How To Fix Dead Computer

Dear Computer Lady,

One day I turned off my home computer and the next day when I went to turn it on, the power button just flashed a blinking amber light at me and the computer won’t turn on at all.

What could have possibly gone out that I could somehow replace to get it going again?

Thank you, Lance


Dear Lance,

When a computer comes in for repair with the symptoms you describe, I always suspect the power supply. If your computer is a standard sized desktop computer (not a laptop) the power supply is fairly easy to replace. I keep them in stock, because the best way to tell if the power supply is the cause of the problem, is to try hooking up a new one. If the computer boots up with the new power supply, the computer is fixed. I usually like to use StarTech power supplies, but there are many other brands to choose from. Don’t get less than 400 Watts as you want to make sure you have enough power to run your drives.

If the power supply is not the cause of the problem, you are looking at a very expensive and complicated repair. You will need to replace either the motherboard or processor, but in the process you will probably end up replacing both of them. Unless the computer is a few months old (then it would still be under warranty) you are not going to find a processor that works with your motherboard, or a motherboard that works with your processor. Once you have replaced the motherboard, you might also have to replace the RAM depending on if the new motherboard works with your current RAM or not.

In addition to replacing those hardware components, you will need to do a clean install of Windows. Your current install is set up to work with the hardware on your motherboard, simply replacing it with a new motherboard and starting the computer up will not work.

By the time you have purchased the parts needed to fix the computer, and paid labor (if you are not a computer tech yourself) you could have bought a completely new tower.

I hope your problem is just a power supply and easy to fix.


It’s Your Turn, what do you think?

Do you have experience diagnosing dead computers? Share your troubleshooting tips in the comments box below.

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    • Barbie1943
    • September 9, 2011

    If it is a laptop sometimes taking the battery out and then putting it back will do the trick. That one has fooled me more than once.

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