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Wally

PC Troubleshooting Procedures

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Wally    1

Having hardware troubles with your PC? Here is a list of common problems and the most likely fixes.

WHENEVER INSTALLING NEW HARDWARE, MAKE SURE THAT THE POWER CABLE TO THE POWER SUPPLY IS DISCONNECTED, EVEN WHEN ATX POWER SUPPLY IS OFF, THE 5V STANDBY RAIL IS STILL ACTIVE. 

CAN'T INSTALL WINDOWS
Problem: Various errors during Windows installation

1. Check for faulty RAM.
2. Check for damaged installation media.
3. Check for faulty power supply.
4. Check for faulty optical drive.


HARD DRIVE NOT DETECTED 
Problem: Hard drive cannot be detected 

1. PCI bus out of specification, can cause problems 
2. Power cable faulty or not plugged in 
3. IDC cable in incorrectly or faulty CHECK BOTH ENDS 
4. Master/Secondary conflict, disconnect all other devices on chain. 
5. Check jumper settings. Some drives have a "single drive" setting, and won't work properly as a "slave" or "master" if they are the only drive in the chain.
6. As a last resort, IE won't work at all after everything has been tried and warranty is no longer valid (not if it's a new hard drive), try the freezer method (freeze the hard drive in freezer then try again)



NEW CPU NOT WORKING 
Problem: CPU does not work. 

1. CPU incompatible with board 
2. Chipped core (only for Coppermine/Athlon/Durons) 
3. Socket arm not down 
4. BIOS may need reset 
5. Fan failure protection may cause motherboard to shut down if there's no power draw on the CPU fan socket, make sure fan is plugged in if this applies to your board. 



NEW MOTHERBOARD WONT POWER UP 
Problem: Motherboard won’t POST. 

1. Check if grounded properly and there’s no shorts 
2. Remove all unrequired hardware (sound card, IDE/SATA cables, etc.) 
3. Make sure ATX cable is plugged in. 
4. Make sure your RAM and CPU is compatible with this board 
5. Don’t forget to plug in the ATX power button 
6. Check BIOS reset pins 
7. Check keyboard wakeup jumper (serious) 
8. Check for correct CPU jumper settings. (If Applicable)



CONSTANT CRASHES IN WINDOWS 
Problem: BSODs, etc. 
1. Check VIA 4in1 drivers (if applicable) 
2. Set CPU back to stock 
3. Set RAM back to stock 
4. Apply SB live+ via patch (if applicable.) 
5. Remove all hardware one at a time until problem disappears. 



CONSTANT RESETS WHILE UNDER LOAD 
Problem: Resets under load 

1. Check power supply handling capability, test rails with a multimeter NOT ONBOARD VOLTAGE MONITORING 
2. Not enough voltage for overclock 
3. Overclocked too far 
4. Video card, CPU overheating 
5. Faulty wiring or possible shorting 
6. Check All capacitors around the mosFETs supplying power to the CPU, especially if you have an abit/epox board


BURNS FAILING
Problem: Burning errors 

1. Check power (SERIOUS) possible faulty Molex plug 
2. Enable burn proof 
3. Remove burner drivers from Control Panel 
4. Update your burner software (Nero usually causes the least amount of problems) 
5. Has it happened since installing Windows? Check compatibility for your OS. 
6. Update firmware 
7. make sure DMA is ENABLED IN CONTROL PANEL 
8. Put device on separate chain 
9. Make sure PCI bus is relatively in spec (no more than 37mhz)
10. Buy a CD-ROM Lens cleaner, the laser may be dirty



CPU @ XX DEGREES. TOO HOT? 
1. Check the fan is functioning. 
2. Have you applied thermal paste? 
3. Apply thermal paste only VERY thinly (almost translucent) 
4. Heatsink seated properly? 
4a. Socket arm down all the way? 
4b. Heatsink collar correct way? 
4c. Heatsink not tilted? 
5. CPU voltage and speed correct 
6. System cooling? 

If your system is not unstable, there really is no problem unless you wish to start tweaking.. 
Remember - too hot is a variable thing: What's hot for an Intel CPU may be normal operating temp for an AMD.



