How to Tell If Motherboard Is Bad, The Symptoms of a Faulty Motherboard

If the CPU is the brain of a computer, the motherboard may be compared to the circulatory system. It is the mainframe of the computer where all the components are attached. A malfunctioning motherboard can lead to many problems spanning concerns about memory, graphics cards, and connectivity issues. It’s important to learn how to tell if the motherboard is bad and to get to know the early signs of failure so you can decide if you want to replace or repair your mobo. We’ll discuss several bad motherboard symptoms and the possible motherboard failure causes.

Seven symptoms of a bad motherboard

What happens when a motherboard fails? Here are the most common symptoms to watch out for.

1. System Is Heating Up

Ask any technician and he'll tell you that a failing motherboard is one of the hardest to diagnose. This is because of many components that are connected to the mobo. There is no hard or fast rule on how to tell if the motherboard is bad on a laptop or a PC because different parts of the mobo can act up at different times or at the same time.

But one of the most common symptoms noticed is an increase in temperature inside the CPU and the surrounding areas. Because everything is connected to the motherboard including the fans, a malfunctioning board may not be able to supply the correct power to the cooling components. This leads to the system heating and failure of the different components especially the CPU. If you have an app or a program that can detect the temperature of your CPU then suspect a failing mobo when you notice dramatic temperature changes. 

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2. Any Error Codes

Some motherboards come with diagnostic lights, LEDs which will tell you if there’s anything wrong with the system. Some examples include long steady LEDs while the system is unable to boot or cannot move on to the next program. Another one is a continuous blinking light that you often see when the CPU is still booting up. The blinking light won’t stop, not until you remove the power cord.

3. Signs of Slowing Down

One of the earliest signs that your mobo needs attention is when the programs are slowing down. Slow responses, error messages, and any other signs that the PC is acting up should be checked ASAP. Usually, an old motherboard may not be compatible with new or updated components and this can lead to slow responses or no response at all.

4. Unable to Recognize Hardware

If you get error messages that tell you that it’s unable to recognize any hardware or some hardware then there may be something wrong with your motherboard. Just some examples are video cameras, audio devices, ports, printers, and microphones. Sometimes the hardware or device was recognized or working before but now, the system is unable to identify it. If this happens in more devices you use or more often then you must consider diagnosing your motherboard.

5. Freezing or Glitching

If your system seems to be freezing or glitching more than before then you might have problems with your motherboard. Start tracing the problem by uninstalling and re-installing the program that seems to be acting up. If the same thing happens then you could be having problems with your motherboard. 

6. The Presence of Distended Capacitors

Upon physical inspection of the motherboard and you notice that the capacitors or the small components connected to the board are bulging then this is a sure-fire motherboard damage symptom that your motherboard needs to be replaced right away. If you notice these, power off your computer and remove all the hardware connected to the system, have your PC checked by a technician right away.

7. Any Physical Damage

Upon checking your motherboard, you find cracks, dents, or any physical damage. These are enough reasons to replace the mobo right away. Any physical damage to the board could affect its performance. This is also why most updated motherboards are stronger and more durable than previous models. Also, some CPU casings are equipped with motherboard holders or bracing to ensure that it can hold heavy video cards, processors, fans, and other major components.

Related: Motherboard For i7-7700K

What to do when you know your motherboard is failing?

If you notice any of the following symptoms while your computer is running, quickly exit all programs and power off the computer. Unplug from the socket and remove all connected peripherals. These are very important, especially when you notice a physical damage, bulging of components, and the system heating up dramatically.
For freezes, glitches, and slowing down of your system, check other reasons why this is happening. Reset your computer or update it. If all else fails, suspect a problematic motherboard. Have it checked by a technician right away.

Last Words

How to tell if the motherboard is bad on a laptop? This is the same with a PC, but with a few differences. As it is impossible to take a look at the motherboard's condition from inside the laptop, you need to rely on cues that you find as you use it. Signs like overheating, unresponsive peripherals, slowing down, freezing, or glitching could be due to many things. The only way to conclude that the laptop's motherboard is acting up is to take it to a technician for diagnostics and service.

How to test the motherboard for faults? A technician will use a diagnostic tool to check a motherboard's status. It is also possible that he will plug the problematic board into another computer to check it out. Some motherboards that have gone bad may need to be replaced. You may also consider upgrading to a better, newer version in case you want to upgrade your PC. This is common when you want to upgrade from a general use PC to a gaming PC.

Usually, you will ask “is my motherboard defective” when you notice freezing, pausing, and glitching when using your PC. Understand that there are many reasons why this can happen instead of just pointing the blame to your mobo. Hopefully, you now know how to tell if a motherboard is bad and diagnose problems early. Never overlook any symptoms of motherboard failure in a laptop or PC as these can affect your system’s overall performance and safety.


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