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What if it doesn't work?

It's a terrible feeling.

After all the time you spent planning, designing, and assembling your homebuilt computer, you push the button to fire it up for the first time...

And it doesn't work.

Now what?

First of all, stay calm. And don't cry. Unless you're a little kid. Then you can cry if you want. And when you're done, start doing some troubleshooting. Here are some troubleshooting tips and tricks.

If Your Computer Won't Post or Boot to CMOS Setup

If Your Computer Won't Boot to the Operating System Installer Flash Drive

If your computer posted okay, but won't boot to the Windows or other operating system USB stick, try these steps.

If Your Operating System Insists on Installing the Bootloader to the Wrong Drive

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This happens sometimes when you have both an M.2 drive and one or more SATA drives. The first SATA drive is the default place for the bootloader to install; and some operating systems will install it there even if you really want it on the M.2 drive.

A related problem is when the operating system ignores the M.2 drive and simply installs to the SATA drive, not even giving you the option to install to the M.2 drive.

In either case, the solution is the same: Power down the computer and disconnect the data leads from all the drives except the M.2 drive. Then repeat the installation. This time it will install to the M.2 drive because it will be the only drive in the system.

Once the system installs to the M.2 drive, restart the computer. While it is running, re-connect the data lead to the SATA drive to which the system previously erroneously installed, delete the partition in your operating system's partitioning utility (Disk Management or DISKPART in Windows, for example), and reformat the drive.

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