Why won't my computer boot up?

Question

We can't find our operating system on an older computer. We had windows 98 and hadn't used it for several months. When I tried to start it up to get access to our photos and data we couldn't. What has happened and can we fix it?

Answer

This question was answered on March 30, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Several things could have happened.

Depending on where you are keeping the computer, heat could have destroyed the inside of the hard drive and without the presence of an operating system, the computer will not boot up.

Your monitor will come on but that is it.

If you have not used your computer for several months, again depending on where you are keeping it, dust could have clogged the power supply causing to malfunction and as a result you have power being generated to the tower to boot up the computer You might be able to blow the dust out (not orally, of course), but your best bet is to replace the old power supply with a new one.

Another reason is, without realizing it you may have contracted a virus prior to not using it for several months If this is the case, the MBR (Master Boot Record) on your hard drive could have been corrupted or completely wiped out by the virus which would disable your ability to boot up because there is no operating system The MBR is where your operating system is contained and the boot process begins In this situation, since the computer has sat for so long, your only option is to replace the hard drive and reinstall the operating system and all software.

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Author

Posted by Student of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on March 30, 2004