COMMON FAULTS WITH IBM COMPATIBLE PERSONAL COMPUTERS

ERROR BEEPS CANNOT READ CD’S
CANNOT READ DISKETTES NO SOUND FROM SOUND CARD
NOT BOOTING OR ERROR READING DRIVE C: NOT PRINTING FROM PC
NO POWER MODEM NOT WORKING
LOCKING UP, ERRATIC BEHAVIOR INSUFFICIENT MEMORY
MISSING OR NO DISPLAY  

ERROR BEEPS:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* VGA CARD IS NOT SEATED PROPERLY OR FAULTY - Remove the VGA card from within the PC and inspect for any obvious signs of component stress (burnt out components or IC’s). If all is OK, reseat this adapter and switch back on the computer. If the fault re-occurs, switch off again and try removing any other adaptor in the computer so that all you have is the VGA card inserted - this will eliminate other possibilities. Switch back on, again if the fault re-occurs then quite possible the VGA card will require replacement

* RAM IS NOT SEATED PROPERLY OR FAULTY - This fault will become quite obvious. The error beeps are of a "rasping" sound, there is no display and hence no operation. Inspect the Ram and ensure that it is seated properly. If all is OK, the Ram is faulty and will require replacement

* KEYBOARD FAULTY - Unplug your keyboard, turn on your PC. If the error beeps go away then your keyboard is faulty. Replace your keyboard if this is the case - at Webspinner Computer Services, we always have them in stock

* MOTHERBOARD IS FAULTY - Any number of reasons may cause a problem with your Motherboard. The easiest solution is to get in contact with us to arrange a free evaluation and quote before rushing off to replace you Motherboard. We repair right down to component level!

CANNOT READ DISKETTES:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* DISKETTES FAULTY - It has been known for more than one diskette to be faulty and if they all come from the same box, chances are that you have a bad batch of diskettes. Try using them in another computer and if you receive the same results, then return the box to the manufacturer and have them replaced

* VIRUS - You may have unwillingly introduced a virus into your PC. 99% of the time it’s introduced via a diskette. Some may argue that they have received a virus via the Internet but we believe that this is highly unlikely and have never seen this to be the case. If you suspect a virus, and you have not already purchased an anti virus program of some description, our advice is to get one and install it as soon as possible. Make no mistake, the threat of viruses is widespread and can fool you into thinking that your computer has a hardware problem when really it is a virus playing havoc upon your system

* DISKETTE DRIVE CONTROLLER FAULTY - If you suspect the diskette drive controller (the interface between Motherboard and diskette drive), then replace it. If your diskette controller is built into the Motherboard, disable the diskette drive controller in BIOS/CMOS settings and install a diskette drive controller. This should resolve the problem and get you up and running again

* DISKETTE DRIVE DATA CABLE - Remove the cable and check for physical defects. If you have a meter, check for continuity. Replace if necessary

* DISKETTE DRIVE IS FAULTY - If all of the above is OK, then replace the diskette drive. The heads are easily damaged and most of the time this is what the problem is. At Webspinner Computer Services, we always have them in stock and fitting in our workshop is free!

NOT BOOTING OR ERROR READING DRIVE C:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* CMOS BATTERY FAULTY - The CMOS battery provides power to your CMOS circuit on the Motherboard which in turn holds all the information about your hardware configuration. If the battery is low or faulty, then after the PC is switched off, you will lose your CMOS settings and thus your PC will not know what type of hard disk you have and will not boot. Remove the CMOS battery, measure both voltage and current with a meter and replace if necessary

Warning: If the battery has leaked, then part of the CMOS circuit on the Motherboard may be damaged. A very common fault. Get in contact with us in order to arrange a free evaluation and quotation

* LOST CMOS SETTINGS - As described above, something has upset your computer and your CMOS settings have become reset. Enter the BIOS set-up and enter the correct settings for your computer

* BIOS/CMOS CIRCUIT IS FAULTY - The BIOS/CMOS circuit on the Motherboard is faulty. Very simply, the Motherboard needs to be repaired

* HARD DISK FAULTY - Check to see if the hard disk is starting up and spinning. Listen for any "clunking" noises - this is not a good sign by the way. If either is in existence, then the chances of retrieving data are minimal. In some cases we can repair the logic board on the hard disk itself but with a head crash things are quite fatal. The hard disk will require replacement

Always have a backup of critical files - it’s so important!!!

