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How to Fix a Dell Laptop That Won't Turn On

Is your Dell laptop giving you trouble when it is not turned on? Don't panic! There are several ways to troubleshoot a power issue and potentially get your system back up and running. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you diagnose and fix the problem:

How To Fix A Dell Laptop That Won't Turn On

Key Takeaways

  • Identify potential reasons for your Dell laptop not turning on, such as battery or adapter issues, hardware malfunctions, BIOS settings, viruses, or physical damage.
  • Perform a hard reset by holding the power button for 15 seconds to drain residual power and troubleshoot various issues.
  • Ensure solid connections for the power jack and battery to address common issues caused by loose connections.
  • Utilize the pre-installed Dell Diagnostics Tool to detect hardware problems and receive recommendations for resolution.
  • Reset the real-time clock (RTC) in the BIOS menu to restore BIOS settings to factory configurations if LED blinking and clicking sounds are observed.
  • Reset the CMOS battery to potentially resolve BIOS-related issues by discharging residual power and reinserting the battery.
  • Disconnect all external peripherals to troubleshoot issues caused by external devices hindering the laptop's boot process.
  • Enter Safe Mode and run antivirus software to scan for malware that may affect system stability or prevent booting.
  • Consider performing a factory reset as a last resort to restore the laptop to its original state, erasing all data in the process.
  • If troubleshooting steps fail, consult Dell support, backup important data, or seek assistance from a computer repair specialist like iFixScreens for diagnosis and repair.

Understanding the Underlying Causes 

Understanding The Underlying Causes

Behind your Dell laptop's failure to power on is crucial for identifying the most effective solution and expediting the recovery of your device and data.

Outlined below are several primary reasons for your Dell laptop's failure to turn on:

  • Defective battery or power adapter.

  • Hardware issues detected by the Dell Diagnostics Tool.

  • Outdated or corrupted BIOS settings.

  • Presence of viruses or malware.

  • Malfunctioning RAM or hard drive.

  • Requirement for a reset of the CMOS battery.

  • Errors within the operating system.

  • Physical damage sustained by the motherboard or other internal components.

  • Excessive internal component overheating.

  • Corrupted or obsolete drivers

Troubleshooting Steps for Dell Laptop won't Turn on Issue

Troubleshooting Steps For Dell Laptop Won't Turn On Issue

Hard Reset

A hard reset can address various issues. Your laptop might retain residual power, which could lead to problems, but a hard reset effectively drains this power without affecting any of your files.

It's essential to distinguish a hard reset from a factory reset, which restores the operating system (OS) and default applications to their original factory settings, potentially resulting in the loss of personal data.

Ensuring a Solid Connection: Power Supply and Battery

A surprisingly common culprit for a lifeless laptop is a simple connection issue. Here's why it's essential to check your Dell laptop's power supply and battery connections:

  • Power Jack: Over time, the constant plugging and unplugging of the charger can cause the connection between the power jack on your laptop and the AC adapter to loosen slightly. This loose connection might prevent power from reaching the system, stopping it from turning on.
  • Battery Fit: Similar to the power jack, a battery not securely seated in its compartment can disrupt the power flow. This is especially true for laptops with removable batteries.

How to Check and Secure the Connections:

  1. Inspect the Power jack: Inspect the port where the AC adapter plugs into your laptop. Look for any debris or physical damage to the connector.
  2. Wiggle Test: With the laptop powered off and unplugged, gently nudge the AC adapter plug at the point where it connects to the computer. If the connection feels loose or the plug moves quickly, that could be the problem.
  3. Secure the Connection: Ensure the AC adapter plug is firmly inserted into the power jack. When it's properly connected, you should feel a satisfying click.
  4. Removable Battery: If your Dell laptop has a removable battery, remove it and inspect the contacts for dirt or corrosion. If required, clean the contacts with a dry cloth. Then, reinsert the battery, ensuring it's snug and clicks securely into place.

Use the Dell Diagnostics Tool for Device Troubleshooting

Use The Dell Diagnostics Tool For Device Troubleshooting

The Dell Diagnostics Tool is designed to detect hardware problems and provide recommendations for resolving them. This tool comes pre-installed on Dell computers and is an invaluable resource for troubleshooting.

  • To access and utilize the pre-boot Dell Diagnostics Tool, follow these steps:
  • Press the Power button on your laptop and simultaneously press F12.
  • Continue pressing the key combination until the One Time Boot Menu window comes.
  • Select "Diagnostics" and press Enter.
  • Allow the tool to complete the scanning process.

Verify BIOS Settings

If your Dell laptop fails to boot and you notice LED blinking accompanied by clicking sounds, examining the BIOS settings is essential.

