How to repair or rebuild your desktop PC

Although many people consider full-size desktop PCs too old fashioned, they have one great advantage over other PCs, including laptops, netbooks, tablets, and most all-in-one desktops: You can easily repair a desktop PC, or rebuild it if necessary. If you are careful and patient, this can save you a lot of money. You are not limited to replacing only pluggable components, such as hard drives and memory modules. If necessary, you can rebuild your PC by replacing its motherboard (mainboard).
Repairing your desktop PC - After your desktop PC fails, you need to determine which component to replace. When you try to boot your system, does it display a message? For example, if it displays "DISK BOOT FAILURE," you can almost certainly correct the problem by replacing the hard drive. However, if your system displays no message and all its indicators are dark, you might need to replace its power supply. If replacing the power supply does not repair your PC, you can try rebuilding it by replacing its motherboard (mainboard).

Rebuilding your desktop PC - To replace the motherboard of a desktop PC, you need remove most of its components, remove its defective motherboard, install a new motherboard, and then reinstall the other components, thereby rebuilding it. To rebuild your PC, do the following:
  1. Disonnect all power supply cables and move them out of your way.
  2. Remove all pluggable components from the old motherboard, such as its processor and its memory modules. Note: Avoid static-electric damage to these components. Before removing each component, be sure to first touch any bare-metal surface in the PC case. Store the components carefully (in antistatic bags if possible) because you will reinstall them later.
  3. Order a replacement motherboard. If you cannot find an exact match (such as identical model number) order the same type (such as micro ATX). Examine its specifications to verify it supports your existing components, including the processor (such as AMD Athlon) and RAM memory (such as DDR2).
  4. After your new motherboard arrives, and before you install it, verify that its front-panel sockets match the front-panel plugs in your old PC case. If not, you need also order a new PC case.
  5. Rebuild (reassemble) your PC.
  6. Install an operating system. If you install Microsoft Windows, you need to also install motherboard drivers.
  7. Test your PC to verify that it runs correctly.


  1. When rebuilding your desktop PC, make sure that you connect the right cables in their respective sockets. If you're not sure about what you're doing, take a look at your desktop PC's manual. Another thing, if your motherboard needs replacing, make sure that you buy one that is compatible with your computer's hardware, most especially with your processor and your graphics card.

    Benita Bolland

    1. Benita - Thanks for your feedback. In addition to checking the manual for your PC, you can make a drawing of your cable connections while you are disconnecting them. - Dave

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