How to Test a Computer Motherboard

By Techwalla Computers Editor

A motherboard is the base of the computer, providing power and processing to the hard drive, memory, internal cards and peripherals. If your computer won't boot, cards or peripherals fail or system error messages pop up, one of the first things you should do is test the computer motherboard.

Step 1

Download free diagnostic tools from your motherboard manufacturer's website or other reliable websites. Follow the directions to test the motherboard. If a BIOS upgrade is available, download and run it.

Step 2

Change the CMOS battery if the computer will not keep the right time or save configuration settings.

Step 3

Turn on the computer. Press the appropriate key to get into the Setup or BIOS configuration. Write down all BIOS settings. Set the BIOS to default settings.

Step 4

Remove unnecessary cards and peripherals, like sound cards and modems. Disconnect the hard drive.

Step 5

Take out the memory and processor. Reseat them gently and firmly in their slots. Check for loose connections on chips and jumper caps. Turn on the computer and note whether it powers on and displays a hard drive error. If not, continue to troubleshoot.

Step 6

Swap the power supply and video card with parts from a working computer. Test the computer again. If it powers on, replace the components one at a time until you find the one causing a problem.

Step 7

Replace components one at a time until you find the card causing a problem. Turn on the computer. Enter the BIOS configuration screen. Configure the settings to the previous setup.

Tips & Warnings

  • The motherboard must be tested in isolation to determine whether the problem is the motherboard itself. Often the power supply or an installed card or peripheral is the cause of the problem.