LAN (NETWORK) NOT COMMUNICATING 
1. Both computers on same subnet (e.g. 192.168.0.X) 
2. Using straight-through cables on switch/hub? 
3. Using cross-over cables for direct? 
4. Cable broken? 
5. Network hardware functioning (hub, switch, NIC) 
6. Ping each other? 
6a. Ping but don't see - do you have access permissions
7. you are using a non-internet IP address (192.168.0.x, 10.x.x.x) 
8. Plug and play operating systems set to yes in the BIOS can cause LAN failures



SKIPPING MUSIC WHILE PLAYING GAMES/OTHER ACTIVITIES 
Problem: MP3s are skipping while I’m playing games 

1. Switch to Waveout in Winamp
2. Increase buffer length 
3. Increase priority of mp3 playback 
4. Increase block size



SYSTEM RANDOMLY REBOOTS 
1. Check to see if the automatically reboot on error function is turned off. (Right click on My Computer-->Properties-->Advanced-->Start Up and Recovery [settings]-->System Failure-->untick Automatically Restart); also appropriate for restarting instead of shutting down. 
2. check for faulty RAM (You can use 
GoldMemory to test it)
3. Check for faulty power supply.
4. Scan for viruses.
5. if your keyboard has them, physically remove the "Power", "Sleep" and "Wake" Up buttons as you might be bumping them


ERROR MESSAGE: "There was a problem installing this hardware :Hardware Name.
An error occurred during the installation of this device.
The data is invalid."

Problem: Blue Screen When Trying To Install Hardware And/Or Drivers:

 

FIX: To fix this problem, go to Start, Run... and type "regedit" without the quotes, to run the Registry Editor. Navigate your way down to: 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ENUM\P CI
and you will see a number of keys in the form of "VEN_xxxx", where xxxx are strings like "1102&DEV_0004&SUBSYS_00011103&REV_04". Under each of these folders will be another folder with a long numerical name. Open each folder and look for the "DeviceDesc" which matches the hardware you are trying to install. 

Right Click on the "VEN_xxxx" for that device and select 'Permissions' and then tick "Allow" for "Full Control". Close Regedit and then continue with the installation of your device. You should not need to reboot after you close regedit but some people have found that they do.



RECOVERING FROM A BAD BIOS FLASH
Problem: System will not boot following a BIOS flash:

First, only flash your BIOS when it absolutely necessary. If you are not sure what you are doing, then take your computer to someone who does.

With AMI BIOS you can use the "Quick Flash" Method that is described in a file in AMIFLASH.ZIP. If you use this method, hold the magic keys DOWN with one hand and switch the PC ON with the other hand - just don't release the keys). Continue holding the keys DOWN until the FDD starts reading the floppy (you can give up after 5 minutes if nothing happens). This method won't work if the boot block is erased. Find AMIFLASH.ZIP at:
AMI | American Megatrends Inc.

Other Options: 
Modern motherboards have a boot-block BIOS. This is small area of the BIOS that doesn't get overwritten when you flash a BIOS. The boot-block BIOS only has support for the floppy drive. If you have a PCI video card you won't see anything on the screen because the boot-block BIOS only supports an ISA video card, although the procedure will still run. 

Award: At boot-up, the boot-block BIOS will look for and execute an AUTOEXEC.BAT file on a bootable diskette. Copy an Award flasher & the correct BIOS *.bin file onto a floppy and execute it automatically by putting awdflash *.bin in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. 

AMI: The AMI boot-block BIOS will look for a AMIBOOT.ROM file on a diskette. Copy and rename the correct BIOS file on the floppy and power up the PC. The floppy doesn't need to be bootable. You will see the PC read the floppy, after about 4 minutes you will hear 4 beeps, this means the transfer is done. Reboot the PC and modify the CMOS for your configuration.


If you feel that you can add to this list, please post below.

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Node    0

In addition to your warning statement about disconnecting the power, one should also press the power button at least 5 times in order to drain the remaining power stored inside the machine.

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