Here’s some information regarding motherboards that you may want to know about. Though motherboard maintenance is not done by most people on a regular basis, here are some tips that you may find useful if at all ever you need to do it yourself. Note: Exercise constraint while handling motherboard circuit board components as it’s fragile and can be affected by even a small electrostatic discharge (ESD) passed on from your hands to the circuit parts you come in contact with! Make sure you are using protective anti-static devices/apparel before handling the motherboard. Also make sure that the power supply cable is removed from the socket before opening up your PC for inspection.

Motherboard maintenance tips –

* Assuming that the power cord is disconnected and you are using proper anti-static equipment, start by blowing compressed air over the motherboard to get rid of dust and grime. Make sure you hold the air compressor nozzle at an angle so as to blow dust out of the cabinet.

* After blowing air, use a small hand held battery operated vacuum cleaner to suck out any dirt left over inside the cabinet. DO NOT use a regular electric powered cleaner as it has the potential to produce electric discharges.

* For both procedures mentioned above, make sure the blower/vacuum cleaner nozzles are not coming in contact with the motherboard. Also make sure not to blow away or pull out small motherboard components like jumpers.

* Clean the heat sink of the motherboard using an anti-static cloth and make sure it is seated properly on the processor.

* Remove any expansion cards like RAM, video cards and wipe the gold contacts gently using an anti-static cloth. Once cleaning is done, put them back into their respective slots and make sure they are seated properly.

* Check connection cables and other contacts. Make sure there are no lose connections.

* Check all motherboard mounting screws and make sure they are fastened properly.

* Keep an eye out for the CMOS battery. Replace discharged batteries immediately.

The above mentioned motherboard maintenance tips can be performed for desktop pc, at least once a year. This ensures longevity of its components.

Some common motherboard related issues:

When I turn off my computer and switch it back on again it has lost the time and date settings and has also lost its BIOS settings,so what could it be?

All motherboards have a battery called the CMOS battery installed on them and power from the battery is used to hold small bits of information when the computer is turned off. Make sure you have Anti-static equipment in place before touching any of the components. Replace the old CMOS battery with a new one of the same rating and your problem should be solved.

My system automatically powers back on after a power failure!

This could be because of a CMOS setup configuration rather than a hardware fault. One of the BIOS setup utility menu controls the ON/OFF state of your PC in case of a power failure or shutdown. Options include Stay-OFF, Last power state or Power-ON. If you inspect the configuration in CMOS, you’ll probably find that it’s set to Power-ON or Last power state. Set this to Stay-OFF and your problem should be solved.

System won’t turn off when I press the power button.

This has to do with your board’s power management system settings. In most cases, you machine will shutdown if you hold the power button pressed for at least 5 seconds. The setting can be altered by configuring the power button to “instant OFF” in the CMOS setup.

Am upgrading my motherboard. System won’t boot when I use the older CPU again, but it boots fine with the new CPU?

The issue could be with bus speeds. If your processor is of 66-MHz bus speed and motherboard uses 100 or 133 MHz bus speed then the configuration will fail.

I see a yellow exclamation mark over the USB port in the device manager.

It simply means that the proper driver for the USB on your system has not been installed and the OS isn’t able to recognize any USB hardware. Try and update your BIOS to a newer version that supports the USB hardware better. Or right click on the USB port in device manager and update the driver through the net to find the latest version of the driver.

Motherboard is installed, but the system won’t boot.

Could simply be installation problems! Perform all the steps mentioned in the Inspecting the basics section above. Check to see if any pins are broken or inserted in the wrong socket.

PC starts, but it won’t boot from the HDD or even recognize the RAM on my system.

Did you see a message – “CMOS Error; press F1 to run SETUP”. This usually appears if the board is working but CMOS contains incorrect information. Run the CMOS setup again and check each drive and memory settings and reboot the PC.

My system won’t power on!

Do you have to unplug and replug the power each time? Then just clear the CMOS jumper settings and reset BIOS to default settings. Turn off the system, then move the CMOS jumper from it’s default location to the clear position for 5 seconds before moving it back. Turn the system ON and press DEL to enter CMOS setup screen. Set the correct CPU speed and then save and exit the screen.