It seems like once a month or so we get a phone call from someone who is freaking out over their computer not booting up…
In the case of the system giving a blank / black screen, or the even more ominous “Operating System Not Found” / “Missing operating system” message and nothing further upon boot up, you might be surprised to find that the solution is easy…
Many newer computers come from the factory with the ability to boot from external media, such as USB hard drives, flash memory sticks, card readers, smart phones such as the iPhone, digital cameras and other devices. This applies to machines running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, and even Windows Server.
I always suggest to the person with the trembling voice that they take a deep breath, and unplug anything they may have plugged into the computer since the last time it was booted up. Remove any memory cards, flash drives, USB devices, etc. Make sure there are no disks in the CD drive or floppy drive (What? Someone uses a floppy?) and then reboot.
In more cases than I could possibly remember, their machine will boot up as normal and their blood pressure will drop tremendously.
I have heard stories that unscrupulous computer service technicians will “diagnose” this problem as a faulty hard drive and charge the client for unnecessary computer repair and parts. Hopefully, if this is the case, you will not fall into that trap because you just read this post. If I saved you from a heart attack, please respond here, or buy me a coffee.
The computer can be set to NOT boot from USB devices in most cases, so if you encounter this regularly and wish to make that change, it should be possible in the BIOS. Should you require assistance with that, or your system does NOT boot up even with USB and memory devices unplugged, please give us a call at 864-990-4748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer complete computer service, repair and sales to Greenville / Upstate SC.