How to turn on a computer

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope
Note

This page is to help instruct users on how to turn on a computer. If you know how to turn on a computer, but it is not turning on, see the computer does not turn on page.

Computer power button

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 on the link that best applies to the type of computer you are trying to turn on. If you are not sure 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 button on the front of the computer, look in the middle center, or top-right corner of the computer case. Some smaller form computers, like the Mac Mini, may also have the power button on the back right corner of the computer.

Desktop computer

Note

After the computer is turned on, if your computer resembles the desktop computer shown above you'll also need to 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.

If you found the power button, but the computer does not turn on when the button is pressed, your computer may have a problem. See our computer does not turn on page for troubleshooting steps.

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 and may look similar to the picture shown at the top of this page. If you cannot find the power button above the keyboard, look on the right hinge on the screen.

Note

If the laptop battery is charged, a laptop can be powered on with or without the power cable. However, if this is a new computer or it hasn't been powered on for a long time, it may require the power adapter and cable 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. See our laptop does not turn on page for troubleshooting steps.

How to turn on a server

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

Note

To help with remotely controlling a server, your server may also be connected 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 usually a small rectangular button and is most commonly located on the top-right of the tablet, either on the front or the side. If the power button is not in either of these locations, check one of the other sides of the tablet for the button.

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 the battery has no charge, you will not be able to turn on the tablet. If the above steps do not help try plugging 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 usually located on the top-right of the phone, either on the front or the side. If pressing and letting go of this button does nothing, try pressing and holding the button down for several seconds.

If following the above steps does not turn on the smartphone, plug the phone into its power cord, wait a few minutes, and then try the above steps for turning on the phone again. If this works, the battery may not have been 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, you could not get the smartphone to turn on, your smartphone likely has a hardware problem and should be sent in for repair.

Additional information