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Step by Step Troubleshooting Guide

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#1
Helpfull Step by Step Troubleshooting Guide for Assembling Your First Computer

Helpfull Step by Step Troubleshooting Guide for Assembling Your First Computer

This can help to diagnose most of your problems with a non working computer. :banghead:

Guide to Assembling your Computer:
This guide can also be used as a troubleshooting guide to find out why your computer is not working.

NOTE: This guide was posted a few years ago but is still very usefull, just keep in mind some things have changed and things like the beeps described are intended only as a guide and may not be the same as the beeps your board makes. Also many newer boards will have a guide in the manual telling you what your beep codes mean.

NOTE: Some CPU coolers mount with a push pin type connector, these take quite a bit of force to install. It would be better to install this type onto the motherboard before it is installed into the case so you can properly support it while applying that much force, it also allows you to see if the pins are fully inserted. It is also easier if you are using some of the larger aftermarket CPU coolers, to install those prior to mounting the motherboard inside of the case.

Assembly and start up:
Install the power supply, case fans and bay devices, install CPU, install CPU cooler (don't forget to use a good quality thermal paste and don’t use too much of it).

Mounting the motherboard:
Install only the 1/4" stand off risers that line up for your motherboard. (not all of them get used) make sure the board does not touch the tray or case in any way. It should only have contact at the standoffs that line up with your motherboards mounting holes. each board has different standoff positions. (don’t over tighten standoffs because they are brass and will strip easy)

NOTE: Do not just screw in all of the standoffs they give you, this will cause a short to occur from the unused standoffs touching the board and the PSU will shut off immediately if it detects a short so if your computer wont turn on, it could be the board is touching something it shouldn’t. If this is the case, don't panic because it rarely causes problems because PSU have built in safety features. Just remove the unused standoffs that are shorting the board to the case and everything should come on and work fine.

Now plug the power supply unit (PSU) into the motherboard connections and case fans, plug your power cord in and turn power on. (don't forget there is an on/off switch on the back of the PSU, make sure it's on)

You should hear a series of long beeps & all your fans should be turning. The long beeps means the board is looking for memory. That tells you your motherboard, CPU, & PSU are working ok.

Unplug the power cord. This is very important to avoid shorting out the motherboard against the motherboard tray, because a PSU always has low voltage power going to the motherboard when cord is plugged in, its designed that way on purpose so it can turn itself on when asked to.

RAM MEMORY:
Install your sticks of RAM in the appropriate slots as identified on the motherboard, it should be marked something like 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b. In this example the numbers would mean the slots 1a and 1b are memory channel 1 and slots 2a and 2b are for memory channel 2. Always check your motherboard manual carefully to be sure you are using the right slots. Ram slots are often colored to guide you so keep this in mind because often you would put both sticks of ram into the same colored slots. In most cases you are almost always supposed to use the first and third slots. On most motherboards you will never put ram into side by side slots unless you are using all 4 slots or the board only has 2 slots.

NOTE: If this is your first build, be aware that the ram sticks can take more pressure than you think to seat them. use even firm pressure with both thumbs while gently lifting on the locking catches with your fingers until they lock into place, and don’t worry nothing will break.

VIDEO:
Now if you have onboard video you should plug in your monitor and then you can Plug your power cord in and turn your power on. You should hear a power up test which is 1 short beep. You should then see your CPU, RAM, and video card recognized on the screen. If all is well up to this point then you know that your PSU, Motherboard, CPU, RAM and Monitor
are working ok so turn off power and unplug the power cord.

If you don’t have onboard video then install your video card making sure it is fully into the slot and secured well. Install the external power wires (it may or may not require these depending on your card) and then plug your monitor into your video card. Plug your power cord in and turn your power on. You should hear a power up test which is 1 short beep. You
should then see your CPU, RAM, and video card recognized on the screen. If all is well up to this point then you know that your PSU, Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Video Card, and Monitor are working ok so turn off power and unplug the power cord.

