Appendix B: Practical Troubleshooting Table

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Dead Computer

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Dead computer (nothing happens when you press the power button).

  • Check to make sure the power cable is connected, the outlet strip is plugged in and turned on, and the wall outlet is live.

  • If there is a UPS with a soft power switch, press it to turn the UPS on.

  • Check the rear power switch on the power supply if present.

  • Check the voltage switch on the power supply. Never attempt to power on the computer if the voltage switch is set incorrectly.

  • Check internal connections.

  • Check the computer's power switch to make sure it isn't broken.

System Powers On but Won't Boot Properly or at All

Boot Error Messages

Check and/or Try:

ntldr missing or Non-system disk or disk error, or similar message.

  • Remove any removable disks from their drives and restart.

  • Use a POST card.

  • Run a diagnostic utility.

  • Check the BIOS for boot order.

  • 2000/XP only: In case of recent disk configuration changes, boot with the boot disk. The boot.ini file might need to be edited.

  

OS not found.

  • Check the boot order in BIOS.

  • The hard drive might be bad. Test with diagnostic utility, hard drive utility, FDISK, Partition Magic Drive Information, Disk Management on a separate 2000 or XP computer or hardware-based hard drive tester.

  

Computer locks up while booting.

  • Check the BIOS to see if Plug and Play is enabled.

  • A driver might be incompatible with the OS, especially 2000/XP. Boot to Safe Mode and check Device Manager for problems, or use Last Known Good configuration or System Restore.

  • A hardware device might be malfunctioning. Check with a POST card or diagnostic utility, or remove all peripherals and replace them one at a time.

  

Computer boots directly to Safe Mode.

  • Attempt to boot to Normal Mode. It might work.

  • After boot to Safe Mode, check Device Manager for hardware problems and resource conflicts.

  • Use a POST card.

  • Run a diagnostic utility.

Bad Performance/Erratic Behavior

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Windows won't shut down properly.

  • Install Windows updates.

  • Search Microsoft Knowledge Base for shutdown problem, specifying the Windows version and using the "Any of the words" and 150 articles options. There are many articles for each version.

  

Compaq Presario won't shut down properly.

  • Check the Startup tab of msconfig or the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run for the file SXGDSENU.exe. This file needs to start with Windows in order for Presarios to shut down.

  

Computer runs badly; might lock up, give random error messages, etc.

  • Scan computer for viruses and malware.

  • Check temperatures, fan performance, and that the heat sink is properly seated on the CPU.

  • Run System File Checker.

  • Run a registry-cleaning program.

  • Use a diagnostic utility.

  • Run the 2000 emergency repair process or reinstall Windows over the existing installation.

  • You might have Windows Me. Back up and do a clean install of Windows XP.

Software Installation Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Windows won't install.

  • Make sure the computer exceeds the system requirements of Windows version.

  • Search for an error message.

  • Test the hard drive. Use the hard drive manufacturer's utility to set up the drive.

  • Run EZ BIOS to see if it's installed; if it is, try uninstalling it.

  

2000 or XP installation hangs during hardware detection phase.

  • Check for incompatible hardware. See Hardware Compatibility Lists (Microsoft Knowledge Base article 131303 for 2000, or 314062 for XP). Attempt to identify problem hardware. If non-essential, remove it or disable it in BIOS. Windows should install successfully. Then, search for an appropriate driver and reinstall device.

  

Windows 98 error message: Windows Setup requires `largest executable program size' to be at least 442368 bytes to run.

  • From a command prompt, run setup /im. This skips the memory check that allows the problem to occur.

  

Program won't install.

  • Check the program documentation.

  • Make sure the program is compatible with Windows version; 16-bit programs (for DOS or Windows 3.x) that need to access hardware directly will not work in 2000 or XP. Newer versions of a program might not run on older versions of Windows.

  • Make sure the computer meets the system requirements of the program.

  • Copy setup files to the hard drive before running the installation program (usually setup.exe).

  

Driver installation unsuccessful.

  • Make sure the driver being installed is designed for the installed Windows version.

  • Make sure the hardware is compatible with Windows version and with other hardware. See Hardware Compatibility Lists (Microsoft Knowledge Base article 131303 for 2000, or 314062 for XP).

  • Make sure the computer meets the system requirements of the hardware (usually printed on the box and in the documentation).

  • The device might be malfunctioning. Try the questionable device in another computer or another device in the same computer.

  

Hardware not detected when installation is attempted.

  • Make sure the device is seated or otherwise connected properly.

  • Make sure Plug and Play is enabled in BIOS.

  • Test the device in another machine to make sure it's not defective or broken.

Heat Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Computer runs hot.

  • Check the fan operation.

  • Vacuum and use air spray inside the computer.

  • Make sure the vents aren't blocked.

  • Cover openings such as unused expansion card slots and drive bays.

  • Make sure the computer isn't near a heat source.

  • Make sure the fan works.

  • Check for a BIOS update. Some BIOS updates allow a computer to run cooler, especially laptops.

Video Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

No video.

  • Make sure the monitor is powered on, connected to the computer, and that the brightness control is not turned all the way down. If the power indicator is blinking or glows orange, that means there is no video signal coming from the computer. Try another monitor, or connect the dark monitor to a different computer.

