How to Tell if the Motherboard is Bad: A Guide to Diagnosing and Fixing Common PC Issues

Common symptoms of motherboard issues are similar to CPU problems: The system does not display anything, an error code appears, one or more beeps occur, the system locks, the system reboots, a Windows BSOD (blue screen of death) appears, or one or more of the ports, expansion slots, or memory modules fails.

If you’re experiencing a black screen when you boot up your PC, there are a few things you can do to diagnose and fix the problem. In this post, we’ll go through four solutions, two of which are common and two of which are uncommon.

Firstly, it’s important to check the power supply. If your PC is getting power, but the monitor is still black, it’s possible that the power supply is losing power at the beginning before it goes dead. Try swapping out the power supply with a new one to see if this solves the problem.

If this doesn’t work, there are two uncommon issues that could cause a black screen. The first is that one of your RAM sticks has gone bad or is dirty. Remove the RAM sticks and clean the connections with an eraser. If you have two or more RAM sticks, plug them in one at a time to determine if one of them is bad. The second uncommon issue is the CMOS battery. If your computer won’t boot up, one of the things that could cause that is a corruption in the BIOS CMOS static RAM. To fix this, unplug your computer, remove the coin cell battery from the motherboard, wait a few minutes, and put it back in. This returns the BIOS back to factory settings.

If those two uncommon solutions do not work, then the two most common solutions are the power supply issue and lastly, the motherboard issue. If you’ve swapped out the power supply and the problem persists, it’s likely that the motherboard is the issue.

Swapping out an exact same motherboard is a relatively simple process. Remove the old CPU and RAM sticks from the old motherboard, take a picture of the wiring of the motherboard for reference when reinstalling the new motherboard, and install the new motherboard.

In the case of the customer who dropped off their PC at the shop, it was the motherboard causing the black screen. The motherboard had likely gone out due to a power surge and accumulated dirt and dust. Swapping out the motherboard with the exact same model solved the problem.

In conclusion, if you’re experiencing a black screen when you boot up your PC, be sure to check the power supply, RAM sticks, and CMOS battery before determining that the motherboard is the issue. And if you do need to swap out the motherboard, it’s a relatively simple process that can save you money compared to upgrading to a new motherboard, which may require new RAM sticks and a new CPU.


How do I know if my motherboard is damaged?
The motherboard is the computer, so the usual symptom of a failed motherboard is a completely dead system. Fans, drives, and other peripherals may spin up if the motherboard is dead, but more often nothing at all happens when you turn on the power. No beeps, no lights, no fans, nothing.
How can I test my motherboard?
Disconnect all power sources from your computer. ... Find the 20-pin ATX power connector on your motherboard. ... Set your multimeter to the DC voltage setting and touch the red lead to the positive terminal of the power connector. ... You should see a reading of volts on the display.More items...•
How do I know if my RAM or motherboard is bad?
Diminishing Performance. One of the most tell-tale signs of RAM failure is diminishing performance over time. ... Random Crashes. ... Video Card Fails to Load. ... Corrupted Data Files. ... Incorrect System RAM Display.
How do you tell if you fried your motherboard?
Diagnostic Beep Codes If you hear a pattern of beeps or a siren followed by a system halt when you turn your computer on, a failing motherboard component could be to blame. However, the same can occur if a removable component is bad or not installed properly, such as a video card or RAM module.