Trouble making your machine boot? Try these.

  • Machine doesn’t do anything when I turn it on: I know it’s obvious, but humour me, and check that it is plugged in. You never know. Oh, check the fuse as well. While I’m on about plugs, if you are like me, then you will have a nightmare of cables under the desk, and they will try their very hardest to tie themselves in knots (no-one knows when they do this, I’ve never actually caught them at it). Try and keep the tangle to a minimum, it makes life so much easier when you need to unplug the phone charger because it’s needed elsewhere.

  • If you have remembered to plug everything in the check the connections at the back of the machine, look for anything loose or disconnected. Most connections only fit in one socket and are often colour coded nowadays (mainly mice and keyboards), I’m not suggesting that everything can only go in one place and in one way. The power supply (important one) is a thicker cable than the rest, and will be a three pin connection (either male or female depending on if it’s for the PC or the monitor). Most cables will not go where they shouldn’t, don’t force them, it is a very good way to bend pins, and is always a pain to put right.
  • If you smell burning, unplug it immediately. Burning is NEVER good. Could be the power supply. Or anything for that matter, most computer parts will burn if they are assisted to fail -such as washers on the motherboard – yes I’ve seen it happen, poor laptop...
  • If the machine lights on the box come on, but there is nothing on the screen: Check the connections for the monitor, both power and signal – most monitors have a separate plug from the computer nowadays. If the machine issues a series of beeps then it can’t detect it’s monitor – the connection is bad or the monitor is broken. Or the machine has a fault with the video card.
  • If the box powers up (look for the lights again) but the monitor is displaying a message along the lines of “no signal input” (I know the newer IBM monitors say "monitor is working, check input connections"). Then, check the connections again.
  • If it says keyboard error and is beeping lots again, often a constant beeping – you are leaning on the keyboard, or a key is stuck (possibly because you are leaning on it).
  • If it asks for you to "insert system disk" or "cannot detect boot partition" or "hard disk 0 not found" then you are in trouble, and might I suggest you panic, and run around screaming. Then find that system disk that you made (because you read the nodes before this and acted on them, didn’t you?), put that in the drive and reboot the machine (CTRL + ALT + DEL). Or you can reboot off your Windows CD if you have Windows 2000, ME, or XP. If you wish to reinstall Windows then follow the instructions on screen, this may loose you your hard disk contents – but of course you back up everything, don’t you?
  • If you get the message “Non-system disk error, please remove disk and press any key to retry” then you booted the machine with a floppy disk in the drive and it tried to boot off that floppy disk. Eject the disk and try press a key.
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