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10:41 AM

How to Test Your Motherboard

Replace your Toshiba laptop's motherboard.
Test your motherboard and keep your computer running smoothly.
computer image by michele goglio from Fotolia.com

Your motherboard is the heart of your computer. It relays all the signals among other computer components. Without a motherboard, your computer is essentially useless. Testing your motherboard early can help you diagnose any problems it's having before they're too severe to fix. It can also help you figure out why your computer is being buggy, if you're having system problems. User-friendly programs are available to help you test your motherboard and determine which repairs are necessary.


  1. Select a program to help you test your motherboard. Free programs are available, but other options that cost money offer more choices and more control over your test. Decide which one is right for you by considering your budget and reading about what each program offers. Even a free program can help you get a basic idea of how your motherboard is functioning.

2. Log on to the website of the program you've decided to use, then download the program. You may have to pay a fee if you've selected a commercial program.

  • 3

    Install the program once the file has downloaded, then open the program.

  • 4

    Select the correct options to test the motherboard. The way you run the diagnostic scan will vary depending on the program you've selected, but there should be a "Help" function if you're having trouble running the motherboard test. Most programs are very user-friendly, and you'll be able to run the

  • 3. Install the program once the file has downloaded, then open the program

    4. Select the correct options to test the motherboard. The way you run the diagnostic scan will vary depending on the program you've selected, but there should be a "Help" function if you're having trouble running the motherboard test. Most programs are very user-friendly, and you'll be able to run the

    Tips & Warnings:

    If your motherboard isn't functioning at all, open your computer case and shine a flashlight on it. Take a look at the components; if you see a blown fuse or a burn mark, you'll know it's not something you can fix without buying and installing new pieces into your motherboard. Do not attempt to open your computer case if it will void your warranty.

    How to Test Your Computer Motherboard Circuits:

    A computer motherboard is a central piece of hardware that oversees various functions in the PC. A failing or malfunctioning motherboard can crash a computer and prevent it from functioning in any manner. Typically, such computers must be sent to a repair shop to be scanned and fixed. However, proactive testing can foresee a motherboard problem and guide you to a solution before it becomes a problem. Learn how to test your computer motherboard and keep your PC running longer.

    Difficulty: Moderate


    1. Understand some of the symptoms of a motherboard problem. One of the most visible hints that your PC's motherboard is having trouble is an inability to keep accurate time or a failure to save system settings. Peripheral devices that fail to work may also point to motherboard issues.

    2. Check that your computer's power supply is functioning properly. If you are using a power source that did not originally come with the computer, review its wattage and volts to ensure that it matches your computer's requirements. Discrepancies between your computer's needs and the power supply of your cable may cause problems that mimic motherboard errors.

    3. Contact the original manufacturer of your computer's motherboard to obtain software that can test the stability of the motherboard circuitry. Every motherboard is different. Hardware developers possess specific tools that allow consumers to test the motherboard circuits. Most manufacturers allow individuals to download the software from their website, while others require you to pay a shipping and handling fee to have a disc mailed to you. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on running the diagnostic tools.

    4. Remove all peripheral devices, video and graphic cards, and extra memory (if extra RAM is installed in the computer). Restart the computer in safe mode by clicking Start and selecting Restart, then holding down the F8 key. Gradually reconnect peripheral devices and hardware to see if any of these devices or hardware are causing motherboard-like problems.

    How to Replace the Motherboard in a Toshiba Laptop

    Replace your Toshiba laptop's motherboard.
    Replace your Toshiba laptop's motherboard.
    motherboard image by Falk from Fotolia.com

    The motherboard is your laptop's main circuit board where all hardware devices connect with your computer. Without a properly functioning motherboard, your Toshiba laptop will not be able to operate. While you can replace your laptop's motherboard yourself, it is a challenging, often risky procedure. Since most hardware devices are directly connected to the motherboard, you must dismantle the entire laptop to access the motherboard.

    Difficulty: Challenging


    Things You'll Need:

    • Phillips-head screwdriver
    • Tweezers
    • Flat-head screwdriver
    • Guitar pick
    • Anti-static wrist strap
    1. Shut down your laptop. Disconnect the AC power cable from its socket. Disconnect all other cables and devices from the laptop. Close the LCD panel and place the laptop face-down with the front opening facing forward. Remove the battery pack from along the top edge of the laptop's bottom casing. Your battery is held in place by one or two release buttons depending on your laptop's model.

    2. Remove the hard drive's plastic cover and the retaining Phillips-head screws from the lower right or left corner of the laptop. Remove any screws securing the hard drive inside the compartment. Grasp the hard drive and lift it out of the laptop. Set it aside.

    3. Remove the large hardware compartment cover and its retaining Phillips-head screws from the center of the laptop. This compartment contains your laptop's RAM, wireless card and modem module. Spread the latches on each side of the RAM module inside the compartment. Tilt the RAM module up at an angle and pull the module from its memory slot. Repeat this for each RAM module you remove from the laptop.

