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Computer Does Not Start (Windows 8)

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This document applies to all HP and Compaq desktop computers that came with Windows 8.
This document provides possible solutions to many common computer startup issues. Follow the steps in this document step-by-step to help isolate the problem and find the most appropriate help.

Step 1: View a video on what to do when your computer does not start

Step 2: Remove discs and devices

Remove any discs, any and all USB devices, and remove memory cards from the card reader slot. Disconnect all non-essential devices (printers, scanners, external hard drives, and similar). Do not have anything connected to your computer except for a mouse, keyboard and monitor.
After you have removed all discs and devices, turn on the computer. What happens?
  • If the computer starts, reconnect devices one at a time while restarting the computer to figure out which disc or device is causing the problem. You are done.
  • If the computer still does not start and exhibits the same problem, press and hold the power button to turn off the computer, do not connect anything and continue troubleshooting.

Step 3: Find a fix that matches your computer's symptom

Read from the following list of symptoms. If you find a symptom that matches your computer's condition, then follow those instructions. A link may take you to another support document that contains detailed troubleshooting steps. If you cannot find a symptom that matches your computer's symptom, then continue to Step 4.

Step 4: Check if the hard drive is detected in the BIOS

If the hard drive is not being detected in the BIOS, the computer does not start up. Perform the following steps to check the BIOS and see if the hard drive is detected:
  1. Make sure all discs and devices are removed or disconnected from the computer, except for the mouse, keyboard and monitor.
  2. Turn on the computer and immediately press the F10 key repeatedly, about once every second, until the BIOS Setup tool opens.
  3. Use the left and right arrow keys to select Storage .
    Use the up and down arrow keys to select Device Configuration , and then press Enter .
  4. Verify that a hard drive is listed under Hard Disk.
    Figure 6: Example of a hard drive listed in the BIOS
    Image of BIOS screen
    • If the hard drive name is listed, exit the BIOS without saving any changes, and then continue with Step 5: Run the Hardware Diagnostics Start-Up Test .
    • If the hard drive name is missing, or the text Auto or None is listed, exit the BIOS without saving any changes, and then continue with steps 4a and 4b.

Step 4a: Reset the BIOS

Reset the BIOS to make sure the BIOS settings are correct:
  1. In the Computer Setup window, Use the left and right arrow keys to select the File tab.
  2. Use the up and down arrow keys to select Apply Defaults and Exit , and then press Enter .
    Figure 7: Apply Defaults and Exit
  3. Select Yes , and then press Enter .
  4. Press the power button for at least five seconds, until the computer fully turns off.
  5. Remove the power cord.
  6. Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
  7. Reconnect the power cord, and then turn on the computer.
  8. If the startup problem is gone, troubleshooting is complete.
    If the startup problem still exists, continue to the next section.

Step 4b: Disconnect and reconnect the hard drive cable

Use the following steps to remove and reseat the hard drive cables:
CAUTION: This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a non-carpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.
  1. Remove the side panel by loosening the side panel screws and sliding the panel to the back of the computer.
    Figure 8: Example of one type of side panel. Your computer might be different.
     Image of a computer on its side with a side panel retaining screw called out and a directional arrow pointing to the rear of the computer.
  2. Find the power cable connected to the hard drive. Disconnect and reconnect the power cable.
    Figure 9: Serial ATA (SATA) power and data cable connections on a hard drive
    Graphic showing SATA power and data connections on the back of a hard drive
  3. Find the data cable connection to the hard drive. Disconnect and reconnect the data cable from the hard drive.
  4. Find the data cable connection on the motherboard. Disconnect and reconnect the data cable from the socket on the motherboard.
  5. Replace the side panel.
  6. Plug the power cable back into the computer.
  7. Turn on the computer and wait to see if the startup problem still exists:
    • If the problem has been resolved, you are finished.
    • If the problem still exists, try a different SATA connection on the motherboard.
  8. If the problem has been resolved, you are finished.
    If the hard drive is still not detected in the BIOS, replace the hard drive.
    If the hard drive is detected in the BIOS but the computer still does not start to Windows, continue with the next step.

