Go Back   Cyber Tech Help Support Forums > Hardware > Hardware


Hardware Use this board for problem solving and the discussion of Computer Hardware issues

Topic Tools
Old July 12th, 2003, 11:24 PM
New Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: USA
Age: 67
Posts: 19
Hardware troubleshoot guides, and Tips and Tricks

It's been awhile and I am getting rusty that being said
I am looking for a decient link or steps to
troubleshoot a computer that will not boot
the symptoms are the computer was hot to the touch
I opened the case and found tons of dust so I aired it out then I replugged & booted when I noticed smoke coming from the Power supply I figured it to be the culpret this did not fix the problem I disconnected all the leads to cd,hdd, etc just to the Mobo and I noticed a smell again. I feel that I need to either check the Mobo or the case for the next step.
any help would be appreciated.
thanks the cpugeek
Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2003, 12:06 AM
dohray's Avatar
dohray dohray is offline
CTH Subscriber
Join Date: Apr 2003
O/S: Windows 7 64-bit
Location: Cardiff, Wales
Age: 60
Posts: 1,469

Thing's do not sound promising. It's a possibility that your mobo's been damaged, possibly your CPU also. Can you see scorch marks on your mobo and especially on your RAM slots?
Another member here (cody) posted an excellent guide to building your 'puter. It's good and I copied and saved it. Although, as he said, it is a long-winded way but the most fool-proof. You could run through it.

Codys guide;

1 Nothing but the power supply, CPU,installed on the motherboard, plug your power cord in and turn power on.
2 You should hear a series of long beeps & all your fans should be turning.
3 The board is looking for memory.
4 That tells you your 'board, CPU & power supply are working.
5 Unplug power cord (very important an ATX power supply always has power to it when the cord is pluged in).
6 Install 1 stick of RAM in the first bank, it should be marked either 0 or 1
7 Plug your power cord in and turn your power on.
8 You should get 1 long and 3 short beeps. It will be looking for the video card.
9 That tells you your PS/'board/CPU/RAM are working.
10 Unplug power cord.
11 Install your video card and plug your monitor into your video card.
12 Plug your power cord in turn your power on.
13 You should get a power up test which is 1 short beep.
14 You should see your CPU/RAM/video reconized on the screen.
15 You will get a disk boot failure because you have no drives installed. In this case every thing you have installed is working.
16 Shut machine down and unplug power cord.
17 Install all your drives, set your BIOS up and install your operating system.

Best of luck but I'm hoping you only have to replace the mobo and PSU.
Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2003, 12:15 AM
Tweaker's Avatar
Tweaker Tweaker is offline
CTH Subscriber
Join Date: Feb 2003
O/S: Windows 10 Pro
Location: PA
Age: 65
Posts: 4,684
Tips On How To Troubleshoot Your PC Problems

The challenge with a problem is not so much the solution but figuring out what the actual problem is. For instance: if the computer crashes when you go to print a document you might automatically assume it's a problem with the printer, but the problem might actually be a cable connection problem, a corrupted software file, a conflict with another software program running at the same time, a virus or any number of other problems. By doing some basic troubleshooting you can effectively identify problems and get farther down the path to an actual solution. Also, if you need to call a manufacturers help-line, the call will be much more productive if you've done some troubleshooting before hand.

Before you do anything:

Check your mental state and donít panic! My personal theory to computer problems is that there is a direct connection between the amount of stress a user is under and the number of times a computer will crash. Chances are that when you are in a rush to get a document out the door, you will forget to close open applications, or to save your work and you will send too many commands (like printing, spell-check, etc.) at once. If you're moving fast on the computer, it pays to take a moment, take a deep breath, close unnecessary programs and save your work. Also, if you're trying to solve a problem that your computer is having, you will need full mental capabilities. So if you're feeling frustrated and tired while trying to troubleshoot - take a break! Youíll find youíll solve your problems much faster if you have a fresh mind and attitude. Donít panic either. Sometimes computer problems can appear to be much more serious than they really are. Panicking can lead you to jump to a solution of a perceived problem before youíve actually identified the real problem.

