Graphics Card Preventing Computer Startup
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Some months ago I was contacted by a new client in Kedron. Each time he would switch his computer on it would turn itself off again after just a few seconds. The computer was only a few months old and was a powerful machine. I don't do that many computer repairs on Brisbane's north side as most of what I do is on the south side, and throughout Logan City. Nevertheless, I rarely say no and we made an appointment for me to go and take a look at his computer.
When presented with this type of issue I often suspect a graphics card problem. I’ve seen this quite a few times when computers which would start up and then shut down again have booted successfully after I’ve removed the graphics card. I went ahead and took the graphics card out and, sure enough, the computer started successfully and didn’t switch itself off again. I then installed a test graphics card to confirm that the computer would function correctly.
The computer started up as normal and the Windows 10 sign-in screen was displayed. It would seem that replacing the graphics card had resolved the problem, though my test graphics card wouldn’t have been up to the quality of the card my client had been using. The good news was that the computer was still under warranty so it wouldn’t have cost him anything to have it replaced by the company which had built the machine.
I put the computer back together again to get it ready to be returned to the supplier. This included reinstalling the original graphics card. When we switched the computer on again, it started successfully, remained on, and functioned as normal. My client was very happy and, as far as I know, the computer has continued to operate as it should since then with no need to return it to the supplier for repair.
It’s actually amazing how often I’ve seen an issue disappear after simply disassembling and reassembling parts of a computer. This may be the result of a bad connection, which is corrected after reinserting the relevant connector. It’s also possible that the removal of hardware followed by its reinstallation has reset whatever circuitry was causing the issue. Either way, it’s the perfect fix as there’s no actual faulty hardware which needs to be replaced.
I had two more clients a couple of weeks ago with similar issues. The first one was in Springwood and their computer was exhibiting basically the same behaviour as the one I’ve just described. With this particular machine, I noticed that the HDMI connection to the monitor was coming from the motherboard, and not from the graphics card. This is unusual as you would normally be using the graphics from any installed graphics card rather than from the motherboard.
The first thing I did with this computer was to remove the PCI-E power connectors from the graphics card. I didn’t remove the card completely from the computer as the machine was using a water-cooling system which would have had to be disassembled in order to gain access to remove the card.
After disconnecting the power connectors from the graphics card, the computer started successfully at the first attempt. I switched the computer off and then on again a few more times and each time the computer powered on and remained on. It would have been a more comprehensive solution to have removed the graphics card completely. If the issue returns, I shall remove the card from the computer and I would expect that to be the final solution.
My other recent client was in Sunnybank Hills. The issue with his computer was somewhat similar but, in his case, the computer was shutting down some time after being powered on. I initially replaced his graphics card with my test graphics card as I had done with the first job I’ve described here. The computer started successfully and he was able to launch his video editing application. However, the graphics card I had installed didn’t have the capability to handle the application he was running.
We shut the computer down and reinstalled the much more powerful graphics card he had been using. Once again, the computer started successfully and it appeared that the action of removing the graphics card and reinstalling it may have solved the issue. However, the original issue returned after a couple of days and warranted further investigation.
In a situation such as this one, it’s a bit a toss-up as to whether the issue is with the graphics card, or with the computer’s power supply unit (PSU). I had had another similar scenario recently when the issue was fully resolved after replacing the PSU.
The power supply unit in this computer had a rating of 750W, which should have been more than adequate to handle the demands being made on it. However, the computer was a number of years old, and it may have been the case that the PSU wasn’t operating as efficiently as it had once done. I agreed with my client that the most effective way forward would be to replace the PSU with a new 750W unit. If the issue returned, we could then revert to the old power supply unit and replace the graphics card instead.
I’ve described a number of similar scenarios in this post, with computers failing to start up, or shutting down again unexpectedly. Are you having an issue similar to one of these? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, whether you’re on Brisbane's north or south side, or in Logan City or the Redlands. I’m here to help and I cover a wide range of suburbs.