Leo, I’ve read your article regarding PCs that will not boot up reliably.
Well, I have an XP PC that suddenly will not boot up at all. I’m hoping that
you will just give me your best guess as to what else I can do to try and
repair the PC on my own. It’s probably not worth it to take it to a technician
for diagnosis. When I power up, the HP PC the screen remains blank. The Windows
load never shows up nor does the HP splash screen that normally would precede
There’s no error message. The white arrow for the cursor is not visible
either. There’s no beeping sound but the fan continuously spins unusually fast
and loudly. I tried using a different monitor and video cables and have also
replaced the power supply. Nothing works so far. Do you think this is more
likely a hardware problem? If so, which hardware would you check out? Although
this is a 6-year old computer, I would hate to replace it because it’s been a
lightly used computer that’s been connected to the internet only once when it
was first purchased. I thought low mileage would extend its life but not so for
this PC. Any suggestion you can provide to help resurrect this PC is very much
In this excerpt from
Answercast #31, I look at some simple troubleshooting ideas for a computer
that won’t boot up.
Fans running, nobody home
I absolutely believe you have a hardware problem. The fact that it is not beeping and the screen remains blank, even though you have it properly connected, implies to me that the CPU (the computer) literally is not running.
Even though the power might be on, the fans might be blowing and you might even see some lights somewhere, that doesn’t mean that the computer itself is actually doing anything.
- That then has me focusing on the computer’s motherboard itself.
What I would do to begin with is remove any add-on cards that aren’t absolutely necessary. For example, if you have a network card, a sound card, whatever. Any additional add-on cards. Also, go ahead and disconnect all of the USB things (if there’s any USB on there)… that you can get by without running.
Disconnect all that and see if that does anything.
Then, you might start looking at components on the motherboard.
It’s very possible that simple things like the RAM not being completely seated in its sockets could cause a problem like this.
The processor itself not being completely inserted into its socket could cause a problem like this.
Unfortunately, it could be caused by any number of things on the motherboard. That makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, if you’re not a technician and you don’t have the right kind of tools, it becomes almost impossible to diagnose.
So that’s why I would begin by removing any cards, any add-on cards that you can. See if that makes a difference. Reseat all the RAM and potentially the CPU, if that’s possible, and then see if that makes any difference.
If it doesn’t help, you might consider removing all of the RAM except for one (if there’s more than one.)
- Sometimes, faulty RAM can cause this kind of a problem.
Ultimately, our options without reaching for a technician are very, very limited. So give those kinds of things a try. You might get lucky.
In the long run, you could also, of course, end up replacing the motherboard; but that begins to push the envelope of what’s cost effective. If you’re gonna start spending money on something like a motherboard (or as you say a technician), it might just be time to look at a new machine.