You are in the car returning home from work, and you can’t stop thinking about the new strategy you will use in today’s gaming session.
So, you get home, throw everything aside really quickly and push the turn-on button of your computer.
But as soon as it boots, your monitor is not lighting up, and when you look through the case, you notice a weird led light on your motherboard.
And at this point, you think WTF is going on? I just wanted to blow some steam and play my game, and now my computer doesn’t work?
First, I want to tell you to take a deep breath and not panic.
This led light, my friend, is called the VGA light, and its work is to tell you that there is something wrong with your GPU.
So if you want to learn what exactly this light signals and how to troubleshoot your computer and fix the issue easily, then keep reading.
What is the VGA light on motherboard?
So before talking about how to fix the issue, let’s first discuss what this light actually means so you get a better understanding of what we are dealing with.
Let me start by telling you that modern motherboards have led lights that warn you if something is wrong with your computer components or the motherboard itself (older motherboards only had one led light, and troubleshooting was much more difficult).
Usually, they have three led lights on them: the VGA light, the RAM light, and the CPU light. And as you can understand, each of these lights corresponds to a certain issue.
The CPU light gets activated if there is an issue with your CPU, the RAM (Random Access Memory) light gets activated if there is an issue with your memory, and the VGA light gets activated when there is an issue with your graphics card.
But what the VGA light is trying to tell you?
What the VGA light is trying to tell you is that your motherboard, for some reason, can’t find the GPU, which means that it could be some kind of connection issue or even an issue with the graphics card itself.
So now that we have covered the basics of VGA lights, let’s see what you should do when encountering this issue.
Related Article: “What Does The Red Light On Motherboard Mean & How To Fix It“
How to fix the VGA light on motherboard?
As already mentioned, when the VGA light is blinking, your motherboard can’t find the graphics card.
There are many reasons why this could be happening, so let’s see what you can do to find what is wrong and fix it.
1. Check the graphics card connection
I highly recommend starting by checking if the graphics card is properly connected to the PCIe slot. You should do this first because it is the easiest thing to do and one of the most common reasons that could be causing the VGA light to turn on. So try to move it a bit and see if it is loose; to be 100% sure, unplug it and plug it back in.
2. Check the PCIe cable
Most modern GPUs need more power than the PCIe slot can provide, and for this reason, you have to also plug a PCIe cable from the PSU into the graphics card. If this cable is not properly connected, the GPU won’t get the power it needs, and it will cause the VGA light to go on. So unplug and plug this cable to be sure it is connected properly. If, after doing that, the VGA light is still on, try another PCIe cable to be 100% sure that it is not the problem.
3. Check if the PCIe slot is damaged
Even though it is not that common for PCIe slots to get damaged, it is still possible. The most accurate way of checking if there is a problem with the PCIe slot is by using a PCIe test card which is a card that you plug into the PCIe slot, and depending on the error code it displays, you know if and what is wrong with your slot.
But while it is the easiest and most accurate way to see if the PCIe slot is damaged, I am sure that most of you don’t have a PCIe test card around so let’s see how to do it without one.
To check if the PCIe slot is damaged, remove the graphics processing unit and carefully inspect it to see if something is wrong with it. This is a pretty standard step, but to be honest, it won’t help a lot. If you want to be sure that it is not a slot problem, the best thing to do is to plug the dedicated graphics card into another slot. If it works fine, the problem is with your original PCIe slot; if it doesn’t, you should keep troubleshooting.
4. Check if the GPU is dead
The first thing to do, as you did with the PCIe slot, is to inspect the GPU for physical damage. If you don’t see any, plug it again into the PCIe slot and see if the graphics card fan is spinning. If it doesn’t, there is a good chance that your graphics card is dead.
But the best way of determining if your GPU is dead is to call a friend or family member and ask them if you can test your GPU on their PC and vice versa. If your GPU doesn’t work on either of the computers and your friend’s GPU works on both computers, then you can be 100% sure that your GPU is indeed dead
5. Check the PSU
I left this for the end, as it is not that common. If the power supply unit (PSU) is not powerful enough to provide the required power to both the motherboard and the graphics card at the same time, it won’t be able to power up your graphics card and cause the VGA red light to turn on.
So if you have recently upgraded your GPU or another component, you need to make sure that your PSU has enough power to support it. You can do this by using an online calculator like this one.
6. GPU compatibility
You should be concerned about GPU and motherboard compatibility only if you have recently replaced/ upgraded your GPU or motherboard. If this is the case, you need to make sure that they are compatible with each other.
The best way to do that is by checking both their specifications on their manufacturers’ websites.
7. Reset/update BIOS
Now that you have checked all the possible hardware problems, it is time to check if there is a software issue causing the blinking red light. And when I am talking about software, I am talking about the BIOS.
The BIOS is responsible for the hardware settings of your PC, and if it is corrupted or not properly configured, it can cause all sorts of problems. So before you do anything else, you need to reset the BIOS to its default settings.
There are many ways to do that, from removing the CMOS battery to using a jumper. To learn more about it, you can read our article named: “How to Reset Your CMOS [Motherboard]“
If, after resetting the BIOS, the problem persists, you should consider updating it to the latest available version.
But how can you perform a BIOS update when you can’t boot your computer?
The easy way is, if you have a CPU with integrated graphics, to remove the GPU, plug your monitor into the onboard graphics and start the computer. And while it is booting, you can update the BIOS.
If you don’t have an integrated GPU, then read this guide cause it is a little more complicated, and we would probably need an entire article to discuss it.
Thank you for making it to the end of this article! I know it has been a long one, but there was a lot to cover. We have talked not only about what the motherboard VGA light means but also about a step-by-step troubleshooting guide that you can use to fix the problem yourself.
I hope I have helped you with a problem, and I would like to hear in the comments section what did the trick for you. Was it one of the hardware issues I have discussed above, was it updating BIOS or something else?
Thank you for reading, and good luck fixing your PC! 🙂
Nick Ryley is a computer architect and the owner of The Pc Geekz.
His love for playing games got him interested in computers in the first place. He wanted to be able to build a gaming PC that could run all the latest games at max settings, and this has him pursuing a major in computer architecture!
He started this blog to help people out and answer some of the most common questions about computer building