From the Kenosha News on 10-8-06

You may be able to revive a dead computer

One of the scariest computer experiences has to be the totally dead computer. You press the ON button but nothing seems to happen. Here are some basic tips that may help you revive a computer that has died.

First, determine if anything is happening at all. Check for lights on the front or back of your computer. If you see nothing and there is no sound of any kind (fan, etc.), then check your electrical connections. If you are using a power strip, make sure it isn’t turned off or that the “overload breaker” hasn’t tripped and needs to be reset. (As a precaution, never plug power-hungry appliance or tools, such as vacuums, into the same power strip as your electronics.) Try plugging the computer directly into a wall socket rather than through the power strip or extension cord. Test if your wall socket is live by plugging something simple, like a lamp, into it. If your power source is good but the computer shows NO signs of power, then its power supply has probably died, which will require a service call.

If your computer is a laptop and it has an external power supply (like a “brick” in the middle of the power cord,) make sure its connections are tight. Try removing the battery from the laptop and running with the power cord only. If this works, then your battery is bad; get a new one from the computer manufacturer or Batteries Plus. If you still get no power, try to find someone with the same model of laptop and borrow their power supply to see if that might be the problem rather than the computer itself.

Second, if you are getting some activity (flashing lights and/or fan noise) but nothing on the monitor, then it might be your monitor that is bad rather than the computer. Borrow another monitor and connect it to your desktop, or connect an external monitor to your laptop. You can call your manufacturer’s tech support or ask a tech-savvy friend to help you with this. If your desktop monitor is dead, replace it. If you laptop display is dead and under warranty, have it repaired by the manufacturer. If a laptop is not under warranty, be prepared for a display problem to be very expensive; get an estimate of the repair before you decide what to do.

Third, if the monitor is not the problem and you have no display or only some text followed by nothing, try any of the following:
• Start up in safe mode by pressing F8 when the computer first starts up
• Start up with a bootable CD or floppy disk such as a Win98 disk or the recovery CD that came with your computer. If these work, then you have a software issue that can likely be solved by re-loading Windows or MacOS or by restoring from the recovery CD. (This may cause you to lose data.)
• Open your desktop and remove the battery for several minutes. The battery will probably look like a watch battery about the size of a nickel. Put back the battery and re-boot.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 10-8-06