Home » Computers » How to Fix a Faulty PCIe Slot (STEPS)

How to Fix a Faulty PCIe Slot (STEPS)

How do I know if my PCIe slot is bad?

PCIe or Peripheral Component Interconnect express slots are used to install video, sound or graphics cards in the computer hardware.

The easiest way to find whether the PCIe slot is working \ is to check in the Device Manager.

  • Click on the Start/ Windows
  • Click on Control Panel and go to Device Manager. The Device Manager has a list of components in the computer.
  • Look for devices with a yellow triangle mark on the side or a red cross mark. These are the components that have a technical problem and are not working properly.
  • Click on the mark to see what’s wrong with the PCIe slot.

If you don’t find the PCIe slot listed in the Device Manager, it means that the component is either not present or has been broken and can no longer be detected by the computer.


Change PCIe Card Slots

You can also test the slot by moving the PCIe card to another slot. Do this only after turning OFF the computer and plugging it completely to avoid power shortage or damage.

  • Reconnect the cables and turn ON the computer.
  • Go to Device Manager to check the status of the slot.

If the PCIe card is functioning, you’ll know that the previous slot has been damaged. If the card still isn’t functioning, the PCIe slots could be fine, but the card is defective.


Motherboard BIOS Settings

The PCIe slot may not work due to a BIOS error.

  • Download the BIOS and chipsets model from the computer manufacturer’s website or by searching from Google search.
  • Install the files and update the BIOS settings.
  • Restart the computer and check the PCIe slots again.

If it’s a BIOS error, it would’ve been rectified. Otherwise, you know that the PCIe slot is defective and needs to be changed.


Why is my PCI-e slot not working?

The most common reason for a PCIe slot to not work is because it hasn’t been enabled in the BIOS settings.

  1. The PCIe slot has not been enabled in BIOS settings.
    • Open the BIOS menu by pressing F2 as the computer starts.
    • Choose the ‘Advanced tab using the arrow keys on the keyboard.
    • Go to Video Configuration (also known as a first display device or primary display adapter).
    • Select PCI-express graphics and press Enter.
    • Press F10 to save the settings.
  1. A few motherboard models don’t recognize PCIe card versions.
  • This leads to incorrect settings and the card doesn’t get detected during the booting process. For example, ASUS Z270H considers the PCIe card as V3.
  • The version has to be manually downgraded through BIOS settings.
  1. The BIOS settings for the PCIe slot are AUTO.
  • Not all PCIe cards are detected in the AUTO version. The settings have to be changed to GEN 1. Follow the same process as mentioned above.
  1. The PCIe slot could have been damaged or fried (burned).
  2. The PCIe power cable is kinked, stretched or curled.


Can a PCIe Slot be Fixed?

Fixing a PCIe slot is difficult, risky and not recommended. Attempting to fix a PCIe slot will likely cause other components, especially the GPU, to short as they are located close to each other.

Gluing the slot back or bending the pins might work only for a while. You might end up with a damaged motherboard anytime if the wires touch.

It’s not worth the risk to fix a PCIe slot. If it’s the primary slot, simply use the other PCIe x16 slot. The motherboard should work fine as long as the pins don’t touch each other. You can also get the slot replaced by an expert or buy a new motherboard, depending on the cost.


Fix Faulty PCIe slot
Image Copyright: ifeelstock/Depositphotos.com


How do you troubleshoot a PCI Express slot?

Start by ensuring that it’s the PCIe slot and not the card that’s the cause of trouble. Insert another PCIe card if you have a spare and confirm.

You can borrow a PCIe card from a friend or insert yours in their motherboard to test. Alternatively, you can take the card to the computer repair store and they’ll test the card for you.

Troubleshooting the PCIe slot can be tricky. However, you can check if the motherboard drivers are working fine. A damaged driver can be updated easily.

  • Get the motherboard’s model from the brand’s website or the internet.
  • Open the driver page and download the latest drivers for the model.
  • Open the .exe file and follow the instructions on the screen to install the drivers.

If the drivers are good, check whether the cards are sitting correctly in the PCIe slots. You’ll need a material (like an eraser) that doesn’t conduct electricity to check if the pins are all properly in contact or if there seems to be some extra movement / space.

Don’t touch the motherboard when the computer is turned ON. Always turn OFF the computer and unplug the cables before tinkering with the slots and pins.

Don’t use screwdrivers or metal instruments as they might trigger a shortage. If you are unsure of anything, call the technician to test the motherboard and the PCIe slots. Don’t mess with it.


How to repair a broken PCI Express slot?

A broken PCIe slot can’t be easily repaired. Even the smallest mistake could burn the entire motherboard along with the CPU.

A single pin touching the one beside it can short the circuit if you are not careful. Manually rearranging the pins isn’t a great choice either.

However, there are ways to fix a broken PCIe slot to an extent. You’ll still be better off getting a new motherboard so that the rest of the hardware doesn’t end up getting fried due to a power shortage.

You can do any one of the following:

  • Cut the pins so that they don’t touch each other or anything else. Also, ensure that the stumps don’t touch anything.
  • Bend the pins and cover each of them (one by one) using tape.
  • Desolder each of the pins very carefully.

You’ll need to work on one pin at a time, but it’s the best way to fix a broken PCIe slot without harming the motherboard and the computer. That said, don’t even think of doing it yourself if you’ve never used the soldering iron before.


How do I test my PCI-Express slot?

