Unstick the reset button without opening the PC case?
July 14, 2007 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Any bright ideas on getting a stuck reset button unstuck without cracking open the PC case?

The PC in question was fine yesterday, today refuses to POST. It's still under warranty, but the store where it was bought won't open until Monday (and servicing can be rather slow).

Looking closely, I notice that the reset button is halfway inside the case. You can push it, and it springs back to said halfway-inside-case-position. My leet troubleshooting skills are rather annulled by the stupid warranty seals, though.

If it is indeed the bloody reset button as I suspect, and there's a way to pop the little wanker back out without cracking open the case, I'd rather skip the hassle of taking it in for service and being forced to use the pitifully slow backup machine in the meantime.
posted by romakimmy to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Maybe try poking the edges of it with a toothpick or a q-tip with rubbing alcohol on it or something? Or, if that doesn't work, give the case a good smack? (Of course, if this breaks your computer, it's not my fault).
posted by box at 9:54 AM on July 14, 2007

If you've got the room, try cutting a small rectangle of soda-bottle and pushing it into the gap around the button, then slide it all the way around the button.

Also, many warranty stickers can be removed undetectably by heating them up with a hair dryer and SLOWLY pulling them off - You're better off just pulling it aside enough to get the case open, then sitting the entire case piece aside with the sticker attached.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:08 AM on July 14, 2007

Another possibility would be to get something like a paper clip and use that to push the button, and as the button comes back to its half-in position, keep pressure on it with the clip. Use this pressure to sort of nudge the button over as it comes back up.

I don't know if that would work, though.
posted by DMan at 10:19 AM on July 14, 2007

Sometimes buttons like that can be unstuck by sort of snapping them or hitting them a little abruptly/forcefully. Probably should unplug the machine first just in case. And don't get too carried away and break something.
posted by 6550 at 10:22 AM on July 14, 2007

With computers, most of the time the button that you push is a button that presses another button inside. Sometimes the inside button gets loose from its mooring and moves further into the case. What I'm trying to say is that it may not be possible to fix without opening the case.

Upon a final rereading :) of your question though, if you really think it's just the outside button that's stuck and won't unpress, I've had great luck with either a safety pin or a regular sewing pin (not sure of the actual name, I'm referring to the one which upon its head an unknown number of angels can dance). If the button itself is plastic, take the pin and press it into the face of the button at as much of an angle as you can muster (think "/"). Use a striking object if necessary (I like screwdriver handles), but make sure the pin is in the button. If you can get a good grip on the button this way you can pull the button out as far as you want/can. Alternatively you can try some kind of plastic stick and krazy glue to affix a pulling handle to the face of the button.
posted by rhizome at 10:31 AM on July 14, 2007

Most reset buttons are SUPPOSED to be like this. It keeps you from accidently resetting the machine. I don't think that 's the cause of your problem. I think they're referred to as "recessed buttons"

Does it show any signs of getting power? Is there a power supple switch on the back? Make sure that's in the right position.
posted by cosmicbandito at 11:48 AM on July 14, 2007

I'd be tempted to fix this myself, but I used to be a professional. With a warranty, even having been a pro, I'd strongly consider waiting until I could take it in for service, since it sounds like a mounting bracket -- possibly plastic -- has come undone or even snapped. This could be forcing the button into constant contact, leading to who knows what effect on your attempts to boot. On the off chance you need a new power supply and/or motherboard, maybe not voiding the warranty is a good idea.

(For the record, the sticker is just a handy excuse in case something goes horribly awry. I've gotten warranty service even with stickers removed, if I explain that I just added a card or memory. But if I'd had a fried motherboard, who knows if they'd have been as kind.)
posted by dhartung at 12:12 PM on July 14, 2007

Thanks to all for the replies. For the record:
  • The reset button was originally flush with the outside housing
  • The stickers are cheap flimsy paper, so the blow dryer solution makes me a wee bit nervous
  • Power is being supplied as the DVD, mouse, keyboard, and a USB key with DamnSmallLinux are getting power; by the HD activity LED & sound of it, the HD as well. I've got a working spare power supply that I'd usually use for troubleshooting, but...Argggg!
  • I managed to pry off the external drive face plates and awkwardly use a hand mirror to squint and peer downwards - looks like the button and whatever it connects to have indeed become unseated. Not something one can fix without breaking open the [crappy OEM] case. And a magnifying mirror would have been nice to better assess things, but I don't have one in my girly makeup bag, unfortunately. Thus, dhartung & rhizome get the reward cookie.
So at this point, it'll be going in and I suspect the reset button, the MB and the power supply in that order, with the processor & HD being long shots. I'll update when they send it back.

And please excuse my crankiness - I'm not looking forward to dealing yet again with potentially patronising service people who take forever; my SO has already been waiting 10 days for a freakin' faulty-battery-under-warranty-replacement on his MacBookPro. And come next PC, I'll build the damn thing myself. Harrumph.
posted by romakimmy at 10:59 AM on July 15, 2007

« Older Whoever took my camera from my house, you suck   |   Just type lol, not LOL.... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.