It is normal to get a disk boot failure alert showing on the screen because you don’t have any drives installed yet. This means that everything you've installed so far is working correctly. Turn off power and unplug the power cord.

DRIVES:
Install your CD/DVD Drives and your Hard Drive, plug in the data and power wires for the drives and turn power on and you will see your drives recognized on the boot screen. Now all your components are working and you are ready for programming.

NOTE: Setting up your BIOS is done automatically by the motherboard detecting your hardware and using standard default settings for this hardware but it is advisable that you double check them by following the instructions in your manual and if needed enter the correct settings for your installed components and saving them. If you wish to customize any of these settings to something other than the automatic default settings then that is your choice but be sure about the settings you want to use because it is very easy to cause damage to your system if they are set incorrectly so do so at your own risk.

INSTALLING DRIVERS FOR YOUR COMPUTER:

NOTE: Drivers that come with any parts that you buy are almost always outdated so always check for newer ones at the website of the manufacturer. when you download the latest updated drivers, you should always select to save them to your desktop first, then select run to install them. Because you have them downloaded on your desktop, later on, you can use them to make a Driver CD with all the latest updated drivers for all the hardware on your computer. That way, if you ever need to reinstall windows you will already have them handy so you can reinstall them. some board makers have cds that will take you to their website to use automatic driver checkers and installers for your motherboard.

Now install the motherboard drivers, I recommend going to the website of the manufacturer and download the latest available drivers straight from there. These are usually the chipset, audio, modem, and LAN. other downloads that come with the basic drivers are things like offer things like fan controls, computer monitors, and overclocking tools but most people should avoid these since they will most likely just cause problems for you if you don't know what you are doing. and of course there is always some spam type junk for software and antivirus stuff in there too.

Now install your video card driver, I just ignore the one that comes with video cards on that CD. unless its a newly released video card less then a year old it is almost 100% certain that the driver that comes with it is already outdated by a version or two so I recommend going straight to the website of the video card manufacturer and download the latest available drivers. you can use the driver CDs from video cards as coasters, that's all they are good for lol.

Now install drivers for any other things you installed like sound or networking cards that were added and not part of the motherboard itself by going to the website of those manufacturer and download the latest available drivers from there.

OPERATING SYSTEM & SOFTWARE:

Now install the operating system and restart your computer. Now don't do anything else yet (including windows updates) until you install a good antivirus. There are many good free anti-viruses out there that work as good or better than the ones that you have to pay for so save your money here. A good anti-spyware program will also keep your computer running fast.
(I recommend the SUPERAntiSpyware program & Avast 4 Home Free anti-virus)

Now go to Microsoft update site and fully update windows, often this requires several restarts and going back for more updates until there are no more updates available so be patient.

Now install the software and games you want on your system, then check for any available updates or patches from the manufacturer website then reboot.

Now go to Microsoft update site and check to see if any more updates are needed. Often Microsoft will have updates for Microsoft related software you may be using.

Now go to: (Start/ all programs/ accessories/ system tools/ System Restore) and run windows “Disk Defragmenter” to streamline everything and speed up your computer.

Now you are finished and you should create a new system restore point by going to:
(Start/ all programs/ accessories/ system tools/ System Restore)

Now you are finished and ready to enjoy your computer, but I advise you to collect all your manuals, paperwork, to keep them in a safe place along with your software.

NOTE: Please print a copy of this guide for your records, if you need it you may not be able to access the computer to get to it lol. It's also good to have it there with you to read over as you build the computer.

I hope this guide helped you avoid any problems or solve any problems you might be having.
____________________________________________________________________________

Guide to building a computer desk for under $50: how to build a great computer desk for $50 in und...
Guide to computer assembly and troubleshooting: Step by Step Troubleshooting Guide
Guide To Cleaning The Dust From Your Pc: How To Clean The Dust From Your Pc
Sometimes it's better to just start a new build instead of spending $ trying to upgrade that old computer.
 
