Honestly, the question is quite vague when it is related to the computers and IT industry. Generally, people use the terms ‘computer’ and ‘Windows’ interchangeably. When someone says that their computer isn’t working, it could mean anything from the PC not powering on to Windows preventing the user to sign in to their account.
Keeping most of the possibilities in mind and in an attempt to cover them all within the limited word count, the following sections discuss what may cause your computer to stop working, how to fix the problem, and to use the PC in a way that it doesn’t face any such trouble in the future.
As mentioned above, there could be several things wrong when you say that the computer stopped working. Some of these issues might include:
If you call a technical support person and tell them that the computer isn’t working, the first thing that might come to their mind is that the PC failed to power on or Windows isn’t booting at all. Nevertheless, if the person is technically sound with a good amount of experience, they may ask you a few more questions such as if you see something on the screen, if the fan is running, do you see any lights on the computer, etc.
If your laptop isn’t powering on, the reason could be a completely drained battery or a faulty power adapter. Likewise, if it is a desktop, the faulty SMPS, damaged cable, or dead power outlet could be the reason(s).
You can check if the computer is powered on by the sound of the CPU fan and/or the lights that blink when the PC receives the current supply. If this is the case, the issue may not be quite major, and a few tweaks could fix the problem.
After updating Windows, if the computer powers up, you see the Windows logo but the operating system fails to boot and the PC keeps on restarting, the issue could be related to the OS itself. In such a situation, you don’t have to worry at all as everything is fine with the hardware of your PC, and it’s only the software part that needs to be fixed.
Depending upon the type of issue your PC has, there could be different solutions that can fix the problem. Keeping the above symptoms in mind, some of the most effective troubleshooting approaches that you can take include:
In case the computer doesn’t start at all, the chances are that any of the hardware devices got faulty. In such a case, you must take a strategic approach to isolate the issue, and then fix it accordingly. A couple of things that you can try are listed below:
Step 1: Check the Power Outlet
If your PC doesn’t respond and even the laptop battery fails to charge, the first thing that you should check is if the power outlet is faulty. There are several ways to do this including using a current tester, plugging in a different device, or connecting the computer to a different outlet.
Step 2: Check for Faulty Cable/Battery
If it is a desktop, make sure that the power cable that connects the SMPS to the electric outlet isn’t faulty. If possible, try replacing it with a different one and see if the issue is gone. On the other hand, if you are using a laptop, check if its battery isn’t drained out. Try connecting it to the power supply with the help of the original adapter and see if it boots up. Connect it to a different power outlet to be sure that the adapter receives the current correctly.
Step 2: Check the RAM
This applies to both desktop and laptop computers. If your PC has two RAM sticks, you can try pulling them out and connecting one at a time, preferably on the different slots to see if any of the ports is faulty or it’s the RAM stick that has some issue. Make sure to remove any dust/carbon particles from the slots before reconnecting the RAM.
Step 3: Check the CMOS Battery
Be it a laptop or desktop, CMOS battery plays a vital role in both types of PCs. If the CMOS battery is too old and is not able to provide the proper current to the motherboard, the computer may fail to start. You can try replacing the old battery with the new one and see if you can power on the device.
If you own a desktop and the computer starts up but there is no display on the screen, clearing the CMOS would be an option. On the other hand, in the case of a laptop, you can try hard resetting the portable device and see if it fixes the issue. Both the solutions are given below:
Step 1 (For Desktop): Clear CMOS
Unplug the computer from the power supply, and make sure that it is in the turned-off state. Open the system case, locate the CMOS battery on the motherboard, pull it out from its socket, and leave the PC alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can short the jumpers if you know where they are located. (Usually, they are somewhere near the CMOS battery itself.) After the said time, put the CMOS battery back in its socket, and try powering on the computer again. Note: If you took the shorting the jumpers approach, the CMOS is cleared instantaneously.
Step 2 (For Laptop): Hard Reset
Disconnect all the external devices like the USB mouse and keyboard, flash drive, and even the power adapter cable from the laptop, and take out its battery (if the battery is detachable). Next, press and hold down the Power button for 30 to 60 seconds. After the said time, release the Power button, put the battery back in, and try powering on the computer. Check to confirm if the issue is fixed.
If Windows has installed the latest updates, and didn’t ever manage to boot after the restart, this clearly means that any of the update files is incompatible with the operating system and must be removed. This can be done by going to the ‘Advanced startup options’ screen, and addressing the problem from there.
You can learn how to remove the latest updates from your Windows 10 computer by following the instructions given below:
Step 1: Get to the Advanced Startup Options Screen
Power on your computer, and as you see the Windows logo, restart the PC. Repeat this process for two more times until Windows enters into the automatic boot repair mode. After the operating system completes diagnosing the boot files, and you are displayed with the Automatic Repair window, click Advanced options.
Step 2: Get to the Advanced Updates Window
From the Choose an option screen, go to Troubleshoot, and then click Advanced options again when on the Troubleshoot screen. On the next window, click Uninstall Updates.
Step 3: Remove Latest Updates and Restart
On the Uninstall Updates screen, either click Uninstall latest quality update or Uninstall latest feature update as required, choose a user account with administrator rights on the next screen that appears, enter the password when you are prompted for, and click the uninstall button to remove the latest updates from your PC. After the process is complete, click Done, and back on the Choose an option window, click Continue to reboot Windows 10 normally.
A couple of important tips that you may want to keep in mind while using Windows 10 in order to prevent the issue from arising include:
If your computer fails to start all of a sudden, it is imperative to check the power supply and the battery for any issues. If the PC is powering on but there’s no display on the screen, check if the CMOS battery is not too old, and in the case of a laptop, try hard resetting it. It is also noteworthy that the CMOS battery is present even in the laptops, and it may get old too. If nothing happens, you can try checking the CMOS battery of the laptop too.
As for the software part, always check for the latest Windows Updates and install them at the earliest. However, if the operating system fails to boot after installing the updates, you can start the PC in the advanced startup options mode, and remove the most recent installations from there to get rid of the issue.
Q1) If Windows fails to boot, could there be a problem with the hard disk drive or SSD?
A1) Generally, the issue is related to the Windows Updates or corrupt system files. However, if no troubleshooting methods are able to fix the problem, you may check if the HDD has some bad sectors, or the SSD has generated a couple of bad clusters that are keeping the boot files from initializing. The command to check this is ‘CHKDSK /R’, and must be executed from the command-line interface that has the administrator privileges.
Q2) Is CMOS battery expensive?
A2) No. When compared to the price of a desktop or laptop computer, the amount of the CMOS battery is insignificant. You can easily get one at USD $0.5 or $1.00.
Q3) Could any problem related to the BIOS prevent the computer from starting?
A3) Yes. You can try clearing the CMOS or shorting the jumpers to fix the problem.