* IDE CONTROLLER FAULTY - If you suspect the IDE controller (the interface between Motherboard and hard disk), then replace it. If your IDE controller is built into the Motherboard, disable the IDE controller in BIOS/CMOS settings and install another IDE card. This should resolve the problem and get you up and running again

NO POWER:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* FUSE HAS BLOWN - Check the fuse with a meter and replace the fuse. Ensure the correct voltage and amperage

* FAULTY POWER ON-OFF SWITCH - Check the fuse with a meter and replace the switch. Ensure the correct voltage and amperage

* POWER SUPPLY FAULTY - Most common fault. Repair or replace the power supply. Our advice is not to try and repair yourself. Chances are there is multiple damage, replacing one or two components will only allow power to circulate temporarily causing greater damage

* MOTHERBOARD OR ADAPTORS FAULTY - If your Motherboard or any adaptor is faulty, it may load down the power supply causing it to shut down. Remove all adaptors, remove power from the Motherboard and from all drives and devices. Turn on the power supply and see if the power supply fan starts to spin. If it does this, chances are that the power supply is OK and there is something that is causing it to power down. By the process of elimination, reconnect power to each device one at a time, switching on to see if the power supply continues to operate. Repeat until the culprit is found. Contact us when you determine the cause of the fault and we can offer you further advice

LOCKING UP, ERRATIC BEHAVIOR:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* VIRUS - You may have unwillingly introduced a virus into your PC. 99% of the time it’s introduced via a diskette. Some may argue that they have received a virus via the Internet but we believe that this is highly unlikely and have never seen this to be the case. If you suspect a virus, and you have not already purchased an anti virus program of some description, our advice is to get one and install it as soon as possible. Make no mistake, the threat of viruses is widespread and can fool you into thinking that your computer has a hardware problem when really it is a virus playing havoc upon your system

* CORRUPT SOFTWARE - We generally find that corrupt software with regards to your operating system could very well be the cause of this type of fault. In most cases, reinstalling the operating system will not rectify the situation. You need to keep any important or critical data files, format your hard disk, reinstall your operating system and programs and start again. Can be quite time consuming - a very common fault - especially with Windows 3.* and Windows ‘95 -98

* EMM386 - Mainly affects operation with DOS & Windows 3.* operating system. check the config.sys and see if you have this line installed. If you do, we recommend removal. It’s most commonly installed after memmaker has been run. You may need it however to run some DOS based games. We recommend that you create a boot disk that contains your essential drivers and of course EMM386 in order to manage your memory and thus run the game - otherwise remove it, it tends to play havoc with your system

* HARD DISK FAULTY - If your hard disk develops bad sectors, then the data that is written onto this bad sector will be corrupt. Run scandisk or some sort of other hard disk utility program such as Norton utilities to rectify the problem. Keep an eye on the amount of bad sectors that exist and if there are too many, save critical data immediately, replace your hard disk, reload your operating system and programs and start again

Always have a back up critical files - it’s so important!!!

* VGA CARD FAULTY - When dealing with a Windows environment, and let’s face it, most of us do, being a graphical environment relies on your VGA card to function correctly. If you doubt the reliability of you VGA card then this may very will be the problem

* ADAPTORS FAULTY - Any other adaptors that you have in the PC may be causing you grief. Try removing one by one and through the process of elimination, observe any improvements

* FAULTY RAM - Faulty Ram is a major cause of malfunctions. Swap out you Ram with known good Ram if possible and observe any improvements

* FAULTY CPU FAN - Check to see if the CPU fan (if your computer has one) is either not spinning, not spinning properly or noisy. A faulty CPU fan will cause the CPU to overheat very quickly and cause this problem. CPU fans wear out very easily. Replace if necessary. at Webspinner Computer Services, we always have these items in stock

* FAULTY MOTHERBOARD - Last of all, your Motherboard is faulty. Depending upon the fault, the Motherboard can be repaired to component level. Failing that, the Motherboard will require replacement - but look on the bright side, haven’t you always wanted a reason to upgrade?

