5 Steps to Turn On a Computer: Easy Step by Step Images

by Basics, Hardware

In this post, I will show you the steps to turn on a computer. This is obviously for anybody who doesn’t have any experience with computers.

Sometimes, there is more to it than simply pressing a button in order to turn a computer on.

Several things need to be checked first in order for it to turn on, and all that will be covered.

Steps to turn on a computer:

  1. Check that the monitor (screen) is plugged into the computer using its display cable.
  2. Check that the monitor is connected to power and is turned on.
  3. Check that the computer is connected to power, and is powered on.
  4. Press the power button on the computer’s case. It’s normally somewhere on the front panel.

These are the absolute basic requirements and how to get your computer to turn on. If nothing comes on, make sure you have turned all the power outlets on. You also need to have a keyboard and mouse connected, in order to use the computer effectively.

If you don’t know what some of these things are, don’t worry, here’s what you need to know.

1. Check if your computer is connected to mains power

power plugged into the back of computer the first step in the steps to turn on a computer

Make sure the computer cable, shown in the image is plugged in. In most cases, there a rocker switch near the plug. Make sure it’s set to the 1 position.
Check to see if the other side of the lead is plugged into a power socket. Make sure the power socket has been turned on.

2. Check to see if your keyboard and mouse is connected

keyboard and mouse illustration

Follow the cables from the keyboard and mouse to see if they are connected to the computer.
These are the connections that the plugs can go into:

motherboard ps2 connectors

The two top sockets, known as PS2 connectors, aren’t commonly used anymore. The two bottom sockets are known as USB connectors. If you have PS2 connectors, the keyboard plug is purple and the green one is for the mouse. A USB plug looks like this:

usb connector

Make sure both the keyboard and mouse are plugged into the corresponding type of socket.

3. Check to see if your monitor is connected properly

There are about four common ways your monitor can be connected up to a computer. Here is a list of each type, so you can make sure that the plug is inserted into the socket. Make sure the relevant plug is plugged into a socket on the computer end, and at the monitor’s end.

VGA Connectors

vga connector
vga connector

VGA stands for ‘Video Graphics Array‘. It’s not all that commonly used anymore, seeing as it contains an analog signal. That means that the amount of data it is capable of displaying is rather limited. So your image on your screen, won’t be of high-end quality.

DVI Connectors

dvi connector
dvi socket

DVI (Digital Video Interface) comes in an analog or digital version. Obviously, the digital version is the superior of the two.

HDMI Connectors

hdmi plug
hdmi socket

HDMI (High-definition Multimedia Interface) is also a commonly used connector for televisions and gaming consoles. It is a digital interface and provides good results.


display port plug
display port socket

DisplayPort offers good resolutions and excellent speeds.

4. Check your monitor is connected to mains power

power supply for monitor

After you have the correct display lead plugged into your computer, check to see if your monitor (screen) has power hooked up to it. It may have a power brick connected to a mains cable.

In this case, make sure the barrel plug is connected to the monitor, and the power cable end is connected to a mains socket and turned on.

If it doesn’t have one of these, connect the power cable directly to the monitor. Plug the other end into a mains socket and turn it on. It should look like your computer’s power cable.

5. Power up the computer

You are now ready to power up the computer. There will be a power button somewhere near the front end of the computer.

If you aren’t sure of which one it is, press one at a time. Continue through each button you can find. Wait fifteen seconds before trying the next button. Eventually, you will hear the computer startup. When it does, stop pressing buttons immediately.

If you have cycled through each button and you don’t get any lights to come on, or hear anything, recheck the power connector. Make sure it’s plugged into the back of the computer and the other end of the cable is plugged into the wall socket. 

Also recheck the switch on the back of the computer, where the power lead plugs in. Make sure that is on the 1 position. Also, make sure the wall socket switch is turned on. If you still don’t hear or see anything happen, bad news, the computer is faulty.

If your computer sounds like it’s started and you don’t see anything on your screen inspect around the monitor for any buttons.

Check to see if your monitor has a power button you can press. If you don’t see any lights on the screen, it is likely to be turned off. Once you have pressed a power button on the screen and nothing happens, make sure it has power by rechecking your power cable to the monitor.

If you still cannot get an image or a light, your monitor may be faulty.

If you have an image and your computer is running, well done! You have been successful in starting up your computer.

If your computer won’t start up at all, follow my guide on how to troubleshoot a computer that won’t post.

Info Nibble: A more advanced way to turn on a computer, is to set a wake-up feature in Windows. You can wake it up using your keyboard, mouse or another peripheral device.


These were the steps to turn on a computer, We hope you were successful and you can enjoy completing all kinds of tasks.

Happy computing!

Marlo Strydom

Marlo is a full-time professional computer programmer, electronics engineer and computer technician. Computers are his passion and he loves to help anyone wanting to know more about them.