Angry Man with Laptop

Nothing is worse than having a Dell laptop that won’t turn on – especially when you need it for work or to access some important information. This can be a fairly common problem with laptops (particularly older ones) but fortunately, it can be relatively easy to fix a Dell laptop.

What Should I Do if My Dell Laptop Won’t Turn On?

One of the most common reasons why a Dell laptop won’t turn on is because of residual, or flea power.1 This is energy that remains in the system, even once the device has been powered off. If the energy becomes too great, it can effectively short the laptop and prevent it from powering on.

Therefore, the first troubleshooting step is to drain the laptop of its residual power.

How Do I Drain a Dell Laptop of Its Residual Power?

It’s a relatively simple process that almost anyone can do, saving you both time and money. (Incidentally, this problem can affect many electronics and these steps can help to resolve similar issues with other devices.)

  1. Unplug the AC adapter from the laptop.
  2. Remove the battery from the laptop. The battery compartment is located on the bottom of the laptop and you may need to unscrew the cover. If you’re not sure, consult with your owner’s manual.
  3. Unplug any devices that might be plugged in to your laptop, including SD cards and USB devices.
  4. Next, press and hold down the Power button on your laptop for at least 30 seconds. This will drain the laptop of any residual power that may be within it.
  5. Replace the battery and its cover.
  6. Plug the AC adapter back into the laptop.
  7. Attempt to power on the laptop by pressing the Power button.

How Can I Tell if My Dell Laptop Battery or Power Supply Is Faulty?

Dell Keyboard

If you’ve tried draining the residual power and the laptop still won’t turn on, then you could have a faulty power supply or battery.2

There are a couple of ways you can test the power supply. For starters, unplug it from the laptop and try powering on the laptop with just the battery. If the laptop powers on with just the battery, then you know the problem probably lies with the power supply. Also, be sure to check the power supply and cable for any damage.

To test the battery, you’ll need to completely remove it again and make sure the laptop is connected to the power supply. If the laptop powers on, then the fault is with the battery.

Do you have another laptop or power supply you can try? If so, you can try swapping the power supplies and see if it makes a difference. Again, if your laptop powers on with an alternate power supply the issue is with the power supply that came with your laptop. (Fortunately, a replacement costs a lot less than a new laptop!)

Why Won’t My Dell Laptop Turn On Even Though It’s Plugged In?

Dell Keyboard

Another reason your Dell laptop might not be powering on is that it’s overheating.

One clue that this is happening is if the laptop suddenly shuts off without warning. This happens when the processor chip inside gets too hot and the fan is unable to cool it down. Older laptops can be prone to this, where the fan no longer works as well as it used to, especially when you’re doing something that requires a lot of processing power, such as gaming.

In this situation, the laptop may not properly power on until the processor has sufficiently cooled down, which could take a while. If the laptop powers on and boots normally after a few hours, then overheating could be the cause of the problem and you might want to consider buying a cooling pad for your laptop.

If the laptop still fails to power on after being left alone overnight (and you know it’s not the power supply or the battery,) then it’s a good idea to have it checked over or consider buying a new one.

What Should I Do if My Dell Laptop Won’t Boot Into Windows?

Dell Keyboard

If your Dell laptop has power but won’t boot into Windows, you can run its Built-In Diagnostics program. Every Dell computer has this pre-installed, and it can be accessed without loading Windows first.

  1. Power on your laptop.
  2. When you see the Dell logo, press the F12 button on your keyboard.
  3. Use the arrow keys to select Diagnostics from the menu and then press Enter.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts and allow the diagnostic tool to complete the test.

If the test fails, make a note of the error and validation codes and then refer to Dell’s SupportAssist Preboot Assistance Check page for further information.

If your Dell laptop won’t turn on, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a serious problem. By following these simple steps, you could be back up and running within minutes without the inconvenience and expense of having to buy a new laptop and re-installing your software. Best of all, you’ll know what to do if it ever happens again!

Article Sources

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  1. Dell. Drain residual flea power (perform hard reset). Accessed October 6, 2021.
  2. Dell. How to Troubleshoot AC Adapter Issues on a Dell Laptop. Accessed October 6, 2021.