How to fix a PC after a power surge

Written by john daniels
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How to fix a PC after a power surge
Lightning strikes cause damaging power surges. (Lightning image by professional from

Power surges are damaging spikes of voltage in an electrical systems, caused by lightning strikes, changes or problems with the electrical grid, or large appliances. Power surges damage or destroy computer hardware by overheating circuit boards and other components. Surge protectors and other devices are used to protect computers and other electrical devices from power surges. If damage occurs to a computer from a power surge, a process of trial and error is used to replace the damaged components.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement power supply
  • 2 replacement AC power cables
  • Surge Protector

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  1. 1

    Replace the surge protector or power strip. If neither was attached to the computer, it is highly recommended that one be used.

  2. 2

    Follow the user's manual to open the computer. The computer manual may have shipped with the computer in book or CD form or may be found online. Examine the system and make note of any visibly damaged components. Damaged components may show visible burn damage or no damage at all.

  3. 3

    Follow the user manual to remove the power supply. You will need to unplug the power connections to each device in the computer as well as the system board. Removal is generally achieved by removing the holding screws and lifting the power supply out of the system.

  4. 4

    Follow the user manual to install the new power supply. Plug the power cables into the computer components and the system board.

  5. 5

    Close the case. Do not reinsert the screws. Plug the power cable into the computer and attempt to power the computer on.

  6. 6

    Replace the power cables to the monitor and computer. Examine the monitor. If the monitor does not power on, it will need to be replaced.

  7. 7

    Determine if both the monitor and computer power on. If the monitor powers on but the computer does not replace the system board. If both power on but there is no video signal, replace the video card.

  8. 8

    Boot the system into Windows. Go to the "Control Panel" and double-click on the "System" icon.

  9. 9

    Click on the "Hardware" tab. Double-click the network card, sound card, and other peripherals that are listed in the hardware tab. If you replaced the system board, ensure that the device drivers are in place for the peripherals. Replace any peripheral that is still non-functional.

Tips and warnings

  • Many surge protectors offer insurance against failure. If a device is connected to the surge protector and damaged, it may be eligible for replacement by the company.
  • It is highly recommended that all computers and other expensive electronics be attached to a surge protector.
  • Unplugging a computer during high-risk periods for surges such as severe storms is the best way to prevent surge damage.

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