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How to Troubleshoot Computer Power Issues

Power issues on a computer can be caused due to a faulty power outlet, surge protector or power strip, docking station, or even the power cable. If your Dell computer is experiencing any of the following symptoms, follow the steps in this article to recover your Dell computer from a power issue.

  • The computer does not turn on after pressing the power button.
  • There are no signs of power or none of the LEDs turn on when the power button is pressed.
  • Nothing happens when the power button is pressed.

No power troubleshooting video

Watch this video to learn if your Dell computer is experiencing a power issue.

Follow these quick steps to recover your Dell Computer from a power issue

Fix 1: Perform a hard reset

A hard reset helps drain static electricity that may be causing the power issue. To perform a hard reset, follow these steps.

  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Disconnect the power cable (for desktop computers), or disconnect the AC adapter and remove the battery (for Dell laptops with removable battery).
    NOTE: For Dell laptops that have a nonremovable battery, learn how to reset real time clock (RTC) to recover your Dell laptop. For Dell laptops with removable batteries, see the user guide of your Dell laptop for step-by-step instructions to safely remove the battery.
    NOTE: On select Dell Latitude laptops, learn how to use forced ePSA to recover from a POST or boot failure.
  3. Disconnect all devices such as USB drivers, printers, webcams, media cards (SD/xD), except the keyboard and mouse.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 15 to 20 seconds to drain the residual power.

    Press the power button

  5. Connect the power cable (for desktop computers) or the AC adapter and battery (for laptops).
  6. Turn on the computer.

Fix 2: Verify that the wall outlet is working correctly

A faulty wall outlet can cause power issues.

  1. Disconnect the computer from the wall outlet.
  2. Connect another device to the wall outlet to verify if the wall outlet is working correctly.
  3. Try another known-good wall outlet.

    Power outlet

Fix 3: Bypass surge protectors, power strips, or docking stations

A faulty surge protector, power strip, or docking station can stop your computer from turning on. It is essential to isolate if the power issue is caused by faulty surge protector, power strip, or a docking station.

  1. Disconnect the computer from the surge protector, power strip, or docking station.

    Surge protector or power strip

  2. Connect the computer directly to a wall outlet. For laptops, bypass the docking station, and connect the AC adapter directly to the laptop.
    NOTE: Dell recommends using the original AC adapter that was shipped with your Dell laptop or all-in-one.

    AC adapter connected to the laptop

  3. Turn on the computer.

Fix 4: Check the power cable or AC adapter

  1. Check for loose cables in the back of the desktop computer. For laptops, check for loose power cable that is connected to the AC adapter.
  2. If your computer uses an AC adapter, verify that the LED on the AC adapter, or the plug is turned on. Ensure that you are using the original AC adapter that was shipped with the computer.

    AC adapter with LED indicator on the plug

  3. Connect a known-good power cable or AC adapter.
    NOTE: The AC adapter wattage information is printed on a label that is on the bottom of the AC adapter. For optimal performance, use the original AC adapter or a Dell-branded AC adapter with the same specification that is supported by your computer.

Fix 5: Run a hardware diagnostic

Running a power supply unit test on Dell desktops or all-in-one computers

Dell Inspiron, XPS, OptiPlex, Precision, and Vostro desktops include a power supply with a built-in self-test (BIST) feature that helps diagnose the health of the power supply unit. The LED indicator on the PSU helps identify if the power issue is caused by the power supply unit.

Learn how to run a power supply unit self test on a Dell desktop or all-in-one computer.

Power supply LED indicator on a Dell OptiPlex tower desktop

Running a motherboard test on Dell laptops

Certain Dell Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, and Precision laptops are equipped with a motherboard integrated self-test (M-BIST). M-BIST is an integrated diagnostic tool that helps identify system board embedded controller (EC) failures. M-BIST must be manually initiated before the Power-On Self-Test (POST) process and can be initiated on a Dell laptop that is not able to turn on.

NOTE: The motherboard integrated self-test (M-BIST) feature is available only on select Dell Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, and Precision laptops.

  1. Press and hold the M key and power button on the keyboard.
  2. Check the battery status LED:
    NOTE: To learn about the location of the battery status LED, see the User Manual of your Dell laptop.
    1. If an error is identified, the battery status LED turns amber. Contact Dell Technical Support for repair options.
    2. If there is no error, the battery status LED remains off.

If the computer fails to turn on after following the above steps, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options that are available in your location.

Do you still have power issues with your Dell laptop? If you laptop has an active hardware warranty, you can send your laptop for repairs to our Dell repair center. Our Dell certified technicians will diagnose and fix the power issue on your laptop.

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