Some initial steps:

Check the component's documentation and/or the manufacturer's website.

The appendix of most manuals will contain a troubleshooting guide that will identify the most common problems the component may have. Most software installations include placing a read me file in the programs directory that will list all known incompatibilities. Manufacturer websites can be extremely helpful as well, with support pages that will direct you to common problems and solutions that may include a software "patch" that can be downloaded directly from the site and then run on your hard drive.

Check for Viruses:

Any strange behavior on a computer could be due to a virus. Use an anti-viral program to scan your system - and follow the instructions on the use of the anti-viral program closely.

Use diagnostic utilities:

Software crashes can often be caused by corrupted files or registry conflicts. Using a program like Window's Scan Disk (found under System Tools in the Accessories folder on your program menu) can identify and fix corrupted files. Norton Utilities has a program called "System Check" that both checks the integrity of your files and looks for software conflicts and will repair problems.

If none of those steps work - it's time to use your brain!

Ask yourself - when did the problem Iím experiencing first start?

If you made any change, such as installing new software or adding hardware, to the computer and now you are having a problem, chances are the change is the cause. Also, while you're trying to identify problems and solutions remember to make only one change to your system at a time, so you can easily trace your steps.

Determine if the problem is repeatable or if it is intermittent.

A repeatable problem is one that occurs all the time, or always in response to a specific user action. For example, if the computer crashes every time you print a document - thatís a repeatable problem. An intermittent problem will appear to happen spontaneously or randomly. An intermittent problem is usually the result of a specific set of circumstances happening occasionally. With these problems it is important to try to establish a pattern involved in the problem. Keep a problem log at the computer and try to write down all the circumstances occurring when the crash occurred, including the most minute detail.

Use the process of elimination.

Start to remove components from your system one at a time. After you remove a component test to see if the problem still exists. This is a great way to figure out if the problem is caused by a conflict between software programs and/or hardware. Start by removing the most recently installed stuff first.

Some Final Tips:

If you call the helpline - be patient and prepared.

You will have to wait on hold awhile to get to get an actual person on the phone. Like death and taxes that's just a fact of life. If you can review all the troubleshooting steps you took to identify the problem, the technical assistance operator will be able to identify the solution more quickly and effectively.
Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2003, 01:14 AM
New Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: USA
Age: 67
Posts: 19
thanks dohray

this should do the trick I kind of figured the mobo would be fried alondg with other things I just wanted to get a second opinion.
also thanks for the necesary steps this helps a lot.
CPU Geek:thumb:
Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2003, 04:08 PM
enat66's Avatar
enat66 enat66 is offline
CTH Subscriber
Join Date: Dec 2001
O/S: Windows Vista
Location: Wisconsin
Age: 35
Posts: 3,101
dohray-"(05: very important an ATX power supply always has power to it when the cord is pluged in)"

What is that supposed to mean?
Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2003, 08:51 PM
ThunderChicken's Avatar
ThunderChicken ThunderChicken is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Manitoba
Age: 35
Posts: 972
You have to unplug it and then hit the power button a few times to make sure all power is gone from the system
Reply With Quote
Old July 13th, 2003, 11:10 PM
enat66's Avatar
enat66 enat66 is offline
CTH Subscriber
Join Date: Dec 2001
O/S: Windows Vista
Location: Wisconsin
Age: 35
Posts: 3,101
Oh...I gotta remember that
Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2004, 10:24 AM
riyoos's Avatar
riyoos riyoos is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 39
Thanks dohray, tweaker

Hi dohray, tweaker,

I am very glad to tell to that , your guides give me a good way to troubleshoot computer. Computer assembling is very simple comparing to troubleshooting. I am just finish my hardware engineering study and am expecting some good guides to troubleshoot computer. Anyway you are give me a very good guide.