Step 5: Remove and reseat the memory modules

A memory module that is not seated correctly may cause the computer to not start properly. Follow these steps to remove and reseat memory modules in the computer:
  1. Turn off the computer and unplug all cables, except for power, and write down each cable location.
  2. Unplug the power cable and press the Power button.
  3. If possible, move the computer to a clear, flat, stable work surface over an uncarpeted floor.
  4. Remove any screws that connect the panel to the computer.
    Figure 10: Screw location (your model might look different)
    Image of panel screw
  5. Slide off the panel to expose the inside of the computer.
    Figure 11: Panel removal (your model might look different)
    Image of panel removal
  6. Pull out, and then press down on the holding clips that retain the memory modules. The memory modules should rise up slightly out the socket.
    Figure 12: Opening memory module tabs
  7. Replace each memory module by aligning the memory module so the small notches on the lower edge line up with the tab on the socket.
    Figure 13: Memory module installation
    Image of memory module being installed
  8. Push straight down on top ends of the memory module until the memory module is fully seated in the socket. The retaining clips on the ends of the socket lock into place when properly seated.
  9. Replace the service cover, battery, and power cord.
  10. Turn on the computer.
    If the computer starts, you are done.
    If the computer does not start, continue to the next step.

Step 6: Run the Hardware Diagnostics Start-Up Test

The Hardware Diagnostics Start-Up Test checks the main components of your computer to make sure they are working properly. Follow these steps to use the Start-Up Test to check for problems:
  1. Press and hold the power button until the computer turns off completely.
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. Immediately press the F2 key repeatedly, about once every second, until the Hardware Diagnostics screen displays.
  4. Click Start-Up Test , then click Start Start-Up Test .
    The Start-Up Test may take up to 10 minutes to complete.
    Figure 14: Start-Up Test screen
     Start-Up Test Screen
  5. Do the following depending on what happens:
    • If the Start-Up Test detects an issue, follow the instructions on the screen. You may be instructed to replace or service a component.
    • If the Start-Up Test does not find any problems, continue with the next step.

Step 7: Run Microsoft System Restore from recovery discs

If you have recovery discs, either that you have created or obtained from HP Support, you can use System Restore to revert the computer to a time when it started. Follow these steps to run Microsoft System Restore from recovery discs:
  1. Turn on the computer, and insert the first recovery disc into the drive.
  2. Press and hold the power button until the computer turns off completely.
  3. Disconnect all connected devices and cables such as Personal Media Drives, USB drives, printers, and faxes. Remove media from internal drives, and remove any recently added internal hardware. Do not disconnect the monitor, keyboard, mouse, or power cord .
  4. Turn on the computer.
  5. Immediately press the F9 key repeatedly, about once every second, until the Boot Device Options menu opens.
  6. Use the up or down arrow key to select the CD/DVD drive. Then press Enter .
    NOTE: More than one CD/DVD drive selection might be available from the list of bootable devices. If so, select one of the CD/DVD selections from the list to see if HP Recovery starts. If recovery does not start or a non-system disk error displays, restart the computer by pressing the power button then repeat these steps to select another CD/DVD drive. When recovery starts, continue using the steps to complete recovery.
  7. A window might appear and prompt you to choose whether to run Recovery Manager from the hard disk or from the disc inserted. If this window displays, select the Run program from disc , then click Next .
  8. Select an option based on the type of recovery discs you have:
    • Recovery discs you created:
      Click Microsoft System Restore under I need help immediately . If the next screen prompts you to confirm your choice, select Yes then click Next . If no confirmation screen displays, continue with the next step.
    • Recovery discs received from HP Support:
      Select Restore your computer to a previous state , and then click Next .
  9. Follow the on-screen instructions to restore the computer to a date and time when it started up correctly.
    Wait for the system restoration to complete.
    If the computer starts to Windows, you are done.
    If the computer does not start, proceed with the next step to perform a system recovery.

Step 8: Perform an HP System Recovery

If the steps in this document have not resolved the startup problem, perform a System Recovery to reset the computer to its original factory shipped state. For more information about System Recovery, see Performing an HP System Recovery .

Contacting HP Support

If you cannot find a solution in this document, contact HP Support for further assistance or to have the computer serviced.

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum
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