How to determine if Your Motherboard Is Dead


Before you open up your PC, be sure to discharge yourself of static electricity. You can achieve this by using a static wrist band or discharging your body’s static electricity by tapping a smooth metal surface using your fingers.


  1. Power up your computer and wait for a short beep

If nothing gets displayed on your display and you do not hear a short beep, those could be signs suggestive of a motherboard failure. The short beep indicate the success of the computer’s power-on self-test. POST is a process the computer checks that the necessary system requirements and hardware connections are in order for the system to power up properly. Almost 50% of the time, when there is no beep and no display are observed, this is a sign of a dead motherboard.

  1. Remove the RAM and the third-party video card (if there is any) and power up your computer.

In this second step, we shall try to rule out a memory or video card defect. Most motherboards will produce a beep code similar to the POST beep if it detects no RAM is installed. But unlike the POST beep, RAM error beep code is distinguished by repetitive and long beeps. So if you hear this kind of beep after powering up your motherboard, we can conclude that the motherboard is not dead and it is actually the RAM that is causing the problem. If no such beep is produced, then you should continue with the remaining diagnostic tests.

  1. Reset the RAM in other slots if there are any.

Most Motherboards do not produce a beep if no RAM is installed. Another way to rule out a RAM-related defect is to try and reset the RAM memory stick in other slots if possible. This further rules out the possibility of RAM stick or RAM slot defect.

  1. Try another working RAM if possible.

If a compatible RAM stick is at hand, you might as well try and use it on your motherboard to ultimately rule out memory-related issues.

  1. Check if the motherboard speaker is properly attached to its designated slot.

A tiny speaker attached to the motherboard is the one that makes possible the motherboard beeps. Consult your motherboard manufacturer manual to find where this speaker is located and check if it is still securely attached to where it should be.

  1. Try a different power supply.

Just because the fan (for power supply or the CPU) is spinning and the power LED lights are on doesn’t necessarily mean your power supply is delivering the right voltage to your motherboard. There are occasions where your computer’s power supply may look normal and functional, but when the opposite actually holds true. Test the power output of your power cable using a multimeter. The other way is if you have a spare power supply try it on your motherboard.

  1. Remove the motherboard out from the case and place it on an insulated surface.

In geek words, this is commonly called as “breadboarding.” This is essential to check for shorting or grounding issues. While on the “breadboard”, connect the motherboard back to the power supply and power it up once again.

  1. Reset the CMOS.

By this time, we are running out of options. Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is one desperate measure. The CMOS or complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor is a part of the motherboard that is commonly known for housing the BIOS settings for older motherboards. Modern computers often have their own non-volatile memory to store BIOS settings so they do not use CMOS for that function anymore. Nevertheless, CMOS is still considered a viable option for troubleshooting motherboard boot-up problems, regardless if it is a modern or old board.

There are two ways to reset your motherboard’s CMOS. The first one is to remove the CMOS battery, a silver disc resembling that of a watch battery, from the motherboard. You may need to consult your motherboard’s documentation to locate the battery. You need to attach the CMOS battery back to its slot after at least 5 minutes and power up the motherboard thereafter. Again, you should cross your fingers and wait for a short beep.

If that didn’t work, you might try another way. You may need to use “jumpers” to perform a Hard Reset on your CMOS. The location of these jumpers and the process to reset the CMOS by using them vary from one motherboard brand to another, so the best way to get a hold of comprehensive information about this process is through your motherboard’s manual. After successfully carrying out the necessary steps, power up your motherboard, cross your fingers and wait for a short beep.

  1. Try inserting your other system hardware components (RAM, CPU, Power Supply) to a similar motherboard.

You have exhausted all the possible steps to rule out a dead motherboard problem. Unfortunately, it appears that a dead motherboard might just be the case here. This last step could be the final nail on the coffin for your predicament. Migrating all the essential hardware attached to your motherboard to another working motherboard and successfully booting up with the new setup is the only surefire way to validate if your motherboard has finally succumbed to the death harbinger.