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O.D.C.V.I.

COMPUTER ENGINEERING

COMPUTER TROUBLESHOOTING 101


All computer problems are in one of two areas: Hardware or Software

Things to do before you start troubleshooting:


• Create a boot disk with all of the “device” drivers needed
• Copy your BIOS settings
• Have an anti-virus program on disk
• Keep warranty handy along with tech phone number.

What if the computer won't start?


• Check the cables.

• Make sure that every thing is plugged in correctly. Not just power cords but the mouse and
keyboard as well
• Make sure the power is switched on. Check the surge protector, as well as, the back of the
computer.
• Make sure the monitor is plugged into both the surge protector, as well as, the video card on the
back of the computer.
• If all the electrical is plugged in correctly and it still won't start, check the following:
-- Check the connections once more.
-- Make sure the electricity is on.
-- Some computers have a switch inside like a fuse that requires time to pass before you can
switch it on. Let it set for 30 or 40 minutes. It's amazing what gremlins do
over night.
-- If it still won't work. It's time to open the case.
Opening the case:
• Rule 1. Check your warranty and district policy.

• If they say no, call the technical support line and get them to help you. If they say yes, open the
case and do the following:
-- Look at where the electricity comes into the machine. Is it unplugged there? Solution: plug it
in.
-- If it still doesn't start, call the technical support line for help.
If the Computer Starts, but Won't Boot-up.
• Reboot the computer (turn it of and on again).

• If it won't boot-up, call the technical support line. Let them walk you through some steps to
determine the problem.
• If you do go into CMOS, BE CAREFUL.

P. Hislop O.D.C.V.I.
O.D.C.V.I. COMPUTER ENGINEERING

Basic Computer Repair: How to Install Stuff


Basic Equipment Needed
A small Phillips Screwdriver, A pair of small wire clippers, Phone number of the Technical
Support Line
New Keyboard or Mouse
• Un plug the old keyboard or mouse from the back of the computer.

• Plug the new keyboard or mouse in the same place where the old one was.
Installing Memory Chips
• Make sure it is the same kind of memory chip.

• Open the case.

• Locate the memory chip bank.

• Find a blank slot.

• Slip the chip in on a slight angle and click it into place.


Installing an Internal Drive
• Un plug the computer from the power.

• Open the case.

• Take out the front plate of the bay where the drive is to go.

• Slide the drive into the open bay.

• Connect the IDE cable, red next to the power.

• Connect the power supply.

• Replace the case.

• Plug the computer in to the power and turn it on.

• Boot to DOS using a boot (system) disk.

• Partition drive using fdisk .

• Format drive.

• Restart computer
Installing Cards
• Turn off and unplug the computer.

• Open the case.

• Find an open slot.

• Remove the cover.

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O.D.C.V.I. COMPUTER ENGINEERING

• Seat the card in the slot.

• Tighten the screw that holds it.

• Replace the case.

• Turn on the computer and load the drivers

GENERAL TROUBLE SHOOTING


The following steps are our recommended steps to go through first when trouble shooting any software
and some hardware related issue. When running through the following steps you will usually come to a
better perspective of what is happening to your computer, or resolve the issues.
MS-DOS / WINDOWS 3.X
1. DOS PROMPT: Get to a DOS prompt, if your computer is giving errors during the boot up.
Turn off, during the time you are turning on the computer watch for Starting MS-DOS when
this message appears on your screen press F5 immediately, this should by pass your
autoexec.bat / config.sys and get you to C:\>.
2. CHKDSK: From the DOS prompt C:\> type chkdsk /f, if this gives you a bad command or file
name type cd dos and press enter to get into the DOS prompt and try it again. Once this is done
type cd\ to get back into the C:\>
3. DELETE CERTAIN FILES: From the DOS prompt C:\> type del *.tmp to delete all
temporary files, also type del *.chk, once these files have been deleted type cd\windows delete
*.tmp and *.chk just like before however in the Windows directory. Once the files have also
been deleted in the Windows directory, type cd\dos to get into the DOS directory in C:\DOS>
also delete *.tmp and *.chk just how you did at C:\>. Once these files have been removed out
of all the above directories type cd\ to get back into the C:\>.
4. SCANDISK / DEFRAG: Type cd window to get into the Windows directory and type
scandisk this will check your hard drive for any types of errors. If this completes with no errors
type defrag which will chronologically align your hard drive. If scandisk did get errors and was
able to fix them repeat step number 2.
5. REN WIN.INI SYSTEM.INI: Attempt to rename your win.ini and system.ini by going into
the Windows directory by typing cd\windows . Once in the Windows directory first determine
if these files are backed up by typing dir win.* and dir system.* when typing each of these
commands you should get a listing of all files that begin with win as well as system. Ensure
before following the below steps that you have one old / bac / bak / --- files.
If you do have one of the above extensions type ren win.ini win.ch this will rename the win.ini
to win.ch, once renamed type ren win.??? win.ini (where the ??? is replace this with one of the
extensions of the files you have seen in the above steps. Once the win.ini file has been renamed
type ren system.ini system.ch then ren system.??? system.ini.
6. If you are still running into errors check our On-Line help section for additional help with
DOS, Windows, Hardware, and other software.

