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

What to do if your Dell PC fails to boot or won't power on at all

When your Dell laptop won't turn on or fails to boot up, it could be a hardware problem or a software issue. Whichever you're experiencing, here's how to get your Dell PC in working order again.

Causes of a Dell Laptop Not Turning On

Possible reasons why your Dell laptop won't turn on include:

  • Battery or power supply issues
  • Damaged internal hardware
  • A virus or other malware
  • Corrupted system BIOS
  • Corrupted Windows files

If your Dell laptop won't turn on when plugged in at all, then the problem lies with your power supply or the computer's internal hardware. If your PC stalls during startup, you likely have a software issue.

If you see an error code on your screen during startup, check our list of common computer error codes to identify the problem.

Dell XPS 13 Laptop keyboard


How to Fix a Dell Laptop That's Not Working

Here are some steps for troubleshooting a Dell that won't turn on, from the most straightforward and most apparent to more advanced fixes:

  1. Check the power supply. If none of the lights on your PC turn on when you press the power button, even when it's plugged into the wall, then you likely need to replace the power supply. Even if the charging light comes on when you plug in your computer, the cable could still be damaged, so check the power supply unit with a multimeter if you have one.

  2. Remove any USB storage devices. Your computer could be trying to boot from the wrong drive. If this fixes the problem, change the boot order to ensure your hard drive is at the top of the list.

  3. Power cycle your Dell laptop. With the computer turned off and unplugged, remove any external devices (USB drives, printers, etc.), then hold down the power button for 15-20 seconds. It will drain any residual power. Next, reconnect the charger and see if your PC powers on.

  4. Remove the battery. If the charging light comes on, but your PC still won't turn on at all, there could be a problem with the battery. Newer Dell laptops don't have a removable battery, but you can replace them yourself if yours does.

  5. Run the Dell PC diagnostic tool. Dell computers have a built-in tool that can identify problems when your PC powers on but fails to boot up successfully. It may not automatically fix the issue, but it may give you an error code that can point you in the right direction.

  6. Boot into Windows Safe Mode. If your PC powers on but doesn't boot into Windows, try starting in Safe Mode. From there, you can scan for viruses and delete programs that can be causing startup issues.

  7. Remove malware from your Dell laptop. Viruses and other types of malware can cause your PC to freeze at startup. Boot your PC into safe mode if possible and run antivirus software to check for security threats.

  8. Reset the system BIOS. Clear the CMOS to reset your motherboard's BIOS settings. The system BIOS is the first piece of software your computer must run when it turns on, so restoring it to the default settings could fix booting issues.

  9. Contact Dell customer support. Visit Dell's support page and search for your laptop model for more specific guidance. If your laptop is still under warranty, it may qualify for a free repair or replacement.

  10. Factory reset your PC. If your PC powers on but still won't start up correctly, the nuclear option is a factory reset. It will install a clean version of Windows, returning your computer to the state it was in when you first bought it.

    You will lose all of your files and software during a factory reset, so use data recovery software to retrieve anything you want to back up if you can.

  • Why won't my laptop turn on even when plugged in?

    It could be an issue with the power brick or the battery. Try a different power brick if possible, and try replacing the battery if that doesn't work. Most newer laptops won't let you remove the battery, though, so your best bet might be contacting your laptop manufacturer's customer support.

  • How do you get files from a laptop that won't turn on?

    If your computer still works but can't boot into Windows, try using a USB drive to start it up and gain access to your hard drive. You can then transfer the files. You can also try physically removing the hard drive from the laptop and connecting it to another PC.

Was this page helpful?