How to Fix an Asus UX31
Ultrabook That Won’t Turn on

  • Comments: 24
  • Written on: April 5th, 2013

ux31_ultrabookAs technology gets smaller and thinner, there is a serious temptation by manufacturers to make computers more and more difficult to repair.  For example, yesterday I was computing away on my couch with my Asus UX31A Ultrabook until it just quit suddenly and powered off.

The unit is still under the manufacturer warranty, but Asus is a stickler about keeping paperwork like purchase receipts.  I own a computer repair company and we usually archive these invoices for customers, but I bought this one on my own and I am terrible with paperwork.  I search for about 30 minutes for my purchase receipt before I gave up and took matters into my own hands.

Problem Description:

There are several reports on the web about these technological marvels just up and quitting.  They are amazing when the work but it is beyond frustrating when they just quit for no reason.  When mine quit I assumed my battery had died, so I grabbed grabbed my AC adapter and hooked it up.  Nothing.

Pressing the power button got no response at all.  To add insult to injury, after about five minutes the light on the AC adapter indicated the unit had a fully charged battery.

Pressing and holding the power button did nothing.  This unit does not have a manual “pin prick” button to reset the system.

Elsewhere online the problem could be you get a power light and the Asus unit will not boot.  Same problem solved here.

Problem Solution:

Online there is a lot of worry and gnashing of teeth over fears that opening your Asus UX31 will void your warranty.  While it is true if you go stabbing around with a screwdriver and destroy the thing your warranty will be void.  Also keep in mind if you elect to utilize your warranty and you have the proper paperwork you will probably be without your laptop for anywhere between a week and a month.

Instead you need to grab a small TORX screwdriver set.  Asus didn’t use regular phillips head screws in the base of the unit, so a special screwdriver is needed.  Don’t try to make the wrong tool for the job work.  You can buy a set of TORX bits and a screwdriver on Amazon for about $10.  Get the right tools for the job.

STEP 1:  Remove the screws from the base of your Ultrabook.  This is pretty straight forward stuff, and if I would have been thinking I would have snapped pictures while I had mine apart.  Don’t worry though, you are just a few screws and a plug away from victory.

There are 10 TORX screws holding the back plate on the Ultrabook.  All of them are the same size except two.  The two screws in the center of the unit near the screen hinge are longer.  Make sure these two screws get in the correct holes on reassembly.  The rest are interchangeable.  Remove the back plate to expose the soft underbelly of your rebellious Ultrabook.

STEP 2:  Unplug the batter from the main board.  You will see a large black mass secured by three screws.  This is your Ultrabook’s battery.  No need to unscrew it form the unit.  Leave it as it is and focus instead on disconnecting it from the main board.

Toward the upper left corner of the battery you will notice a small row of multicolored wires that terminate in a black plastic block on the bottom left corner of the main board.  You need to disconnect this form the main board CAREFULLY!

Asus was kind enough to place a black plastic loop around the wires (not the harness).  From looking it appears you could just pull the loop and get the plug out.  DON’T DO IT.  The loop is there for assembly easy – not disassembly.  If you pull the loop you could tear the wires from the harness, rendering your battery useless.

Instead, use a very small screwdriver to pop each edge of the the black hard plastic harness upward.  The plug lifts straight up.  No twisting, no flipping.  It comes straight up.  It will resist.  Mine took minor upward pressure on a jewelers screwdriver at each corner to GENTLY pop it up and free from the main board.

STEP 3:  Plug in your AC Adapter.  Once you have the battery unplugged, you have effectively removed all power from the unit (a power cycle procedure in normal circumstances).

Plug in your AC Adapter, open the unit and attempt to turn it on.  It should power up!  If it does not, this article will not solve your issue because it lies either in the AC adapter, a broken DC jack, or the unit’s main board its self.

Once you have verified the unit is passing its POST test and you get video on the screen, unplug it.

STEP 4:  Reassemble the Unit.  Follow the previous steps in reverse.  Plug in the battery again (a straight downward pressure).  Replace the back plate and the screws using your TORX screwdriver.  REMEMBER!!  There are two longer screws.  These go near the hinge in the center two holes.  The rest of the screws are interchangeable.

Now hook up the AC adapter again and confirm the unit works properly.

