How to Test the PC Motherboard


Motherboard problems can arise from different reasons, and if they're not handled correctly, they can damage other components, too. Since the motherboard actually holds all the components, the cause for a motherboard failure may be a different component, so it's essential to find the cause of your problem before you try to fix it.

Things You'll Need

  • Multimeter
  • Replacement PC Components
  • Testing Software

Physical Checkup

  • Unplug your PC and disconnect all the cables.

  • Open the case and carefully inspect the motherboard. Look for blown capacitors, fuses or burned out chips or any unusual looking components that may indicate a malfunction.

  • Use the multimeter to test the components you're suspicious about.

Hardware Checkup

  • Remove all the peripheral components from the motherboard, such as network cards, sound cards or other hardware, leaving only the basic components needed by the computer to boot.

  • Power on the PC to see if it starts. You should hear a short beep made by the BIOS to indicate that everything is fine. If you don't hear the beep or there are multiple beeps, something is wrong.

  • Replace every component with a spare one that works and repeat the previous step. If problems still occur after you tested ever other component, the motherboard may be faulty and need replacement.

Settings Checkup

  • Power on the PC and enter the BIOS utility. Reset every setting to the Default settings and reboot the PC.

  • Pay attention to the BIOS beep codes, as they can help you identify your problem. There should be a section in your motherboard's manual indicating what each beep pattern means.

  • Run diagnostics software. These programs usually test all the features of a motherboard and can accurately identify what's not working properly or at all.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you find a blown fuse or capacitor, don't attempt to replace it. Motherboard circuits are very sensitive, and the blown component may not be the cause of your problem, but rather the effect. Fuses and capacitors have the role to protect other components from being affected by a malfunction, and replacing a blown one may endanger your other components.
  • If your PC runs fine with only the basic components, insert the peripheral cards one by one and keep testing your PC after each one is inserted to identify which one is causing the malfunction.
  • Always use an antistatic wrist wrap when handling computer components to avoid damage by static electricity.

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  • Photo Credit motherboard image by dinostock from
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