How to Troubleshoot a PC that Won’t Boot or Display: A User’s Experience


What could cause multiple PCs to fail to boot and display, then work normally after some time, in the same location?

I have a spare PC that has been running smoothly for over five years, but this year it started to malfunction. When I turn it on, the lights and fans are on, but the screen is blank, and it restarts itself after about 20 seconds. There are no error beeps from the motherboard. I tried different GPUs, monitors, and RAM sticks, but nothing worked. I switched the whole PC with another one to test the monitor, but the other PC had the same problem, even though it had completely different hardware.

I asked a friend who is a PC technician to help me, and he brought his own PC, but it also had the same problem. We checked the wall outlet, but the voltage and other measurements were normal. After a few hours of trying different things, the PC suddenly started working again, and so did the other PCs we tested. Everything was fine until today, when the problem came back.

I am baffled by this situation. What could be the reason for this intermittent and seemingly contagious PC failure? Is there something wrong with the power supply in my house, or is there some other explanation? I hope it is not a ghost.

Thank you for your help.


A PC user from Trenton, New Jersey, shared a puzzling problem on a popular online forum. He claimed that his spare PC, which had been working fine for over five years, suddenly stopped booting and displaying anything on the screen. He tried changing the GPU, monitor, and RAM, but nothing helped. He then switched the PC with another one, but it had the same issue, even though it had different hardware. He asked his friend, a PC technician, to check it out, but his friend’s PC also failed to boot and display in the same location. They tested the wall outlet, but it seemed normal. After a few hours of frustration, the PCs miraculously started working again, and they continued to work fine until the problem reappeared a few days later.

The user was baffled by this situation and asked for help from the online community. He wondered what could be the reason for this intermittent and seemingly contagious PC failure. He hoped it was not a ghost.

The post received a lot of responses from other users, who offered various possible explanations and suggestions. Some of the most common and plausible ones were:

  • Power supply issue: Some users suggested that the problem could be caused by a faulty or inadequate power supply unit (PSU) in the PCs. A PSU converts the alternating current (AC) from the wall outlet to direct current (DC) for the PC components. If the PSU is damaged, it may not provide enough or stable power to the PC, causing it to fail to boot or display. A PSU may also degrade over time, especially if it is exposed to high temperatures, dust, or power surges. Some users advised the original poster (OP) to check the PSU ratings and specifications, and replace them with new ones if needed. They also recommended using a surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect the PCs from power fluctuations or outages.
  • Motherboard issue: Some users suggested that the problem could be caused by a faulty or incompatible motherboard in the PCs. A motherboard is the main circuit board that connects and communicates with all the PC components. If the motherboard is damaged, it may not recognize or initialize the PC components, causing it to fail to boot or display. A motherboard may also have compatibility issues with certain hardware or software, especially if it is outdated or has a corrupted BIOS (basic input/output system). Some users advised the OP to check the motherboard model and version, and update the BIOS if possible. They also recommended checking the motherboard for any physical damage, such as cracks, burns, or bulging capacitors.
  • Electromagnetic interference (EMI): Some users suggested that the problem could be caused by electromagnetic interference (EMI) in the location where the PCs were placed. EMI is a disturbance that affects electrical circuits due to electromagnetic radiation emitted by nearby devices or sources. EMI can interfere with the signals and data transmission between the PC components, causing them to malfunction or fail. EMI can also damage the PC components over time, especially if they are not shielded or grounded properly. Some users advised the OP to check the location for any potential sources of EMI, such as microwaves, radios, speakers, or power lines. They also recommended moving the PCs away from these sources, or using shielding or grounding materials to reduce the EMI effects.
  • These were some of the most likely causes of the mysterious PC failure, according to the online users. However, none of them could explain why the problem was intermittent and seemingly contagious, affecting multiple PCs with different hardware in the same location. Some users speculated that it could be a coincidence, a prank, or a paranormal phenomenon. The OP thanked the users for their input, but said he was still confused and curious about the root cause of the problem. He said he would try some of the suggested solutions and report back if anything changed.


article ended with a question for the readers: What do you think could be the reason for this strange PC failure? Do you have any other possible explanations or suggestions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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