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Is My Motherboard Dead?

A motherboard is the most important part of your PC as almost all of the components are connected to it. Your PC can function if there is a malfunction with other components. But if the motherboard malfunctions, your computer won’t even turn on.

The worst part about this is that motherboards are quite expensive and you have to spend a lot of money to replace the dead motherboard with a new one.

Diagnosing the problem with your motherboard is also not that easy. When your PC misbehaves, it is difficult to identify whether the problem is caused because of a dead motherboard or any other component failure.

The following article provides a detailed explanation on how to tell if your motherboard is dead and to detect the early warnings and preventing the complete motherboard failure

How Can I tell if My Motherboard is Dead?

It can be quite difficult to diagnose a motherboard failure because you won’t be able to figure out whether your system turned off because of a motherboard malfunction or failure of other components. There are a few basic diagnostic techniques you can use to confirm that your motherboard is in fact dead.

If your system shuts off randomly or doesn’t turn on even after pressing the power button, then it might be an indication of a failed motherboard. However, it could also be because of a dead PSU or overheated CPU. So, first you have to rule out the possibilities of other component failure in order to confirm if your motherboard is dead.

To check the condition of your PSU, plug it into a different system that is working properly. If the system does not work, then it means the problem is with the PSU. Alternatively, you can plug a different PSU that is working properly in your system. If the system works properly, then again, the problem is with your PSU.

In case of laptops, a dead motherboard and a dead battery will cause the same issue of your laptop not turning on. So, you will have to rule out the possibility of a dead battery. For this, connect your laptop to an AC adapter and press the power button. If it turns on, then the problem is with your battery indicating that your motherboard works fine.

Sometimes, when your PC is not turning-on or shutting off randomly, you will get a beep sound when the BIOS tries to POST. There will be different beep sounds for different hardware failures. Also, the beep sound will vary from one manufacturer to another. So, you will have to check the user manual to know what the beep sound indicates. If your motherboard’s power light is not on and if the PC does not POST, then you can conclude that your motherboard has failed.

Also, you will have to visually inspect the motherboard to check if there are any bents, bulges, or blown capacitors. If you notice such damage, then it means that your motherboard is dead. Burning smell is also an indication of a failed motherboard.

How to Avoid a Dead Motherboard?

Like all electronic components, a motherboard is also susceptible to damage. However, if you take proper care and use it in the right manner, then your motherboard can last longer that expected.

Also, you will have to have a keen eye on all of your hardware to check if they run into any issues. If the issues are detected at an early stage, you can easily troubleshoot them, instead of replacing them.

Symptoms of Failure

Not every hardware problem will show symptoms at the early stage, but a motherboard failure will show some signs. You need to have a keen eye and act swiftly to prevent the issue from getting out of your hands. Below is a complete list of symptoms that you can use to identify if your motherboard is approaching its doomsday.

1. Physical Damage

This is one of the most obvious and clear indications of a malfunctioning motherboard. The physical damage includes a burnt transistor or chipped circuits.

When this happens, you will get a burning smell. Immediately remove the PC case and check the motherboard for signs of visual damage. If you notice any physical damage, take it to an authorized service Centre to replace or rectify the damaged parts.

2. Glitches or Freezes

This is one of the more annoying symptoms that you can never really miss where your computer screen freezes momentarily. Your computer will run fine one moment. But, the next moment, it freezes and you can do anything but wait until the screen resumes.

The issue is prominent during the loading of a program. It also happens a lot when the program is running.

However, just because your computer screen glitches, it does not mean there is a problem with your motherboard. Your computer screen can freeze due to a variety of reasons. But, when the issue happens more frequently, then there is a high chance that it is caused by a failing motherboard.

3. Slowing Down

There is a distinct difference between freezing and slowing down. Freezing pauses your computer screen whereas slowing down means everything happens at a slower pace. This includes programs loading at a slower rate, typing and keystrokes aren’t recognized as fast as they showed be.

However, this doesn’t mean that your motherboard is starting to fail. It just means that your motherboard is not in its ideal working condition. It will continue to work but, also, you will have to upgrade your hardware to eliminate any potential failures in future.

4. Not Recognizing Hardware

Hardware can include any type of plugin like flash drive or computer mouse. When this issue happens, you will receive an error message stating that the hardware is unreadable or not recognized. You will not be able to use or access the plugin.

Now, this can happen due to two reasons. The first one is that there is a fault with the hardware. The second one is because of a failing motherboard. You can connect the plug the hardware to another computer to rule out the possibility of any malfunctions in the hardware.

5. The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD)

The Blue Screen of Death is a very critical issue that is a clear indication that your motherboard is in imminent danger. Traditionally, these critical error messages were displayed on a blue screen, and hence the name, Blue Screen of Death. The error message indicates that there are system conflicts and a potential clash.

But, the latest operating systems have been designed to deal with many errors without interruptions. Hence, this issue has become less common. However, if you get this issue, you have to be quick to act.

Reasons why a Motherboard would Die

Understanding the different reasons for the failure of a motherboard will help you to avoid those and prolong your motherboard’s life. Here are the different reasons why a motherboard would die:

1. Overheating

Computers generate heat continuously when they are working. If the hardware can’t support the workload, then the heat generation is even higher. If your computer does not have an efficient heat dissipation system, then it will lead to the failure of all system components including the motherboard.

Not just the internal heat dissipation system, the computer should be placed in a well-ventilated system for the heat to dissipate.

2. Dust

Dust and debris that get accumulated on the ports and the motherboard surface can lead to its failure. The electrical charge of the electronic components will attract dust that gets accumulated.

Dust is a natural insulator that prevents heat from dissipating. Besides, it also disrupts the electrical currents on your motherboard. Open your PC case and clean the internal components periodically to remove all the dust and debris.

3. Fan Failure

A cooling fan is an integral part of any heat dissipation system. It prevents the overheating of your computer and ensures that a constant temperature is maintained.

If the cooling fan does work properly or fails completely, then there would be a lot of heat build-up within the system. This heat will lead to the failure of most of the electronic components and that includes your motherboard as well.

The fan can fail due to a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is overworking. If you run high end games and heavy applications that your hardware can not handle, your fan will have to overwork to dissipate the large amount of heat generated. This can lead to its demise.

You will also have to clean your fan at least once a year to prevent dust and other debris that will reduce its efficiency.

4. Rough Handling

As we had already seen, physical damage of your motherboard can also lead to its failure. The main reason for the physical damage is rough handling. A motherboard is a sturdy piece of electronic component but it will sustain a considerable amount of damage when you drop it.

When you drop the motherboard or the CPU along with the motherboard, it will subject the motherboard to shock that will lead to complete failure.

5. Power Surges and Unstable Voltage

The electronic components including your PC need a constant power supply. An unstable voltage and power surges will fry the components and lead to the failure of your motherboard.

Use a stabilizer or surge protectors in order to prevent power surges and unstable voltage. They do a good job in supplying constant power to your PC.

6. Ageing

Your computer’s motherboard, just like any other electronic component, can become obsolete over time. There is nothing much you can do about this. Every motherboard comes with a life expectancy.

As your PC becomes older, each component will start to malfunction. In most cases, your fan motors will be the first to go out. But, you have to make sure to replace the worn-out components swiftly. If not, it will affect the other components and reduce their life including the motherboard.


The best way to confirm if your motherboard is in fact dead is to rule out the possibilities of the failure of other components. You have to check if the other components are working in fine condition. Also, a visual inspection of the motherboard will let you know if it has sustained any physical damage.

If you have any further queries or doubts, let us know using the comments section. My team will help you out. You can also post your thoughts and opinions in the comments box.

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