Laptop won’t start but power LEDs turn on

There is nothing more depressing with a laptop than opening it up, pressing the power key and having the LED status light and screen backlight turn on but nothing happen.


There is a wide gamut of causes of why a laptop won’t start up. With millions of transistors on its motherboard, the probability of them all working can seem impossible.

  • Missing/damaged RAM (best case, easiest to fix)
  • Damaged display screen (ebay a replacement)
  • Failed BIOS (needs to be reflashed)
  • Failed CPU/Processor (replace the entire motherboard)
  • Damaged Video Card (replace the entire motherboard)
  • Cracked Motherboard (ebay a replacement laptop same brand/model, possibly with a crack screen if yours works)


  • Connect an external display to see if it is just the video/screen that is damaged, especially if the hard drive is reading, its a good sign.
  • Remove and reinstall the RAM, if you have multiple sticks of memory, try installing only one incase one of them has failed
  • Reflash the BIOS (see below)
  • Remove and reinstall the processor, this takes alot of work, and they rarely become unseated. Its a good last ditch try before spending money, but you will probably have to replace the motherboard/processor.


Since my issue was on a newly purchased laptop that was factory refurbished, the unit had to be working before it left the repair facility. I booted the unit up countless times and got nothing to display. Out of shear stubbornness, I kept doing this while I was waiting to talk to tech support. I kept pressing F2 to get into the BIOS. After about 50 restarts (I was on hold for a while), it booted into the BIOS.  After leaving the BIOS, the laptop started up to Windows. It worked, until I restarted it again, and it went back to doing nothing.

So I restarted the laptop about 50-75 times. I finally got it into the BIOS again and there I reflashed the BIOS. I’ve been using this laptop for months after and it never had another startup problem since.

This is a dream ending, otherwise start looking on ebay for replacement parts.

I'm a 32 year old UIUC Computer Engineer building mobile apps, websites and hardware integrations with an interest in 3D printing, biotechnology and Arduinos.

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