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I have a laptop that is 1 year old and powers on, I can hear the fan running and the num lock and caps lock lights are lit, but the computer never completes a POST beep and absolutely nothing ever shows on the screen. How can I troubleshoot this?

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migrated from Apr 29 '12 at 1:01

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

@Frands In fairness, not everything on SF has to be server related. As a sysadmin, some of us manage many, many desktops notebooks and mobile devices. – jscott Apr 29 '12 at 1:05
Can you toggle the num/caps locks? Can you see anything if you connect an external monitor and close the screen? – Bob Apr 29 '12 at 1:47
more information would be good. What's the name and model? have you tried the magic power button trick? – Journeyman Geek Apr 29 '12 at 3:00
Lack of POST with power present usually comes down to Motherboard, Processor or Video, although depending on board/bios, RAM as well. More often than not, with a laptop, that means you can't do a whole lot. You can usually easily swap out RAM, and test video output on another monitor (though this likely won't work) but the rest is usually not worth the trouble. – MaQleod Apr 29 '12 at 6:35

Some laptops don't even beep when they are POSTing (mine doesn't). Your problem could be as simple as failing RAM, or as bad as a broken motherboard. You can't really tell. You can try these steps to see if you can get it running again:

  • Try to plug in an external monitor and see if it works (maybe your LCD is broken)
  • Take out the HDD and RAM. Try to power it on with only one stick of RAM. Alternate the RAM modules to see maybe one is broken and the other one is not.
  • If you can, test your RAM modules on another laptop that works. This way you can see if the RAM is the problem, or if it's something else.
  • Try to do a BIOS reset. If you can see the BIOS battery on the motherboard, remove it, wait 30 seconds and plug it back in. Then try to see if it works.
  • If nothing works, you can take the laptop to a repair center. They can take it apart and see what the problem is. They can also give you an estimated cost to fix it, and you can decide if it's worth fixing or not. In the worst case scenario, the motherboard will need to be replaced. You can get a new one or maybe find a refurbished motherboard on ebay.
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Maybe you can boot the computer with a bootable usb disk and then run memtest ( on the computer, or mabye Ultimate Boot Disk ( which has recovery utilities if you have a Windows OS.

Can you get ahold of a bios screen? Or can you boot into safe mode? Bob asked if you have tried an external monitor...

Another thing you might try is to take both the battery and hard drive completely out of the computer and then put them back in. I once fixed a Dell laptop this way.

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