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When I press the power button the quickplay buttons light up and it sounds like the computer is starting but before the HP screen shows it powers back down. It will keep cycling on and off unless I press the power button and turn it off. I usually wait a few seconds and try again. Sometimes it starts easily and other times it can take 15 minutes or more to get it to start up. How should I fix this?

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does it exhibit the same behavior on battery AND when plugged in to the wall? – Jeff Atwood Oct 8 '09 at 5:25
If you're still having this problem (or as help to anyone who has it in future), I strongly recommend cleaning the fan and re-applying thermal compound to the CPU and GPU - they tend to overheat, which could cause the power-cycling. – Andrew Feb 17 '13 at 13:41

The way I debug startup problems:

  1. Remove all external devices before powering up. That's mice, keypads, external monitors--anything that connects via a cable. If it starts now, one of these devices was the problem.
  2. Remove the hard drive (very easy on HP laptops). Will it start now? Then the problem is the hard drive, or the cable.
  3. Remove the RAM. Will it start now? Guess where the problem lies.
  4. Try pressing the F1 key during powerup to get to the BIOS. Does this work?

There are several documents at that might help you:

Resolving Startup Problems in Windows 98, ME, and XP

Troubleshooting Motherboard Issues

Troubleshooting Power Supply Issues

I hope that's helpful.

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