If you are looking to fix the VGA light on motherboard issue, you are at the right place.
The VGA light is a diagnostic red light that is present on the motherboard alongside a couple of other lights that indicate different diagnostic values. The VGA lights specifically, is dedicated to the GPU of the computer and indicates any issue that may be present with that device.
Failure to detect a GPU in the system or malfunctioning BIOS setting are the most common causes of the VGA light on motherboard.
How To Fix VGA Light on Motherboard
In order to fix the VGA light on motherboard issue, you have to solve any problems that may be present with the GPU or video processing device of the computer. The error can be solved by removing and reseating the graphic card and resetting the CMOS of the system.
You can also try to test and boot the system without the graphics card in order to pinpoint the cause of the problem. It can also be helpful to remove all the hardware and check the power supply of the computer to locate the source of the issue.
Steps to Fix VGA Light on Motherboard
If you encounter the VGA light issue on your motherboard, then you can follow a series of steps to diagnose and fix the problem that may be causing your system to show the error.
Before performing the following steps, it is important to confirm that the diagnostic led light is indeed showing the VGA error and not the DRAM or CPU error as those lights are also located close to the VGA/GPU light in the cluster.
Reseat the Graphics Card
Since the VGA light is concerned mainly with the graphics card, you can try reseating the graphics card to solve the issue. This step will remove the VGA lights if the graphics card was not properly seated in the PCIe (PCI Express) Slot.
This is a very basic step that you can perform without any additional tools in a matter of minutes.
Removing Graphics Card
The process for removing the graphics card is relatively straightforward and basically the same for all graphics cards.
- Open the PC case side panel.
- Gently, remove the PCIe power cables that are providing power to the graphics card.
- Now, unscrew the screws that are holding the graphics card to the mounting bracket on the rear of the case.
- Unlock the graphics card by pushing down on the PCIe release lever (located just at the end of the PCIe slots).
- Gently, remove the graphics card from the PCIe slot. DO NOT pull too hard, or against resistance. It is important to make sure that the release mechanism is free before pulling.
You have successfully removed the graphics card from the PC case.
Inserting Graphics Card
You can insert the graphics card back into the system by basically reversing the steps that we followed when removing the card.
- Carefully, line up the graphics card PCIe slot pins with the PCIe slot, making sure that the rear bracket lines up with the mounting mechanism.
- Once everything is lined up, push the card into the slot until you hear a solid click of the PCIe release lever. This may require a bit of force.
- Screw the card back into the mounting mechanism at the rear of the case.
- Plug the PCIe power cables back into the card.
- Try to boot the system again and see if the error persists.
If the card wasn’t seated properly the first time, this action of reseating can fix the VGA lights issue instantly.
Boot Without Graphics Card
You may also try booting the system without a graphics card being inserted. This is only possible in systems with CPUs that have integrated graphics.
Most Intel CPUs and some AMD Ryzen CPUs (known as APUs) do have integrated graphics and they do not require an external graphics card to boot up.
This step can help you diagnose the problem and pinpoint the root cause. If the PC boots up fine without the dedicated GPU, then the problem is most definitely centered on the GPU itself.
For this purpose, remove the GPU by following the steps mentioned above. Plug the display cable (HDMI, DVI, or Display Port) into the motherboard’s rear I/O port, and try to boot up the system.
The absence of a VGA light on this attempt will confirm the source of the problem.
Check for Physical Damage
Physical damage is one of the more severe causes that may lead to the presence of a VGA/GPU light error. The damage can be located on the GPU as well as inside the PCIe slot itself.
First of all, remove the GPU from the slot as directed above. Now, very carefully scan the surface of the GPU PCIe pins which are normally golden in color. Look for any bent pins, burn marks, discoloration, or other signs of physical damage.
Repeat the same process for the PCIe slot itself. The PCIe slot has little gold pins on the inner surface which are relatively hard to see, but you can still perform a general scan without any tools. Look for any signs of burns, scratches, etc. You should also check if the PCIe slot itself is bent in any way.
If you find any physical abnormality on the gold pins or the slot itself, you can use cotton swabs and a small amount of rubbing alcohol to clean them. This is especially useful for the gold pins on the graphics card itself.
However, if there are burn marks or bent/missing pins on the GPU or the PCIe slot, then it cannot be repaired by the user itself. You will have to send that part back to the manufacturer for RMA.
Boot up the system again and see if the error persists.
Change the PCIe Slot
During this process, you may also find the PCIe slot itself to be the problem. If the slot seems bent or physically damaged in any way, then it is a wise bet to try another PCIe 16x slot just to be sure.
Remove the graphics card from the system as indicated above. Now, locate another full-sized PCIe 16x slot under the primary slot, and insert the GPU in that slot using the instructions already mentioned.
Many ATX motherboards do have at least one more PCIe 16x slot, however, you may not find extra full-sized slots in compact motherboards using the micro ATX or mini-ITX form factor.
Try to boot up the system and see if you can spot the VGA/GPU light this time.
Check the Power Supply
One of the main reasons for the VGA light can be a faulty or low wattage PSU that is not powerful enough for the graphics card.
Of course, the PSU is responsible for providing the power to all the components in the system, with the graphics card being the most power-hungry one. A low wattage power supply will not be able to provide enough power to sustain the GPU under loads or at bootup.
Check the Power Connectors
First, you should inspect the power supply externally. Look at all the cables and make sure they are connected properly. Pay close attention to the GPU PCIe power cables and look for any signs of fraying or damage.
If the PSU is old, there may be a damaged wire in the 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors that are used to provide power to the GPU.