P. Hislop O.D.C.V.I.
O.D.C.V.I. COMPUTER ENGINEERING
WINDOWS 95
1. SAFE MODE: If you are not able to get into Windows 95, and it has been able to get into
Windows 95 before. Shut off the computer completely and when turning the computer back on
when you see Starting Windows 95 or hear a beep press your F8 key which if done correctly
should get you into a Windows 95 startup menu. In the startup menu choose option #3 Safe
Mode.
2. DELETE CERTAIN FILES: Once in safe mode or in regular windows click on Start / find /
click on find files or folders / where it says named type *.tmp and ensure where it says named
it says (C:) and click on Find Now. Once it has found files click on Edit and choose the option
to select all and press delete on your keyboard to delete all the files. Once the tmp files have
been deleted do the same as above however instead of typing *.tmp type *.chk, and delete
these files as well.
3. DEVICE MANAGER: Check device manager to ensure that there are no conflicts with any
devices causing your system to not operate properly. If you do have any devices within device
manager causing issues we would recommend that you locate which error the device is given
and follow the steps within Device Manager error codes page.
4. CLOSE PROGRAMS: Remove any TSRs temporarily press Ctrl + Alt + Del which should
open a window "Close Programs" within this window highlight anything besides Explorer and
click the End Task button. If you get another prompt click End Task again. Repeat the above
steps until you have nothing except Explorer. If your computer runs faster or if you are able to
run a particular application without errors it is a good possibility you may have a TSR that is
causing your computer to run into certain issues.
If this did not resolve your issue reboot the computer to get all these applications back and skip
to the next step. If this did resolve your issue attempt to determine which application is causing
your issue by rebooting your computer then end tasking one program at a time and attempt to
duplicate the issue, if you run into the issue again, End Task another program and repeat the
steps until you have discovered which program is causing the problem and then attempt to
uninstall the program from your computer.
5. SCANDISK / DEFRAG: Run Scandisk if it finds any errors repeat step number two if it does
not find any errors run Defrag.
6. VIRUS SCAN: If your able to get into Windows and have a Virus Scanner attempt to check all
hard drives for Virus's if any are detected clean / delete them.
7. DR. WATSON: Run Dr. Watson and see if additional information can be found out about the
error.
8. REN AUTOEXEC.BAT AND CONFIG.SYS: If you are currently in Windows / Safe mode
reboot the computer and during the time booting up press your F8 key when the computer
beeps or when you see Starting Windows 95. In the Windows 95 startup menu choose the
option for safe mode command prompt only. Once at C:\> type ren autoexec.bat autoexec.ch
once the autoexec.bat has been renamed type ren config.sys config.ch, once both of these files
have been renamed if they exist, reboot the computer to see if your issue has been resolved.
9. REN WIN.INI SYSTEM.INI: If you are currently in Windows / Safe mode reboot the
computer and during the time booting up press your F8 key when the computer beeps or when
you see Starting Windows 95. In the Windows 95 startup menu choose the option for safe mode
command prompt only.

