How to Fix a Laptop That Won’t Turn On (7 Easy Ways)

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How to Fix a Laptop That Won’t Turn On (7 Easy Ways)

Key Points

  • There are several reasons why a laptop won’t turn on, including temporary issues like static charge or loose power connection, as well as more serious problems like motherboard or CPU failure.
  • Methods to fix a laptop that won’t turn on include holding down the power button for 30-60 seconds, troubleshooting the RAM, removing the RAM and waiting, cleaning the power jack, testing the power adapter, testing with an external display, and replacing or resetting the CMOS battery.
  • Disconnecting the laptop from the power adapter, removing the battery, and holding down the power button for 30 seconds can help drain any built-up electricity and fix the issue.
  • Cleaning the power jack with compressed air and testing the power adapter with a voltage meter or replacement brick can help identify and resolve power-related problems.
  • Connecting the laptop to an external display can help determine if the issue lies with the laptop’s LCD screen, and replacing or resetting the CMOS battery can reset the BIOS settings and potentially fix the problem.

Are you looking for a way to fix a laptop that won’t turn on? Whether you have an HP, a Dell, or any other type of Windows laptop that is not turning on, if you pressed the power button and nothing happened, you’re in the right place. It’s very frustrating when your laptop won’t turn back on, especially if it was just working fine before. There are several reasons why a laptop won’t turn on. It could be a temporary problem such as a static charge or a loose power connection. However, it could also be more serious, like a motherboard or CPU failure.

Before you go out and buy a new computer, there is a chance you can get your laptop up and running again. If your laptop won’t start up and you’re tired of staring at that blank, black screen, try these seven methods for fixing a laptop that won’t turn on.

Ways to Fix a Laptop That Won’t Turn On

EasyHold down the power button for 30 seconds.
Easy to Medium (depending on how the laptop is designed)Troubleshoot the RAM.
EasyRemove the RAM and wait.
EasyClean the power jack.
EasyTest the power adapter.
EasyTest an external display.
DifficultReplace or reset the CMOS battery.

Method 1: Hold Down the Power Button for 30-60 Seconds

First, what you want to do is disconnect your laptop from the power adapter and remove the battery. While you’re at it, remove any external devices that are connected, such as USB hubs, monitors, or peripherals. Now, hold down the power button for 30 seconds.

Holding down the power button will drain any built-up electricity from the laptop’s components. Once you’ve waited a full 30 seconds, reconnect the AC power adapter, and press the power button. If your laptop starts, let it boot normally, and then shut it down.

Now you can reattach the battery and remove the AC power adapter. Try to turn on the laptop with just the battery connected. If it starts with the power adapter, but not with the battery, then the problem is a faulty battery. You can research your battery’s model online and buy a replacement.

Method 2: Troubleshoot the RAM

RAM random access memory


Faulty or poorly installed RAM can prevent computers from turning on. It’s one of the most common reasons for a computer not starting. If you recently replaced the RAM or you have installed extra RAM, this may be the issue. Every laptop is assembled differently, but most laptop brands make it easy to access the RAM.

You will usually have to flip your laptop over and look for a little panel that is held together with a few screws, usually near the center. Once you remove the screws, you should have access to the RAM slots. Some laptops require you to remove the keyboard to access the RAM.

Swap Out the RAM

Now it’s time to troubleshoot. For starters, make sure each RAM chip is properly seated. You might want to remove them and then reattach them to be sure. You’ll know they’re firmly seated when you hear a click and it’s aligned with the slots. Remove the RAM sticks and gently rub the pins with a rubber eraser. This drains the RAM of any static charge and may get it working again.

If there are two chips of RAM, remove one, and try to power on your laptop again. Do the same with the other one. You want to test each RAM stick separately. Finally, remove all the RAM chips. If you try to turn on a laptop or PC that doesn’t have any RAM, you will hear a loud beep.

In this case, hearing a beep is a good sign because it means your motherboard is not broken. If you hear a loud beep when you try to start the laptop and no RAM sticks are installed, it could mean the RAM is faulty. You can buy more RAM for testing purposes. Take a look at our recommended RAM here.

