How to replace the CMOS battery in your PC

A dying CMOS battery can cause problems with the BIOS and timing of your PC. Here’s how to replace your old CMOS battery with a new one.

The CMOS battery on the motherboard is responsible for saving the date, time, and BIOS settings when your PC is turned off. Like any other battery, it has a fixed lifespan and can wear out even if you don’t use your machine very often.

Fortunately, modern motherboards come with a CR2032 CMOS battery that is cheap and easy to replace. This guide contains everything you need to know to replace the CMOS battery in your PC.

What you will need

You will need some tools to replace the CMOS battery. A Phillips screwdriver is necessary to remove the bottom of your laptop. It’s also useful if you want to remove the GPU and/or expansion cards to access the CMOS battery. Since you’re dealing with fragile components for your machine, it’s a good idea to get an anti-static wristband so that static electricity doesn’t damage the board.

You will need a new CMOS battery that you can install in your system. Most ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards are compatible with the CR2032 lithium coin cell regardless of whether they support Intel or AMD chipsets. CR2032 batteries are available at many online stores and hardware stores, and you can get a few of them for $10.

Currently, Mini-ITX motherboards and other laptops have a CMOS battery that is covered in black plastic and a cable attached to the board. In fact, some laptop motherboards use the CR1220 type instead of the usual CR2032 battery, so you should consult the laptop manual before ordering a new CMOS battery for your laptop.

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When should you replace the CMOS battery?

A common sign of a dead CMOS battery is your date and time updates every time you reboot your system. However, it can also cause errors like the following:

  • CMOS Read Error
  • CMOS Checksum Error
  • CMOS Battery Failure
  • The system’s battery power is low

If your PC often displays an error message about BIOS settings being removed, there is a high chance that your CMOS battery is dead. CMOS coin cells usually have a lifespan of three to five years, so even the best motherboards need their CMOS batteries replaced after a few years.

Replacing the CMOS battery is one of the first signs when your system fails to boot into the BIOS or the LED lights on your motherboard keep flashing when you press the power button on your PC.

How to replace the CMOS battery on your PC

When you get your device with a new CMOS battery, it’s time to replace the old one. To do so,

  1. Turn off your machine and unplug its AC power adapter.
  2. Press and hold the power button for half a minute to remove any remaining lead from the motherboard capacitors.
  3. Lower the front panel of your PC after loosening the mobile screws and keeping them in place.
    • If you are on a laptop, use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the screws on the bottom of the laptop and remove the back cover with the help of a spudger tool. Be sure to disconnect the actual laptop battery before replacing the CMOS battery.
  4. On most ATX and Micro-ATX boards, the old CMOS battery can be released by pressing the latch on the CMOS battery.
  5. If you are having trouble finding a CMOS battery, you may want to download the GPU as most ATX and Micro ATX boards have a CMOS battery located around the PCI-e.
    • Most Mini-ITX motherboards have a CMOS charge cell located around the IO ports. You can remove the old battery by pulling out its connector on the board.
  6. To install a new CMOS cell, place it on the CMOS battery with the positive side up (the side with the company name) and push it down until it is secure.
    • Mini-ITX motherboard owners can simply insert the connector for their new CMOS battery into the motherboard.
  7. If you have removed the GPU, install it in the motherboard, and close the front/back cover using the screws you removed earlier.
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When you install it on your PC, you will see a message saying that the BIOS update has been removed. You can ignore the message and restart your system as usual, or restore any changes you made to the BIOS settings before replacing the CMOS battery. You should also set the appropriate data and time settings after booting the OS.

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