Why does my computer suddenly not turn on for days at a time?

brownthomas June 8, 2011
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About 6 months ago, my computer decided it wouldn’t turn on anymore. I began researching forums for answers and dreading that I would have to make a costly repair to something or replace the PSU or Motherboard. Then one morning I woke to find the computer on. After fixing some settings that reset, it seemed to operate in its normal clunky way.

Fast forward to a week or two ago. I moved the computer to a new house. I did not pack it up with much padding, but felt it was properly secure, and moved it myself by car. The computer would not start again in its new setting. I hoped that it might magically power on again by itself after a day or two, and sure enough I came home one day to find it on, but stuck on a boot up error screen (computer was not detecting the (non-existent) floppy drive – an issue I have worked through before). Unfortunately, I had to power down and crossed my fingers that it would turn on again. Alas, it did not and hasn’t made a peep since. Through all this, there has been a steady green light on the motherboard.

Any ideas what my problem might be? I’m not so handy with DIY PC hardware repairs. The computer is older (2006), but I’d rather like to keep it running and am willing to spend up to a point to do so.

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  1. Power Supply Blew Up
    June 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    It could be the PSU. I had that happened to my Pentium 4 and after replacing the PSU it worked okay.

  2. brownthomas
    June 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for the responses.  I have not made any recent changes to the computer, other than installing new anti-virus software in March/April.  There is a bit of dust built up- I will see what I can do to clear it out and hope that the easiest to remedy explanation is the right one!  If not, I will look into the other noted suggestions.  Thanks again.

    Also, ha14- not sure how to reinstall windows without being able to turn on the PC. Am I missing something?

    • Tina
      June 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Thomas,

      you're not missing anything. If your computer doesn't turn on, you cannot re-install your operating system. Either way, it sounds like a hardware problem, not like a problem of your Windows installation.

      I would recommend to disconnect the machine from the power cord, remove all grease from your hands, ground yourself, then open the case and clean the machine from dust and dirt. While you do that make sure all cables are properly connected and nothing is loose.

      You can use a can of compressed air to remove dust or your vacuum cleaner to suck dust out of fans. Follow Smayonak's instructions, they are excellent.

      When you're done, properly close the case and reconnect the computer to power. If it still doesn't boot, I would start looking at the hardware. I agree with Jeffery that your power supply might be failing. You can also try to remove all but one RAM stick.

      And please do keep us updated!

    • Anonymous
      June 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Hi
      well its not possible if the pc dont turn on, unless you will get lucky and catch the pc on the day that is on. 

      push the  pin connector aroundin it's socket on the mother board, see if you  can get the computer to turn on.
      http://www.smps.us/20-to-24pin-atx.html

      also reset cmos, and reset ram.

      My computer will not turn on
      http://www.pugetsystems.com/help/troubleshooter.php?id=16

  3. Smayonak
    June 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Something I forgot to ask: Did you make any changes to the computer, both hardware and software, prior to experiencing the problem?

  4. Anonymous
    June 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

    try a clean instal of windows and update drivers. if it works then its not hardware problems, other then this flash bios and reset cmos or change cmos battery.

  5. Smayonak
    June 9, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Failing capacitors in the PSU might be causing the issue that you're describing.

    Anyway, I actually had a computer with the exact same issue. It turned off and would not turn back on. The next morning it had magically turned on by itself and it greeted me in the morning, lights blinking. It was an eerie, strange feeling, to have a computer sitting around that seemingly operated on its own accord.
    Strangely enough, it continued to work flawlessly for years following that incident, until I fully retired it last year.

    The only thing I did (and this was after it magically turned back on at night) was blow out the internal components (particularly the fan on the graphics card, the CPU fan, and the power supply fan), which was literally choked with dust. It did not start right back up again, either. I believe on this particular unit, I regreased its fans (don't worry about that part).

    I would give it the minimally invasive approach, first, before trying anything else:

    First, use a vacuum cleaner's flexible nozzle and use it to suck dust and dirt clots out of the power supply area. Don't go completely nuts on the fan, but do try and pay close attention to the amount of dust. Lots indicates you were having issues with heat.

    Second, open the computer up and examine how much dust has accumulated on its internal components, paying close attention to its fans. If you see a lot, try using the vacuum nozzle to remove dust clots from the CPU, GPU and case fans, but don't overdo it. Keep the nozzle away from the board itself. You can seriously damage your board if you touch it with your hands or anything that can carry a static charge. Touch the metal case frequently.

    Good luck!

  6. Jeffery Fabish
    June 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    It could be a number of things, overheating or incompatible or faulted ram. Sounds to me like your power supply unit is beginning to fail. Make sure there is proper airflow throughout your case and that there isn't a buildup of dust on the fans or hardware.

    I suggest reading your manual and find out which power supply unit to purchase and replace it. You can get hardware supplies at NewEgg or TigerDirect for very good prices, links below.

    http://www.newegg.com/
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/

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