What To Do When Your PC System Won’t Boot

Few computer problems are more frustrating than a system that won’t boot. Your best lifeline, the Internet, is inaccessible, you often don’t have an error message to give you a clue, and the software menus to which you do have access may be unfamiliar and difficult to navigate and decipher.

The best way to troubleshoot the problem is to try the most common fixes first and then work your way down to the less common fixes.

Recent Hardware Changes

If your system reboots immediately after you start your computer, that’s often an indication of a hardware problem. If you recently installed anything, such as a new storage device, processor, or memory module, check to see that you installed it as instructed. Remember to exercise caution when working inside your computer: Turn it off, unplug it, and then touch a part of the case frame to dissipate static electricity. The first thing to do is to ensure that your memory modules are properly seated. It’s also a good idea to check that every hard drive or SSD in the system has both power and data cables firmly connected. Be sure to check the processor heatsink to make sure it’s installed and held firmly in place and that the graphics card (if present) is fully inserted into its slot and any external power ports are connected to the power supply. Make sure all the motherboard power ports are connected, as well; most motherboards require a 24-pin power connector on the right edge of the board and a 4- or 8-pin power connection toward the top of the motherboard.

Back To The BIOS

If the settings in the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) have become unstable, resetting it may solve the problem. To do this, restart your computer and immediately press the designated key that lets you access the BIOS. This key varies from computer to computer, but often it appears onscreen during the boot process. The DELETE, ESC, F1, or F2 keys are all common. Once in the BIOS setup utility, try loading the Optimized Defaults, save the settings, and restart. If your computer still fails, re-enter the BIOS and load the Fail-Safe Defaults. If you can’t even access the BIOS, then you may need to reset the CMOS (complementary metaloxide semiconductor), which retains your computer’s BIOS settings. Consult your motherboard or computer manual for the location of the CMOS jumper, which you can temporarily move between the three pins on the motherboard to perform the reset. After about 10 seconds, move the jumper back and try restarting.

The Safe Mode Or System Restore Options

Try to boot your computer into Safe Mode by restarting your computer and pressing the F8 key as it attempts to boot up. On the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode option and then press ENTER. If you have more than one OS installed on your system, you may need to select the OS you want to boot into Safe Mode. If your computer boots successfully into Safe Mode, then the issue may have been resolved, so attempt a normal reboot. If the problem persists, try a System Restore: Re-enter Safe Mode, click Start, type system restore, and then press ENTER. Use this wizard to use a Restore Point to reclaim access to your PC. Be sure to select a point prior to the day on which you began having trouble.

 

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