Diagnosing and Troubleshooting Problems
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Unfortunately, not all computer problems are easy to diagnose, and it could take some time for you to find the offending device or application When trying to determine a problem s source, gather as much information about the problem as you can, and try to reproduce the problem Next, determine if this is a hardware or a software problem If it is a software problem, check the application s configuration or try uninstalling and then reinstalling it If the problem is hardware related, identify the components that make up the failing subsystem Starting with the most accessible component, check for power and proper attachment to the computer Check the device s configuration and presence of a device driver Finally, swap suspected bad components with known good ones Remember that every problem has a resolution, whether it is simply reattaching a loose cable, changing an application s settings, or replacing entire subsystems As a computer technician, you have the responsibility for determining which course of action is the most appropriate for each computer problem you face
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Here are some of the key points from each certification objective in 3
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Symptoms and Problems POST error codes, such as 1**, 2**, and 3** can indicate system board,
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memory, or keyboard failures, respectively
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Most system board, processor, and memory errors are fatal, meaning that the
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computer cannot properly boot up
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The most common mouse problem is irregular movement, which can be
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resolved by cleaning the internal rollers in the mouse
A hard drive that begins to develop corrupted data should be replaced before
all the information stored on it is lost
When troubleshooting a video or audio problem, start with the most
accessible component and check to ensure that it is getting power and is properly connected to the computer
When resolving modem errors, make sure that the modem is properly
attached and configured and that there is a connection to the phone jack and a good dial tone
Motherboard errors can be the most difficult to pinpoint and, due to the cost
and effort involved in replacement, should be the last device you suspect when a subsystem or the entire computer fails
Never open the power supply or try to replace the fan; rather, replace the
entire power supply when the fan stops working
Basic Troubleshooting Procedures When faced with a computer problem, gather information from the customer,
such as what the problem is, what happened before the problem occurred, and what, if anything, has changed recently in the computer
Determine whether the problem is hardware or software related by accessing
suspect devices with more than one type of application, and vice versa
To resolve software problems, check the software s configuration and its
minimum requirements, then try to reinstall it
Diagnosing and Troubleshooting Problems
To resolve a hardware problem, first identify and test the components that
belong to the affected subsystem
Always check to ensure that a failed device has power and is connected to
Verify a suspect component s status by trying to use it in another computer or
by replacing it with a known working component
Check the configuration of a failed device to ensure that it does not have a
resource conflict with another device
The following questions will help you measure your understanding of the material presented in this chapter Read all of the choices carefully because there might be more than one correct answer Choose all correct answers for each question
Symptoms and Problems
1 Which component is typically associated with a 3** BIOS error code A B C D A B C D The motherboard The keyboard The processor RAM The POST cannot be conducted When you turn the computer on, nothing happens The system reports that there is no operating system The BIOS reports a 2** error
2 Which of the following symptoms is not a typical symptom of a RAM error
3 A user complains that the mouse pointer does not move smoothly across the screen Which of the following is most likely to remedy the problem A B C D A B C D Reinstalling the mouse driver Ensuring that the mouse cable is connected securely to the computer Ensuring that there are no IRQ conflicts between the mouse and another device Cleaning the mouse Make sure that there is a floppy disk in the drive Ensure that the floppy ribbon cable is attached properly Make sure that the floppy drive is properly configured in the BIOS settings Clean the floppy disk
4 Which of the following should you do first when you receive the error shown in Figure 3-2
A typical error message
Diagnosing and Troubleshooting Problems
5 You have just finished building a computer You notice that when you turn the computer on, the floppy drive light comes on and won t go off What should you do A B C D Insert a different disk into the drive Reverse the ribbon cable on the drive Swap the drive with another one Nothing
6 When you tried to access a hard drive, you received an Invalid Drive error Which of the following can you rule out as the cause of this error A B C D The hard drive The BIOS The ribbon cable Corrupted files
7 When the Win9x computer is started, it displays a Missing Operating System error Which command can you use to make the drive bootable A B C D BOOT BOOT OS SYS SYSTEM
8 A user complains that when he plays a CD in the computer, the music is accompanied by a lot of static All of the following are possible causes of this problem except: A B C D The speaker cables The speaker volume The CD The monitor
9 Which of the following might be responsible for your modem producing random garbage or meaningless characters A B C D A missing device driver An improper resource (IRQ or I/O) configuration A failed or improper modem handshake Static on the phone line
10 A customer complains that the computer spontaneously reboots and sometimes will not start at all Furthermore, even when the computer does start, there s not as much noise as usual Which device is most likely causing these problems