If A Laptop Does Not Start At All
(No LED Lights and No Picture, or lights flash for a moment and it cuts off)

Do you have a laptop that does not power on or cuts off in a few moments? Here are a few tips for a quick fix.

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1. Faulty power on switch (button). The power on switch usually sits on a top panel. To get access to the button you need to unscrew a few screws underneath the battery. This is not a common fault.

Get a screw driver or tweezers and shorten the two contacts on the switch. If there is no access to the contacts, shorten the two contacts on the motherboard where the flat cable is connected.

Dell laptop power on switch

This one laptop has the switch soldered to the motherboard; maybe this is a better idea as there is no cable that simply can break.

Disassembling Dell E6400
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Dell laptop power button

2. Faulty power button cable. If you have opened the top panel, you will see that a thin cable runs from the power button to the motherboard. Simply shorten this cable on the motherboard and see if the laptop turns on.

3. Faulty battery. What actually destroys the laptop battery is one faulty cell inside the battery. If the battery smart cell managing circuit is also failing, it can also prevent the laptop from powering on.

Dell E6400 battery
Lenovo Thinkpad 320s battery inside

The above battery is from a Lenovo 320s. As you can see there are two cells and a cell protection circuit. If you measure them with a voltmeter, both of them must have similar voltage; the one that would have a noticeably lower voltage would be the faulty one.

4. A faulty power adapter is easy to diagnose. Get another power adapter or get a multimeter. Sometimes the power adapter LED light starts to flash when you plug it into the laptop. How to deal with the fault is described here .

5. Faulty hard disk drive. Try starting the laptop without it. The interesting thing about hard disk drives is that they usually have a faulty disk surface. But in case the logic board fails, a faulty hard disk drive can even prevent the laptop from powering on. The best way to find what’s going on is to take out everything: memory, hard disk drive, disconnect video cable, DVD drive, and processor. Turn on the laptop and see if it stays on. If the laptop stays on, add one component like the processor and try powering on again.

Laptop 2.5 inch hard disk drive

6. Faulty memory module. Take out all memory modules and try one by one. If the laptop does not work, find another module and try turn on the laptop.

Dell laptop memory RAM

7. Try disconnecting the keyboard. Almost all keyboards will prevent the laptop from powering on if they are damaged by liquid. Once I had a laptop cutting off randomly, and I would never have guessed that the issue was a faulty keyboard. Just when I disconnected the keyboard, the laptop suddenly booted up as if nothing had happened with it for one hour.

Dell Latitude E6420 keyboard cleaning
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Clean keyboard’s ribbon cable contacts. You can do the cleaning simply with your fingers; the skin will make it clean and add a bit of grease.

8. If you bought a laptop second hand, and it started misbehaving, the chances are it has been water damaged. Probably, it has been cleaned, but the cleaning was not ultrasonic cleaning. Now a few components are rusty and the PC fails to power on. Here is a guide on how you can fix water damage .

9. A snapped off screen cable can be shortened to the ground easily. As a result, the laptop protects itself and does not power on.

Dell Latitude E6400  video cable

10. A faulty processor is a rare fault.

11. Faulty or broken USB port. If the laptop works, and it cuts off when you plug in a USB device, check that the USB ports are not damaged.

Laptop USB ports

There should be no plastic chunks missing or exposed copper contacts. If there is some copper that is bent, please turn off the laptop and remove the battery. You need to fix these USB ports first.

12. Faulty Audio Out or Audio In / Microphone port.

13. Faulty HDMI port. It is rare for a HDMI port to get broken, but it happens.

14. If you have taken out the battery, please check that the battery connector is undamaged.

15. There can be damage to the hinges, and as a result, the video cable can be broken or shortened to the ground chassis.

16. Faulty screen light circuit on the motherboard. There is a fuse that gets blown if something happens to the screen light LEDs. It sits on the motherboard and is a dark brown or gray in color. You need to have your laptop model schematics to find where the fuse is located.

17. The screen can be faulty. If there is a short circuit in one of LEDs, the laptop most likely will not power on.

18. A faulty wireless card also can prevent the laptop from powering on.

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