Why Does My Motherboard Lights Stay On After Shutdown?

Today’s PCs are powerhouses able to do everything from crypto mining and gaming to 3D modeling and complex computations. But despite how much they’ve evolved, it’s still pretty normal to have issues with your computer. The motherboard can be one of those components.

The lights staying on after a shutdown is standard for most PCs and typically nothing to fuss over. However, the standby lights can also be signs of hardware failure or power supply complications.

Motherboard with lights.

Why Are The Lights Staying On?

Turning off motherboard lights that stay on after shutdown is easy, especially if it’s not a sign of some underlying issue with your computer.

However, I don’t recommend you turn off these lights as they can lead to performance issues in some PCs. Therefore, consult your device’s user manual before attempting the fixes below.

Here’s how to turn off motherboard lights that stay on after shutdown:

  1. Unplug your computer from the power supply.
  2. Disconnect any connected devices from your PC.
  3. Adjust your device’s BIOS settings.

The following section explains exactly how to try these fixes for your PC.

You can leave the lights on if it’s not too much of a bother, but I recommend troubleshooting your computer if the behavior is unexpected.

1. Unplug Your Computer From The Power Supply

The technologies powering PCs have continued to evolve, but all computers follow the same principles for operation and calculation. Whether you use your device for only word processing or to run high-end games, all PCs need electrical power.

Today’s PCs have mastered power management allowing users to perform more operations in less time and with minimal power consumption.

However, the electricity you’ll use depends on what you run and your device’s ability to manage power properly. That’s why today’s computers have built-in software designed to regulate program power consumption.

Still, some devices have hardware and designs that help cut power consumption by allowing the computer to enter a low-power mode after shutdown.

This mode typically results in one or more motherboard lights staying on and does not affect your computer or its operations. However, you can unplug your computer from the mains to disable this mode and allow “true” shutdown.

Here’s how to unplug your computer from the power supply to turn off motherboard lights that stay on after shutdown:

  1. Shut down your computer normally. Remember to save all relevant work before starting the process. 
  2. Wait for the computer to power down. Depending on your PC, this process might take a few seconds to a few minutes. It’s essential to be patient to ensure you don’t lose any data or affect the device’s performance.
  3. Turn off the outlet and unplug your computer. Be careful when unplugging to avoid damaging the power cord and plug. You can also turn off the outlet if you use the PC very often.

Unplugging your PC will cut power to the motherboard, and the lights should go off.

However, the lights might remain on if you use a PC with a rechargeable battery (like a UPS). In this situation, you must remove the battery after you’ve unplugged the device from the mains.

2. Disconnect Any Connected Devices From Your PC

Not all PCs keep their motherboard lights after shutdown. For some, the lights only stay on if you connect other devices to them before or after shutting them down. These devices include input hardware like keyboards and webcams but can also be USB-connected hardware like smartphones.

And while these devices won’t harm your computer in any way, the motherboard lights that come on can be pretty off-putting for many users.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn off this light when you connect a device, as they serve as power indicators.

However, just like with most standby lights, you can turn them off by unplugging any connected devices, especially those interfacing with your computer via USB.

This method might not always work since most people have multiple devices connected to their PC. Still, some computers only turn on the motherboard lights if a device is connected via USB.

And for others, the motherboard lights only stay on for active input devices.

3. Adjust Your Device’s BIOS Settings

Various USB connectors.

BIOS is a computer firmware on PC motherboards that handles core tasks like hardware initialization and operating system boot-up. It stands for Basic Input/Output System (or Basic Input Output System) and is an operating system-dependent program.

The software is also responsible for hardware device detection and configuration and operations like boot device selection and Power-On Self-Tests (POSTs).

But what does this program have to do with the motherboard, especially with the lights on the hardware? Well, it all boils down to how BIOS works.

In a nutshell, the firmware is an interface between your PC’s operating system and all hardware. It works explicitly by allowing communication and configuration on the fly as long as the device is connected and supported.

And as you’d expect, these hardware devices include the motherboard and all its peripherals.

Motherboard lights staying on after shutdown is usually a feature, not a bug. And PC manufacturers usually assign control of these lights to the BIOS. Therefore, you’d need to tweak the BIOS settings to turn them off.

