Why does my PC take one hour to switch on?

Paul Nielsen January 7, 2011
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My desktop PC has begun being extremely slow in switching on, i.e. powering up – that is before the OS starts booting.

After pressing the power switch (a soft switch), the system doesn’t react at all until about an hour. By plugging a LED-equipped USB cable in the front-panel USB port, I noticed that its light gradually increases from off to full illumination by the time the system starts switching on, i.e. over an hour’s time.

My problem is that I don’t have a clue what the root cause of this behavior is. A Google search only returned OS startup problems – so how do I diagnose this?

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  1. Oron Joffe
    January 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Paul, this is unlikely to be a hardware issue, but if you are comfortable with opening up your PC, you can exclude that possibility. Open up the PC, unplug the hard disc and reboot the computer. See how long it takes to get to the 'no boot media' message. If it's more than a couple of minutes, there may well be a hardware issue.

    Otherwise, it's a software issue. Taking it to a shop, as Edward suggests, is one plan, but if you are able and willing to diagnose this yourself, here are a few things to look for:

    Too many boot processes AND not enough memory:
    Try starting up the systen in safe mode (press F8 after the initial diagnostic messages on the screen, and choose Safe mode from the list by using the keyboard). This will start up slower than normal (i.e. more than a minute or two), but if it takes significantly less time than an hour, that's where your problem lies. You would need to identify the startup processes (Google 'slow startup') and eliminate some. If possible, also upgrade the memory on your PC.

    Faulty hard disc: it is sometimes possible for a hard disc to fail, but not completely. If the system tries to read from the hard disc and fails, it will wait for a while, then try again (up to a maximum of three times). If this happens a lot, bootup will be painfully slow. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult to diagnose on the PC, but if you can take out the hard disc and connect it to a second PC, you will quickly find out if this is the case (better yet, run a disk diagnostics utility to check it on the second PC).

  2. Anonymous
    January 8, 2011 at 7:39 am

    You can try to reset cmos battery then if dont work try to flash BIOS

  3. Edward Law
    January 8, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I think you may need to take your computer into a repair shop as I think they need to take a look under the hood at the power supply to your machine.

    I'd do this sooner rather than later in case your machine stops working altogether so you can avoid any potential data loss.

  4. Gustavo Ibarguengoytia
    January 8, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Most probably i's a hardware issue. I am guessing the powersource or motherboard, if either is slightly damaged the overall performance of you computer is hurt.

    When did this started to happen? Have you expirienced any other type of issues? Do you connect your computer directly to the power outlet?

    You should it have it check for hardware issues.