  • If there is no video at boot, listen for the POST beep code and/or use a POST card (see Chapter 11, "Troubleshooting," for more information on POST beep codes and POST cards).

  • Try removing the hard drive and scanning for viruses.

  • Try installing a known good video adapter.

  

Video at low resolution with splotchy colors.

  • Try to adjust the settings from 640 x 480 resolution and 16 colors.

  • The video driver might be corrupted. Update or reinstall the driver. Try installing a known good video adapter.

  

Artifacts (parts or shapes of windows continue to appear on screen after the window is closed), other unwanted spots appear on screen.

  • Reinstall or upgrade the video driver.

  • Scan for viruses.

  

Line appears on screen.

  • Swap the monitor with a known good monitor. Reinstall or update the video driver.

  

One or more colors missing.

  • Check the VGA connector pins. If the monitor cable is replaceable, swap with a known good cable. If not, swap with a known good monitor.

  

Problems with video and display settings. No choices in either resolution or color depth, or both.

  • Certain LCD screens can display video at one preset resolution. only

  • Design limitation of the video adapter or monitor.

  • The computer is in Safe Mode.

  • There is a problem with the adapter or its driver.

  

One parameter decreases as the other one is increased.

  • Lack of sufficient video memory to support high resolutions and large color palettes simultaneously.

  

The image is odd-shaped.

  • The aspect ratio of the selected screen resolution does not match that of the screen (4x3 for standard computer monitors).

  

The page displays unusable or poor quality video.

  • The settings exceed the capability of the video adapter or monitor.

Sound Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

No sound.

  • Make sure the speakers are connected, powered, and turned up.

  • Make sure the volume is up and not muted in the Windows volume control and Windows sound mixer.

  • Make sure sounds are enabled in the Multimedia/Sounds applet in Control Panel.

  • Check audio connectors. Make sure they are in the right jacks and free from damage.

  • Run SFC.

  • Check Device Manager for an installed sound card.

  • Install or reinstall the sound driver.

  • Try a known good sound card.

  

Bad sound.

  • Check the audio connectors. Make sure they are in the right jacks and free from damage.

  • Run SFC.

  • Enable or disable digital sound playback in the sound card properties in Device Manager.

  • Check to see if the sound card is next to the video card. If so, try separating them.

  • Reinstall the sound driver.

Printing Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Printer won't print.

  • Make sure the printer is connected to power and turned on.

  • If any error messages appear, and they are not obviously correct, search for them on the Internet.

  • Reinstall the printer driver.

  • Check the cable. If it is a parallel cable, make sure it is IEEE 1284 compliant and that the pins are intact.

  • Try a known good printer and/or cable.

  • Test the non-functioning printer in another computer.

  • If the computer is a laptop, uninstall any recently installed USB devices.

  • Try to print a test page in Printer Properties.

  • 2000/XP only: Check the print queue. If documents seem to be stuck in the queue, go to Services and stop and restart the spooler service.

  

Print quality is bad. Printer prints nonsense characters and/or prints on every page without stopping.

  • Reinstall the printer driver.

  • Check the cable. If it is a parallel cable, make sure it is IEEE 1284 compliant and that the pins are intact.

  

One or more colors missing. Printed documents have streaks. Printer prints too light.

  • Reinstall the printer driver.

  • Check the ink cartridges.

  • Follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning the printer.

  • Check the ink cartridges.

Lost Data/I Can't Open My Files/I Can't Find My Files

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Certain files won't open.

  • Make sure you have a program that will open that type of file.

  • The file could be corrupted. Replace the file if possible.

  • Scan the system for viruses and malware.

  • On 2000 and XP, make sure you have permissions to open these files.

  • Check the hard drive for damage such as bad sectors.

  

Entire folders won't open.

  • On 2000 and XP, make sure you have permission to open these files.

  • The folder could be corrupted. Replace the files in the folder if possible.

  • Scan the system for viruses and malware.

  • Check the hard drive for damage such as bad sectors.

  

Disk drive not recognized.

  • Make sure the drive is connected properly.

  • Make sure the file format is recognized by Windows (9x won't recognize NTFS).

  • Check the drive with FDISK, Partition Magic, Windows Disk Management (2000 or XP only), or a diagnostic utility.

  • Run EZ BIOS; install or uninstall as needed.

  

Files open, but nonsense characters appear.

  • The program used to open the file is not the correct program for that type of file. For example, a Microsoft Word file opened in Notepad will show nonsense characters.

  • The file could be corrupted. Check the hard drive for damage and scan the system for viruses and malware.

  

Entire partitions or drives don't open.

  • Check the hard drive for damage.

  • Scan the system for viruses and malware.

  • Run hard drive restoration programs. If data is critical, send to data recovery company such as OnTrack.

Problems with Hardware Peripherals

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Expansion cards don't work or work poorly.

  • Check in Device Manager to see if there is a problem. If there is, reinstall the driver.

  • Reseat the card in its slot.

  • Run a diagnostic utility.

  • Try a known good card with the same function.

