How to turn on a computer from the motherboard without a case

    When building a PC, you may want to turn it on before you mount it in the case to check that everything is working properly. But is that possible? It turns out that by using a flat screwdriver, you can easily turn on the computer without connecting the computer to the computer case.

    So without further delay, let’s get right into it.

    Before start

    One thing that you need to turn on your computer from the motherboard without a carrying case is a metal lead. However, this does not mean that you should try using any piece of metal you see lying around anywhere.

    It’s best to use flat Screwdriver. A screwdriver with a handle can, in our case, stop any current that might flow through your body.

    Finally, make sure you 24-pin and 8-pin power connection into the motherboard. These pins power the motherboard and processor. You cannot turn on the PC unless you have connected these two cables.

    The other thing you can ask for is motherboard manual. Depending on the motherboard, the components that we need to start the computer can be located anywhere. So to find said component you should put your motherboard manual nearby.

    Turn on the computer from the motherboard without the case

    To start the motherboard, you need to short-circuit the power switch with a screwdriver. Pretty simple isn’t it? Well, locating the power switch can be quite complicated and confusing for beginners and even amateur PC builders. Furthermore, short-circuiting the wrong headers can render your entire motherboard useless.

    To avoid this exact situation, we have explained each step in detail to locate and short circuit the power switch.

    Locate Front Panel Header from Motherboard

    If you’ve ever wondered how a motherboard connects to the CPU case, it’s through the front panel connectors. The headers of the front panel on the motherboard power the case’s hard drive LED, power LED, reset switch, and power switch using a single pin supplying 5V DC.

    The front panel headers have ten pins and are indicated by letters such as F_PANEL, JFP1or FP1 on the motherboard. These pins are usually located on the side of your motherboard.

    Most motherboards are equipped with the front-panel 10-pin header. However, there are some motherboards that use a 20-pin front-panel header.

    If you cannot find the front panel headers, please refer to your motherboard’s manual to find them.

    Locate the power switch from the front panel header


    Once you have successfully located the front panel header on your motherboard, now it’s time to locate its power switch pins. There are two pins connecting the CPU’s power switch. These two pins connect the power button of the PC case to the motherboard to turn on the computer.

    These are the two pins that you need to short circuit.

    Short circuit the wrong two pins and you could even have a dead motherboard. Therefore, it is very important to locate the right power switches.

    The position of the power switch depends on your front panel header i.e. 10 pins or 20 pins.

    Power switch for 10-pin front panel header

    If you have the latest motherboard, chances are it has a 10-pin front-panel header. Even though it’s a 10-pin plug, you don’t need to plug anything into the pin at the end. Some motherboards even have only 9 (10-1) pin motherboard headers.

    For these headers, the power switch header is always on pins 6 and 8. These pins may even have numbers written on the side, as shown in the figure below.


    Note: Even-numbered pegs are always on one side and the other side has odd-numbered pegs.

    Power switch in motherboard with more than 10 pins front-panel header

    Generally, older motherboards are equipped with a 20-pin front-panel connector. The most common locations for the power switch for the 20-pin front panel are briefly explained below.

    • PIN 11 and 13 for 12 or (20-8) pin front panel headers.
    • PIN 6 and 8 for 13 or (20-7) pin front panel headers.
    • PIN 6 and 8 for front panel header 17 or (20-3) pin.

    Depending on your motherboard and the orientation of the pins, the power switches can be any of those 20 pins. So make sure you use your motherboard’s manual if you have a front panel header with more than ten pins.

    Warning: Only proceed to the following step if you are sure that the power switch you have located is correct.

    Short circuit of power switch

    After successfully identifying the power switch headers, now is the time to short-circuit them.

    1. Gently connect these two pins with a screwdriver. connect the power switch
    2. After the PC turns on, remove the screwdriver.
    3. Make sure you don’t touch any other pins when connecting the power switches.

    Related question

    How to Shut Down Computer Without Using the Power Button?

    Without using the power button, you can simply short the power switch again to turn off the computer. If you are not sure about the short circuit and you have not installed the Operating System, simply turn off the power.

    Will the computer turn on without CPU and RAM?

    When you turn on the computer, before it loads the BIOS, it needs to go through the POST (Power Self Check) process. POST is the first thing the computer runs to check if all components are connected.

    Without RAM and CPU, the computer would not be able to pass the POST process. Furthermore, the computer’s internal speakers will emit a beeping error code indicating that RAM is low.

    The only thing you can determine without CPU and RAM is whether the motherboard is dead or alive.

    Will the motherboard turn on without the GPU?

    The motherboard will turn on without the GPU. However, if you don’t have a CPU with integrated GPU, your monitor won’t display anything.

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