How to turn on a computer

Updated: 06/06/2021 by Computer Hope
Computer power button
Note

This page is to help instruct users on how to turn on or start a computer. If you know how to turn on a computer, but it is not turning on, see: Why won't my computer turn on?

Nothing can be more frustrating than getting a new computer or visiting another computer and not being able to turn on the computer. On this page, we try to give pointers and help with turning on all types of computers.

Click the link that best applies to the type of computer you are trying to turn on. If you're unsure what type of computer you are using, see our computer definition for examples of all types of computers.

How to turn on a desktop computer

Locate and press the power button on the front or top of the computer. The button should be similar to the picture shown at the top of this page. When looking for the computer button, look in the middle center or top-right corner of the computer case. Turning on the computer boots the operating system; for example, Microsoft Windows.

Desktop computer

Tip

If you cannot turn on the computer because you're having difficulty finding the power button and the above suggestions don't help, see our button page for further examples.

Note

First, power on the computer. After the computer is turned on, if your computer resembles the desktop computer shown above, you need to also turn on the flat-panel display (monitor). If your computer is an All-in-One computer, you should only need to press one power button. For more information, see: How to turn on a computer monitor or another display.

Note

After pressing the computer power button, the boot sequence starts, and you'll see a screen for your operating system (e.g., Windows for a PC or macOS for an Apple).

If you found the power button, but the computer does not turn on when the button is pressed, your computer may have a problem.

How to turn on a laptop or netbook computer

Dell Latitude D610 laptop

Usually, the power button for a laptop or netbook computer is located above the keyboard on the left, center, or right side. If you cannot find the power button above the keyboard, look on the right hinge on the screen.

Tip

If you cannot turn on the laptop because you're having difficulty finding the power button and the above suggestions don't help, see our button page for further examples.

Note

If the laptop battery is charged, a laptop can be powered on with or without the power cable. However, new computers or a computer that hasn't been powered on for a long time may require the power adapter until the battery is fully charged.

If you found the power button, but the computer does not turn on when the button is pressed, your computer may have a problem.

How to turn on an Apple computer

Depending on the model of the Apple computer, there are several locations of the power button. However, it looks similar to the power button shown above. On an iMac or iMac Pro, the power button is on the backside of the monitor. On a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, the power button is on the top-right corner of the keyboard. For the Mac Mini, the power button is on the back right corner of the computer.

How to turn on a server

Both a tower server and rack mount server have a power button on the top-right, center, or left corner for easy access.

Note

A server may also connect to a power strip, KVM switch, or an ATS (automatic transfer switch). If the server is not turning on, make sure all of these devices are working and not preventing the server from turning on.

How to turn on a tablet

Depending on the type of tablet you are using, the location of the power button can differ. The power button is a small rectangular button on the top-right of the tablet. If the power button is not in either of these locations, check one of the other sides.

Pressing the power button once should wake the tablet from sleep and give you a display. If pressing the button does not work, try pressing and holding in on the button for a few seconds.

Tip

If you cannot turn on the tablet because you're having difficulty finding the power button and the above suggestions don't help, see our button page for further examples.

Tip

If the battery has no charge, you cannot turn on the tablet. If the above steps don't help plug the tablet into a working outlet or USB port, wait a few minutes, and then try the above steps again.

How to turn on a smartphone

Apple iPhone

For most smartphones (Android and iPhone), the power button is on the top-right of the phone. If pressing and letting go of this button does nothing, try pressing and holding the button down for several seconds.

If the above steps do not turn on the smartphone, plug it into its power cord, wait a few minutes, and try the above steps again. If this works, the battery may not be fully charged. Leave the smartphone plugged in and let it charge for a few hours. If, after being charged, the smartphone encounters the same problem, the battery is bad.

If, after following the above steps, the smartphone still cannot turn on, your smartphone has a hardware problem and should be sent in for repair.

Tip

If you cannot turn on the smartphone because you're having difficulty finding the power button and the above suggestions don't help, see our button page for further examples.