Lenovo is well known for its budget-friendly workhorse laptops. They are ideal for students looking for something cheap to do some schoolwork on, or for the working professional who needs to check email and documents on the go.
Despite their popularity, sometimes these laptops can suffer from an issue where it won’t turn, even when plugged directly into the main power supply. If this is happening to you, don’t worry, you’re in the right place!
Today we’re going to walk through all the main causes that will prevent your laptop from turning on, as well as go through a step-by-step guide on how to troubleshoot this issue
Why your Lenovo laptop won’t turn on?
When a Lenovo laptop won’t turn on it, can be a frustrating experience, but fortunately, most of the issues that prevent the laptop from turning on are curable, often just needing a simple software adjustment or a cheap replacement accessory.
In some rare cases, it can be a deeper hardware-based issue that will require Lenovo to issue a replacement unit to you. However, before you start calling their support and having to wait in lengthy queues just to be told to follow these troubleshooting tips anyway, here’s a quick rundown of all the main causes that will prevent your laptop from turning on.
A damaged or defective battery
Unfortunately, when it comes to laptops, batteries are not all made equal. The Lenovo ThinkPad in particular is known to have a few issues when it comes to its power units that may prevent the laptop from booting when not plugged into the main source.
With a little troubleshooting (as detailed in the next section), we can figure out if this is causing the issue, and if it is, you can simply replace it with a new, working one and use it plugged in until it arrives.
In some rarer cases, it may be a port or software-related issue that is preventing the laptop from communicating with the internal battery, even though it’s functionally fine. In this scenario, we have to check Windows to make sure it’s functioning correctly.
Irregular or inconsistent power supply
When plugged in via the main power source, even when there is an internal battery present, your laptop will swap to powering its internal CPU and GPU from the main line.
If your power supply is not providing a consistent voltage supply, or if your laptop’s power brick is faulty/damaged, your laptop will not be able to turn on, as it cannot provide adequate power to the components.
An inconsistent power supply is also not healthy for the machine and may potentially cause serious hardware damage, so this issue should be rectified asap.
Software-based OS/BIOS/registry issues
From time to time, intentionally or unintentionally, users can cause or experience software-based issues with their laptop. These may be present somewhere within the Windows operating system, the Windows registry, or an incorrect BIOS setting.
In turn, this can often cause startup or boot issues that will prevent the laptop from reaching the desktop, giving the appearance of the laptop not booting up, as you just have a blank screen.
This is quite a broad issue with a huge number of potential causes and an equally broad potential number of fixes. However, we can streamline the process of troubleshooting software-based issues by reinstalling the OS and restoring the BIOS back to its factory settings.
You can also try to boot the machine in safe mode and update the graphics driver to fix Lenovo and Microsoft Windows related issues.
Defective GPU or display
Sometimes it may look like the laptop is not turning on, but in fact, it’s the screen itself that is not displaying any information. You can easily spot if this is the case, as the power and HDD LEDs on the laptop will be lit, indicating that your laptop’s processor and the hard drive are actually working.
When your laptop screen is not displaying any information, it may indicate a faulty GPU that is not able to send a signal to your laptop’s screen, or it may indicate a hardware issue with either the screen itself or the cable that connects the screen to the motherboard.
Within your laptop is an internal thermometer that has a security feature that will immediately power your laptop down when it overheats.
If your machine is overheating before the display is powered up, then it will give the perceived issue of it not starting up at all.
One of the most common causes of overheating is dust that prevents airflow within the machine.
Cables/hardware not correctly seated
Depending on which kind of power cable your machine uses and how well designed the connection between the laptop battery and the machine is, they may have slowly worked themselves loose over time, which is providing a spotty connection, preventing your laptop from booting correctly.
Checking that all power cables, batteries, and accessories are correctly seated in the laptop is an important part of a smooth booting operation.
In some rare cases, specific types of malware will change your laptop’s boot settings or Windows registry entries that may prevent the laptop from reaching the desktop. In this case, the malware will need to be removed in some way, or Windows will need to be reinstalled to ensure your machine is clear of any viruses.
How to fix a Lenovo laptop that won’t turn on
As you can see, there is quite a range of issues that can prevent your laptop from turning on and booting up.
Next, we will go through some easy troubleshooting tips to help you both ascertain what is causing the issue and hopefully fix it.
