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Maintaining your computer’s motherboard

Maintaining your computer’s motherboard

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The motherboard of desktop computers is one of the neglected parts when carrying out computer maintenance. In fact, most of the maintenance tips suggested for desktop computers are focused on software. But the different parts inside must be inspected and the temperature of the computer must be monitored to avoid disastrous events like frying of the critical components.

A computer’s hardware, such as the motherboard, is a very important area to look into when doing maintenance works. The motherboard houses the vital electronic circuits that keep the desktop computer working. It has several fans to keep the temperature cool, because a cool environment is correlated to the computer’s efficiency. It is also here that the computer’s microprocessor, the random access memory (RAM), the video card, the sound card, the LAN card, among other removable parts, are housed.

So, what are some important maintenance tips for better motherboard performance, thus overall computer efficiency? Here are top five motherboard maintenance tips to maintain and extend the life of your motherboard:

Sweep off dust that builds on the motherboard.

Dust builds up inside the computer’s casing, despite its covering, because the power fan or other accessory fans suck in dirt from outside; together with the air used to cool off the insides of the casing. When dust picks up moisture, the sensitive parts may short-circuit and are damaged in the process. The fan can get clogged with dirt and cause friction at the sides of the housing. If left unattended, the fan will eventually stop and your computer will heat up then suddenly crash when a very high temperature is reached.

Use only a soft paintbrush to clean the motherboard, taking care not to brush too hard on small parts. Do this in a well-ventilated area where you can easily dispose of the dust.

Look for swelling, busted or leaking capacitors.

When you notice that some of the capacitors (also known as condensers) appear to be expanded or swelling, this is a cause for alarm. It is a sign of impending failure of the motherboard. It is important that these parts be in top shape as capacitors store electrical energy for use upon demand.

Defective, busted or leaking capacitors will lead to an increase in the temperature and ultimately stop your desktop computer from working. This should be replaced with capacitors of the same ratings as soon as possible. Or, it may be time for you to buy a new motherboard if the one you are using is an old one. Old one means about two to three years.

If you are not able to open your computer for some reason, it is necessary that you have a software to monitor the temperature of your computer.

Detach the removable cards (sound card, video card, LAN card, etc.) and clean off the copper connectors with an eraser.

Just make sure you have discharge static electricity from your body before doing so. You can do this by placing your hands on a grounded metallic object. Replace the removable parts carefully, avoiding the use of unnecessary force. You should hear these parts click in place.

Check if your CMOS battery is still working.

When the stored electrical energy of the CMOS battery (that detachable coin-looking silver thing in the motherboard) is already used up, the date displayed in your desktop computer will be wrong. A failed battery will also prevent your computer from executing some commands, which need correct date input, such as when logging in to an Internet site.

Check if the fans, especially the fan of your video card, is still working to prevent heat from building up.

Test the fan by carefully flicking on it for smooth operation. If the fans are not working as they should, you can hear a whirring sound. If any of the fans is not working, remove and change it. There are separate fans that you can buy from a computer hardware store. Just note down the specifications or bring the defective fan to the computer shop.

A non-working video card fan will damage the video card. Ventilation prevents heat build-up in your desktop computer as well as the detachable parts. A cool temperature will keep your motherboard and its parts working in top condition.

If the fan is still working, you can clean this up by carefully wiping off the dirt from the fans with moistened tissue (don’t use any solvent, just plain water) being careful in doing so to avoid mechanical damage.

Regular monthly maintenance of your desktop computer following these five motherboard maintenance tips will prevent costly repairs or upgrades.



A motherboard (sometimes, alternatively known as the mainboard, system board, baseboard, planar board or logic board, or colloquially, a mobo) is the main printed circuit board (PCB) found in general purpose micro-computers and other expandable systems. It holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard usually contains significant sub-systems such as the central processor, the chipset’s input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, and other components integrated for general purpose use.

Motherboard specifically refers to a PCB with expansion capability and as the name suggests, this board is often referred to as the “mother” of all components attached to it. This often include peripherals, interface cards, and daughtercards: sound cards, video cards, network cards, hard drives, or other forms of persistent storage; television tuner cards, cards providing extra USB or FireWire slots and a variety of other custom components.

Similarly, the term mainboard is applied to devices with a single board and no additional expansions or capability, such as controlling boards in laser printers, TV sets, washing machines and other embedded systems with limited expansion abilities.

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