  

External devices don't work or work poorly.

  • Make sure the device is powered (unless power is provided through a USB or FireWire port).

  • Make sure all cables are intact—swap with known good cables.

  • Check in Device Manager for a problem with the device or the port.

  • Swap the device with a known good model.

  • If the device connects via infrared, make sure the infrared receiver/emitter is enabled in the BIOS.

Floppy Drives/Optical Drives Don't Work

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Floppy drive can't open files.

  • The disk might be bad. Check the floppy disk in a known good drive.

  • The drive might be the problem. Spray compressed air in the drive or replace the drive.

  

Floppy drive can't write files or format disk.

  • The disk might have its write protect tab moved into place. Move the tab back to the other position or use another disk.

  • The disk might be bad. Try another disk.

  • The drive might be the problem. Spray with compressed air or replace the drive.

  

The A drive is not recognized on the system.

  • Make sure the drive is enabled in the BIOS.

  • Check the drive cables and connections. Reattach the drive and/or replace the cable if necessary.

  • Replace the drive with a known good drive.

  

Optical drive can't read files.

  • The disk might be in a format unrecognized by the drive, or it might have not been finalized after it was burned. Try a newer drive.

  • The disk might be damaged. Inspect the disk for damage and use a repair kit if necessary.

  • The drive might be broken. Try the disk in another drive.

  

Writable optical drive can't write files. You get a buffer underrun error message when attempting to burn a disk.

  • The disk might not be writable, or it might have been writable but not rewritable and have already been written to. Try another disk.

  • The drive might be defective. Try another drive.

  • Copy the files to the hard drive before attempting to burn the disk.

  

Optical drive not recognized in system.

  • Check in BIOS to make sure the drive is enabled.

  • Check all cables to the drive. Reattach and replace cables if necessary.

Hard Drive Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

System reports bad sectors.

  • Run a diagnostic utility.

  • Run thorough ScanDisk.

  • Copy data and replace the hard drive.

  

Hard drive crashes.

  • If data is critical, send the drive to data recovery company such as OnTrack.

Unusual Noise

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

Change in fan noise.

  • Check all fans in the system plus the power supply.

  

Strange noises coming from speakers.

  • Follow the instructions in Sound Problems.

  • The system might be running badly. Reboot.

  • Scan the system for viruses and malware.

Internet and Modem Problems

Symptom

Check and/or Try:

You cannot connect to the ISP—dial-up or broadband.

  • Check all the cables and connections.

  • Call the ISP to see if there is an outage.

  • Make sure the telephone line works (dial-up or DSL). Make sure the television cable is working (cable).

  • Check the configuration of the computer and any other connection devices.

  • Check all the connection hardware devices for power and proper operation.

  • Reinstall the ISP software.

  • If you have Windows XP, stop using the ISP software and create a broadband connection in Windows. If dial-up, configure manually with any Windows version.

  • Make sure the correct modem or network adapter is selected. Detect the new device or delete and reinstall the connection.

  • Make sure the firewall, if used, is configured correctly.

  • Make sure there aren't multiple firewalls running on the system.

  • Make sure the username and password are correct and in the correct format.

  • Make sure Caps Lock isn't changing the case of the password.

  • Make sure the modem is dialing the correct telephone number with all necessary codes.

  • If the telephone line does not have Call Waiting, make sure the modem isn't dialing the code to disable it.

  • Scan for viruses and malware.

  • If the line has voicemail, make sure a pulsed dial tone isn't interfering with the modem. Either listen to the messages before connecting, or add three commas to the beginning of the dial-up telephone number.

  

You can connect to an ISP, but no Web pages appear.

  • Call the ISP to see if there is an outage.

  • Make sure the firewall, if used, is configured correctly.

  • Make sure there aren't multiple firewalls running on the system.

  • Check the configuration in Internet Options. Make sure Security, Privacy, and Content settings aren't blocking Web pages.

  • Scan for viruses and malware.

  

Your home page changed.

  • Change it back in the Internet Options, General page.

  • Scan for viruses and malware.

  

The wrong e-mail program or Web browser appears when you connect to the Internet.

  • Change the settings in Internet Options, Programs page.

  • 2000 and XP: Change the settings in Set Program Access and Defaults from the Start menu.

  

Data transfer speed is slow.

  • Try another ISP to see if the ISP's modems are slow.

  • Call your ISP to see if there's a slowdown in the system.

  • Upgrade to a 56Kbps modem.

  • If you're connecting through a hotel telephone line, this might be normal.

  • Check the quality of the telephone line.

  • Scan for viruses and malware.

  

The connection gets dropped frequently.

  • Make sure to disable Call Waiting if you have it.

  • Check the quality of the telephone line.

  • Scan for viruses and malware.

  

You can't get your e-mail.

  • Make sure the username and password are correct and in the required format.

  • Make sure all configuration information is the same as required by the ISP.

  • Make sure the computer is connected to the Internet.

  

You can't download attachments.

  • Check your security settings.



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PC Repair and Maintenance(c) A Practical Guide
PC Repair and Maintenance: A Practical Guide (Charles River Media Networking/Security)
ISBN: 1584502665
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 175

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