17.6. Swapping Parts
The best troubleshooting helper is a second PC, either in your home, at a neighbor's house, or at work. When something's not working correctly on your home PC, see if it works on a different PC. Here are some of the easiest things to try:
Cables . Before you replace your PC's power supply, borrow a power cable from another PC and connect it between your PC and the electrical outlet. If it works, you know your original cable is bad or has a loose connection. Similarly, swap cables before performing last rites on a printer or scanner.
If your printer connects to your PC with either a PS/2 cable or a USB cable, try switching to the other type of cable to see if it makes a difference.
Monitors, keyboards, mice, and printers . After swapping the cables with other PCs, try connecting the actual devices to a different PC. That lets you know if the problem lies with the device, or your PC.
Cards . PCs come with internal slots (see Section 1.7.1) for slipping in cards, letting you beef up your PC's sound or video, for example, as well as to add features like a FireWire port. If a card isn't working correctly in your PC, try slipping it into another PC, as well as trying adjacent slots, to see if the card itself is bad.
Whether swapping parts fixes the problem or not, it provides one more piece of information as to where the real problem lies.
Tip: Try running Knoppix (see Section 17.8)a free operating system that loads from a CDon your PC. If the troubled part works with Knoppix, but not Windows, you know the problem lies with Windows itself, not your PC.