Common Laptop Hardware Issues and How To Troubleshoot Them



It’s very frustrating to have persistent laptop problems that always flare up.  But we want to help you try to diagnose and fix some of these hardware problems. This series of blogs will discuss laptop hardware issues in depth.  We will list some common laptop hardware failure descriptions and some suggestions on how to troubleshoot and/or repair the problem.


Problem 1.

No signs of life.  Laptop does not power on.




Problem Description: When you plug the AC power adapter into your laptop, there are no lights turning on at all and there are none of the usual mechanical sounds ie fans. Pushing the power button does nothing and the laptop remains completely dead.


Things to Check:


  • AC power adapter failure and dead battery; test the power adapter.  A dead adapter is usually a very cost effective solution to a dead laptop.


  • A failing power jack that has started to separate from the motherboard or just a straight up broken DC jack can cause a failure of power flow from the power adapter to the laptop. In this case the DC jack has to be replaced or repaired and often times requires soldering.


  • Laptop motherboard failure. There are several options to consider for a motherboard failure.  We will dedicate a whole article to this topic in the near future.



Here are some tips to test your laptop power adapter and power jack connection.


  • Battery stops charging when the input on the DC adapter moves around and the power jack may even feel loose.


  • Use a multi meter to test your power adapter and also the power socket on the laptop.  It is possible you may have to disassemble your laptop to access this part.


  • You may need to replace the power jack by de-soldering and re-soldering a replacement DC jack on your laptop.


Problem 2.

Laptop turns on but there is no image on the screen, you have a black or blank screen with no picture.




Problem Description: The laptop turns on, LED lights on the laptop turn on, cooling fan works but nothing appears on the screen. The screen is completely black and blank. There is no image on the screen at all, not even a very dim image.


This problem could a result of failing ram.  Some of the symptoms of failing ram are the same or similar to symptoms of failing motherboards.  A very obvious symptom is no power or no video. One thing you can try is taking the ram out and putting it back into the memory slots to make sure the memory is seated properly. You can also try testing the computer with known good ram or by removing the memory modules one at a time.  Your computer will function with just one ram stick, so you can test your laptop or desktop with only one ram stick installed to see if one is failing.


Other troubleshooting steps to isolate the problem can include:

  1. Removing the hard drive
  2. Removing the DVD drive
  3. Removing the modem
  4. Remove the wireless card
  5. Remove the keyboard


Basically you need to take the laptop apart one component at a time to get it to base (minimum) configuration.  This is a good way to test each component and it’s effect on the entire computer. If the laptop is not powering on after you have taken it down to minimum configuration then most likely your motherboard or processor is dead.



Problem 3.

Laptop has intermittent no power issues.  Laptop turns on and off repeatedly.




Problem Description: The laptop turns on and after a few seconds it turns off by itself.  The laptop may continue to turn on and off repeatedly until you manually power down the laptop by holding down the power button or taking the battery out.


  • You can try to test the ram (described in the previous step).  However if the problem persists, this issue is most likely due to a failing motherboard.


Problem 4.

Your laptop makes unusual noises when it is on. 



Problem Description: The laptop powers on and seems to work fine, except it makes a grinding or rattling noise. This symptom may be continuous or intermittent.


Possible problem:
This problem is mostly associated with a faulty cooling fan or laptop hard drive.  One way to see which component is making the sound is by removing the hard drive from the laptop to test it separately.  If it is making a sound then the problem is with the hard drive.  You can also test the fan by booting the computer from an external hard drive or a DVD/CD with the internal hard drive removed to see if the fan is making the sound.





Make sure to back up all of your data from the hard drive as soon as possible if you are having a hard drive problem, it can fail any moment. Then replace your drive and transfer your data back.


More laptop hardware problems and troubleshooting steps to come!