Why does my PC require several power cycles to start up?

Dr.sunil V July 30, 2014

When I switch on my Windows desktop PC, it does not boot up. Usually it will switch on and the BIOS screen followed by a dual boot screen will come up, but it will not actually boot into any system. The PC will only start after switching off the PC and then on again. Sometimes a third off/on cycle is required.

  1. Guy M
    August 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Just to clarify - POST = Power On Self Test. When you power on most computers, they perform a little system test. You may hear some little beeps and see some lights flash on your keyboard. That's a POST in progress.

    For more information on POST. PowerOnSelfTest.com

    • Bhakta S
      August 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks. Yes it POSTED. It seems that wireless keyboard may cause the error in query?!

  2. Jeff F
    July 31, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Does your system POST?

    • Bhakta S
      August 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Yes it posted, like screen showing words like BIOS, MONITOR

  3. Jan F
    July 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Just to clarify, you don't manage to get to the Windows boot/dual boot screen or nothing happens at all?

    I don't think it's a problem with the hard drive or not single-handedly. In that case you should get a "Operating system not found" or "no hard disk detected" error.

    If even the BIOS/UEFI fails to initialize (the screen stays black) it's most certainly a hardware fault. Two common causes I know of are the power supply and the graphics card.

    Other then that it could be the BIOS/UEFI being corrupted although that seems unlikely unless you tinkered with the BIOS chip or had a failed flash.
    Faulty CPU is also a possibility but again, unlikely since you do get to boot it from time to time. One other option here might be that the CPU is no longer properly seated. Did you clean your CPU cooler or fan recently or maybe the computer fell over or something?

    If you have access to another comparable power supply you can test it. Same goes for the graphics card assuming it is a dedicated GPU in one of the mainboards slots. If an integrated graphics solution is available you can also just take out the dedicated GPU and try booting with the internal one.

    One other suggestion is to disconnect pretty much everything from the computer and motherboard, leaving only the CPU plus cooler, RAM, graphics card, all the power connectors, the keyboard and monitor. Then try to see if your system starts up normally (until the "Operating system not found" or "no hard disk detected" error).

    • Bhakta S
      August 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Can hard key may be damaged? So, whole cover has to be replaced?

    • Bhakta S
      August 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Please tell how to solve corrupt BIOS/UEFI

    • Jan F
      August 2, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      You answered to another reply that your system goes through the POST therefor it shouldn't have anything to do with the BIOS.

      If it was a corrupt BIOS you would need
      (a) a secondary BIOS on your motherboard (often called Dual-BIOS in it's features)
      (b) another motherboard with the same BIOS product and version ~ actually the chip containing the BIOS

      for (a) the process is straight forward:
      Create a floppy disk with the correct BIOS file and flash utility (if the BIOS has one built in you just need a floppy or USB drive with the BIOS file on it)
      Boot from the floppy or into the onboard flash utility.
      Flash the BIOS.

      for (b) the process is a bit more complex:
      Create a floppy disk with the correct BIOS and the flash utility.
      Replace the chip with the corrupt BIOS with the working one.
      Boot into the flash utility.
      When booted into the flash utility change the BIOS chip to the corrupt one again while running ~ be very careful and make sure you put it in correctly. Your system is under power! Don't shorten any connectors or whatever by accident.
      Proceed with the flash process.

    • Dr.sunil V
      August 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks for a strong endeavor. This detail is not my work:-)
      CPU given for service

  4. Hovsep A
    July 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    is there any beep sound?

    • Bhakta S
      August 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Not sure, but screen showing sort of pc parameters displayed

    • Hovsep A
      August 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      dual boot? which OS, maybe boor manager is corrupted? cant you boot on windows cd and choose stratup repair? Also check cables, ram if they are all well connected, try to reset cmos battery

    • Dr.sunil V
      August 5, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Yes , dual boot XP with 7 Ultimate. Recently , changed auto boot to 7 via 7's boot manager. Windows CD is not available. Cable of monitor checked. Currently cpu is given to service

    • Hovsep A
      August 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      (cpu is given to service) maybe this is the problem, cpu problem?

  5. Oron J
    July 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    This is one of those crazy problems that can be difficult to diagnose. It's not entirely repeatable and there is no regular, single cause. However, here are some possibilities, that come to mind:

    Failing power supply. While the power supply still works, it's producing less "juice" than is required at startup, so not all parts of the system are ready by the time the boot process should have started. This is a fairly common cause for this problem. Best diagnosis is to try it with a different power supply if you can borrow one.

    Failing hard drive. Unfortunately, failure to start is often a sign of a problem with the mechanics of the hard drive (e.g. not spinning up fast enough, or working unreliably). Diagnosis, unfortunately, is to try another hard drive and install Windows on it...

    It could also be a problem with the CMOS settings. Try resetting the CMOS settings (jumped on montherboard or even by "load optimised settings" in BIOS. Better yet, replace CMOS battery and THEN reset the settings.

    • Bhakta S
      August 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      I heard that wireless keyboard may have caused the prob and USB wired keyboard to be put , but how come error now and not with same wireless keyboard for long , for dual boot win 7 with win xp

    • Oron J
      August 1, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Anything is possible, but I don't see why a wireless keyboard would cause this unless perhaps the battery is on the way out. Even then, it seems unlikely, but you could put fresh batteries in the keyboard and try it.

    • Dr.sunil V
      August 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks. Nice to know

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