P. Hislop O.D.C.V.I.
O.D.C.V.I. COMPUTER ENGINEERING
get into the Windows directory by typing cd\windows . Once in the Windows directory first
determine if these files are backed up by typing dir win.* and dir system.* when typing each
of these commands you should get a listing of all files that begin with win as well as system.
Ensure before following the below steps that you have one old / bac / bak / --- files.
If you do have one of the above extensions type ren win.ini win.ch this will rename the win.ini
to win.ch, once renamed type ren win.??? win.ini (where the ??? is replace this with one of the
extensions of the files you have seen in the above steps. Once the win.ini file has been renamed
type ren system.ini system.ch then ren system.??? system.ini.
10. If you are still running into errors check our On-Line help section for additional help with
DOS, Windows, Hardware, and other software.
WINDOWS 98
1. SAFE MODE: If you are not able to get into Windows 98, and it has been able to get into
Windows 98 before. Shut off the computer completely and when turning the computer back on
listen for a beep or wait for 3-5 sec. and then press and hold the left Ctrl key on your keyboard
which should get you into a Windows 98 Startup Menu, choose the option #3 for Safe Mode
prompt only.
2. DELETE CERTAIN FILES: Once in safe mode or in regular windows click on Start / find /
click on find files or folders / where it says named type *.tmp and ensure where it says named
it says (C:) and click on Find Now. Once it has found files click on Edit and choose the option
to select all and press delete on your keyboard to delete all the files. Once the tmp files have
been deleted do the same as above however instead of typing *.tmp type *.chk, and delete
these files as well.
3. DEVICE MANAGER: Check device manager to ensure that there are no conflicts with any
devices causing your system to not operate properly.
4. CLOSE PROGRAMS: Remove any TSRs temporarily press Ctrl + Alt + Del which should
open a window "Close Programs" within this window highlight anything besides Explorer and
click the End Task button. If you get another prompt click End Task again. Repeat the above
steps until you have nothing except Explorer. If your computer runs faster or if you are able to
run a particular application without errors it is a good possibility you may have a TSR that is
causing your computer to run into certain issues.
If this did not resolve your issue reboot the computer to get all these applications back and skip
to the next step. If this did resolve your issue attempt to determine which application is causing
your issue by rebooting your computer then end tasking one program at a time and attempt to
duplicate the issue, if you run into the issue again, End Task another program and repeat the
steps until you have discovered which program is causing the problem and then attempt to
uninstall the program from your computer.
5. SCANDISK / DEFRAG: Run Scandisk if it finds any errors repeat step number two if it does
not find any errors run Defrag.
6. DR. WATSON: Run Dr. Watson and see if additional information can be found out about the
error.
7. REN AUTOEXEC.BAT AND CONFIG.SYS: If you are currently in Windows / Safe mode
reboot the computer and during the time booting up press and hold the left Ctrl key when the
computer is starting. In the Windows 98 startup menu choose the option for safe mode
command prompt only. Once at C:\> type ren autoexec.bat autoexec.ch once the autoexec.bat

P. Hislop O.D.C.V.I.
O.D.C.V.I. COMPUTER ENGINEERING
has been renamed type ren config.sys config.ch, once both of these files have been renamed if
they exist, reboot the computer to see if your issue has been resolved.
8. REN WIN.INI AND SYSTEM.INI: If you are currently in Windows / Safe mode reboot the
computer and during the time booting up press and hold your left Ctrl key when the computer
is starting. In the Windows 98 startup menu choose the option for safe mode command prompt
only.
get into the Windows directory by typing cd\windows . Once in the Windows directory first
determine if these files are backed up by typing dir win.* and dir system.* when typing each
of these commands you should get a listing of all files that begin with win as well as system.
Ensure before following the below steps that you have one old / bac / bak / --- files.
If you do have one of the above extensions type ren win.ini win.ch this will rename the win.ini
to win.ch, once renamed type ren win.??? win.ini (where the ??? is replace this with one of the
extensions of the files you have seen in the above steps. Once the win.ini file has been renamed
type ren system.ini system.ch then ren system.??? system.ini.
9. VIRUS SCAN: If your able to get into Windows and have a Virus Scanner attempt to check all
hard drives for Virus's if any are detected clean / delete them.
10. SCANREG: If you are getting a registry error or all the above steps have not resolved your
issue and your computer has worked previously restart your computer if you are in Windows or
Safe mode. During the time the computer is booting up press and hold your left Ctrl key which
should take you into a Windows 98 startup menu, in the startup menu choose the option for safe
mode command prompt only. At C:\> type cd\windows\command which should take you into
the Windows command directory. In this directory type scanreg. Once in the scanreg window
choose the option to backup if prompted, once backed up you should have a listing of the
previously backed up registry. Restore the registry with the oldest date.
11. If you are still running into errors check our On-Line help section for additional help with
DOS, Windows, Hardware, and other software.