    4. Use tweezers to disconnect the two antenna cables from the wireless card. Remove any securing screws or spread the retaining latches on each side of the wireless card. Lift the wireless card out of the laptop and set it aside.

    5. Remove the two Phillips-head screws from the modem module. Lift up on the modem slightly and disconnect the cable from the motherboard. Remove the modem module from the laptop.

    6. Remove the single Phillips-head screw securing the CD/DVD drive to the left or right side of the laptop's bottom casing. Pull the drive from its compartment and set it aside. Remove all Phillips-head screws from the laptop's bottom casing and the rear panel where all data, power and networking ports are located.

    7. Place the laptop face-up and open the display panel. Insert a small, flat-head screwdriver into the right side of the laptop's keyboard bezel. The bezel is the thin, plastic strip between the keyboard and LCD screen. Pry the bezel from the laptop.

    8. Remove the Phillips-head screws from behind the top row of keyboard keys. Tilt the keyboard up and then place it face-down on the laptop's surface. Disconnect the large ribbon cable extending from the bottom side of the keyboard to its connector on the motherboard. Remove the keyboard from the laptop.

    9. Disconnect all cables extending from each side of the display assembly to the motherboard. Remove the Phillips-head screws from each display hinge. Carefully lift the display assembly from the laptop's base. Place the display panel on a flat surface with the screen facing up.

    10. Remove all remaining Phillips-head screws securing the top casing to the laptop's base. Disconnect the touch pad cable from its motherboard connector just above the touch pad device on the motherboard. Carefully remove the top casing from the laptop's base. You may have to use a thin guitar pick or flat-head screwdriver to pry the top casing from the laptop.

    11. Disconnect all remaining cables and devices from the motherboard. Remove the remaining Phillips-head screws securing the motherboard to the laptop's base. Carefully lift the motherboard out of the laptop and set it aside.

    12. Repeat this procedure in reverse to install the new motherboard.

    How Motherboards Are Made


    1. Motherboards hold all of the main components of your computer. From the CPU to all of the peripherals, they all connect to the motherboard. The motherboard is basically one large printed circuit with all of the appropriate components plugged in and soldered into place.

      The first step in making a motherboard is to create the printed circuit. According to pcstats.com, Gigabyte, a motherboard manufacturer in China that assembles motherboards, has the printed circuit boards made somewhere else with pre-drilled holes and then shipped to its factory for assembly.

      Printed circuits are made by layering copper or another conductive material on top of a non conductive material (called a dielectric). Printed circuits may be made using either "additive" or "subtractive" processes. In additive processes, the conductive material is laminated to the dielectric in the form of the circuit. In subtractive processes, the whole dielectric may be covered with copper or another conductive material, and then the unwanted copper can be removed by milling, etching or engraving.
    2. The Assembly Process

    3. Most of the assembly of motherboards at Gigabyte is done by SMT (surface mount technology) machines. The motherboards are assembled in sections as they travel along conveyors to different stations. Machines can put the proper components into place in just a few seconds with minimal error. But before the components are put in place, the circuit board is covered with a special soldering paste that will later be used to solder the components into place.
    4. Finishing Touches

    5. After all of the components are in place on the motherboard, they are then permanently soldered in place. But this isn't done with a typical soldering iron. The almost-completed motherboards are placed into a convection oven, which heats and melts the soldering paste. This makes the solder permanent. After the components are soldered into place, the finished circuit board moves to an automated optical inspection machine that visually inspects it for any obvious soldering defects. Then a human will further visually inspect the motherboard for missing or misaligned components. If the motherboard passes visual inspection, current is applied to its different components, and they are checked for proper function. Once all quality checks are passed, the circuit boards are sent out to be put into computers.

    How to Find the Right Motherboard

    Motherboards come in many different shapes and sizes. Motherboards the size of your hand use tiny processors and are used in tablet PCs. Motherboards that are larger than a square foot can run four processors. Motherboards are have many different functions: Some are made for servers to host websites, some are made for gamers, and some are specifically made for mobile computing. Picking out the right motherboard is a daunting task.


    1. Determine what kind of processor you will be using. You have to buy a motherboard that is compatible with the processor. For example, a motherboard that has an LGA775 socket has to be paired with an LGA775 processor.

    2. Buy a motherboard that supports SLI or Crossfire if you are going to use the computer for graphics-intensive applications, such as high-end multimedia editing, intense gaming or watching Blu-Ray movies.

    3. Buy a motherboard that supports RAID 5 or 1 if you plan on building a server with the motherboard. Make sure that the motherboard has at least 6 SATA hard drive ports. Dual CPU motherboards are made almost exclusively for servers and are very reliable; consider buying one if you are building a server.

    4. Buy a simple and inexpensive motherboard if you plan on using the computer just for simple tasks, such as web browsing and listening to music.

    Category: Hardware Blog | Views: 1123 | Added by: seniorkoa | Rating: 5.0/1
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