TROUBLESHOOTING NEW BUILD/HARDWARE PROBLEMS
Ok as we all know there are many things that can cause problems with a PC, which often leads to a lot of frustration and hair tugging....!!!!
So I've put together this guide based on some of the problems I've come across so far, it is by no means an exhaustive list of solutions, but it will at least give some good starting points in diagnosing and helping to fix a problem...
Obviously there are many different configurations and some problems may be related to more complicated issues such as compatability of components... but the details below are on the basis that all components are known to be compatible with one another.
2. Successful POST - Windows Install fails
3. After Windows Install CPU is not recognised (How to Flash a new BIOS)
4. Examples of Common POST Beep Codes
Are there any POST message/beeps (if so see below for details of common POST error beep codes) - If POST fails try the following steps
1. CLR CMOS (make sure you leave the jumper in the CLR position for at least 10 mins - in my experience leaving it a few seconds as most motherboard manuals suggest is often insufficient)
2. Check all parts for physical damage (i.e. circuit board damage/CPU bent pins/Cables etc.)
3. Re-seat all components (RAM, GFX CARD, CPU)
4. Check that CPU Heatsink/Fan is correctly seated and working.
5. Check all cables - connections and for any signs of physical damage.
6. Check all jumper settings.
7. Try booting with 1 stick of RAM at a time to rule out a bad stick of RAM
8. Try setting everything up outside of the case to check for any shorts.
9. Check that your PSU is adequate for the system components, try a basic setup
i.e. CPU/HSF/1 RAM MODULE/GFX CARD and nothing else to see if it will POST
If all the above steps fail to resolve the problem then you'll need to try to test each component to rule out each as being possibly damaged....so if possible try each of your components in another computer.
1. Graphics card(s) - possible faults with this could be driver related but will not usually affect your ability to POST, other problems could be faulty Video Memory or damaged GPU, which will mean having to RMA your card, or the cost of buying a replacement....Ouch...!!! Other possibilties are a faulty VGA BIOS which if you are feeling brave and have an alternate gfx card you can try to flash a new BIOS to the faulty card.
In the event that all of the above test OK in another computer then its most likely a problem with the motherboard essentially meaning the need for a replacement motherboard
2. RAM - if you find out you got a bad RAM module theres not much you can do, your only options are to RMA or buy a replacement.
3. CPU - Possible problems with a CPU are bent pins, you can check for any visbly bent pins and try to carefully straighten them out, or else as with the RAM, buying a replacement or RMA'ng is your only choice.
4. HDD - Physical damage to your HDD is again something that is probably going to need a RMA, though some manufacturers do provide diagnostic software tools which can sometimes help in repairing damaged HDD's if there are damaged clusters on the platter etc.... try running the manufacturers tools to see if it helps, otherwise RMA.
5. Power Supply Unit - Ok I would say that in any case where the PSU turn out to be the problem, then the only thing to do is to RMA it or buy a replacement where an RMA is unavailable...do not mess about with the internals of a PSU as even unplugged you can still get a very nasty shock......!!!!!
6. Keyboard - Simple option here and they are cheap enough, most of the time...buy a new one...!!!
2. Successful POST - Windows Install fails
Ok...after you POST OK, Windows install fails, there could be a number of reasons for this depending at which point during the install does it fail and the configuration of the system...
Check that you have completed the following (depending on the system config):-
1. Check the BIOS settings for your PC, try setting it at default settings according to the BIOS instructions.
Hopefully one of the above will help resolve any Windows install issues.
2. If installing on a RAID configfuration make sure that RAID is globally enabled in BIOS and that each of the corresponding SATA ports are configured for RAID.
3. During install make sure to install the appropriate RAID drivers when prompted to do so during Windows setup
4. Try removing all but one stick of RAM to install Windows, if Windows setup then completes try re-installing the RAM one stick at a time to rule out a possible defective RAM module.
5. If installing Vista with more than 3GB RAM, remove additional RAM and complete install with 2GB, then download the following Microsoft hotfix: (KB929777) before then re-installing the rest of the RAM.
6. If presented with a BSOD, make a note of the stop code (i.e. STOP 0x0000000A) and try searching the Microsoft Knowledgebase for a possible solution/hotfix - where software related - or if stop message refers to a hardware issue try the steps in the Hardware section above.
3. After Windows Install CPU is not recognised
This is most commonly due to the BIOS, and will mean the need to update the motherboard BIOS.
There are a number of ways to update the BIOS with many motherboard manufaturers now making avialable a BIOS update utility.