POST TROUBLE SHOOTING


During the computers boot process the computer performs a POST which is a test that is performed
each time a PC computer is boot up. If the computer passes you will receive a normal post which in
most cases is the computer beeping one or two times. However in some cases you may receive a no
POST or an irregular post indicating something is causing the computer not to pass the test. Below is a
listing of some of the general steps that can be performed in helping the computer pass the POST
sequence.
THE POST TEST
Each time the computer boots up the computer must past the POST. The following is the procedure
of the POST:
1. The first step of POST is the testing of the Power Supply to ensure that it is turned on and that it
releases its reset signal.
2. CPU must exit the reset status mode and thereafter be able to execute instructions.
3. BIOS must be have readable.
4. BIOS checksum must be valid, meaning that it must be readable.
5. CMOS be accessible for reading.
6. CMOS checksum must be valid, meaning that it must be readable.

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O.D.C.V.I. COMPUTER ENGINEERING
7. CPU must be able to read all forms of memory such as the memory controller, memory bus, and
memory module.
8. The first 64KB of memory must be operational and have the capability to be read and written to and
from, and capable of containing the POST code.
9. I/O bus / controller must be accessible.
10. I/O bus must be able to write / read from the video subsystem and be able to read all video RAM..
If the computer does not pass any of the above tests your computer will receive an irregular POST. An
irregular POST is a beep code which is different from the standard which can be either no beeps at all
or a combination of different beeps indicating what is causing the computer not to past the POST.
COMMON BIOS MANUFACTURERS
AWARD, AMI, PHOENIX, IBM,
POST ABCs
The computer POST (Power On Self Test) which tests the computer insuring that it meets the
necessary system requirements before booting up. If the computer fails the POST the computer then
returns a beep code indicating what is causing the computer not to post the POST. Generally if the
computer POSTs properly you will receive a single beep (with some computer BIOS manufacturers it
may beep twice).
• First if any added hardware has been added to the computer before the irregular POST we
would recommend it be removed to see if it is causing this issue.
• Remove everything from the back of the computer except the power cable.

• If you are receiving a sequence of beeps see if those sequence of beeps are listed within this
page and follow the recommended steps for that beep code. If however your computers BIOS is
not listed on this page or you are not sure which BIOS you have within your computer continue
with the below steps.
• Disconnect the IDE cables from the CD-ROM, Hard Drive, and Floppy drive from the
Motherboard. If this resolves your irregular post attempt to connect each device one at a time to
determine which device and or cable is causing the issue.
• If the above still has not resolved the irregular post attempt to disconnect the Riser board (if
possible) with all devices attached to it. If your computer does not include a riser board (ATX
Motherboard) disconnect all the cards within the computer. If this resolves the issue or allows
the computer to post connect one card at a time until you determine which card is causing the
issue.
• If you continue to to receive the same problem with all the above hardware still removed
attempt to disconnect the CPU and RAM from the Motherboard. If this fixes the issue connect
the RAM if the computer still continues to work connect the CPU. Extra Note: If your
computer has a Pentium II or Pentium III socket, once the CPU is remove you may receive a
NO POST (No beeps). However it is a good recommendation to at least reseat the CPU.
• If the issue persists its a good possibility that the motherboard is bad.

• Note: Cache is normally not a consideration considering that the Cache controller is usually
enabled after the POST, however this can differ.

P. Hislop O.D.C.V.I.