How to test, diagnose HP PC computers
How do I know if it’s software or hardware issue?
For most, there is an easy way to tell the difference between software and hardware issue.
Most software issues, such as virus, happens after your HP computer has booted to Windows.
If your HP computer has problems before Windows could boot, it is most likely a hardware problem. In facts, you can almost be certain that it is a hardware fault.
If it has issues after Windows has booted successfully, it could be either software or hardware fault. This is a little harder to tell.
Restart your computer
Restarting your computer fixes many problems!
Restart it now if you haven’t done so.
Remove then reinsert battery from your HP laptop (if possible)
This is another quick one that you should try before anything else.
Unplug the charger, look at the back of your HP laptop, see if it has a user-removable battery.
If it has, you will find 2 latches that you can slide to pop out the battery.
After the battery has been removed, hold down the power button for 30 seconds to discharge any left-over power from your HP laptop.
Reinsert the battery, press the power button once to turn it back on and see if the problem is resolved.
How to diagnose HP computer hardware
HP computers have built-in diagnostic tools.
This is a benefit of owning HP computers. HP provides built-in diagnostic tools for end-users to use.
Dell, Apple, and some Lenovo models also provide this. While Acer, ASUS and many others do not.
To access this diagnostic tools, after pressing the power button to turn on your HP computer, repeatedly press Esc key until you see a startup menu.
Select System Diagnostics, or you could press F2 key.
This is an easy, built-in general hardware diagnostic test that you can use to check on the status of hardware across your computer, like the hard drive, RAM, and video card.
If any of the parts fails the test, it means the part is faulty and needs to be replaced.
If it passes all the test, it does not mean that the parts are in working order. Keep in mind that this is free, user-friendly built-in tools provided by HP only.
You can repeat the tests multiple times to increase its accuracy. If any of the tests show a part is fault, it means the part is indeed faulty.
If the problem persists and you’re still unsure, reinstalling Windows (also called “Reset Windows”) could also be a great way to resolve software issues.
Just hold down the Esc key after restarting the computer to reach the startup menu, then F11 for System Recovery options. You can then choose to reset your computer there to factory settings.
If your HP computer is completely dead
In the above, I’ve covered the instance where your HP computer turns on but has trouble booting up.
If your HP computer fails to turn on, it’s completely dead completely, you won’t be able to do any of the pre-boot diagnostic as mentioned.
In this case, it’s possible that it has a faulty power supply unit (also called the charger if it’s a HP laptop), or damaged power socket (for HP laptops only), or dead motherboard.
A faulty power supply unit is generally easy to test by simply using a working power supply unit to test (if you have a spare one). Or you could also use a multimeter to test the current one.
If you don’t have a spare working charger for your HP laptop, take it to JB Hi-Fi or Harvey Norman asking to buy one and ask if you can quickly try it out before you buy.
While it used to be common for the power socket to be damaged in laptops, HP (and other manufacturers) have improved design and damages on power socket are now less common. It still happens, but not as frequently as it used to.
Testing the power socket is a much harder job for a normal computer user. It involves taking the laptop apart and test its voltage output, inspecting its cosmetic condition.
For this problem, it is most likely that a professional computer repairs is required. Pulling the computer apart, testing with spare parts, multimeter is beyond most regular computer user’s knowledge.
I don’t recommend you to attempt to test the power socket if you’re not experienced with this. It’s difficult and it is more likely that there is nothing wrong with the power socket.
At-home Do-It-Yourself HP computer repairs
After you’ve done diagnostic using HP’s built-in tools, you might have a better ideas about what’s wrong with your computer.
If you’re still unsure what’s wrong with your HP computer, our Blog covers more guides for you to attempt further testing and DIY repairs.
If your laptop had water spill damage, see our water damaged laptop guide instead.
Test, diagnose your HP computer:
- Check out best tools that computer technicians use to test computers. If you have access to some of these tools, it could help you narrow down the problem.
- How to test your computer at home yourself.
- Tips to save your laptop after spilling water on your laptop. It may not solve the problems but can be useful.
- Some problems don’t even need testing, see common issue that you’ll know straight away.
Repair keyboard problem:
- Laptop keyboard issues most likely will need a new keyboard. Since HP has changed to new slim design for many laptop models, DIY at home repairs is difficult.
If your HP freezes, or show certain errors at startup:
Repairs on HP laptop not charging, not turning on:
Most of laptop repairs will require taking it apart.