Method 3: Remove the RAM and Wait

Another trick that sometimes breathes life back into a laptop is to remove the RAM and battery and then let the laptop sit overnight. Pop out the RAM chips following the instructions above, remove the battery, disconnect any external devices, and let the laptop rest for at least 24 hours.

It sounds funny, but this works more often than not. The reason it works is leaving the laptop alone without any power will drain any built-up electricity from the capacitors and RAM. If holding down the power button for 30 seconds doesn’t do the trick, you might want to try this method.

Method 4: Clean the Power Jack

Your laptop might not turn on because there’s a loose connection with the power jack and the battery is dead. We recommend spraying the power jack with a can of compressed air to remove any dust or debris that could be blocking the connection. On that note, many laptops have very fragile power jacks. If someone trips over the power cable and it pulls on the power jack, it could easily break. If your laptop can charge via Thunderbolt, test one of the Thunderbolt ports.

Test your laptop’s power jack and if it feels too loose and there’s no sign of life, it’s probably broken. You can buy a replacement power jack, but it needs to be soldered onto your motherboard. Ideally, your laptop’s warranty should cover this issue. Otherwise, you could order a replacement power jack and have a local laptop repair store install it for you.

Method 5: Test the Power Adapter

There could be a problem with your power adapter. If your laptop can’t receive a charge, it won’t turn on. Most laptops use external power supplies. If there are vents on your laptop’s charging brick, spray them with compressed air to clean out any dust as shown in the video for Method 4. You could also use a voltage meter to measure the output of the power adapter. Another idea is to buy a replacement power brick for testing purposes.

Method 6: Test Using an External Display

Is your power light on but the laptop screen is still dark? If your laptop screen is not coming on, your laptop could be powered on but the built-in LCD isn’t receiving a signal. Some current laptops do not have fans or they are quiet, so it’s not always easy to tell when a laptop is powered on. An easy way to test this is to connect your laptop to a monitor with an HDMI cable as shown in the video above.

Most laptops will automatically detect and send a signal to an external display. If you get a signal on your external display, then you will know the problem is with your laptop’s LCD screen. Sometimes you can fix that problem by disassembling the laptop and reseating the LCD ribbon cable. You can likely find a laptop disassembly video for your model on YouTube.

Method 7: Replace CMOS Battery

Another potential fix for a laptop that won’t turn on is to replace or reset the CMOS battery, which looks like a watch battery. The CMOS battery helps power the motherboard and save the BIOS settings. When you reset the CMOS battery, it will reset the BIOS settings, and it could fix your issue. Now, to access the CMOS battery, you will need to disassemble your laptop. Remember to remove the battery and power connection before you disassemble any electronics. The CMOS battery is usually connected directly to the motherboard and sometimes it can be very tricky to access.

There are two types of laptop CMOS batteries: one that is wrapped in tape with a wire, and one that is seated in a disc-shaped slot on the motherboard. Before you replace either one, remove it first and wait for a few minutes. If the battery is connected to your motherboard with a wire, gently unplug the wire and wait. Not that you have removed the CMOS battery, leave the laptop overnight. When you reconnect the CMOS battery, the motherboard’s BIOS settings should reset, and your computer should turn on.

Wrap Up

The best way to fix a laptop that won’t turn on is to drain the static charge. To do that, either hold down the power button for 30 seconds or remove the battery and RAM and let it sit overnight. If you have done all you can to drain any built-up electricity from the laptop, the problem is likely with another component, such as the power jack. If you went through this list of fixes and your laptop still won’t turn on, it may be time to take your laptop to a repair shop and let the experts help get you back up and running again.

How to Fix a Laptop That Won’t Turn On (7 Easy Ways) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What can I do with a laptop that won't turn on?

If you exhausted all of your options, you could salvage the hard drive and RAM from the dead laptop.

How do you force a laptop to turn on?

The easiest way to force a laptop to turn on is to remove the battery and hold down the power button for 30-60 seconds.

How do I fix a laptop that has a black screen?

If your laptop has a black screen, connect it to an external display. If the external display receives a signal, then you can try reseating the laptop’s LCD ribbon cable. It could also be an issue with a graphics driver.

Why will my laptop not start on battery but it works when plugged in?

Chances are you have a faulty battery and it can’t hold a charge. We recommend buying a replacement online.

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