STEP 5:  Update the BIOS.  This happened because something ASUS made isn’t working right.  When that happens and it is discovered after the fact, manufacturers issue software updates to correct the problem called BIOS updates.  My UX31A unit had 4 BIOS revisions newer than the original BIOS installed on it.

Visit support.asus.com and check for a newer BIOS than the one you are running.  I am not going to explain this part because it is tricky and you can brick your unit.  Bricking an Ultrabook that won’t boot is one thing, but now that your does, I don’t want to be responsible for bricking it ;-)

Asus provides BIOS update instructions on the website if you are so inclined.

Leave a comment below with questions or to let me know if this worked for your unit like it did for mine!

  1. Evgeny
    Evgeny said on March 20th, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Yes, it worked for me, although I read it on the other website and I have updated the BIOS before opening the PC. And before I tried million of way, nothing worked – the unit kept switching off, when working from the battery, or hanging when disconnecting power.
    Now for two weeks – no shutdown, no hanging. Works like a clock!
    However, it is not very clear why simple re-connection of the battery enabled this magic?.. Probably the unit needed to reset some memory buffers which were fed by the battery otherwise.
    Good luck!

  2. Joe
    Joe said on April 24th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    This post was a life-saver – my son is a Freshman in college and had this power issue yesterday – he has a final exam tomorrow and a term paper due in a few days and all of his info was on the solid state drive; so needless to say he was panicking when ASUS told him that it would take a month to get it fixed.

    I had him print this post out and bring it to Best Buy — “shout out” to the Best Buy in Oshkosh WI for performing this procedure on his computer and didn’t charge him a penny! This post was awesome as it worked perfectly!!

  3. Roman said on May 5th, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Hi Folks! I tried each step of the tutorial – without success. Then I remembered an issue I had with the Keyboard of my ASUS UX31: I lost some keys (a,y)
    So I was wondering if that power up issue is more a “Power Key does not work” issue. I disconnected and reconnected the cable of the keyboard to the motherboard –> SUCCESS
    Here you can find a nice video that shows the steps:
    http://youtu.be/5E-2RCp8CZ0

    Hang Loose
    Roman

  4. Bob
    Bob said on June 8th, 2014 at 9:12 am

    It worked. I wonder if the battery can be replaced. They eventually go bad.

  5. Jo
    Jo said on June 17th, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I can turn my ultrabook on again :D the instructions was very thorough and worked perfectly. I just don’t know if i should update the BIOS to prevent it to happen again. What would your advice be?

  6. SR
    SR said on June 22nd, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    With the harness, am I suppose to pull up on the whole thing or just the part that’s inset? With the former, there’s no way to get leverage without risking hitting the board. With the latter, it seems like it’s impossible to find a tool to fit in the gap. If you could give some more details I’d appreciate it as I really need to fix this.

  7. Cyril
    Cyril said on July 3rd, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Thanks. It works perfectly know

  8. Greg
    Greg said on July 8th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Lifesaver! Great article. I’ve had to apply this method a couple times – on both my battery AND the keyboard connector. Love this Asus UX-31 but it sure seems as though Asus scimped on the quality of these mini-connectors.

  9. stu
    stu said on July 25th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    It worked. Thanks for the help.

  10. Youen
    Youen said on August 26th, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks a lot, that worked for me. I thought it wouldn’t start because the screen is broken (which it actually is, hope I’ll be able to change it), but it was indeed because of that BIOS issue. Now it boots again, even with the screen completely disconnected (so if someone is in the same situation : the screen is not required for this laptop to boot).

  11. Leo
    Leo said on September 6th, 2014 at 2:47 am

    My zenbook had the grub boot loader, during one power up I selected an option which I guess must have been to restore from factory image. In a panic I turned it off (holding the power button). From then on it wouldn’t move past the POST start screen and wouldn’t go to bios. I then tried disconnecting the battery, as above. Still no luck. Then I removed the SSD, sure enough I got to the bios. I was then able to boot to USB drive (ubuntu 14.04). I tried changing the bios setting turning off the fancy boot flag (UINE?) But now no screen activity, the machine might have become landfill

  12. DJ
    DJ said on September 7th, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    You rock! Totally saved time and money. Additional tips that helped me were: I used a bright flashlight to illuminate what I was doing. Under the bright light I could see that I could get UNDERNEATH the wiring harness and lift it up with the blade of the finest scissors I could fine. Otherwise, I kept struggling with trying to pry it out from the sides. Once I got under with the help of better lighting, it popped right off. A million thanks!

