It’s unfortunate, but if the power supply in your PC breaks, you can’t repair it; it needs to be replaced. Luckily for you, replacing the power supply is not too terribly difficult and can save you a trip to Best Buy! Before you even think of beginning, you’ll need to make sure you have 1) your new power supply unit (of course) and 2) a Phillips and Flat-Head screwdriver. If you can, grab a few sizes of each for the varying screws you might come across. Please remember that you are working with electrical items here, so make sure your computer is turned off and unplugged well before you start tearing it apart.
How to Replace the Power Supply In A PC
Step 1: Exposing the Innards
Unplug everything else from your computer, including the keyboard, mouse, printer, any additional hard drives, etc. If you are really new at this type of work, it might be helpful to keep a notebook handy and write down what was plugged in where, so you can put everything back properly. Take off the access panel, or computer cover. Some computers have a simple-to-remove side access panel, but others require you to use the screwdriver and remove the entire cover. Either way, once the parts are exposed, you may find it easier to lay the computer on its side to continue working.
Step 2: Location, Location, Location
Find the power supply within the computer. If you look at the back, the place where you unplugged it from the wall cord is the power supply. It is typically at the top/back of the computer, and has tons of colorful plugs leading to all the other components of the PC. Carefully unplug all of those plugs. Do not yank the wires! Some have a plastic latch that must be squeezed before removal. Again, if you think you’ll forget what goes where, just take a quick note, or snap a picture to reference later. Now you’ll need to carefully untwist the four or so screws that mount the power supply to the case. I suggest using one hand to hold the unit while unscrewing the last two screws, otherwise it will crash down into the depths of the computer. Once you’ve unscrewed it, gently pull it out of the computer and set it aside. NOTE: Some power supply units must be slid along a short track, and others have a small latch that must be pressed before removing! Never force anything; if you experience resistance, try gently sliding or wiggling it loose.
Step 3: Out With The Old, In With The New
Now that you have a big empty spot in your computer, it’s a great time to do a little spring cleaning. If you have a can of compressed air, give everything a quick zap to remove any built up dust or other debris (cat hair, in my case). Next comes the easy part. Putting it back together! Take your new power supply unit out of its package and align it inside your computer, just as the other one was. If you took a picture, give it a quick glance to make sure you have the unit in the correct position. Replace the screws to hold the unit in place, being sure to securely tighten each one. Reconnect all the extra parts that you previously removed (the disc drives, fan, etc.) to the new power supply unit. BE CAREFUL when pushing these back in. The plastic pieces surround very tiny, thin prongs that could be easily bent or damaged if they aren’t aligned correctly when you push them in place. Once you have everything plugged up, you can put the access panel or computer case back on. Your computer is fixed!
Step 4: The Test of Time
To ensure you have done amazing work, you’ll need to test out your new power supply connections. Plug everything back into your computer (printers, speakers, and all that jazz), THEN plug the computer back into the wall. Now is the moment of truth! Power it up! You should hear the fan start whirring and the light should come on. Wait until your PC is completely on and running, then open some programs for the final test. If everything is working as it should, you can pat yourself on the back in congratulations for a job well done. If the computer does not boot up as it should, unplug everything, remove the cover, and check your connections. It could be that something wasn’t pushed all the way in place, or was put in upside down. If you double check that all is well on the plug-front, but the computer still does not turn on, there could be another reason for the malfunction. Now you’ll have to pack things up and truck out to Best Buy and hope the Geek Squad can work their magic!