How to troubleshoot common PC issues

In this article we’re going to look at a couple easy to understand computer repair how-to tips. The first thing we’ll discuss is loss of power or no power at all. An example would be you try to turn your computer on, but nothing happens. You verify the power cable is connected and other devices connected to your power strip are working yet your computer will still not turn on. This is usually do in-part to a faulty power supply.

A replacement typically costs anywhere from $35 all the way up to $250 depending upon how many watts your PC requires. There are a number of things to check before buying a replacement power supply. The first and foremost item to check is the number of SATA and IDE power connectors that your current power supply utilizes. There are other factors such as +12V rails that help provide power to high-end video and multimedia graphics cards.

It always best practice to remove your current power supply before you begin shopping around.  If your computer is more than 7 years old, it may have a 20-pin connection instead of the standard 24-pin used today. Shop around the Internet at places like newegg and amazon before making your purchase at a large retail store. If you’re willing to wait a few days, I would defiantly recommend buying online. You’ll be able to read reviews about the product and save a good amount of money.

If you need help replacing your power supply and would prefer to let the professionals handle it, please use this website to find a local computer repair technician.

Another very common issue is powering your computer on yet nothing appears on the screen. You’ll see the power switch light up and you’ll hear the fans start to kick in but nothing happens. This one is fairly easy for do-it-yourselfer to fix. The first thing you’ll need to do is completely disconnect all cables running to your computer. Disconnect the power cable, the mouse, keyboard, printer and any other plugged in devices.

Take the side-panel off to gain access to the internal PC components. The first thing you’ll want to do is re-seat is the RAM. Simply take it out, then put it right back in. This normally fixes this issue more than half the time. If that doesn’t work, move on to re-seating the video card. A lot of the computers sold these days have the video card built right into the motherboard. Either way, if you find the video card was not the issue or the video card is a part of the motherboard, proceed on to the next step.

The BIOS (Basic Input/ Output System) is a chip physically connected to the motherboard. It contains the first piece of code to run when you power on your computer. It contains a list of all hardware attached to your computer and what the settings are for that hardware. Sometimes those settings become corrupt. In order to reset the BIOS, simply remove the BIOS battery.

You’ll see the battery attached to the motherboard. It looks like a large watch battery. Pop it out for about 2 minutes then put it back in. If successful, you should now have a working computer. The only downside to taking the battery out is all of your BIOS settings will be erased. You will be notified on the first boot that the date/time and other settings need to be adjusted.

If you preform all of the steps and still don’t see anything on the screen, there’s a pretty good chance you have a bad motherboard on your hands. Because the video card is attached to the motherboard, there is no way to replace it. You will be forced to replace the motherboard or purchase a new computer. Replacing a motherboard is probably one of the more complex computer repair tasks to try and accomplish on your own. Again, I’d recommend a local computer repair shop to assist with replacing a bad motherboard.

Finally, the last topic is related to the Blue Screen of Death error message. If you’ve never witnessed it, you’re lucky! For those of us who have experienced this first hard, you probably remember it was somewhat difficult to fix. A blue screen error message can occur in any Microsoft operating system including Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and even Windows 7. The BSOD error message is a stop error.

It’s usually related to either an internal hardware problem or driver issue. If you’re currently in the process of trying to fix this error message on your own, here are a few tips. The first thing you’ll need to do is write down the full error message. This message will appear either at the top of the screen under the text, the problem seems to be caused by the following file.  Another place to look is directly below the text Technician Information.

Take what you have written down and place it into Google. There is a good chance someone, somewhere in the world has not only seen that exact error message but they know how to resolve it. Google is your best friend when it comes to researching these error codes.

Because the stops code are generally hardware related, it’s always best to ask the question, what changed? Did you recently install something? Did you recently update your drivers? Did you notice any updates running recently? Newly installed device drivers may be causing an issue. The rule of thumb here is to open the manufactures website, locate your computer model and update all drivers if updates are available.

Thanks for reading!

If you have any troubleshooting tips you’d like to share, place do so below.

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Category: Computer Repair

About the Author ()

JC is an MCSA, MCTS, MCP, Net+ and A+ Certified Technician. He is also an avid Web Developer, WordPress Jedi, SEO Connoisseur and owner of an IT Firm in the Midwest. During the day he helps tackles Server Administration and Desktop Support issues for small business. With over 15 years experience installing, configuring and troubleshooting retail and enterprise software, he's seen it all. Please use the comments section or contact page to reach out.

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  1. Chip Sam says:

    I’m really impressed with this article, I am also a hardware technician. This post is most informable. Thanks

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