BIOS

Why is my computer waking up?

iBuyPower 9260 Desktop

Episode 1694

Steve from Cranston, RI

Steve is having issues where his computer turns back on after he shuts it down. Leo says to look in your settings for "wake on LAN" and turn it off. It's a feature designed for IT networks to be able to turn on the computer remotely. You also want to be sure everything is shut down. There may also be a scheduled wakeup. Both features are in setup (BIOS). Turn on your computer and his F12. Once in the setup, go through the settings for those options and disable them. Could a hacker be turning it on? Leo says once it's shut down, nothing is running. So no, it isn't that.

Why Does My Laptop Fail to Boot?

Lenovo

Episode 1667

Scott from Arlington, TX

Kurt replaced the hard drive in his Lenovo laptop and now it won't boot up. It stops at the boot screen. 24 hours later, it booted up no problem. What gives? Leo says that's common and usually results in a hiccup in the BIOS or UEFI. Leo suspects that the battery on the motherboard has failed. Also, underneath the splash screen could show if the computer tried to boot into Windows and failed. That could indicate a faulty hard drive. Leo suspects a failing power supply could also be the issue. 

How can I get my computer to reboot?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1666

Mario from Franklin Park, IL

Mario recently replaced his hard drive with a Samsung Solid State Drive. Then he upgraded to Windows 10. The computer went to sleep. And now it won't come back on. He managed to get a boot menu by pressing F12. But nothing else. Leo says that means the screen is still good. But it could also mean that the hard drive died. Even though it's new, they can die out quickly. If your computer is old enough, it could be the CMOS battery has died and needs replacing. Check the date/time in the setup. If it thinks it's 1969, then that's what happened.

How Can I Bypass a Firmware Password?

PCUnlocker

Episode 1663

Tom from Carson, CA

Tom has a Dell Laptop that has an administrator password he doesn't know. How can he get into Windows? Or should he just wipe the drive and start over. Leo says wiping the drive is definitely the easiest way to do it if he doesn't need the data from it. Use the Microsoft Media Creation Tool and install it via USB. But he can't get past the firmware password. Leo says that won't get fixed with a hard drive reset. If he can't call the company for the password, then he'll have to do some serious googling to try and break it. PCUnlocker is a program that can do it. But it's not free. 

Why can't my computer boot past the BIOS?

ASUS VivoBook

Episode 1613

Alan from Wakefield, Massachusetts

Alan has an Asus laptop that's stuck in bios during bootup. Leo says that is called the boot loader. It's called the bootstrap process. If it's stopping, then that means the hard drive has failed. The master boot record in the hard drive could be damaged. Try booting to a USB drive. If that works, then you know that it's the hardware. If not, then it's a software issue.

Multiple Smaller Drives are More Reliable than 1 Massive Hard Drive

Leo advises to buy multiple smaller hard drives over one extremely large hard drive. The bigger the size, the higher the error rate...which can be catastrophic in the worst case scenario. In any case, move away from old spinning drives to faster Solid-state Drives (SSD), where the cost per gigabyte is getting conveniently cheaper. You may have so much storage in the future that you could forget to discipline yourself on cleaning out files!

Why Do I Have to Press F1 When Booting Up my Computer?

F1

Episode 1588

Rob from San Bernardino, CA

Bob is having issues with booting up a few of his computers. He gets a message that says "press F1 to continue" and then it doesn't do anything - it just crashes. Leo says it's usually related to the keyboard. The computer can't see it, and pressing F1 wakes up the keyboard and lets the computer recognize it. It could also be a failed keyboard since Bob is using a really old PS2 keyboard.

Why won't my computer boot up?

BIOS

Episode 1534

Josh from Sutters, CA

Josh built his own computer, but when he turns it on, sometimes it stalls on the POST (Power On Self Test). Leo says that it could be a cold solder connection, which needs to heat up a bit before the connection is made and the motherboard boots up. But that is rare these days. It could also be a flakey power supply. Another thing to check is if the RAM is properly seated.

Leo thinks the most likely cause is that the BIOS is corrupt. He should try and refresh it. If that doesn't work, he can try and reinstall the BIOS firmware. It could also be physically damaged, though.

Why doesn't my computer see my optical drive?

Optical Drive

Episode 1518

John from Traverse City, MI

John is having an issue with his optical drive on his computer after a Windows 10 update. Leo says to check the cables to see if there's a bad cable first. Since the EFI Setup/BIOS doesn't see it, then that points to a hardware issue. It could be a bad board. He should try clearing the ESCD data in the memory. That could help. He can look in setup for it. There may also be a jumper on the motherboard to do it. If he still can't see it, then it's likely a bad CD player circuit board. The good news is, CD players are cheap.