Refer to your motherboard manual for more details......but below is a general guideline to flashing your BIOS with a new updated BIOS.... (But please refer to the instructions for your motherboard at your motherboard manufacturers website) And always remember to make a backup of your current BIOS...!!!!!
Flash a new BIOS
1. Go to your mobo manufacturers website and download the latest BIOS for your motherboard.
After completing the steps above your new CPU should now be recognised provided the motherboard/BIOS supports that particular CPU.
2. Create a bootable media (floppy disk, CD, USB Flash drive)
3. Download the AWDFLASH utility.
4. Save the AWDFLASH utility and the BIOS file to the bootable media.
5. With the bootable media inserted re-start your PC (you may need to reset the boot priority in your BIOS to boot from the alternate media)
6. At the cmd prompt enter "AWDFLASH.EXE" and press enter
7. The AWDFLASH Utility will start, follow the instructions to locate the new BIOS file.
8. After the file has been located continue with the flashing process - DO NOT SWITCH OFF THE PC UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES UNTIL YOU GET A MESSAGE CONFIRMING THAT THE FLASH HAS COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
9. In the event that you get an "Unsuccesful flash" message, leave the PC switched on and repeat the flashing procedure until the flash completes succesfully.
10. If all goes well then you'll get a "Flash completed succesfully" message at which point you can remove the bootable media and restart the PC.
4. Problems with CPU utilisation - only one core working etc
See PorscheRacer14's guide HERE
which has details on Multi Processor installation.
5. Examples of Common POST Beep Codes
Standard IBM POST beep codes
No Beeps - PSU problem , Loose Card, Short or Motherboard problem
1 Short Beep - Normal POST, computer is ok. No problem
2 Short Beep - POST error, check screen for error code
Continuous Beep - No Power, Loose Card, or Short, or Keyboard
Repeating Short Beep - No Power, Loose Card, or Mobo problem
One Long and one Short Beep - Motherboard issue.
One Long and Two Short Beeps - Graphics adapter issue.
One Long and Three Short Beeps - Enhanced Graphics adapter issue
Three Long Beeps - Keyboard / Keyboard card error
One Beep, Blank Display - Video Display Circuitry
AMI BIOS BEEP Codes
1 Short Beep
One beep is good! Everything is ok, that is if you see things on the screen. If you don't see anything, check your monitor and video card first. Is everything connected? Next try to reseat the RAM modules and reboot. If it does the same thing, the motherboard maybe bad, and you most likely need to get another motherboard after trying the steps mentioned above.
2 Short Beeps
Your Computer has memory problems. First check video. If video is working, you'll see an error message. If not, you have a parity error in your first 64K of memory. First check your RAM modules try re-seating them and reboot. If this doesn't do it, the memory chips may be bad. You can try switching the first and second banks RAM modules. First banks are the memory banks that your CPU finds its base memory in. You'll need to refer to your mobo manual to see which bank is first.
3 Short Beeps
Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow the steps above.
4 Short Beeps
Basically the same thing as 2 beeps. Follow the steps above. It could also be a bad timer
5 Short Beeps
Your motherboard is complaining. Try reseating the RAM and rebooting. If that doesn't help, you should consider trying another motherboard.
6 Short Beeps
The chip on your motherboard that controls your keyboard (A20 gate) isn't working. First try another keyboard.
7 Short Beeps
CPU or motherboard problem.
8 Short Beeps
Your Video card isn't working. Make sure it is seated well in the slot. If it still beeps, either the whole card is bad or the memory on it is. Best bet is to install another video card.
9 Short Beeps
Your BIOS is bad. Try to CLR CMOS or Reseat or Replace the BIOS chip.
10 Short Beeps
Your problem lies deep inside the CMOS. All chips associated with the CMOS will likely have to be replaced. Your best bet is to get a new motherboard.
11 Short Beeps
Your problem is in the cache memory chips on the motherboard.
1 Long, 3 Short Beeps
You've probably just added memory to the motherboard since this is a conventional or extended memory failure. Generally this is caused by memory that is not seated properly. Reseat the memory
1 Long, 8 Short Beeps
Display / retrace test failed. Reseat the video card.
OK thats it........!!!!!...... Hopefully something from above will prove to be enough to solve any initial problems......
I do hope that it proves to be of help to people.....
Best wishes and Happy Computing to all my fellow geeks.... LOL...!!!
3DMark06 = 20717
/ 3DMark Vantage = P13618
/ My Overclock Guide
/ My Troubleshooting Guide
09:29 PM by