Troubleshooting a New Custom PC Build (what to do if your PC doesn’t boot)

troubleshooting a new pc buildSo you’ve finished installing all of your parts for your new custom PC build and you press the power-on button for the very first time with excitement and anticipation, only to experience that sinking feeling when not all that much happens. Now what?

Don’t freak out as this is a common problem and is more than likely due to a simple error that you’ve made in the building process that can be quickly fixed. The worst case is that you have a dead component, which y0u’ll have to send back for a new one.

In this guide I’ll cover the common problems facing new PC builders in a question and answer format, to hopefully help you turn things around and get your new beast up and running.

Just remember that you should turn off the power at the wall before going into your PC to fix things just to be safe (just don’t forget to turn the power back on when you want to try running your machine again!), and also ground yourself by either wearing an antistatic wrist band or by simply touching the metal part of your case before you start playing around inside your PC.

“Help! My PC doesn’t power on.”

If your PC doesn’t actually power up when you press the on button (and you can’t see the LED ‘on’ light’ on the outside of your case), don’t panic as it’s often simply because you’ve forgotten to plug in a certain power cable. Take these steps to find the cause:

  • Firstly check that the main power cable is firmly plugged into a wall socket and into the back of your power supply.
  • If there is a switch on the back of your power supply where the main power connector is, make sure it’s turned on.
  • Make sure you have plugged in the connectors from the power supply into the motherboard (there should be a 24 pin connection and also a 4 or 8 pin connection).
  • Check that the cable from the on/off switch on the front of your case is connected to the correct pins on your motherboard.
  • Ensure that any other power cables are connected as explained in Step 2 of the Installation Guide (remember that your video card may need 1 or 2 PCI-Express power connections of its own).

If you’ve tried all of that and your PC still doesn’t power on when you press the On button, you may have a faulty power supply. You can test your own power supply by using a power supply tester (usually costs 10-20 bucks and you should be able to get them from the same place you bought your parts), or alternatively you could use this special trick to test your PSU with a paper clip.

“Help! My PC powers on but doesn’t boot (no display on monitor).”

If your PC turns on (the power-on LED light is illuminated) but the PC doesn’t boot up and nothing comes up on your screen, follow these steps to locate the source of the problem:

  • If you hear a beeping noise scroll down to the next question.
  • Firstly, go through the steps listed in the question above.
  • Check that you’ve installed your memory (the RAM) correctly and they are A) inserted properly into their slots and B) they are installed in the right slots (check your motherboard manual).
  • Check that your CPU is also inserted properly into its socket and that no pins are bent or damaged on either the CPU or the motherboard.
  • Also ensure that you’ve inserted your video card firmly into place on your motherboard.
  • Check that your motherboard standoffs are properly installed so that your motherboard isn’t in contact with your case.
  • Go over all of the installation steps in detail and make sure you’ve completed them properly.

If your PC still won’t boot up after all of that, try removing one component at a time until your system boots. This could weed out which part is causing the issue (it may be dead and require you to return it for a new one).

“Help! My PC powers on but there is a beeping noise and doesn’t boot (no display on monitor).”

If your machine turns on but you hear a beeping noise instead of starting up properly, you can diagnose the problem. You’ll need to find out what type of BIOS software you have on your system so check your motherboard manual if you’re unsure. Check out these helpful guides to figure out what the beeps mean to pinpoint the potential problem with your build:

Still Having Problems With Your Build?

Going through all of the above steps (including going over the entire PC installation again to make sure you’ve done it right) should weed out most problems.

If you need more help, research around on Google for a solution or post on a good hardware forum such as Reddit Build a PC, Tom’s Hardware, or TechSpot and explain your problem in detail.

Finally, check out this other solid troubleshooting guide that includes images for an even more detailed guide to troubleshooting a new custom PC build.

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