power supplies

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. 

What's causing my computer to randomly restart?

Laptop

Episode 1611

Larry from Petaluma, CA

Larry is having issues with his Windows 10 machine restarting. It physically shuts down and restarts. Leo says he has a hunch that the power supply is failing and it is causing a restart. It's definitely not a software issue. It may also be heat-related. If it happens under "load," and your fans aren't moving air enough, that could be it. Heat can also be caused if your computer's insides are blanketed with dust. That can cause the computer to overheat as well. 

But the likely culprit is the power supply.

Am I Getting the Right Parts to Upgrade a Gaming PC?

GEFORCE GTX 1660 Ti

Episode 1598

Dave from West Lake Village, California

Dave upgraded his nephew's PC into a gaming PC, but he needs to upgrade the power supply with an 8 pin power cable. He bought one, but will he have issues? Leo says he will be OK if the PINOUTs on both connectors are power only. Don't plug it into a data plug if it's a 4 pin connector. Any issues with installing a new PCIe graphic's card before booting up? Leo says he may have to specify the external GPU in the BIOS, and then let Windows install the necessary drivers. 

What is a Blue Frowny Face in Windows 10?

BSOD

Episode 1598

Ben from Los Angeles, CA

Ben is getting a "blue frowning face," which Leo says is the new bluescreen of death. Leo says it's likely a hardware or driver issue. Modern operating systems don't BSOD when an app crashes anymore. But low-level errors like drivers or hardware will cause it. If it's just doing it when he's doing nothing, it could mean a failing power supply. Also, make sure the drivers are up to date.

Why won't my computer wake up?

Episode 1518

Vicki from Realto, CA

Vicki put her computer to sleep and now it won't wake up again. Leo says the usual culprit is the power supply. She should try turning her monitor off and back on. She can press and hold the on/off switch of her computer for ten seconds. That will turn her computer fully off. She should unplug it for a few minutes, then plug it back in and turn it on, to see if the monitor will wake up. If it does, sometimes it can fall asleep and not get the signal to turn back on. Then shine a light on the power supply fan and see if it's spinning. If it is, then it isn't the power supply.

Should I rebuild my PC?

Tower PC internals

Episode 1441

Ron from Charlotte, NC

Ron's PC died yesterday. He suspects the power supply went south. Leo says there's no sense in replacing it, as he can just replace the power supply. He should check the power cord itself first, though, just to be sure it wasn't just that. If he has to replace it, he could replace the processor too, since it's 7 years old, but then he'll have to replace the motherboard as well. Why not get a bare-bones system that he can get a new processor and motherboard with, and then transfer his SSD, GPU, and other options that he's added to it?

What does the blinking light mean on my computer?

Acer Aspire One

Episode 1352

Donald from Winnipeg, MB CAN

Donald has an Acer Aspire PC running Windows Vista and he's getting a steady blinking light. Leo says that the blinking can mean something. It's like the "Power On Self Test." The motherboard battery may have died, and the light is telling him to replace it. That's the cheapest and easiest fix. If that doesn't fix it, he should look at his desktop power cord. Then he can move on to the power supply.

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 doesn't my computer work after a power surge?

Episode 1286

Audry from Los Angeles, CA

Audry has an old HP desktop running Windows 7, but after a power outage, her computer won't turn on. She even had a surge protector. Leo says that even the best surge protectors won't protect against huge power surges. But it may also be that when the power came back on, it jumped across the surge protector in a rush. It could also be that the power supply shorted out. Leo recommends replacing it. A surge protector also has a fuse and if the fuse popped, then nothing will work until she pops them in. Leo suspects the power supply just blew out.