You’ll need a precision screwdriver kit on Amazon.
I Fix It provides comprehensive guides on how to disassemble many computer models. There aren’t as many HP computer models on I Fix it, but worth a try.
YouTube is also an excellent source for video step by step guide on how to disassemble, troubleshoot and repair your HP laptops. Simply search for your computer model plus “screen replacement”, or “disassembly” to find relevant guides.
HP Support Community is also good source to ask questions to get answers from community members.
Keep in mind that the members are not HP employees, they do not represent HP in anyway. Don’t expect HP customer support to assist you on this online forum.
Another place to look for is HP service manual. HP provides some video service manuals on YouTube which is quite handy. You’ll find HP’s official service manual in the video. This is useful because the videos are created by HP for servicing purpose without any clickbait or marketing incentives.
DIY repairs isn’t for everyone. You need to have some technical knowledge to attempt DIY repairs.
Best places to find HP computer repair centres in Sydney
With seeking professional HP computer repair centres, you have only 2 options:
- Repairs with the manufacturer – official HP repair centres, in this case.
- Repairs with third-party HP PC repair centres / local repairers (eg PC computer repair shops). These third-party HP repair centres are not owned nor supervised by HP. They are independent local businesses.
Possibly a third option is asking your employer’s company IT department who may have in-house IT employees to assist you first.
If your laptop has water damages, unfortunately, HP (and all other manufacturers) cannot repair water damaged laptops. We’ll explain further below.
HP do not have any retail stores in Australia for you to visit, unlike Apple store, Microsoft and Samsung stores.
The only option for you to get repairs by HP is to send it off to one of their official HP repair service centres (if they even have one in Australia). This means turn-around time is weeks away, if not months.
According to HP website, there is no authorised HP service centre in Australia. Your only option is to call HP directly to make an enquiry. I’m not sure if they would have a repair centre for you to send to.
This is where third-party HP computer PC repair service centres can help you. It might be your only option.
There are third-party HP computer repair centres / stores just about everywhere in Sydney. Third-party local HP computer repair centres, together with their network of local suppliers, can serve customers in every corner.
Of course, our store Safemode Computer Service is one. We have been repairing HP computers, PCs, laptops since 2004.
If you’re in Sydney, you can take your laptop to a local, third-party HP computer repair centre near you, or you can take it to our store if you are nearby. Most third-party HP repair centres will have an available slots for you on the same day.
Our HP computer repair centre accepts walk-in 7 days a week. You don’t need appointment to bring in. Just come in, anytime during our business hour.
What official HP repair centres can and cannot help you with
If you decide to send your computer directly to an official HP repair centres for services, keep in mind that, HP, and most other manufacturers, only fixes a limited number of issues on your computer:
- Restore your computer back to factory settings, which means all data will be wiped out.
- Replace screen for your laptops.
- Replace battery for your laptops.
- Replace defective parts that are covered by a recall program.
- Replace damaged parts under certain conditions (eg not damaged by water spill).
Benefits of repairing with official HP repair centres directly is that you are guaranteed to have original genuine parts installed of your computer, plus good – high quality control.
The downside is that, their repair service is very limited and time consuming. It could take weeks or months to get it repaired by HP, if it’s even possible.
I’m sorry to tell you that, more often it’s not possible to get repairs with official HP repair centres. They are manufacturers, not repairers. Repairs is simply not their main business.
For good reasons, HP will not do the followings:
- Repair water, liquid spill damaged HP computers.
- Repair old HP computer models (3 or 4+ year old computers).
- Fix sticky keyboard key problem.
- Manual removal of virus and spyware.
- Back up or recover your data from your PC.
- Upgrade your HP computer to make it run faster.
- Replace parts with non-HP parts or better ones.
- Repair on computers that had been repaired previously by a third-party technician.
In facts, it’s not just HP, all manufacturers do not provide such services. It’s not possible for them to do so, for many reasons.
Don’t waste your time seeking help from HP for the above.
It is likely that they will encourage you to purchase a new computer.
Unlike manufacturers, local third-party HP computer repair centres will repair what HP can, plus the things that HP cannot repair for you.
Because, it is in those third-party, local HP computer repairers’ best interests to repair your computer. It is within their expertise and is their main business to do so (they are not retailers nor manufacturers).
Repairs at a third-party HP computer repair centres often will cost you less than at manufacturers as well.
Local third-party HP computer repair centres have much lower overheads hence they can provide repairs at a much lower price point.