Problems Starting Up a Computer

by Renee Greene

Computers often have start-up problems. Fixing computers that won’t start up often calls for a little troubleshooting, but the problems are not usually hard to discover and fix.The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) loads on start-up from a special chip on the computer’s motherboard. A series of files load automatically and the trick to figuring out which file is causing a problem is to understand the BIOS system and the way it operates.

Log-On Failure

If your computer starts to load but does not complete the process, the problem may be newly installed hardware or software or corrupted system files. Hard boot your computer by disconnecting its power source and then turning it back on. The F8 key in Windows takes you to the Advanced Options menu. In DOS or C-prompt mode, the mouse does not work, so you will need to use the keyboard. Select ‘Last Known Good Configuration’ and wait for XP to start. Disconnect new hardware and see if the system works properly. If you have to run the system in Safe Mode, primitive graphics will display.

Disk Errors

"Non-system disk or disk error" messages mean the Windows operating system (OS) is missing or can’t be found in the hard disk boot process because of possible file corruption. Remove any removable media such as floppies, CDs, DVDs, flash drives, peripherals and memory cards. If your hard drive has failed, it may need to be replaced.

Repair Installations

Repair installations can fix serious start-up problems. If you lose settings, reinstall updates and reconfigure your computer. Make sure you have your CD and its product key available and that you insert the CD before restarting the system. Doing so forces the system to attempt to start up from the CD drive instead of the hard drive, and you will be able to follow the instructions or directions from there.

Hardware Problems

Error messages or missing screens with or without the Windows logo freezing at start up may mean a hardware configuration problem. Load-start interruptions are often accompanied by computer beeps or shudders. Reconnect the monitor, check the video adapter or contact the manufacturer for support if your machine is still under warranty. Other system errors may come from nonworking keyboards, non-compatible peripherals that need to be removed or loose connections. Check for bent pins, loose fits or stray wiring.

Computer Doesn’t Turn On

If no lights appear when you compress the power button, and there are no “start-up sounds” coming from your machine, check the computer’s power supply, test the outlet or contact your technical support department.


About the Author

Renee Greene has been writing professionally since 1984 when she began as a news clerk for "The Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer." She has written nonfiction books and a book of Haikus. She holds an associate degree from Phillips Junior College and is an English major at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College.

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