Discussion List Your PC Build Mistakes & Accidental Damage Here!

Dec 24, 2021
I’m preparing to build a low cost retro Windows XP gaming rig out of New Old Stock parts. I’ve made a few blunders over the years working on PCs. I thought I’d list them and make checklists to ensure I don’t repeat them on this new build:

  1. Plugging in cards without realizing the motherboard was still connected to power.
  2. Plugged in a USB camera into a port with the plastic tab broken off. It ended up being plugged in upside down. The computer degraded after a few days then died and wouldn’t reboot. (Goodbye E-Machines PC, you were a good friend).
  3. Excessively flexed the motherboard because I was in a hurry and didn’t realize the component I was removing had a “catch” that I was supposed to release before trying to pull it out.
  4. Spraying TV Tuner cleaner on connectors and parts of the motherboard. That stuff (probably not made anymore) does not go away and is probably conductive.
  5. PS/2 - cross connecting the keyboard and mouse ports. I don’t think this damaged anything but I didn’t like that human error,
  6. VGA cable came loose and instead of me pulling the plug on the PC, I just reconnected it with the PC on…probably didn’t damage anything - no way to know for sure.
  7. I plugged a USB laptop 5v cooler pad power plug into the USB slot on the PB instead of the cooler pad!!!
There are others that I can’t remember right now.

Almost all involve getting in a rush. One may have been because I was drinking beer while working on it.

My new rule - take a break every 30 min whether you think you need it or not. Here’s more … don’t drink beer while working on equipment. Don’t try to fix anything when tired.

Remove all power before doing anything. Check all connections before applying power. Maybe even walk away, take a break, and come back and recheck again before applying power.

What are some of your PC build / Repair mistakes?


Built the loop and on testing realized I'd mixed up inlets and outlets, so flow was minimal and temps were nuts as the flow was reversed to the jet plate.

Missed a clamp on a barb fitting buried in the back of the pc. Clamp was still on the tube. Needless to say the D5 put out more head pressure than the clamping force of the tube on the barb alone and soak everything when it blew off. Distilled water to the rescue...

Added a modular psu and got distracted by a client walking in, and forgot to remove the EPS cable. Naturally the old one plugged right in, when I got back to the repair, but was reverse polarity. Buh bye cpu.

Used a bios downloaded by a client onto floppy, all I had to do was install it, figures he'd downloaded the wrong motherboard version and it bricked the board. (This was 10 years ago± when bios updating was really touchy and not advised to the beginner)

Tried installing a q6600 on a 915 chipset lga775. Duh, 965 or better needed...

Being in a rush is normal behavior, always happens, to everyone, sooner or later and usually with no adverse results. The word though, is 'shoulda checked'. That's the biggest issue, not taking the time to double check everything.
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