Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I just built a computer, and there is only 1 problem with it. I can't turn it on by using the power button. I have to touch a screwdriver to the ON/OFF pins on the motherboard for it to turn on and boot into Windows.

I took apart the case and found out that the HDD LED is going to the ON/OFF on the motherboard. This must be why it doesn't work. However, since there are 9 pins out of 10 (1 pin blocked off with plastic), and they aren't separable pins, I have no way of getting my computer to turn on with the power button.

Here is the case I bought:

And here is the motherboard:

Is there anything I can do to fix the problem?

Would buying something like this and connecting it to the ON/OFF switch on the motherboard and connecting that to the front panel connector allow me to turn on the computer with the power button?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Typically the wires for the case front-panel I/O have just 1-pin or 2-pin (female) housings. This allows complete flexibility in making the proper connections to the motherboard (male) header. You seem to imply that computer case came with a single 2x5 housing with one of the 10 positions blocked off (it's called a key), and the wire positions do not match up with the motherboard header assignments.

The simple solution is to reposition the pins/wires in the 2x5 housing. Each female pin should be carefully extracted from the housing by gently depressing the exposed retention tab. After all nine wires/pins are extracted, then re-insert the wires/pins back into the housing but in the needed positions. If you smashed the retention tab too far down and the pin can now be pulled out of the housing, then you will need to bend the tab back up.

Here's what the female pins look like with a 1x4-position housing:enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Thank you! I had no idea you could take them out and re-order them. After about a half hour of trying different combinations, I got them all to work correctly with this case. – David Barnes Sep 15 '11 at 0:15

If the HDD LED is going to the ON/OFF connector on the motherboard, you have two issues; one is that the power button doesn't work, and the other is that the HDD LED doesn't work.

My suggestion would be to buy up to five of the items (for a total of 10 pins and 10 sockets), snip one pin off of one of them (to match the plastic-filled element on the case-side), and correct the issue.

E.g. if the case side (female) has five pairs that are:

  1. HDD LED
  2. MIC
  3. SPK
  4. POWER
  5. GND / NC

and your MB side (male) has:

  1. POWER
  2. SPK
  3. HDD LED
  4. MIC
  5. GND / NC

Then you would connect case-side #1 to MB-side #3 (HDD LED), case-side #2 to MB-side #4 (MIC), case-side #3 to MB-side #2 (SPK), case-side #4 to MB-side #1 (POWER), and case-side #5 and MB-side #5 (GND)

Once you've got it connected and it works, you might consider taping or gluing the jumpers onto the case connector, just so they don't come loose.

share|improve this answer

Seems that it is not at all a problem. I have gone through the motherboard manual.

You can see the image here. It does not require any such modification.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
That's only half the picture. The problem described in the question seems to be that the cable from the case doesn't match the pinout of the motherboard. For what it is worth, I wasn't able to find documentation as to what the pinout is for the case. – Slartibartfast Sep 14 '11 at 5:53

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.