Home » Signs of a Failing & Bad Motherboard (Updated) 2020

Signs of a Failing & Bad Motherboard (Updated) 2020

Your computer might suddenly just stop working. If this happens, it might be possible that the motherboard is bad. What if you notice signs of a failing motherboard?

In that case, you have to repair or replace it. But doing so is a bit of a problem, because replacing it means replacing the memory, along with the CPU.

Find out how you’ll know if your mobo is bad, and what you can do to fix this issue.

How to tell if motherboard is bad

There are some early warning signs which can help you know how to tell if motherboard is failing. These signs warn you to be prepared in advance, so that you can start troubleshooting this failure.

  • The mobo doesn’t Power On Self Test (POST).
  • Leaking or bloated capacitors.
  • Peripherals don’t work for a moment or so.
  • The monitor shows unusual lines.
  • The mobo doesn’t recognize peripherals.
  • The computer doesn’t recognize flash drives.
Signs of a Failing & Bad Motherboard (Updated)

What are the signs of a failing motherboard?

With these symptoms, you can tell if a motherboard is dead right away:-

  • Blue screen of death:- Your computer’s hardware might have failed, or there might be a bad driver, leading to a blue screen of death on your computer. But usually, this happens due to mother board failure.
  • Parts that are physically damaged:- Scan the motherboard physically to see if there’s any damaged or leaking capacitor. Even if you notice a bloated capacitor, this might be causing motherboards problems.
  • Random freezing issues:- Find out whether any software is the cause behind this random freezing of the PC. If all the software are working well, then something may be the problem with the mobo.
  • Strong burning smell:- Another way you can tell if mobo is dead is a strong, unusual burning odor. This indicates that a component might be overheated.

Overheating might occur when you plug in a component that’s incompatible with your system. If you notice this smell after you added the component, like a video card or RAM, remove this component right away.

So, always make sure to check a component’s compatibility first.

Reasons for mother board failure

Why do people report signs  of a failing motherboard? Learn what the reasons can possibly be:-

  • Voltage fluctuations or power surges
  • Liquid damage
  • Old age
  • Overheating
  • Dust particles
  • Smoke
  • Fan failure
  • Debris
  • Physical damage

How to test motherboard for faults if PC passes POST and boots the OS

If you want to determine whether the mobo is bad or not, you need to check other hardware items first for potential symptoms of failure.

  • Check the CPU:-As you must know, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the heart of a computer system. That’s why, if the processor fails, the entire system will become unstable or will totally break down.

If your computer runs on an Intel processor, you can find out your CPU’s status by using the Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool.

  • Check the Hard Drive:- You can understand whether your PC hard drive is working properly or not by noticing the boot time. If the system takes longer than usual to boot up, there might be a problem with the hard drive.

Even if any unusual sound comes from it, you will know that it’s a hard drive issue. Symptoms of a problematic hard drive include missing or corrupted files, infrequent crashes, random freezing issues, or bad sectors.

If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a professional to troubleshoot the hard drive.

  • Perform a visual hardware check:- Always make sure to check all the connections. Before you try another system reboot, it’s better to go through every connected peripheral.

Plus, all the fans should keep working to provide enough ventilation and cooling. So, you need to ensure their proper operation.

  • Check the RAM:- If you install a Random Access Memory (RAM) that does not match the specifications of your computer, it might cause trouble. This is because it will lead to system instability, corrupted data, frequent crashes, system freezing problems, and a horde of other issues.

Try to remember whether the problem has been occurring before or after you installed a RAM chip.

If it has been taking place after the chip was installed, remove it and then reboot the PC.

  • Check the PSU:- Whether your PC dies or not, you should pay attention to the Power Supply Unit (PSU), too.

The PSU works to power up your computer. But if it doesn’t match the specifications of your computer, it might damage your system permanently.

It can’t endure too much load, so, if it can’t supply enough power to the system, other components might be severely damaged as well.

Use the BIOS menu to check your PSU voltage via after consulting your mobo manual.

  • Check the GPU:- You can understand whether the PC is facing a video problem if you notice unnatural screen pixelation.

Every motherboard comes with certain video capabilities that are built into the system. But for performing graphics-intensive tasks, these capabilities might not be adequate.

This is why pro gamers usually install more powerful Graphics Processing Units (GPU) into their computer system.

If you have one such graphics card installed, try removing it and then see if the system works properly without it.

Check whether your BIOS firmware needs to be updated

You should update the current BIOS version in order to repair a broken motherboard. If you don’t know how to update it, consult the documentation of your mobo.

Motherboards troubleshooting steps if POST is unsuccessful and PC does not boot

You can test motherboard for possible issues in the following ways:-

  • Check the CMOS:- A Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) is an information-storing onboard chip. Such information includes the boot sequence of the system, the date and time, and other BIOS settings.

CMOS runs on a Lithium-ion battery that can get drained after some time. In case this battery dies, the BIOS settings will change back to their default mode as soon as you restart your computer.

For example, if you see that your computer’s clock has changed even though you had nothing to do with it, it means that the CMOS battery might have died.

To check CMOS, check the documentation that comes with your system.

  • Physically check motherboard health:- Make sure that no capacitors are leaking and that everything is connected properly. You might need an LED light to see if the hard drive, the CPU, RAM, and other essential components are working normally.

If you see that everything is working properly and you can find no visible damage to any of the components, your PC might not be turning on due to some other cause.

In this case, your motherboard is most probably fine.

How to fix motherboards problems on laptop

You can test if motherboard is dead on your laptop by using these techniques:-

  • Check the monitor:- Ensure that the video cable is connected to your laptop monitor properly. There might be loose connections, so it’s best to unplug the cable and then plug it back in. Also, make sure that the monitor’s power is on.
  • Check the laptop’s battery:- Your laptop’s CMOS battery might be drained, which is why you can experience bad motherboard symptoms. To confirm whether the battery is causing the problem, start up your laptop after removing the CMOS battery.
  • Check the graphic hardware:- Take out your device’s graphic card, if you have one connected to the mobo. Then, plug in the video cable of your monitor into the motherboard and restart the laptop. If you don’t see any issues, your graphic card must be damaged. You need to replace it or at least have it repaired.
  • Check the RAM:- One of the most common broken motherboard issues is that your laptop’s Random Access Memory (RAM) might be dead, which is why it’s not working. If there are two RAMs in your laptop, remove any one of them and start your device. Do this test for each of the RAMs. If it turns out that the problem is with the RAM, it needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Check the laptop’s internal hardware:- For proper operation, a motherboard needs only 4 things_ Processor, SPMS, RAM, and Fan. If your laptop has any additional hardware installed, you can try removing each of these items and then see if the device is working properly. In case it does, this means that the problem lies in one of the systems of your device’s interior hardware. Test each part to find out which one you need to replace or have repaired.


There are several signs of a failing motherboard, but it’s difficult to point out which one specifically is disrupting your system.

For that, you should consult either the mobo documentation, or someone who’s an expert in this field.