Targetted Troubleshooting Computer Power Supply Issues

If your computer won't turn on, it isn't the end of the world. If anything, you may be relieved to know that some of the more important parts of your computer are still in tact. Before you throw the computer out and start shopping for a new system that may suffer the same fate, consider a few power supply-specific troubleshooting and inspection points that can either get your system back into proper performance or at least help you understand a field service technician's suggestions.

Power Supply And Connections Before Anything Else

The power supply is the first point of contact for electricity to the rest of the computer. It is responsible for regulating the power input to a more even, leveled out quality and distributing that power throughout the rest of the system. Before tackling the more complicated aspects of the power supply, check a few basic points that are so simple, even seasoned experts manage to overlook them.

Electrical socket. There's an old technical support joke about asking the user if the computer is plugged in at all. Humor and obvious mistakes aside, there may be an issue with your wall outlet that could be causing the problem. The outlet may be loose, resulting in a lack of power, or the outlet may have been burned out during an electrical storm or overload. No power means no computer use, so try a different socket.

Power cable. The power cable, despite its simple appearance, can fail. The inside wires can be broken if the wire is twisted and turn too much over long periods of time, especially if weather extremes make the cable too brittle in the cold or too elastic in the heat. The inside of the cable can also burn away if an electrical storm hits the building. Replace the cable next, as its a cheap fix that can be swapped out from many similar devices with the same cable type

Power supply switch. The power supply switch can be pressed if picked up a certain way, as the switch is often fairly close to the edges of a desktop computer. Make sure that the switch is at the 'on' position. If you're not sure or the switch isn't marked, try to turn on the computer with either switch position.

Power Supply Troubleshooting 

If the computer still won't turn on after checking everything before and up to the power supply, your next path is fairly straightforward. Before proceeding, you'll need a map of your motherboard.

A generic motherboard map may be just as helpful, but there may be some differences in certain areas. Don't worry about understanding the entire map; you only need to know where the power supply connects.

Make sure that the power supply's connectors are firmly plugged in. You don't need to press too hard, as the motherboard can crack under heavy pressure. Just make sure that the connectors are fully and snugly inserted into their sockets.

Electrical connectors, cards and other inserted components can slide out of their sockets due to the normal expansion of objects due to temperature or from a phenomenon known as chip creep.

If the computer still won't turn on, look in your motherboard's manual for the case pin area. The case pins are wire connections that attach your case buttons, lights and other features to the motherboard. Make sure that the power button (often labeled PWR) is connected and in the proper place. 

You may need to replace the power supply if the computer continues to fail. Contact a team of field services technicians to plan a replacement or a more direct assessment of the problem.