still be hope. If your hard drive is completely undetectable by your computer then you are probably facing total data loss.
It is sad.
Your trust for computers may never be the same.
Your local computer repair guy may scold you for not making a backup.
But there is at least some hope for your laptop! Hard drives are easily replaced. They need to be replaced. It is one of those repairs we do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. here at the shop. When your laptop gets a new hard drive in it, it will run like new.
And you and your laptop can get back to being best pals
Nothing like the love shared between best friends, right?