How to: Troubleshoot Your Own PC

If your PC is not turning on or the display is not coming up, then what would you do? In this guide, i’ll explain how you can at least diagnose the issue so you know what you’re talking about and what you’re dealing with when you contact someone at the repair store.

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When disconnecting or connecting any device, you must ensure that the AC Electric Power Is Disconnected.  Temporarily ground yourself, or you must use a wrist strap to prevent electrical static discharges from destroying components.

Here’s  the troubleshooting procedure:

If your PC isn’t displaying anything then do the following:

With a new motherboard: verify that all mounting standoffs holes correspond with the holes in the motherboard OR test the motherboard outside the case, on a wooden  (non conductive) surface.

– Clean it from dust, probably use a blower to blow the dust on it, make sure not to scratch the circuits on board.
– Test it with minimum attached. Disconnect all peripherals, this includes drives, cd, dvd, printers ,keyboard, network cables and everything else except for Motherboard, CPU + MEMORY (1 STICK), Video/Graphics Card, Monitor & Power Supply – Make sure that the 4-, 6- or 8-pin CPU Aux power plug is connected
-Verify that the VIDEO card has a power connecter – if yes, connect the power to it!

Now, power-on  your PC.  On boot, does it shows the display on boot? If not, it is one of the connected devices: RAM, Power supply , video card or monitor which appears to have a fault. If possible, swap ram, power supply, video card or monitor – leaving only motherboard and CPU
-test the ram in each slot, sometimes you have a bad slot, causing ram problems and also with different sticks if more then one.

Test again, does it now works? IF YES, then disconnect the AC electrical power, and start reconnecting each of the peripherals, devices and cables (one at a time) until the problem shows itself.  Before each of these reconnections, you need to follow the precautions above.

If fans are running, that means there is a 12V coming in from the PSU, this doesn’t indicate that the PSU is okay, you would still require 3.3 V and + 5V and other signals.

Additional Tests To Do

– Try booting without the ram, it will give a beeping sound, also with the graphics card
– Try with the default BIOS settings, and if needed clear the BIOS by removing AC and the BIOS Battery (CMOS)
– Renew the CPU Thermal Paste, and verify that the heat sink is mounted flat on the CPU, allowing for a good thermal contact. If you do not have the paste, get one here -> Artic Silver Paste
– Check motherboard for bad capacitors as shown in the URL ->  Capacitor Plague
– If you have another PC, test it’s part on another PC to rule out faulty parts.

If you are using 4 sticks – note that many boards do not run well with the ram bus loaded heavily like that, causing deterioration of signal levels and wave forms ! –> so test with 2 sticks max .

POST means power on self test, see the link -> Beep Codes

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to: Troubleshoot Your Own PC

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