PC & Computer Hardware Troubleshooting Tips

By: Chris Meacham

What happens when you experience problems with your computer hardware? Do you panic and battle to make sense of what is happening, or can you clearly relate to your computer technician what went wrong and where you believe the problem could be? In this article we will teach you some basic steps for hardware troubleshooting in order to save you from unnecessary expenses and to help you feel more confident when working with your computer.

To avoid problems if your hardware does crash, it is best to have a backup routine in place. Then, if you have backed up all your files, you do not need to fear losing any important documents and by following a few simple steps you should soon have your computer in working order.

Start by checking whether there are any minor problems which could be causing your computer not to work, such as a loose cable, lack of power, etc. If everything appears to be plugged in properly then check that your electric outlet is working properly by plugging a lamp into it. If you are still not sure where the problem lies you are going to need to do some more basic hardware troubleshooting.

Then you can switch on your computer and watch what happens. A number of things should take place:
1. Firstly, when you start your computer the power-supply fan should activate
2. The light on your keyboard should flash
3. A BIOS message should come up on your computer screen
4. A memory test should flicker on the screen
5. The floppy disk light should flicker briefly
6. The hard drive light should flicker
7. The system will make a beeping sound once it has completed the initialization process
8. The floppy disk drive light will flash again before it switches to the hard drive
9. If you are running Windows you should now see the starting Windows message

Determine which of these steps take place and which do not you are able to see where the problem lies and do your own basic hardware troubleshooting. For example, if the light on your keyboard doesn't flash then there is probably a problem between your keyboard and the computer. You wouldn't replace a disk drive if there is a problem with the memory test, etc.

By observing what happens, you are able to do basic hardware troubleshooting and even if you are unable to fix it yourself, you will be more knowledgeable when approaching a PC technician to tell them what is wrong with your computer. You can tell them why you believe there is a problem and then they can give you advice in line with that without wasting your time and money trying to figure it out.

If you are still encountering problems, try starting your computer in safe mode. If you can start your computer in safe mode it means that the problem you are experiencing probably has to do with a recent change in hardware/software. Think about what changes you have implemented recently and if possible try to do undo them. You should test your computer after you have undone each recent change and you may find the problem.

So the next time you appear to have a problem with your PC hardware start by checking the obvious things such as the electric outlet, power supply and whether the cables are properly plugged in. If the problem does not lie in these obvious areas then switch your PC on and observe what happens. Make a note of what you do not see occurring or start your computer in safe mode to see if you find the fault that way. The more information you are able to give your computer technician the better they will be able to help you, minimize your expenditure and the amount of downtime your business experiences.

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