Ensure it’s not overheating
If your laptop has suddenly shut down and won’t boot back up, or if you haven’t been using it for a while and find it won’t turn on, the first thing to check is that it’s not overheating during startup. Also, ensure the environment is not making it too hot to where it can’t start.
The first thing to check is that the machine is not left in direct sunlight while not in use. You’d be surprised how hot a plastic or aluminum casing can get, which can easily put the machine’s temperature over the threshold to where it won’t boot up.
When the laptop is idle, ensure it’s not left in a place where it will passively get hot, because the fans are not running, so the machine has no way of cooling itself down.
If it has been left somewhere hot, move it somewhere cool and let it sit for about an hour to cool down. You can also remove the laptop battery to ensure that is not causing the issue and let it run completely off the main power supply.
Another issue that will very often cause overheating in a laptop is the accumulation of dust around the fans and power supply exhausts. You can usually use some compressed air to blow the fan and dislodge any built-up dust. In more extreme cases, you will need to remove the laptop’s shell and clean everything by hand.
When the laptop is powered on, you should be able to feel the air being blown out the backside of the machine.
Check the power cable is working
Both power cables and power bricks can sometimes break or become damaged. These both need to be in working order for your machine to power up.
The first thing to perform is a visual inspection of the cable/power brick. Look for the following:
- Any signs of twisting in the cable may indicate the internal copper wire has become severed.
- Any signs of burning, particularly on the plastic shell of the power brick, indicate it should be discarded immediately.
- Dirt/grime or dust build up in any of the jacks or ports may prevent the transfer of power between the cable and the machine.
- Signs of wear such as chew marks from an animal or tears on the outer plastic shell from the furniture can indicate other problems.
If you see any of these signs, it’s best to just replace the cable entirely, as it’s vital these are in good working order for the laptop to operate.
You can also try to use a different wall outlet, ensuring all the cables are firmly seated within the laptop itself, the wall socket, and the power brick socket, as a loose connection can cause power issues.
Even when a cable is removed from the machine, there can still be some residual power left inside. To ensure all power has completely dissipated before you try this test, press the power button repeatedly about 10 times, and then hold it in for 30 seconds.
Check if the battery is faulty
If you are sure the power cable is working correctly, the next thing to check is that the battery is in working order. This is an easy test to perform by following these steps:
- First, remove the battery from the device.
- Remove any peripheral devices, from external mice, keyboards, webcams, etc. This includes the main power cable.
- Hold down the power button for 30 seconds.
- Place the battery back inside the machine, making sure to leave the power cable OUT of the machine.
- Turn the machine back on.
If it boots correctly, this means the issue is with your power cable. If it doesn’t boot correctly, it may indicate your power cable is working, but the battery is causing a boot issue and will need to be replaced.
Faulty software or potential malware
If you are not confident troubleshooting a potential registry issue or are unable to get the laptop to boot up in order to address malware, Lenovo provides a convenient easy way to reset the laptop back to its default state, which will address anything that has gone wrong in the BIOS/OS by restoring them to their factory settings.
Do note that this process will erase all your data on the laptop and should only be performed if you already have your data backed up on an external hard drive.
- Remove both the power cable and battery from the laptop, and press the power button to drain any residual power from the machine.
- Disconnect all peripheral devices and cables from the laptop.
- Flip the laptop over, and look for an emergency reset hole. It should be very small, about the width of a needle.
- Using a paperclip or something of equivalent size, press the button in, and hold it for about 10 seconds.
- Release the button, and it will reset.
- Place the battery and power cable back into the device, and power it up.
You will then need to reinstall Windows and run a Windows update, but this will address any registry/malware problems you might have on the laptop.
The power button is on, but the laptop doesn’t boot
If you see the power button light up, as well as the HDD LED flashing, it means the laptop is functioning correctly but is not able to display the image. This could be due to the screen not working or the internal GPU having an issue.
Although this is hard to do when you can’t get the laptop to boot, ensuring your GPU drivers are up to date is an important part of ensuring your laptop screen will display correctly. Pressing Windows key + Ctrl + Shift + B will restart your visual display driver and can sometimes fix this issue.
Most laptops will have an “HDMI out” that will allow you to send the laptop’s screen into an external monitor. This is a great way to check if your laptop’s screen has an issue.
Simply use an HDMI cable and send the image to either a TV or a second monitor you have at home. If it works OK, then it may indicate an issue with the laptop’s display, in which case you will need to contact Lenovo support, as it may need to be replaced.