The motherboard of a computer is the electronics board, or circuit board, that everything plugs into. It is the “mother ship” of any device – phone, tablet, laptop, desktop. It holds the central processing unit (CPU) chip, probably from Intel, AMD or another major manufacturer. When a motherboard or CPU chip fails, then your device simply doesn’t do anything when you turn it on – nothing shows up on the screen, even though the power is on. Unfortunately, the motherboard is typically the most expensive part of the device, costing hundreds of dollars. When it fails, or the CPU chip, then a new computer is the most likely solution. In some cases, it is possible to buy the exact same make and model of the computer and move the hard drive from the old computer into the new one. If the computer is several years old, though, a new one is the better solution.
If you turn the computer on, and you see the usual “splash” screen – a Dell, HP, Apple logo or the like – but then the computer doesn’t load, hard drive failure is a likely culprit. A hard drive failure can be accompanied by sound. In case of a laptop, it can be a high pitched clink or ping; in case of a desktop, it can be a grinding noise. Either way, it’s bad… When this occurs, you might be tempted to grab a drink. Instead, grab your backup drive and hope that it’s been working. If you don’t have one, then you better have everything backed up to the cloud somewhere. Sometimes the hard drive fails gradually and you can experience unpredictable shutdowns prior to its complete collapse. The possibility of any kind of complete computer failure raises the need for a good backup solution, both local (external hard drive) and cloud (i.e. anything outside the house). “Backup whatever you’re not willing to lose!”
When a computer can turn on with power, but nothing appears on the screen and you don’t hear any ominous noises, then a memory failure can be occurring. Sticks of memory are located in the memory slots inside the computer. Depending upon the computer, they may have to be inserted in pairs. When there is a memory failure, it can occur in two different ways. The actual stick can be defective, which is the more common way. Or, the slot that the memory goes into can be defective, which is very rare. Either problem can occur when the computer is a victim of a power problem, a brown-out or a surge. Hence, if you absolutely must ensure that your computer has “clean” (level) power, then a battery UPS (uninterruptible power supply) should be purchased to provide at least some time to shut the equipment down gracefully in case of a blackout, and to provide missing power in case of a brown-out.