Thanks everyone,

Thanks cybertechhelp
Reply With Quote
Old October 17th, 2004, 10:41 PM
hypnotizeminds's Avatar
hypnotizeminds hypnotizeminds is offline
CTH Subscriber
Join Date: Oct 2004
O/S: Linux
Location: Flint, MI
Posts: 4,137
the wonderful process of elimination

in my opinion, the best way to find out what is causing the problem in a computer is to swap everything out for another similar part that u know to be working in another computer. thats what i did with my com and all i can say is thank god for refunds.
Reply With Quote
Old October 19th, 2004, 09:21 PM
davet30 davet30 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
O/S: Windows XP Home
Location: South Yorkshire - England
Age: 65
Posts: 547
Hi CPUGeek,

When you say, "I figured it to be the culpret this did not fix the problem", you do not say how or why 'this', (whatever 'this' is), did not fix the problem??

Did you exchange the power supply? In my experience it sounds like the smoke and dust you are experiencing is from most likely the transformer in the power supply.

My advice is to disconnect all power output lines (including to the mobo) and then turn on the juice. If you still experience the heat and/or smke then I'll bet the problem is with your power supply.

If the power supply seems OK at that point then the problem could be with the mobo or something connected to it. (A short maybe causing excess current being drawn from the power supply or componant failure.) If you have access to a multimeter take a reading of the output voltage of the power line just as a matter of interest - somewhere in your mobo instructions should be it's power rating or the power supply itself should have an outout rating notice (unless it's burnt away).

The above info is a decent general fault finding guide but unless you can catagorically say that the power supply ain't the problem then I'd have a gusee that it is.

Good luck

Reply With Quote
Old December 15th, 2004, 10:28 PM
jtdoom's Avatar
jtdoom jtdoom is offline
Cyber Tech Help Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2001
O/S: Windows 8 Pro
Location: Belgium, East Flanders
Posts: 5,990

there are times one has to get into BIOS setup for troubleshooting.
Most new clone systems allow you to enter the CMOS/BIOS by pressing the 'Delete' key during power up.
The key to enter BIOS is usually shown when you power up the computer.
The manual usually tells you what key(s) you have to use.
You may NOT see this info, since some BIOSes have a setting to turn BIOS prompt OFF.

Your machine may hide a lot more than this.
There is another setting like QUIET boot option (aka SILENT boot, aka show OEM LOGO).
Turning QUIET boot option OFF gives you a chance to see what is going on while the system is powering up.

Turning QUICK boot option OFF, will do a more extensive memory count/test.
(This is not a deep test, but it can show memory errors.)
You'll want to turn this back ON after a while, for boot time becomes much longer.

Turning on REFRESH CONFIGURATION DATA (aka NVRAM refresh) can help a lot when you are troubleshooting after hardware was added. After it refreshed the data stored in CMOS, this will turn itself OFF again.
(This is one of the things you ought to try when you have mup.sys error)

Anyway, there are times you want to get in BIOS setup.
This is done by pressing a key or key combination right after you power up or restart.
Since you may not have the manual, and may not see the info on screen, let's make a list.

The DEL key was already mentioned.
There are OTHER Common BIOS access Keys, and key combinations.
(you push these keys soon as your computer begins to power up)

If you have an older system or laptop some of the following may help you to enter the BIOS.
Press Esc (Toshiba and some others)
Press F1 (Hewlett Packard Pentium Systems / Intel after recovery flash.)
Press F2 (NEC and INTEL mobo normal boot)
Press Insert (IBM PS/2 with reference partition)
Press Tab (Emachine)
Press reset button twice (some Dells)

Ctrl S (Phoenix)
Ctrl Ins (some PS/2s when pointer at top right of screen)
Ctrl Alt + (Misc computers)
Ctrl Alt ? (Some PS/2s, such as 75 and 90)
Ctrl Alt Enter (some Dell)
Ctrl Alt Esc (AST Advantage, Award, Tandon, Many AST 486's)
Ctrl Alt S (Phoenix)
Ctrl Alt Shift + Num Pad Del (Olivetti PC Pro)
Ctrl Shift Esc (Tandon 386)

Generally Compaq Setup can be entered by hitting the 'F10' key when booting up.
As soon as you see the cursor go to the upper right hand side of the screen, hit 'F10'.
Compaq setup program resides on a small partition on the hard drive and if you have fdisked and reformatted or installed a new hard drive you will need to use the Compaq setup program from "Compaq Setup Download".