Check the Wattage
Secondly, you can also judge how much power your system actually needs and whether or not your PSU is capable of running it. Sites like Newegg and CoolerMaster have Power Supply Calculator tools that will give you a rough estimate of your system wattage, and you can choose your power supply wattage based on that figure.
If you find any problem with the power supply, then you will have to replace the unit before proceeding to other steps.
Remove all Hardware
While diagnosing your PC, it is sometimes very helpful to remove all the unnecessary variables and strip your system down to its bare minimum. This means removing all the hardware that is connected to the motherboard, other than the essentials.
Remove all the external peripherals such as USB devices, hard drives, PCIe cards other than the graphics card, and other components that are not considered essential.
Try booting up your computer using the CPU, the CPU fan cooler, only one stick of RAM, and the graphics card. You may find that the computer boots up without a problem in this case. If so, try plugging the devices back in one at a time to locate the source of the problem.
Of course, one of the key steps in fixing the diagnostic boot-up light issues is to clear the CMOS of your PC. The CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) of your motherboard is a small battery that powers the BIOS and essentially is responsible for maintaining the BIOS settings even when your PC is powered off.
Changes in the BIOS settings and misconfigurations can cause the BIOS settings to malfunction in the POST process, thus causing the VGA light to turn on. To fix this, we can reset the CMOS of the motherboard using one of the three common methods.
Battery Cell Method
Here’s a general method of how to reset your CMOS:
- Completely power down the computer and unplug all the power sources.
- Press and hold the power button for 5-10 seconds to remove any residue charge in the capacitors.
- Locate the CMOS battery on your motherboard. It is usually present below the CPU socket, below the first PCIe slot, and beside the chipset heatsink.
- You can locate the CMOS battery using your motherboard’s manual as well.
- Remove the CMOS battery with your hand or with the help of a tool. Note the side that was facing upwards while removing.
- Keep the battery out of the system for a short time.
- After a few minutes, reinstall the CMOS battery.
- Boot up the system using the power button.
Try booting the system to see if clearing the CMOS was effective in removing the VGA light.
CMOS Button Method
Nowadays it is possible to clear the CMOS using other methods. Some motherboards have dedicated “CMOS Clear” buttons on the motherboard PCB or on the rear I/O. However, this feature is often only present on premium motherboards.
All you have to do is to press and hold the button for a number of seconds. This varies from model to model so the instructions can be best found in the motherboard manual.
CMOS Pins Method
Most motherboards also allow you to clear the CMOS by shorting some pins using a screwdriver. These pins are located towards the lower half of the board and are hard to locate using the naked eye. The motherboard manual can help you in this regard.
Reset the BIOS
Depending on the motherboard you have, you can also manually reset all the BIOS settings in order to fix the VGA light issue. This step can be useful if you misconfigured some GPU-related settings in the BIOS, such as the PCIe configuration.
You can follow the following steps to reset the BIOS.
- Access the BIOS by pressing the Del key when booting up (This can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer)
- Locate the option for “Load Setup Defaults”
- Press Enter
- Save Changes and Reboot.
Your BIOS settings have been reset to default.
Update the BIOS
While unlikely, it is possible that an outdated BIOS can cause the VGA light on the motherboard to flash, therefore it can be fixed by updating the BIOS to the latest version.
The general process of updating the BIOS is quite similar on most motherboards even if they are from different manufacturers, but the BIOS layout and setting names can vary. Some motherboards may also have a dedicated Flash BIOS button on the rear I/O for this very purpose, which can simplify the process.
You can use the following steps as a general guide to updating the BIOS on a motherboard.
- Download the BIOS file from the manufacturer’s website. It can be found on the product page of your particular motherboard model.
- Transfer the file onto a clean USB drive. It is advisable to have no additional data on the drive itself.
- Power down your PC completely, wait for a few seconds, and then insert the USB drive.
- Boot up the PC and press the Del or F12 key (depending on the manufacturer) to enter the BIOS.
- Locate the “Update BIOS” section of the motherboard’s BIOS by navigating the menus.
- Select the BIOS file from the USB when prompted.
- Wait for the BIOS Update process to finish. It is extremely important that you do not interrupt the process in any way. Your motherboard can be permanently bricked if the PC loses power in the middle of a BIOS update.
- Some motherboards may take up to 15 minutes for a BIOS update, so you have to be patient.
- Once it is done, you can reboot the PC and check if the VGA light issue persists.
Your motherboard BIOS has been updated to the latest version.
Change the GPU
The final step of the solution is undoubtedly the most bitter pill to swallow. If all else fails, the fault definitely lies in the GPU itself and it is unlikely that you will be able to fix it by yourself.
If the GPU is under warranty, you can send the GPU back to the manufacturer for an RMA. Most manufacturers are very swift and accommodating in this regard, especially if the issue prevents the PC from booting up.
Changing the graphics card is the very last solution you can try to fix the VGA light on motherboard issue.
Why is my monitor not turning on?
Your monitor might not be turning on due to a lack of video signal from your PC’s GPU. This is usually the first sign of GPU or other video card failure and is simultaneously indicated by the VGA/GPU light being turned on at boot-up.
What does the orange diagnostic light mean?
The orange diagnostic light indicates a DRAM issue, which is related to the memory or RAM of your PC. It is located right next to the VGA light but it is commonly orange in color to distinguish it from the red VGA and BOOT lights.
Can overclocking damage the graphics card?
Generally, it is not possible to be able to damage a graphics card by overclocking. Modern graphics cards have strict limiters set in place by the manufacturer which prevent any kind of harmful changes to take effect during the overclocking process.