  13. Amy
    Amy said on September 21st, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Just wanted to say thank so much. This worked a treat on my dead Zenbook and as a non-technical person who found your instructions really easy to follow, I am grateful.

  14. Toomas
    Toomas said on October 6th, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Unfortunately this didn’t solve my issue. When I turn it on, the wan goes on with power button LED, but nothing else happens. Before it broke it was in BIOS mode for 20-30 minutes, then suddenly turned off. Anyone have some ideas? If yes, my email is t00mas@hotmail.com Thanks!

  15. Brad
    Brad said on October 20th, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Another vote of confidence from me, thanks Thor.

    I performed this on the UX31E that wouldn’t power on and the re-connection of the battery pack did the trick.

    I tried to be gentle with the connector but found it was ok to pull (softly) on the black ring. See this YouTube video for a demo, it happens in the first minute and you can get an idea of how to remove it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ckQP-01D9I

  16. michal
    michal said on November 29th, 2014 at 3:20 am

    Guys, (sorry my english, it is not my mother language) my situation (onable to power on the machine). I was operating the machine fine but kept in mind I must not power down. Only sleep. Once I power down and I could not power on for few days. Got crazy.
    – bios up to date
    – tried disconet the main battery as well as the little bios battery for 12hrs.
    no way.
    THen I read somewhere about possible keyboard cable improper attachment in the plug. BINGO ! GOT IT! This was the problem in my case.
    I have unplugged the keyboard plastic thin cable, cleaned the contacts by a cloth, plug it back. I paid attention to follwing: there is a white color plastic piece that is bellow the cable. But this is the critical part, you must push it toward the plug adfter you plug the cable, it locks the cable at the position and may be it pushes the cable contacts agains the plug, whatever … I did it with some gentle power – on left and right side as pushed it toward the plug. THe white plastic piece has got locked at certain position that I believe is the final position it has to be so.
    Now- so happy, I AM ABLE TO POWER ON (TO BOOT) MY ASUS UX31A :-)
    it was easy to repair it at the end, everybody who is able to replace the light bulb in a kitchen should be able to do this above too :-)

  17. Alan
    Alan said on November 29th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    You, dear sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you so kindly for your contribution to the knowledge base.

  18. hensley
    hensley said on December 7th, 2014 at 1:13 am

    You are a life saver!! I can kiss you right now!! Thanks so much!

  19. Dan Ila
    Dan Ila said on December 11th, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I had that problem with my Asus Ultrabook.I followed the steps you recomanded,including 5 minutes of injury,and my Asus began to work.Thanks a lot!!!
    B.R.,Dan

  20. Kyle
    Kyle said on December 18th, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for your post on this. I am having the same problem. When I follow your instructions, I am able to boot without the battery attached. If I attach the battery, I am unable to boot. I can attach the battery while in windows and it is recognized, but as soon as I shutdown, I can’t boot up again. No idea why this would be.

  21. Marty Halpern said on January 13th, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Sorry, I’m just finding this article in January 2015. I just replaced the battery on my UX31E because it was only holding a charge for a couple hours (I’ve had the Zenbook for about three years). The netbook works perfectly on AC charge. It boots up just fine on battery in Windows 7 Safe Mode. **However** when I try to boot directly into Windows on the battery, it shuts down immediately. So, it works on battery in Safe Mode but not in standard mode (shuts down). That tells me the battery is functioning fine, but something in Windows itself is affecting the boot — but still has to do with the battery. The battery driver perhaps?

  22. jay
    jay said on February 11th, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    My laptop does power up; the power and keyboard are lit when I turn it on even as the battery was disconnected from the main board. But it doesn’t go beyond lighting up. Any ideas what could be there problem? Battery jack indicates the battery charges just fine…

  23. Lori
    Lori said on February 13th, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Ahhh, worked like a champ!! Can’t thank you enough for sharing your expertise!! :-)

  24. Anonymous said on December 14th, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    […] hilft das hier: How to Fix an Asus UX31 Ultrabook That Won’t Turn on […]

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