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Randy The Tech Professor

March 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm

How I Diagnosed A Bad Motherboard (In Ten Steps)

Hello everyone

A client gave me an old computer that would not boot up. The monitor screen was absolutely dead, totally black, no BIOS screen, nothing (I was using my own monitor that I knew was 100% good). I didn’t immediately know what was causing this problem so I had to spend almost all day troubleshooting in order to come up with the correct diagnosis.

Here are the exact steps that I took (in this exact order) to figure out what was wrong:

  1. I pressed the power button and saw that the screen was dead, totally black, nothing.
  2. I was getting power (fans were spinning, HD was spinning up, CD/DVD drive trays were working), so I concluded that the Power Supply was OK (I did actually try a new Power Supply just in case but still no screen).
  3. I heard no unusual beeping at start-up (certain beep sequences are an indication of bad RAM).
  4. I reseated and then replaced the Video Card with a new one but still nothing on the screen.
  5. I reseated and then replaced the RAM memory modules but still nothing on the screen.
  6. I checked the CPU (it was seated correctly and the fan on the heat sink was running).
  7. I tried a different IDE Hard Drive cable but still no screen.
  8. I tried another CPU but still no screen.
  9. I had known previously that the Hard Drive was good.
  10. Final Conclusion: Bad Motherboard! (time to order a new one, like this one).

Professor Randy says: It may be tedious, but don’t skip any steps when troubleshooting a computer problem. Your thoroughness will be eventually appreciated by your clients and your reputation for excellence will lead to a successful business!

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  • Grinch
    5:15 am on April 1st, 2012 1

    Identical situation, but old computer continues working normally after cleaning (literally washing) old ram contacts.


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