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My Computer Freezes Up Constantly

Updated on September 8, 2016

Computer Freezing & Locking Up: Bad Capacitors

If your computer randomly shuts off, freezes, will not stay on for long, anything like this, there is a good chance that you have a bad capacitor or more. In this hub I will be showing your what a capacitor is, and how to find a bad one. We will not be covering the science of how to replace them however.

Capacitor: What Are They?

A capacitor is a battery shaped component in almost every type of electronic around. Their main function is to hold a charge steady for a small period of time, and to release it when needed. They help regulate voltage, hence when one is going bad, the voltage will either be high, low, or missing, and then the device fails or malfunctions.

Why Do Capacitors Go Bad?

There are many reasons why they can and do go bad. Some of the reasons are simply age, power surges/spikes, brown outs or systems turning off and on rapidly, and simply just a bad (not built well) capacitor.

Does Anything Special Happen When They Go Bad?

NOTE: Do not touch the prongs of capacitors without them being discharged first. If one of them discharges into you, it could cause serious injury, and even death.

When capacitors die or go bad, a huge handful of problems can begin to surface. Below are few examples of what they do when they give up. I do want to note that not all computer problems are the fault of a bad capacitor, but then again it isn't a bad place to start.

Motherboard Capacitors:

The most frequent type of capacitor to go bad will be located on the motherboard near the CPU. This is widely due to the fact that a CPU requires a great deal of voltage regulation. If you are getting blue screens, or screen freezes, then this is where you want to look first. The follwing place to look would be near the video card slots. Much like the CPU, a video card has heavy voltage requirements as well.

Power Supply Capacitors:

The capacitors inside of a power supply are huge, and are fatal if they discharge into you. Don't disassemble any power supplies without a trained technician. Power supplies fail quit often due to bulging and leaking capacitors. The symptoms of a bad power supply because of capacitors are instant system shut downs (turn offs,) random reboots without error messages or warnings, screen freezes, games may hang or freeze up. Power supplies may act normal, that is until a DVD drive or something like it is requested on. If your system turns off instantly or reboots instantly after accessing a device like a DVD drive, then a power supply test would be a good place to start.

Capacitors That Fail Do One or All of the Following:

1: Bulge

2: Leak

3: Explode (sounds like a .22 cal riffle firing)

Power Supply Bulging and Leaking Capacitor

Bulging Capacitor in a Power Supply
Bulging Capacitor in a Power Supply

Inside of a Bad Power Supply

The images above and below is a shot of some bad capacitors inside of a power supply. This power supply actually appeared to work fine, even passed a power supply general test. That is until there was a demand for more wattage and volts. Then the system turned itself off.

Leaking Power Supply Capacitor Top

Top View Leaking Power Supply Capacitor
Top View Leaking Power Supply Capacitor

CPU Motherboard Capacitor Leak

Leaking CPU Motherboard Capacitors
Leaking CPU Motherboard Capacitors

BAD Processor Capacitors

The pictures above and below are images of bad capacitors that the user was describing as the computer would work for a period of time and then the screen would freeze, with no option other than to shut the system off.

CPU Capacitor Leaks

CPU Capacitor Leaks
CPU Capacitor Leaks

© 2009 Ryan Hutzel

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    Ralph Godfrey 6 years ago

    thanks for the help i know where to look for help