Here are the steps to address this issue:

  • Press and hold the power button for up to 30 seconds to power off your laptop completely. During this time, you'll observe the LED blinking three times.
  • Restart your laptop and be ready to access the BIOS menu.
  • Press the designated key to enter the BIOS as the laptop boots up. For Dell laptops, this key is often F2. Continue pressing the key until the BIOS menu or Dell logo appears.
  • Locate the option to reset the real-time clock (RTC) within the BIOS menu. This is typically found in the BIOS settings 'Advanced' or 'Main' section.
  • Choose the option to reset the RTC and confirm the action. This will restore the BIOS settings to their factory configurations.
  • Save the alterations made in the BIOS menu and exit. This can be accomplished by choosing the 'Save & Exit' or a comparable option.
  • Allow your laptop to restart and observe if the issue persists.

Resetting the CMOS Battery

Resetting The Cmos Battery

Resetting the CMOS battery is a potential solution for resolving the issue of a Dell laptop not turning on. This action will reset the BIOS settings and may help resolve the problem.

To reset the CMOS battery, follow these steps:

  • Disconnect the laptop from the power source and, if possible, remove the battery.
  • Flip your laptop over and remove the back cover to access the internal components.
  • Locate the CMOS battery, which is typically a small, round battery, and carefully remove it from its slot.
  • Press and hold the laptop's power button for approximately one minute to discharge any residual power.
  • Reinsert the CMOS battery into its slot.
  • Reconnect the laptop to the charger and attempt to turn it on again.

Disconnect External Devices

External peripherals such as keyboards, mice, monitors, printers, and external storage devices can sometimes be from your laptop, potentially hindering its ability to boot up properly.

To troubleshoot this issue, disconnect all peripherals from your Dell laptop and attempt to power it on again.

Malware Scanning

Malware Scanning

While the malware itself may not directly prevent a laptop from physically turning on, it can cause various issues that mimic this problem. Malware can infect and corrupt essential operating system files, leading to system instability or failure to boot.

To address potential malware issues:

  • Restart the laptop and access the Advanced Boot Options by pressing the appropriate key (usually F8 or Shift + F8) during the boot process.
  • Choose Safe Mode with Networking from the options provided.
  • Once in Safe Mode, run your installed antivirus or antimalware software to perform a scan.

Factory Reset

Performing a factory reset restores the computer to its original, out-of-the-box state, effectively wiping out any malware, corrupted system files, or software-related issues that may be affecting its performance.

To perform a factory reset:

  • Access your Dell laptop's appropriate settings or recovery options to initiate the factory reset process.
  • Follow the on-screen prompts to proceed with the reset. This action will erase all data on the laptop, so ensure that you have backups of any important files before proceeding.

Seeking Help:

Seeking Help From Professional

If none of these steps solve the problem, it may be a more complex hardware problem. Consider these options:

  1. Dell Support: Consult Dell's technical support website or contact them directly. They can provide specific troubleshooting steps for your laptop model and might offer repair options.
  2. Data Backup: If your laptop eventually boots up, prioritize backing up your important files as soon as possible. A bad hard drive or other hardware components could lead to permanent data loss.
  3. Computer Repair Specialist (iFixScreens): If you're uncomfortable troubleshooting further or suspect a hardware failure, take your laptop to a qualified laptop repair technician like iFixScreens for diagnosis and repair.

Final Thoughts

Remember, this guide provides a starting point. Different steps might differ slightly depending on your Dell laptop model. By following these methods and seeking help when needed, you can hopefully return your Dell laptop to working order!


Q. What could be the reason your Dell laptop is not turning on?

A. Several potential causes of a Dell laptop that won't turn on exist, including issues with the battery, boot process, hardware components, software problems, or power-related concerns.

Q. How do I perform a hard reset on my Dell laptop? 

A. To execute a hard reset on your Dell laptop, hold the power button for 15 seconds to deplete any remaining power, then attempt to power it again.

Q. What steps can I take to troubleshoot my Dell laptop that won't turn on?

A. You can begin by disconnecting all external devices, checking the adapter connection, entering safe mode if possible, and attempting to identify any hardware problems or faulty components that may be causing the problem.

Q. Is it advisable to try a factory reset if my Dell laptop is not turning on?

A. A factory reset should be considered a last resort, as it will erase all data on the device. Exploring other solutions and diagnostics before proceeding with a factory reset is recommended.

Q. How do I identify if the issue with my Dell laptop is related to software or hardware problems?

A. You can attempt to troubleshoot the issue by accessing the BIOS menu or running diagnostic tests to discern whether the problem stems from a hardware or software malfunction.

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Dell Laptop That Won't Turn On

Ravi Shah

About the author

Ravi Shah

Ravi is the head of Content Strategy at iFixScreens Corporate. With over a decade of experience writing technical content for his readers, Ravi has helped thousands of readers with helpful content, tips, and tricks. He mainly writes content related to gadget repairs, such as iPhones, Smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Question? Send me an email info@ifixscreens.com