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Troubleshooting startup or booting issues - Desktops

Startup and booting are synonymous terms referring to the time just after the computer has been powered on by using the power switch from a completely powered off condition. Resuming from suspend mfode is not included. Troubleshooting startup issues assumes the system has some indication of power, and the power-on self test (POST) may or may not complete successfully. The system does not completely boot to the operating system desktop or a DOS prompt.

Do not confuse video monitor (either CRT or flat panel) problems with computer problems. The monitor should always be verified as working properly before troubleshooting the computer.

Do not confuse a "dead" computer with a computer with startup problems. If the system does not have any indication of power, refer to Troubleshooting power issues.

Beep codes are an important and useful tool when troubleshooting booting issues. The count and sequence of beeps let the user know that the self-testing functions of the computer have found a hardware problem and indicate where to begin looking when attempting to fix the problem. If multiple beeps are heard during startup, refer to the appropriate Hardware Maintenance Manual to determine the cause as indicated by the beep code heard.

Beep codes vary by the number of beeps and the time interval between beeps. It may be necessary to restart the computer 2 or 3 times to determine the beep code. For example, to distinguish 1-3-1 beep code from a 2-1-2 beep code.

Troubleshooting startup and booting issues is divided into 3 initial conditions:

No beeps are heard during startup

Multiple beeps are heard during startup

A single beep is heard during startup

Note: Some of the checks listed may not apply to your system.

Solutions are usually listed in order from easiest to accomplish to harder to accomplish. However, a solution more likely to solve the problem may be listed before a solution that may be easier to accomplish.

No beeps are heard during startup

If the video monitor appears to be working correctly, but the system does not display any video after power on, no beeps are heard during boot, and there is no other indication of any power, refer to Troubleshooting power issues first.

Some systems are configured to start up quietly (no beep, and no memory count or checkpoint code display) when no errors are detected by POST. Therefore, the POST test may have completed successfully but some other failure may be present. To enable beeps and memory count when a successful POST occurs, do the following:
  1. Select Start Options in the System Configuration Utility.
  2. Set Power-On Self-Test to Enhanced.
  3. Save the settings and exit

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