The easiest way to test your PCIe slot is by placing a working PCIe card in it. If you have a PCIe card that works on other computers, use it to test the slot in your motherboard.

Don’t forget to turn OFF the computer and unplug all the cables before placing or removing the card.

Another way to test the PCIe slot is by downloading CPU-Z, a free system profiler software.

  • Download and install CPU-Z on your computer.
  • Open the application and click on Mainboard.
  • Go to Graphic Interface.

This should show whether your computer has a functioning PCIe slot or not.


How do I disable PCI-e slots in BIOS?

It’s easy to disable PCIe slots in BIOS by following the below steps:

  1. Turn ON the computer or reboot it to access the BIOS settings.
  2. Watch the screen carefully as it powers ON.
    • You need to press a key before you see the Windows logo. The most common keys to access BIOS are F2, F12, Esc or Delete. Try F10 if none of these works.
    • Use the arrow keys for BIOS navigations.
  3. Select the heading labeled Advanced/integrated peripherals or something similar. The term depends on the manufacturer.
  4. Select the Internal graphics mode/PCI/Hardware/Primary video adapter
  5. Find the PCIe setting and use the + or keys to change the PCIe slot status from Enabled to Disabled.
  6. Select Save and quit to save the changes. Better yet, follow the instructions on the screen to save the latest BIOS settings.

The computer will reboot again and your PCIe slot is now disabled.


How do I enable PCI-e in BIOS?

You’ll need to follow the same steps as mentioned earlier to enable PCIe in BIOS.

  1. Turn on or reboot the computer to access the BIOS settings.
  2. Press the appropriate key before you see the Windows logo.

The most commonly used keys to open BIOS are Esc, Delete, F2 andF12. Try F10 if none of these keys work.

  1. Navigate through the BIOS settings using the arrow keys.
  2. Go to the Advanced/ integrated peripherals heading or a similar heading,
  3. Select the PCI/Internal graphics mode/Hardware/Primary video adapter
  4. Locate the PCIe setting and use the + or keys to alter the PCIe slot status from Disabled to Enabled.
  5. Click the Save and quit button to save the changes. Follow the instructions on the screen to save the latest BIOS settings.

The computer will reboot and your PCIe slot is now enabled.


Can a PCIE Lane go bad?

Yes, the PCIe lanes can go bad and result in a nonfunctioning slot.

Check the following to determine where the problem lies:

  • Lanes from the CPU to PCIe slot
  • Lanes from chipset to the slot (for older motherboards)

Fixing the damaged lanes is a risky process and can fry the motherboard. You can do one of the following:

  • Soldering is an option ONLY if you have soldered tiny circuits before.
  • Use liquid electrical tape to dab on the broken lines but only if you have no plans to RMA the motherboard.

The best thing to do is check the warranty and return the motherboard or take it to the nearest computer repair store for an expert opinion.


Why PCI-e is not detecting graphic card

The main reason why a PCIe is not detecting your graphics card is because of a loose connection or a because the PCIe is not seated correcting the slot.

There could be many reasons for the PCIe to not detect the graphic card or GPU. If either of the below aspects is not right, you’ll notice that the PCIe doesn’t detect the GPU.

The first step is to ensure that the graphic card is working and hasn’t been damaged.

  • The graphic card should be properly seated in the top PCIe slot.
  • The PCIe cables need to be connected to the graphic card.
  • The DVI/ VGA cable should be connected from the monitor to the GPU.

Fixing the Non-Detectable Graphic Card 

Start by checking the monitor connections. If the connections look good, turn OFF the computer, unplug the cables, and check the motherboard.

  1. Press the graphic card neatly into the slot. If you find it loose or wobbly, remove and insert it again properly.
  2. Use the locking tabs to fix the card in place.
  3. Check PCIe cables and close the cabinet.
  4. Plug in the cables and turn ON the computer.


If the GPU is still not being detected, continue with the below steps:

  1. Restart the computer and open the BIOS settings.
  2. Check for the on-board video option and disable it.
  3. Check the PCIe slot where you inserted the graphic card and ensure it is enabled.
  4. Save and quit the BIOS settings by following the instructions on the screen.
  5. Reboot the computer.

If the graphic card is still not showing, download and install the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website and try again.


Why PCI-e is not detected

The PCIe is not detected if-

  • The PCIe card doesn’t sit correctly in the slot.
  • The drivers are damaged and need to be reinstalled.
  • PCIe is disabled in the BIOS settings.
  • The PCIe slot or the card doesn’t work.
  • The primary PCIe slot is empty and the card is in the secondary slot (applicable only to some motherboards).

We’ve listed the steps for each cause in the previous sections. Please go through them to troubleshoot.


Why PCie slot says empty

The PCIe slot could show empty because-

  • The card is not seated properly.
  • The card is faulty or doesn’t work.
  • The slot has been damaged.
  • The card and motherboard are not compatible.
  • The PSU is outdated, faulty or less powerful to run the PCIe card.

The ‘empty’ PCIe slot can be fixed by-

  1. Updating the BIOS settings
  2. Reinstalling the drivers
  3. Ensuring that the slot and card are working
  4. Using a new PSU or a PSU that is compatible with the card
  5. Reseating the PCIe card in the slot
  6. Ensuring all cables are properly connected

If none of the above is the reason, contact the nearest computer repair store to get the motherboard and the cards tested.

Ernie Lo

Ernie Lo is a qualified web designer and web developer. He works as an IT support technician and website manager at Benleigh Vending, and he also fixes vending machines.

Recent Posts