A client gave me an old computer that would not boot up. The monitor screen was absolutely dead, totally black, no BIOS screen, nothing (I was using my own monitor that I knew was 100% good). I didn’t immediately know what was causing this problem so I had to spend almost all day troubleshooting in order to come up with the correct diagnosis.
Here are the exact steps that I took (in this exact order) to figure out what was wrong:
- I pressed the power button and saw that the screen was dead, totally black, nothing.
- I was getting power (fans were spinning, HD was spinning up, CD/DVD drive trays were working), so I concluded that the Power Supply was OK (I did actually try a new Power Supply just in case but still no screen).
- I heard no unusual beeping at start-up (certain beep sequences are an indication of bad RAM).
- I reseated and then replaced the Video Card with a new one but still nothing on the screen.
- I reseated and then replaced the RAM memory modules but still nothing on the screen.
- I checked the CPU (it was seated correctly and the fan on the heat sink was running).
- I tried a different IDE Hard Drive cable but still no screen.
- I tried another CPU but still no screen.
- I had known previously that the Hard Drive was good.
- Final Conclusion: Bad Motherboard! (time to order a new one, like this one).
Professor Randy says: It may be tedious, but don’t skip any steps when troubleshooting a computer problem. Your thoroughness will be eventually appreciated by your clients and your reputation for excellence will lead to a successful business!