Here’s how to adjust your device BIOS settings to turn off motherboard lights that stay on after shutdown:

  1. Restart your computer and then enter the boot options menu while booting up. The key to enter this mode depends on your computer, but it’s usually F12, F10, or “Delete.” You might need to hold down the key on some devices.
  2. Select the “Enter Setup” option from the boot options on your screen. You might need to scroll down the page to find this option. This action should open the BIOS setup utility menu.
  3. Find and select the “Power Management” option. This option might also be named “Advanced” or “Hardware Monitor” on some devices. The option lets you adjust power and power-related settings, including motherboard lights.
  4. Choose the option to disable the motherboard lights on your PC. This option is usually labeled in many ways and might include disabling them even when your PC is operating. Select whichever you prefer.
  5. Save the new settings and exit the BIOS setup utility menu. You can save by clicking the “Save and Exit” button and following the on-screen prompts that pop up afterward. Remember to ensure you don’t accidentally tweak other settings before saving.
  6. Power off your computer. Check if the lights stay on after shutdown.

If you followed the steps correctly, the lights should be off but don’t fret if they’re still on. Your only option might be to unplug the PC from the outlet or disconnect devices.

The problem might be with something other than your power settings but with the devices connected to your PC. In this situation, you’ll have to cut off power to the USB ports when you shut down your computer.

You can find this option in your BIOS setup utility menu in the “Power Management” option. Follow the steps I highlighted above and restart your computer afterward.

The downside to this option is that you won’t be able to use your PC to charge your devices when you shut down. However, the lights should stay off until you adjust the settings.

How To Troubleshoot Your PC With Motherboard Lights Issue

The methods I’ve shared cover fixes for motherboard lights that stay on in everyday situations and typically indicate that your PC still receives power. But what about cases where the motherboard lights come on when your computer has issues?

These issues are usually hardware failure or power supply complications caused by one or more parts misbehaving or becoming damaged.

However, regardless of the cause, you can figure out if your motherboard lights are signs of an underlying issue if they suddenly start coming on or refuse to turn off even after adjusting your BIOS settings.

A telltale sign that the problem is serious is if you notice accompanying software or hardware issues. Ultimately, your best bet is to troubleshoot your computer to identify the cause of the problem and fix it correctly.

The best way to resolve the motherboard lights issue is to troubleshoot by updating your device and motherboard drivers, particularly BIOS drivers.

Here’s how to troubleshoot motherboard light problems on your PC by updating your BIOS:

  1. Identify the motherboard that’s on your PC. You can check your computer’s device instructional manual or other relevant documentation. Alternatively, you can use CPU-Z to determine the hardware features of your PC.
  2. Download the required BIOS update. You’ll need to go to the motherboard manufacturer’s website to download the file, and you can find the correct BIOS by providing the motherboard model. Ensure you download your computer’s latest and most accurate version of BIOS.
  3. Create a bootable USB drive for the update. You might not be able to install the new version of BIOS directly, and you can create a bootable drive using a flash drive and Command Prompt.
  4. Restart your PC and open the BIOS setup utility menu. I already shared how to do this in the section on adjusting BIOS settings. Remember to save your work before restarting your computer to ensure you don’t lose any data.
  5. Back up your saved BIOS settings before installing the update on your PC. You can backup by clicking the BIOS setup utility menu option, but ensure you have another flash drive handy. This backup can help you save time if you need to restore your original or saved settings.
  6. Plug in your bootable USB drive and install the updated version of BIOS. Locate the option to update BIOS in the BIOS setup utility menu and follow the on-screen prompts. Ensure you don’t turn off or unplug your device from the outlet to prevent unplanned and potentially damaging shutdowns.
  7. Load the default BIOS settings after the update is complete. This step is optional, but loading default settings ensure optimal stability and improves device performance. You can also load the backed-up default settings at this point.
  8. Power off your computer and test for any problems with your motherboard lights. You can then turn it on and check for additional issues.

The BIOS update process usually clears most motherboard-related issues, so your PC should run smoothly. If not, try running hardware checks and scanning for viruses.

The problem usually involves damaged or malfunctioning hardware if the issue persists.

Can Motherboard Damage Be Repaired?

A computer motherboard is being diagnosed using a multimeter.

Now that we’ve explored how to turn off motherboard lights that stay on after shutdown and the best way to troubleshoot motherboard light issues, let’s answer an important question: Can motherboard damage be repaired?

One can repair motherboard damage, but it depends on the extent of the damage and the type of motherboard in question. For example, damages from power surges and liquid spills are beyond repair. But you can quickly fix broken or loose parts, faulty power circuitry, and software issues.

Regardless of the extent of the damage, you should consult a qualified technician to help diagnose and fix the affected motherboard.

Of course, you can try out some simple fixes (like I mentioned above) if the damage is with the associated software.