In recent weeks, many customers are reporting computers that don’t boot up completely, or that boot up into entirely new Windows User Profiles, which makes it look like everything is gone.
The common trigger for the problem appears to be a recent Windows update for version 1903. If the computer has any BIOS settings that allow a hardware-based “deep sleep” mode, then the Windows update seems to trigger this mode and cause boot-up problems for the computer.
The quick fix is to power the computer down by pressing the power button in for about 10 seconds, or disconnecting the power cord from the back or side of the computer.
After the power cord is disconnected, press the power button once, as if you are just starting the computer. This will drain any excess power that might be lurking in the power supply. Then re-connect the power cord, press the power button normally to start the computer. It should boot up normally now.
The more permanent fix is to boot the computer into BIOS setup mode, look for any check boxes in the Power or other settings for allowing “deep sleep” or other sleep settings, and turn them off. Only do this if you really know what you’re doing!
I have seen this problem occasionally for the past couple of years on business-class computer models, e.g., the Dell Optiplex series, that are aimed at the corporate market which is always trying to save money on energy, etc.
Now it seems to be a problem on regular consumer models, e.g., the Dell Inspiron. It seems to be triggered by Windows 10 updates, which in turn can be triggered by updates or usage of utility software like anti-virus software, or Windows maintenance software.
In any case, I continue to be dismayed by the on-going chaos and unpredictability of Windows 10, and am still recommending that customers seek computer products from different companies like Apple, Google, or the Linux world. In general, I have seen that running a Windows computer is the most expensive option customers can choose, due to the frequent maintenance and repairs that are required to protect a user’s data, privacy, and finances.
Windows computers cost about twice as much to run as a Mac, an iPad, a Chromebook, or a Linux computer, and over a computer’s life of five or more years, the choice of either maintenance vs. data loss makes the total cost of a Windows computer exceed all other options!
For example, let’s say you have the choice of buying a Windows 10 laptop for $750, or an MacBook Air for $1000. Well the Windows computer is definitely more affordable, right?
Uh, not really. The typical maintenance interval for the Windows computer if you don’t want it to crash or get taken over by some thug in Russia, is every 6 months for a casual non-business user, 3 months for a “power user”, or monthly for a business user. So for the casual user, this is going to cost about $150 a year. For the Mac, my experience is a maintenance interval of about once a year for a casual user, or about $75.
At the end of five years, the cost of the PC is $750 plus another $750 for maintenance, totaling $1500. For the Mac, it’s $1000 plus another $375, for a total of $1375. This is what I’ve been seeing, over and over, for the past 10 years!
Of course you can choose to do no maintenance at all. If you do this on a Mac, you’ll probably need to eventually re-load the operating system. If you do this on a PC, it will eventually crash or be hacked, resulting in total data loss and banking or financial losses as well.
You *absolutely must* have an experienced (10 years or more) Computer Professional to check your computer. It cannot be your grand-kid, your son-in-law the CPA, or the old retired IBM sales guy from down the street. One time I heard about a retired couple who stopped using their computer guy and decided to go the route of using their CPA son-in-law. Two years later their Windows computer and brokerage account had been hacked to the tune of $15,000 ! Ironically, the son-in-law never had a problem like this because he was a Mac user !
The computer profession is relatively new and so it lacks the credentialing and training that you see in other professions like medicine, law, or business administration. Eventually this will be fixed. In the meantime it helps to know that the average computer programmer makes more million-dollar decisions in their daily coding than most business executives make in an entire year.