IBM ThinkPad using IBM BIOS (Early Models): Press CTRL-ALT-INS when cursor is in upper-right corner of screen.
ThinkPad using IBM BIOS (Later Models): Press and hold F1 key while powering-up laptop
ThinkPad using Phoenix BIOS: Press CTRL-ALT-F11 from DOS prompt
Packard Bell Early models (386,486) require the sequence Ctrl ALT S at any time

To enter a DELL BIOS setup..
Dell 400 => F3, F1
Dell 4400 => F12
Dell Dimension => F1 or F2 or DEL
Dell Inspiron => F2
Dell Latitude => Fn F1 (while booted)
Dell Latitude => F2 (on boot)
Dell Optiplex => DEL

(NICs with intel boot loader for example) ctrl S
adaptec SCSI card with bootrom ctrl A
highpoint hotrod cards CTRL H

troubleshooting after mishaps with BIOS
I recalled Postcode wrote some good tutorials, and this links to the tutes index
Reply With Quote
Old January 8th, 2005, 07:59 PM
MICHAEL1171 MICHAEL1171 is offline
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 6
Unhappy Freezing Mystery

Someone please help. My computer start freezing up some time ago and now it freezes everytime I turn it on. It doens't matter what I'm doing the machine locks up. You can turn it on and leave it on and guaranteed in a half hour it locks up and you have to reboot to get it going again. It locks whether you are working on it or not.I've tried everything. I have a hardware monitor for temp and dont notice the CPU heating up or the CPUfan speed slowing down at all .I reformatted the hard drive, repartitioned and reloaded a fresh version of XP. I noticed running a memory test that the computer could especially lock up and I was running 256 megs of PC2100 (Viking) and I took that out and replaced it with 256 MB of Mushkin (also PC2100 256MB). The memory test ran fine with the new memory but then low and behold 20 minutes later the machine locked up again. I am running a SOYO P4VGA motherboard and a Pentium 4 2.4mhz 533 fsb processor. Both are only a few months old. I tested the processor with a stress test and it seems fine. I am running just XP on the machine with no additional software because at first I thought it might be a software issue. I've even dusted out the machine . I have also run ADAWARE and have found no malware on the machine. I'm exhausted. If anyone out their has some expert advice on what could be causing the lockups please let me know. What am i missing? This was my first self build and I'm really depressed.
Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2005, 12:17 PM
jtdoom's Avatar
jtdoom jtdoom is offline
Cyber Tech Help Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2001
O/S: Windows 8 Pro
Location: Belgium, East Flanders
Posts: 5,990

is the onboard NIC (soyo says this one has a network interface chip on board) used for anything?

if not, I suggest you disable it altogether.
Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2005, 07:00 AM
paul I paul I is offline
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 17
Wink Dust..

Hi Michael
You could have blown dust where it shouldn't be.. ensure you ground yourself first. Take out all your major components one by one and clean them paying most attention to the contacts.. But STAY GROUNDED...*****
Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2005, 03:34 PM
kamyajohn kamyajohn is offline
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: i live in uganda/africa
Age: 42
Posts: 11
hi for me the solution i got for you is just to remove the power suply and try another one if the problem persists then just continue to check for then remove all the expassion cards and boot thr system hope that will help

thanks bye
Reply With Quote


Topic Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Topics
Topic Topic Starter Forum Replies Last Post
IE7 tips & tricks zipulrich Internet / Browsers 4 October 30th, 2006 02:28 AM
Tips & Tricks drumstik Windows XP 4 October 23rd, 2004 04:11 PM
tips and tricks RichardJones Windows NT, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012 4 February 11th, 2004 01:02 PM
Tips and tricks. Dodge Linux 12 July 11th, 2003 02:52 PM
Tips and Tricks..... Dodge Windows 98 2 January 12th, 2002 06:37 AM

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:00 AM.