In this step-by-step tutorial, we will teach you what you should do if your computer doesn’t turn on in order to identify and solve the problem.

By “computer doesn’t turn on” we mean that your computer is “dead,” i.e., nothing shows up on its screen. If you can see something on the screen, your computer IS TURNING ON, and thus we won’t cover what is happening with your computer in this tutorial. (If this is your case, you have a different problem: your computer isn’t loading the operating system – i.e., isn’t booting. We may cover this situation in a future tutorial.)

The main problem with users facing this situation is that they start trying several different things without a standardized procedure, and by the end of the day, they don’t remember what they have already tried. Worse than that, many assume that they understand how computers work, which is usually not the case. A good example is users saying that the motherboard is good and it is “trying to boot” because they can hear the hard disk drive spinning. This is nonsense, as hard disk drives will spin as soon as they are powered on, even if they aren’t connected to the motherboard.

We recommend that you follow our tutorial in the same order that we are publishing it. Don’t assume that any of the steps are “silly” because they aren’t – many will start to disassemble the whole computer just to find out later that a defective USB drive installed on one of the USB ports was preventing the computer from turning on, and by following our guide, you would have detected this problem right away.

If you have already tried several different things, please forget what you have previously tried and start our guide from scratch. Don’t skip any of the steps merely because you have tried them before. The order in which we are presenting each step is very important. Repeating what you have done may produce a very different effect the next time around.

Of course, other professionals may suggest a different guide with different steps or a different order. This guide that we are publishing is the result of almost 20 years of PC maintenance experience, and in our opinion, it is the best way for you to troubleshoot your PC.

Ready? So let’s get it started!


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.