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Troubleshooting Fundamentals

As much as we work with computer, we face troubles with them. Before troubleshooting, we must think where the trouble is generated and is the trouble related to software or hardware etc.

Troubles may originate from hardware or from software. Generally, most of them are software related and they are easy to identify. At first, we need to understand why these problems occur.

Hardware related problem occurs when any part of the computer have got damaged, disconnected, loose connected or the appropriate compatible hardware is not installed with the computer.

Software related problem occurs when some important (System file) file of the Operating System is deleted or modified accidentally, or device driver of any hardware is not installed properly or software setting of any hardware is been modified unexpectedly. Some Virus programs are also responsible for this kind of software problem.

Some common problems and their troubleshooting are discussed here-

System Unit Troubleshooting

Error-1:  Computer does not turn on and appears completely dead.

Cause:       a) Power cable connection is loose or disconnected.

  1. b) Power supply unit of System may be defected.

Symptom: Power indicator lead of system unit remains off after switching on.

Remedy:   a) Check the power Cable Connection from Main switch to System Unit power socket through UPS and Extension board.

  1. b) Measure the DC Voltage of the output of Power Supply that are connected to HDD, FDD, CD-ROM Drive etc. using Multi-meter. If 0 Voltage found then the System Unit power supply may be damaged. Repair/ Replace the power supply unit.

Error-2:  Computer is not booting.

Cause:      a) System file may be corrupted.

  1. b) Boot disk data cable or power cable may have defects.
  2. c) Boot disk (Hard disk or floppy disk) may be damaged.
  3. d) Boot drive is not enabled in BIOS.

Symptom: “Strike F1 to retry boot and F2 to setup utility.” or “Booting failure” or “Primary Hard Drive 0 not found” message will be appeared on the screen.

Remedy:   a) If possible transfer the system files to the drive where the Operating System exists.

  1. b) Check the Power and Data Cable connection of the bootable disk drive by opening the casing of system unit. Tighten them if found loose.
  2. c) Try to boot from floppy disk and change to the drive C (using command C: and then Enter). If you can change drive then the Hard Disk Drive is OK and try to reinstall OS (choosing Format and recover hard drive) and all application software. Otherwise replace the Hard Disk with a new one.
  3. d) Select appropriate from BIOS boot sequence.

Error -3: Computer does not boot and makes continuous long beep.

Cause:       RAM is loose or RAM slot is empty.

Remedy:   Check the RAM slot and place RAM in that slot properly.

Error -4: The computer is ‘Hang up’, ‘Lock up’ or ‘Freezes’.

Cause:       It is usually a software problem, which occurs from corrupted files or hardware bug[1]. Sometimes it is due to faulty cooling system of processor.

Symptom: Computer is not responding with the instruction from user. i.e., everything is freeze.

Remedy: a) Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete at a time. Select the program for which the program is not responding. Click End Task and wait for few seconds. Another new window will appear. Click End Task again. If the problem remains then-

  1. b) Press power switch of the System Unit and hold down till the computer is shut down. Then restart the computer.
  2. c) If the problem remains, shut down and open the casing of system unit. Check for the processor cooling fan and clean all the parts of the of the system unit. Restart the computer.

Error -5: The computer is ‘Shuts down’ frequently-

Cause:       Generally it is due to faulty cooling system of processor.

Symptom: Computer does not respond with the instruction from user before the computer shuts down.

Remedy:   a) Shut down and open the casing of system unit. Check for the processor cooling fan and clean all the parts of the of the system unit. Restart the computer.

  1. b) Check the RAM.

Error -6: Error reading from Floppy Diskette.

Cause:       a) Floppy Diskette may be damaged or some bad sectors may occur in the surface of the Disk.

  1. b) Read-write head of the Floppy Diskette Drive is not clean (dirty).

Symptom: a) Computer prompts for run scandisk or format disk.

Remedy:   a) Run Scandisk program to identify the errors on the disk and to remove the error. If scandisk cannot run then try to format it. If the disk cannot be formatted then the disk is permanently damaged.

  1. b) Clean the head of the Floppy Diskette Drive with a cleaning kit.

Error -7: Fatal Error

Cause:       An error that causes a program to abort. Sometimes a fatal error returns you to the operating system. When a fatal error occurs, you may lose whatever data the program was currently processing. Contrast with fatal system error, an operating system-specific error.

Symptom: a) Computer shows error message containing the words ‘’Fatal Error’’ and terminates the program you are working with.

Remedy: a) Re-install the operating system with a fresh new CD.

[1] Bug: An error or defect in software or hardware that causes a program to malfunction. Often a bug is caused by conflicts in software when applications try to run in tandem. According to folklore, the first computer bug was an actual bug. Discovered in 1945 at Harvard, a moth trapped between two electrical relays of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator caused the whole machine to shut down.

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