Search This Site
Custom Search
Build Your Own Computer
What's New

Computer Help

Guides and more

Site Pages

Computer Start Up Problems

For Example, You May Need to Re-Install Hard Drive

A step by step process to resolve computer start up problems. Help for you if your computer will not boot up; you need to install hard drive (or re-install it); or need motherboard troubleshooting.

We are going to take a step by step walk-through to figure out your computer start up problems. This will be a process of elimination. It may require a few reboots. One trick to remember here - if you need to reboot the computer while it is starting up, hold the power button in for 4 seconds and your computer will shut down.

At any time through this process, if you complete a step that fixes your computer start up problems, you'll continue by putting components back on one by one. For example, add one DVD drive back into the system, and try re-booting. If it works, add your Sound Card back in and try re-booting again. Eventually, you will find either the component or motherboard connection that is causing problems.

Let's get started...

  1. The first thing we want to do is to remove all peripherals from the system. This includes graphics cards, sound cards, ethernet cards, and any other type that are plugged into the PCI slots. Disconnect the keyboard, mouse, any DVD drives, and hard drives that do not contain the Operating System. Leave the drive with the Operating System attached. At the same time, disconnect all power connections, including the 12V and ATX power connections on the motherboard. This will leave us with the motherboard, the installed CPU, installed memory, and a single hard drive connected to the board.
  2. Motherboard troubleshooting: check the motherboard for short-circuit problems. Are you seeing any sparks if you touch metal to the case or motherboard? If so, try to isolate the short circuit.
  3. Check the CPU cooler. Ensure that it is attached to the CPU securely, and that the power connector is securely attached to the motherboard.
  4. Check that the memory is installed properly in the memory slot. The clips on each end of the slot should be snapped in place, and the memory should be seated all the way down in the slot.
  5. Next, insert the graphics card. Connect the main ATX power cable to the motherboard, the 12V cable to the motherboard, and power to the graphics card. Plug in your monitor. Start the computer.
  6. If your computer boots up at this point, press and hold the power button for 4 seconds. This will shut it back down. Reconnect your keyboard and mouse and reboot the computer. When able, press Delete to enter the BIOS. Select the option that reads "Load Optimized Defaults" or "Load Fail-Safe Defaults", then select "Save And Exit" to save the settings and exit the BIOS setup. This will cause your computer to reboot. From here, begin trying to add different components back in until you isolate the problem.

    Did this fix your computer start up problems? If not, continue on...

  7. Reconnect the keyboard and mouse.
  8. If you have multiple memory sticks, remove them all except for one. With one in the top slot, try re-booting. If you are able to boot up at this point, you have a bad memory module. Try adding another stick until you cannot boot. You can also try using the other 2 memory slots if your motherboard has 4. The problem could be with a memory slot on the motherboard as well and should be verified before replacing the memory.
  9. When you turn on the computer, does the CPU fan run? If it does not, this can point to problems with the power supply or the motherboard socket.
  10. Do you have display on your monitor? If not, this can point to problems with the graphics card, the PCI slot, or the monitor. If you have another graphics card, or your motherboard has on-board video, you can try a different hook up for your monitor.
  11. Did this fix your computer start up problems? If not, continue on...

  12. Does the hard drive run when you turn on the computer? If not, check out the install hard drive process: try a different cable from the hard drive to the motherboard, either IDE or SATA. Try a different power cable from the power supply to the drive. (If none of this works, you may have a bad hard drive on your hands.)
  13. Did this fix your computer start up problems? If yes, continue troubleshooting, adding components back into the system one by one until you find the one that is faulty.

If you have been through the entire troubleshooting guide up to this point and still cannot get your computer to boot, don't despair. You can use the Contact Us page to send questions. If you are having problems, send as many details as you can.

  • Make and model of components
  • Detail the problem. Please provide more than "It won't boot".
  • Is your computer getting power (do the fans start up?), or do you hit the switch and nothing happens.
  • Do you get a number of beeps from your computer's speaker when you try to boot?
  • Does your computer start booting just fine, then crashes out when Windows starts loading?

The more detail you can provide about your computer start up problems, the more likely we can help out.


Return from Computer Start Up Problems to Computer Troubleshooting

Return To Build Your Own Computer Homepage

The Builders Corner will help to keep you informed of new computer technologies.


More Information

I will never ever give out your email address.



Copyright© 2008-2014. Voice Marketing Inc. All Rights Reserved. Read our Privacy Policy.