In this post, I will be discussing how to fix a PC that won’t boot after overclocking, and what you can do when this happens. But first, let’s get a brief look at what overclocking is.
What is overclocking?
Overclocking is the process of increasing the clock rate of a computer to exceed the one certified by the manufacturer. A higher clock rate means a CPU can run more operations per second, hence your computer runs faster.
Overclocking an element in your computer; usually, the CPU or sometimes the graphics card, makes your computer run faster than it was originally designed to. Which in turn allows you to improve your computer’s performance without spending money to upgrade your PC.
Typically, with overclocking, the operating voltage is also increased to maintain a component’s operational stability at accelerated speeds.
An overclocked computer can run more intensive programs than usual.
Note: However, that an overclocked device may be unreliable or fail entirely if the additional heat load is not removed or power delivery components cannot meet the increased power demands. If your computer can’t handle an overclock, it may simply crash or freeze.
Reasons Why PC Won’t Boot After Overclocking
So, you have overclocked your PC but now it has failed to boot, what could be causing this problem? And, more importantly, what can you do to fix it and maybe even prevent it from happening again?
#1. You may have exhausted your battery
The reason your computer is not booting after overclocking may simply be that it has run out of battery.
Overclocking uses up quite a bit of power and may drain your computer’s battery much quicker than you expect. For this reason, it’s best to have your pc plugged in when running your overclock.
How To fix a PC that won’t boot after overclocking due to exhausted battery
If your PC won’t boot simply because your battery is exhausted, then it’s likely that no damage has been done to it (hopefully). Simply plug in your PC and you should be able to boot normally.
#2. Your computer system may have overheated
Overclocking produces a lot of heat and there’s a good chance your computer may overheat, which may prevent it from booting. Depending on how hot it gets, certain components of your computer may stop working or may even melt!
How To fix a PC that won’t boot after overclocking due to an overheated computer
If your computer fails to boot after an overclock, check to see how hot it feels. If you find it hotter than normal to the touch, there’s a fair chance it may have overheated. Turn off your computer and give it time to cool down. Then set it back to the default clock speed.
To avoid overheating in the first place, you should make sure your computer has adequate cooling equipment before overclocking.
#3. Some essential parts of your pc may have failed
A failed overclock attempt may have damaged some components of your computer by overheating or melting them, especially if you overclocked your PC repeatedly.
It’s important to remember that the more you overclock, the more you reduce your computer’s lifespan. Each time you overclock your computer, it’s possible that one part or another may malfunction or fail. The more you overclock, the more you wear out the individual components, hence shortening your computer’s life expectancy.
How to fix It
It may take some trial and error to figure out which part, or parts, of your PC may have failed. Try swapping your computer parts to help you figure out which ones. If you can’t figure it out yourself, you’ll need to take it to a professional who can inspect the computer, diagnose the damage, as well as suggest repairs.
Most likely, any seriously damaged component will need to be replaced for your computer to boot normally again.
#4. You may have overclocked the computer too high
This is the most common cause of a wide variety of overclocking issues.
When overclocking, you can manually enter whatever CPU speed you want. The problem with this is that your computer may not be able to handle this new speed if it is set too high.
The higher your clock speed, the greater the chance of your pc overheating, corrupting files, or sustaining other kinds of damage, all of which might prevent the computer from booting normally.
It may be a good idea to do your overclocking gradually, starting at lower speeds and working your way up to higher speeds. This will give you a way to estimate how your PC handles the increased clock speeds and determine whether proceeding up to maximum speeds is worth the risk.
How to fix It
If your computer has sustained damage from over-overclocking, you probably won’t be able to fix it. You’ll simply need to identify which components of the computer were damaged, and then replace them.
If there was no damage to your computer but it simply fails to boot, there are a couple of things you can try:
- Reset your BIOS
Ideally, resetting the BIOS should revert all settings to their default values, so you can try the last setting that worked for you.
To reset your BIOS:
Power up your computer and press the Setup (Boot key) repeatedly as soon as you see the initial screen. The Setup key should be displayed on the screen, but in case you can’t see it, try pressing the Esc key or the F keys (F8, F12…) or press the Del key (on Dell computers) to access your BIOS setup menu.
Inside your BIOS settings, look for Setup Defaults and click on Load Setup Defaults and follow the on-screen prompts to confirm and save the current configuration.
Save the changes, then exit and see if the boot sequence completes normally.
- Clear your CMOS battery
If the previous method didn’t fix the issue, it’s likely the boot failure may be due to some incorrect settings that the CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) battery. The solution would be to clear it.
Usually, the motherboard has a button that says “Clear CMOS” or “Reset CMOS.”
You can also clear your CMOS with the following steps:
- Turn off your PC and unplug the PSU (power supply unit)
- Identify the CMOS battery (typically located in one of the corners) and take it out of its slot using your fingernail or a non-conductive sharp object.
- After you remove the CMOS battery, wait for a full minute then insert it back into its slot.
- Put the cover back on, plug your computer back into power and boot it up to see if the issue is now resolved.
- Update your BIOS Version
If none of the above methods fixes the issue, you might be dealing with a BIOS problem that may not be resolved until you flash it and update the BIOS version to the latest.
Note: Updating your BIOS should be your last resort after trying out the solutions mentioned above.
Depending on your motherboard, the procedure for updating your BIOS version will be different. Most manufacturers have a proprietary flashing utility that will make the procedure easier like MFlash, E-Z Flash, etc.
Additionally, you could also try removing and reinserting your RAM(s) and Graphics card after a couple of minutes. Make sure your computer is unplugged before attempting any of these.
Before overclocking your computer
- Not all processors support overclocking. Before you consider doing so you may want to make sure yours does. If you have an Intel, intel typically adds a K or X to its CPU models that can be overclocked (e.g Intel Core i8-10800K). And with the AMD CPU, any Ryzen CPU can be overclocked.
- Before overclocking, you should make sure your computer has adequate cooling equipment because your CPU will need enhanced cooling if it’s to run at a higher clock rate/speed.
- You might want to try increasing your computer’s clock rate at intervals to get to the speed you are interested in, not all at once. Note that too much overclocking can lead to computer performance instability and crashing of apps, as well as the occasional Blue Screen of Death.
- Every time you increase the clock rate, spend a few hours “stress testing” the computer. You can do this using an app like Prime95 to temporarily run the CPU at 100% load to make sure there are no problems with the PC.
- If your computer crashes; if you get a Blue Screen of Death, or if your programs are not opening after the overclock, return to the UEFI or BIOS menu and revert to a slower clock speed. Note that overclocking can damage your CPU or graphics card permanently in some instances.
- If you want to overclock your graphics card’s GPU, you can’t do that from the UEFI or BIOS menu. Instead, you’ll need to use an overclocking utility like MSI Afterburner.
Also read: 100+ Interesting Facts About Computers
Overclocking a computer has a number of both upsides and downsides. Note that there are ways to overclock your computer safely and correctly and therefore limit your chances of sustaining permanent damage.
Be sure to take the necessary precaution while doing so and you will enjoy better performance with your PC.
Remember to ensure that your computer (processor) is overclockable before attempting to do so. And if you’re not confident in your technical abilities, better to take your PC to a technician to avoid breaking your system.