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Help! My Mac Won't Start!

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 2/5/2010

You sit down at your computer desk and turn on your Mac computer and nothing happens. No Power! What do you do? Here are some tips.

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    Is it plugged in?

    Having your computer not turn on like you expect it to can be a very frustrating experience. There are a few things you can try before going in for service or buying a new computer.

    First, and this is not to demean anyone; make sure the computer is getting power. Check the outlet on the wall/surge protect, check the connection to the Mac, and make sure the surge protector (if you use one; if you aren’t you should be!) is plugged in and/or turned on. This sounds very obvious, but I have troubleshot many computers that would not turn on and the solution was as simple as plugging it in.

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    Check your peripherals

    If the computer is plugged in and all other power related plugs are connected your next step is the opposite! Unplug everything. Disconnect all peripherals from the computer and even disconnect the plug from the back of the Mac. Leave everything unplugged for fifteen to thirty seconds and then start by only plugging in the Mac itself. Turn it on and see if it works. If it does, start reconnecting your printer, iPod, scanner, etc. If the problem happens again follow the same steps but only plug in one additional device at a time and restart the computer. If the computer fails to restart you know it is that device which is causing the problem.

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    Check your power sources

    If you have tried both of the above steps and you still do not have power there is still one other option to try before throwing in the towel. Your problem could lie in the power sources themselves. Try a new power plug on the computer. It that doesn’t work try a new surge protector or even a different outlet on the surge protector. If that doesn’t work try a new wall outlet.

    If you don't happen to have an extra power cord, ask a friend to borrow theirs- that way you know it is a working one. If it works, you just need to get yourself a new power cord.

    Believe it or not, even though a lamp might work on a particular wall outlet it could be damaged and not be providing enough power for your computer. A friend had this issue with his scanner. It would not work until he switched outlets.

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    Time For Service

    Still not working? Now it is time to get on the phone or get in the car. Call Applecare or visit your local Apple Store or local Apple Authorized service provider. If your machine is under warranty examining the computer and repairing it should be free. You might even end up with a new computer- depending on what is wrong with it.

    If your machine is not under warranty make sure you get an estimate. You’ll have to be the judge and determine if the repair costs are worth it versus purchasing a new computer. Keep in mind that some places will charge you a fee just to look at the computer (in my experience, this has been at least $90). Sometimes the fee goes towards repair, sometimes it does not. Check first.

    I have found if you take it into an Apple Store Genius Bar the techs will try to help you without having to check it in and charge you. If you are out of warranty be sure you ask if you are getting charged for an evaluation.

    Hopefully, one of the steps above will get your computer up and running. Good Luck!