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It's a fairly simple question, can a short circuit in a modern PC cause damage, or are they pretty well protected?

The situation being my PC shutdown unexpectedly on my wife. I had to open it up, tip it on its side to and turn it on/off a few times to figure out the problem. Hearing a little crack I figured out that it was something sparking, then taking off the other panel noticed one of the power connectors dangling right above a rivet in the case.

The last short caused my CMOS to become corrupt, I got a bad checksum message when it loaded, so I restored the default settings.

It seems to be working at the moment, I'm actually typing this on the machine but I'm wondering if there might be any hidden damage caused by such an event, or whether everything should be fine? And if so, is there a way to detect such damage?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The actual case is probably grounded and not cause any issues. A short circuit through some of the more delicate components would be a problem. If it shorted through and IC chips they are probably fried.

Considering you are actually typing on this computer would indicate that it most likely shorted to ground and didn't cause any damage.

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Yea, while it's possible that there's some hidden long term damage you haven't discovered yet, more likely it's ok since you're using it. – BBlake Mar 2 '10 at 19:52
Yeah it was definitely a short to ground, and it seems the PSU was able to detect that and required some forceful waking up. That's good new though. Cheers guys :) – Ian Mar 3 '10 at 9:40

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