The motherboard is the backbone of any computer; alll other computer components connect to it. If the motherboard on your Dell computer stops working, you must replace it if you wish to revive your computer. Replacing the motherboard requires opening the case, disconnecting all connected components and swapping it for a working motherboard. Although you do not have to replace the board with an identical model, not doing so may warrant buying a new CPU or RAM to fit the new board.
Shut down your Dell computer and unplug all cables connected to the back of the PC tower. These cables include but aren't limited to the power cable, mouse, keyboard, speakers and any USB devices.
Place the tower on your work area and remove screws securing the left side panel along the back left edge of the tower or depress the side panel locking mechanism, depending on your model of Dell computer. Slide the left-side panel rearward and lift it off. Note that some models of Dell computers have a case that opens at the bottom utilizing a hinge mechanism; refer to your specific owner's manual for exact instructions for how to open your Dell computer.
Grasp the green fan shield, thumb on one side and forefinger on the other side. Press inward and lift up to remove the fan shield.
Depress the clip from the power supply cable and disconnect it from the motherboard. The power supply cable is a 20- or 24-pin cable that plugs into the board; this cable is the largest cable connected to the motherboard.
Remove any PCI, AGP or PCI-E cards (called expansion cards) connected to your motherboard. Dell computers use a green plastic locking mechanism to secure expansion cards. Lift the locking mechanism upward and pull the cards directly out to remove them.
Unplug any SATA or IDE devices from the motherboard. SATA or IDE devices include hard drives, floppy drives and CD/DVD drives. Depending on your model of Dell, it may have one or all of these peripherals connected. SATA cables are thin cables with a USB-size connector on the end, while IDE cables are flat ribbon-like cables with a wide, flat connector on the end.
Disconnect the LED connectors from the front of the case from the motherboard. They usually plug into the motherboard on the right bottom side, near the front of the case.
Remove the screws along the edge of the motherboard using a Phillips screwdriver.
Grasp the motherboard by the edges and lift directly up to remove it from the computer case. Set the motherboard down on your work space.
Press the clips on either side of the RAM modules on the old motherboard outward to free the RAM. Remove the RAM modules.
Disconnect the power cable from the heatsink fan from the motherboard.
Lift up on the plastic hook-shaped switch on the heatsink fan and pull outward on the two metal clips holding the unit in place. Lift up to remove the heatsink fan.
Lift up on the plastic rod along the edge of the processor; then grasp the edges of the processor and remove it. The processor has several thin metal pins on the underside, be careful not to damage these pins, as it will destroy the processor.
Insert the processor into the new motherboard, followed by the RAM modules. Connect the processor heatsink fan and plug the electrical connector back in. If you are replacing the Dell board with a different motherboard, ensure the old processor and RAM fit the new motherboard. If they don't, install a processor and RAM designed to fit the new board.
Install the new motherboard into the Dell case and secure using the screws you removed from the old board.
Reconnect all electrical connectors and the fan shield. Reinstall the cover and plug all computer peripherals back in.
- Touch something metal to discharge any static electricity before you work on the motherboard.
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