How to Tell If My Motherboard is Dead

There are several things to check before concluding that your motherboard is dead, and today we will be discussing some of the methods for checking if your motherboard is truly not working anymore.

I have been working on computers for 8+ years. This has given me insight into the various reasons motherboards may fail, and how to check if they have actually failed or if something else is going on.

Today we will be discussing the signs of a dead motherboard, and several things to check before coming to the conclusion that the motherboard is actually dead.

Key Takeaways

  • Dead motherboards can still have working peripherals.
  • Check other aspects before assuming the motherboard is dead.
  • Ensure the CMOS battery is working.

Symptoms of Dead System

Fans, drives, and other peripherals may turn on, but nothing actually happens.

When a motherboard is dead, this means that it is no longer working as intended. Whether the computer won’t boot up, or nothing happens when power is pressed, there are several signs pointing to a motherboard failure.

The most common sign would be that when power is given and the on button has been activated, nothing happens. This would signal that the motherboard is dead, because if it was working then the computer would make some kind of noise or boot up like normal.

The other situation is that when you press the power button the fans, drives or other peripherals may turn on but nothing happens on the screen. This is because sometimes power is able to flow through the motherboard, but it is still unable to boot up correctly.

If that is the case, it may be a little harder to diagnose. You will want to confirm your monitor is working, that your cables are all properly plugged in, and hardware is all properly seated. This will ensure you can rule out other variables and conclude that it is actually the motherboard.

Ensure It Is Receiving Power

The most common cause of nothing happening when the computer is powered on, is that the power source is faulty. This could come in the form of the plug coming out of an outlet, the power cable being damaged, or a breaker being tripped for that outlet.

These are easy to check, and easier to ensure than buying a new motherboard and swapping over to it. That’s why I recommend checking these things before calling it a day and declaring that the motherboard is dead.

Ensure CMOS Battery Has Power

On a motherboard, there is a little battery called a CMOS battery. This battery is used for several things, but one thing that is important is the BISO firmware. This is the firmware in charge of booting your computer up and ensuring that data flows correctly.

If the CMOS battery is dislodged or dead, this can also give similar symptoms to a dead motherboard. Luckily, these batteries are cheap and can be found at most stores that sell batteries so trying a new one is a good step to take when diagnosing your motherboard.

See If BIOS Shows When Booting

If the peripherals attached to a motherboard are working, but you see nothing on the screen, you will want to see if the BIOS is showing up. You can do this by trying a different monitor, a different display cable, or a different display port. These can eliminate some common issues.


Here are some other related questions about dead motherboards, I’ll briefly answer them below.

Will a Dead Motherboard Light Up?

Sometimes a dead motherboard can light up, so this is not a good indicator of whether the motherboard is dead or not. Following the steps above will help you narrow down your hardware issue to either the motherboard or some other component of your system.

How to Check If Motherboard is Receiving Power?

You can check if the motherboard is receiving power correctly, by ensuring that the PSU cables are securely seated in the slots, and even test the outlet using another device. This will let you know if power is arriving at the motherboard, even if it does not go further than that.

What Causes Motherboard Failure?

There are several things that can cause motherboard failure. Water damage, shock damage, stress damage, age, and more can all affect whether a motherboard will fail or not. Being aware of these things can also help you avoid things that could cause damage to your motherboard.

Wrapping Up

While diagnosing a motherboard can be difficult sometimes, it is often worth the time to check other aspects due to the cost and work of replacing a motherboard.

If any of these tips helped you out, leave a comment, and feel free to share your thoughts with me!

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