motherboards

Why are my USB ports failing intermittently?

USB3 Card

Episode 1728

Brant from Upstate New York

Brant is having an intermittent problem with his USB ports not working. He has to reboot to get them working again. Leo says it could be hardware or software. Hardware-wise, the solders could be coming off and the computer has to warm up to reseat the solder connections. The easy fix is to get a USB card to add to your system and bypass the onboard connections altogether. It could also be your computer is underpowered or your power supply is getting flakey. Try unplugging your USB items and reboot. If could also be a bad USB driver. You can try removing them and then rebooting.

Can a motherboard cause an "amber light of death?"

"Amber Light"

Episode 1621

PJ from Butler, PA

PJ replaced his Windows XP machine with Windows 8.1. But lately, he's gotten the "amber light of death" and it won't boot up. His tech guy says he needs a new computer. But could he replace the motherboard? Leo says it could be a power supply, so swap that out first. If that doesn't work, then check the RAM. It may be that the RAM has become unseated and the computer can't load into it. You also want to be sure that the cables are all connected. PJ replaced the motherboard and it's worked ever since. 

Should I Buy a Sound Card?

EVGA NU Audio Card.

Episode 1575

Jeremy from Nashville, TN

Jeremy wants to know if he should get a new sound card for his computer. Leo says that today's motherboards have really good sound cards built right on the board. They're very good for 99% of all sound needs. You'd need to be a hardcore gamer or recorder to squeeze that extra percent out, and most people won't even be able to tell. 

Has China Hacked All Our Corporations?

Episode 1529

According to Bloomberg, China added a tiny chip, about the size of a grain of rice, to network motherboards that would allow China to Spy on corporations. The chip was discovered by Amazon Security, which notified federal authorities. The servers were created by Chinese company Elemental, and are on everything from network business servers to NAVY WARSHIPS. Investigators have discovered that the chips were installed by the PRC at the manufacturing plant. But here's the twist ... everyone is now denying it.

How can I get my PC to boot up?

Motherboard

Episode 1454

Frank from Land O Lakes, FL

Frank is having trouble getting his PC to boot up. He's replaced the power supply, but it still doesn't work. Leo says if there's no power on self-test (three beeps), and the fans are coming on, then it's likely a dead motherboard. Can he just replace the CPU without the motherboard or vice versa? Leo says if the power supply is eliminated as a culprit, then Frank could try replacing the processor and see what happens. But before he does that, he should pull all the USB devices and see if they're the culprit. It could be a short in his USB hub. There's so many possibilities.

How can I authenticate Windows 10 after replacing my motherboard?

Windows Start Menu

Episode 1375

John from Portland, ME

John wants to know if he can reactivate Windows after replacing the Motherboard. Leo says he probably can. He'll just have to contact Microsoft and tell them what he's had to replace, and they will understand and authenticate. If he replaced more than half the computer, they may take issue. But with just replacing the motherboard, he should be able to get it authenticated. Windows may reject him when he tries, but then he can just contact Microsoft.

Why doesn't my computer stay in the same time zone?

Motherboard battery

Episode 1366

Bret from Woodbridge, NJ

Bret has to constantly change the time on his computer because it keeps going back to another time zone. Leo says that he'll need to go into the settings and look for the time zone for his area. For New Jersey, it would be UTC-5. If the problem still perstists, then it could be a dying battery of the motherboard. That battery looks like a coin.

Why does my PC shut down while I'm using it?

Episode 1313

Brad from San Jose, CA

Brad built a computer running Windows and now it just shuts down while he's still using it. Leo says it sounds like a bad power supply. Brad replaced it, though. Leo says that's the downside of building his own machine -- he'll have to hunt down the problem himself. Leo suspects that since the power supply didn't fix it, the motherboard is probably the culprit. It could have been from a power surge. He should try replacing the battery for the BIOS and see if that resets it. If that doesn't work, it could be the motherboard. The next thing to address would be the CPU.

Why does my computer have a black screen?

Episode 1276

Ryan from Pittsburgh, PA

Ryan has an HP computer and it came up with a black screen. He tried to swap out the power supply, video card, removed all the USB peripherals, replaced the CMOS battery, and still has a black screen. He can hear the power supply running, and the fans are spinning up. Leo suspects it may be just a bad motherboard. Since Ryan has done all the easy stuff first, and then tried replacing peripherals, that only leads to the main motherboard. He should also listen for POST codes to see if the machine is letting him know something is wrong.