ElectroStatic Discharge or ESD

Picture of ESD warning stickerShort for ElectroStatic Discharge, ESD is one of the few things an individual can do to damage or destroy his or her computer or hardware components. Much like the shock you receive when rubbing your feet on the carpet and touching something metal, ESD can occur when working in your computer and can cause components you touch to no longer work properly. ESD can occur without the user feeling a shock and only occurs while working on the inside of the computer or handling an expansion card.

Preventing ESD and grounding yourself

The best method of preventing ESD is to use an ESD wrist strap, grounding mat, or grounding workbench. However, because most users do not have access to such items, we have included the steps below to help reduce the chances of ESD as much as possible.

Tip: If you plan on working on the inside of the computer more than once we highly recommend purchasing and using an anti-static wristband.

Zero Potential - Most importantly, make sure you and the computer are at Zero Potential by continuously touching an un-painted metal surface of the chassis or the computer power supply case.
Standing - It is also very important that you are standing at all times when working on the computer. Setting on a chair can generate more electrostatic.
Cords - Make sure everything is removed from the back of the computer (power cord, mouse, keyboard, etc).
Clothes - Make sure not to wear any clothing that conducts a lot of Electrical Charge, such as a wool sweater.
Weather - Electrical storms can increase the ESD risk; if it can wait, try not to work on a computer during an electrical storm.
Accessories - To help reduce ESD and help prevent other problem, it is also a good idea to remove all jewelry.
Surface - You should be standing on a hard surface, and the computer or other electrostatic sensitive device should be on a table.

ESD related terms

Below is a listing of ESD and related definitions found in our computer dictionary.

Damaged hardware

If the computer no longer boots after working inside of it, try the below recommendations.

  1. If you have added a new component, remove it and try booting the computer. If the computer boots, it is likely an incompatibility between the computer and that hardware device. Try it again just to make sure.
  2. If the computer still does not boot properly after removing the new hardware or you did not add any new hardware, make sure that all the cables are firmly connected to their devices. It is possible that a cable may have become loose. This also includes the cables going to the back of your computer; make sure your power, monitor, mouse, keyboard are connected.
  3. Make sure each of the expansion card in your computer is firmly seated and not partially seated.
  4. Unfortunately, if your computer still does not properly boot, it is very possible that you may have mistakenly damaged your computer or a component within the computer causing it not to work. If the computer is beeping abnormally, refer to our beep code page for recommendations and beep code listings.

Additional information