Recognizing A Bad Power Supply

Written by on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 19:18 - 0 Comments

A computer power supply can have a number of symptoms that warn you it is about to stop working. One problem, however, is that a failing power supply is subject to display a wide range of errors, and many of them seem to indicate another problem. On most machines, the power supply is more likely to fail than any other part, so before you start replacing cards and memory chips, always check the more likely source first.

If your computer doesn’t do anything at all when you turn it on, that’s usually a clear sign. If the power supply fans are not operating, you are not getting any power.

If your computer boots, to a single flashing cursor in the top left corner of the screen, the two most common problems are a failing power supply or failing video card. Check that the card is seated properly in the slot, but your most likely culprit is the power supply.

If your computer operates perfectly for a time, and then suddenly shuts off or reboots, you have one of two problems, in most cases. Either the CPU is overheating and the motherboard is initiating automatic cutoff to prevent burning it up, or you have fluctuating power available to the motherboard. If the CPU fan is operating, and the airflow is getting to the CPU, it shouldn’t be overheating, but many system have a CPU temperature monitor available in BIOS, and this should be examined.

A failing power supply can mimic bad memory, bad video, and even a faulty motherboard. Because every component of the computer depends on the power supply to operate, a bad supply can appear to be any problem, even a corrupted installation of your operating system. Before purchasing expensive replacement parts, try testing out the power supply, because that may save you some expense.


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