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Dell Laptop Won't Turn On

If you’re seeing a startup screen, you’re already halfway there—the components of your computer are working enough to get an image on the screen.

Your laptop may be fighting the BIOS settings when powering on. Resetting these settings to their defaults rids any unwanted boot settings.

  • To return the BIOS to its default values, press the power button on the laptop and tap the F2 key repeatedly until you see Setup on the screen.
  • In some models, you must use a different key (ESC, delete, etc.) to enter the BIOS settings.

ePSA, or Enhanced Pre-Boot System Assessment, is where you can run diagnostic tests. This will give you a detailed report of hardware issues to narrow your issue down.

  1. Power on the laptop and press the F12 key repeatedly.
  2. Hold the fn (function) key while pressing the power button if this doesn’t work.
  3. From the options, select Diagnostics using the arrow keys.

Computers may try to boot from a USB flash drive or DVD, depending on the BIOS order. Removing all peripherals forces the computer to focus on the boot files on the main hard drive.

  1. Remove any USBs or DVDs that may be preventing the normal boot process.
  2. If your laptop has trouble booting to Windows, run Dell Diagnostics by pressing the F12 key repeatedly as you press the power button.

If you use Windows, boot into Safe Mode to troubleshoot the issue.

  1. Hold the power button for 10 seconds to power off the laptop to boot into Safe Mode. Press the power button to start the laptop. Do this 2 more times to get Windows to boot into a recovery environment.
  2. You will see Choose an option at the top of the page. Navigate using the arrow keys to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  3. Windows will restart and show a menu of options. Choose Safe Mode with Networking. We need to boot into Safe Mode because it uses a basic driver and will let us view the screen if it is a software issue.
  4. From here, you should be able to uninstall the corrupt graphics drivers and reboot the computer back to regular Windows.
  5. The boot partition might have been corrupted. If Safe Mode does not work, Windows must be installed again.

This often happens when running or setting up a dual boot system, when malware is installed on the computer, or when vital files are tampered with. Since the process varies depending on the type of OS and the version you’re running, you might need to find additional resources specific to your OS. There’s often an option to restore the software from the BIOS menu, but if not, the process will probably consist of reloading the OS to your storage drive.

If you continue to experience problems and aren’t able to load a fresh install of your operating system, or if you are getting a “No Bootable Device” or “Operating System Not Found” error on the BIOS screen, the problem likely resonates from your storage device.

You can try reformatting the drive to start, but you’ll need to remove it from the computer, mount it to a functioning computer, and use Disk Management to reformat the drive. Then you’ll want to install a new Windows partition on the drive before reinstalling it on your laptop.

If reformatting doesn’t work, you can replace the drive with a new one. Navigate to the page for your model of Dell Laptop to find a hard drive or solid-state drive replacement guide that works for you. If you can’t find your particular model, following a guide for a similar model may still help you with the process.