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#2
Great easy to use guide....except it's one hell of a long way to do things. You really only need to do that if you're really anal about errors, but even then once everything is plugged in and set up the beeps you get tell you where the problem is (or one newer boards, you get a POST code which you can look up to tell you what the error is).
There really is no need to install everything one at a time and check each time by powering it on, that's just overboard.
 
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#3
the reason for the post is if you can't get your computer started this will get you up and running. not everyone knows what to do so this help noobs and inexperienced readers.
 
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#5
glad it helped you, that was why i posted it.

just don't only save it only on your computer, print it for your records because it stands to reason if you need it you won't be able to accesss the computer to get to it lol.
 

ex_reven

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#6
the reason for the post is if you can't get your computer started this will get you up and running. not everyone knows what to do so this help noobs and inexperienced readers.
Thats pretty true, alot of the hardware based problems around here are diagnosed by people asking the user to follow these steps, this is a good thorough method.
 

Dreya

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#7
Great easy to use guide....but even then once everything is plugged in and set up the beeps you get tell you where the problem is (or one newer boards, you get a POST code which you can look up to tell you what the error is).
.
That's okay if your graphics card works and the motherboard is correctly seated and 'earthed' without these you can't get a POST code and without the motherboard correctly fitted you don't get any beeps ( Been there done that!!) :ohwell:

Think this is basic step by step plain english instructions. If they can't follow these then why are they attempting to build in the first place! Nice one Keakar - :)

Good luck
 

dumbunni

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#8
step by step trouble shooting

thank you keakar..have printed out the info...for the future build I plan....very helpful
 
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#10
im glad this helps people
 

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#11
Great little guide Keakar, as usual. Top notch, keep em coming. Im gonna try the desk building in a couple of weeks <G>
 

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#12
Good post, not everyone knows these things. This can help noobs to become un-noobs, lol.
 
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#13
Great easy to use guide....except it's one hell of a long way to do things. You really only need to do that if you're really anal about errors, but even then once everything is plugged in and set up the beeps you get tell you where the problem is (or one newer boards, you get a POST code which you can look up to tell you what the error is).
There really is no need to install everything one at a time and check each time by powering it on, that's just overboard.
well the thing is, if your doing your first build you really should do it this way so you understand what to look for later when you are more confident and understand more about computers. not all boards are the same so yes you could throw it all together and hit the on button, but if it doesnt work :eek: how will you know where to begin if you dont know the signs telling you whats working and whats not?

its only "overboard" if you already know how to troubleshoot basic computer problems. :p
 

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#14
Thanks Keakar, couldent have done my first build without you (well maybe I could have but I would have smashed alot of stuff in frustration)! I deffinitly recomend this guide to anyone building for the first time, helped me understand what was left out of the manuals.
 
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#15
excellent guide keakar
 

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#16
i would be one of those noobs this helped, thanks!
 

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#17
i learned how to build it myself but it seems that it would of been a bit easier

even a bit less moaning and whining but.

gj on the post
 
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#18
Great little guide. Printed and filed :toast:
 
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#19
Great guide!! But it would be much more helpful with pics.
 
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#22
Great guide!! But it would be much more helpful with pics.
well pics would only add to confusion since this is a general guide to apply to most systems with the understanding that there will bre some minor diferences with each persons own individual setup.

the idea is to keep this a basic and simple guide for general trouble shooting purposes only.
 
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#23
Hi,
Nowadays many put videos on the net for assembling but they lack informations.I think your content is more good then those videos,I have solved my problem using your info.So thanks for contribution.It helps when you assemble new PC or removing devices from the system.
 
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#24
well once you've done it once or twice then this guide looks simplistic but i created it just for the reasons you gave, most guides dont always keep things simple enough to cover all the little details.
 

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#25
Ive just obtained a Sony CDP-C100 from someone on Ebay, but there was no manual available with it. Anyone got any idea where I can get one please? Lots of web sites are selling maintenance guides, but I only want operating instructions. Thanks.