MISSING OR NO DISPLAY:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* POWER SUPPLY FAULTY - Your power supply is either faulty or, in the case that your monitor gets it’s power from the computer’s power supply, is partially faulty and is not transmitting power to the monitor. Check the output voltage on the power supply and repair or replace the power supply

* VGA CARD FAULTY - The VGA card may be faulty. Part of the display may be missing - especially in a graphical environment such as Windows. Replace if necessary

* MOTHERBOARD OR ADAPTORS FAULTY - If your Motherboard or any adaptor is faulty, it may load down the power supply causing it to shut down. Remove all adaptors, remove power from the Motherboard and from all drives and devices. Turn on the power supply and see if the power supply fan starts to spin. If it does this, chances are that the power supply is OK and there is something that is causing it to power down. By the process of elimination, reconnect power to each device one at a time, switching on to see if the power supply continues to operate. Repeat until the culprit is found. Contact us when you determine the cause of the fault and we can offer you further advice

CANNOT READ CD’S:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* VIRUS - You may have unwillingly introduced a virus into your PC. 99% of the time it’s introduced via a diskette. Some may argue that they have received a virus via the Internet but we believe that this is highly unlikely and have never seen this to be the case. If you suspect a virus, and you have not already purchased an anti virus program of some description, our advice is to get one and install it as soon as possible. Make no mistake, the threat of viruses is widespread and can fool you into thinking that your computer has a hardware problem when really it is a virus playing havoc upon your system

* CORRUPT SOFTWARE CD ROM DRIVERS - Reinstall the drivers in the case of DOS & Windows 3.* based systems. In the case for Windows ‘95-98, ensure that the CD rom drive is still available. If not, from the control panel, select add new hardware to try and establish the connection again

* CD ROM DRIVE IS FAULTY - Open the CD rom drive door and remove any dust that may be evident. If this does not rectify the problem then chances are that the CD rom drive is faulty and will require replacement

NO SOUND FROM SOUND CARD:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* SPEAKERS FAULTY - Check the speakers and replace if necessary

* CORRUPT SOFTWARE SOUND DRIVERS - Reinstall the drivers in the case of DOS & Windows 3.* based systems. In the case for Windows ‘95-98, ensure that the sound card is still available. If not, from the control panel, select add new hardware to try and establish the connection again

* IRQ OR INTERRUPT CLASH - If you have introduced some new device in the computer, check the IRQ’s or interrupt addresses. If there is conflict, readdress one of these devices and then restart or re-boot the computer

* SOUND CARD FAULTY - If you can test your sound card via DOS and it still does not work, then we suspect the sound card. If Windows fails to produce sounds and reports that the sound card is faulty then again, we suspect the sound card. Replace the sound card with a good quality one such as a Creative Sound Blaster sound card

* CORRUPT SOFTWARE - We generally find that corrupt software with regards to your operating system could very well be the cause of this type of fault. In most cases, reinstalling the operating system will not rectify the situation. You need to keep any important or critical data files, format your hard disk, reinstall your operating system and programs and start again. Can be quite time consuming - a very common fault - especially with Windows 3.* and Windows ‘95-98

NOT PRINTING FROM PC:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* PRINTER NOT SWITCHED ON - As silly as this may seem, ensure that the printer is in fact switched on

* PRINTER CABLE NOT CONNECTED PROPERLY BETWEEN PC AND PRINTER - Ensure that the printer cable connected to you LPT printer port is correctly installed and the same applies for the connection at the printer end

* PRINTER CABLE FAULTY - Inspect your cable for any obvious signs of defects and replace if necessary

* LPT PRINTER PORT NOT SEEN BY CMOS/BIOS - Ensure that your LPT printer port settings in your BIOS/CMOS are not disabled and, depending upon you PC, you may be able to view your hardware BIOS configuration by pressing the pause key and checking it. If the LPT printer port is disabled, re-enable it, save the settings and re-boot the computer

* FAULTY LPT1 PRINTER PORT - Your LPT printer port may very well be faulty. When the computer first switches on it initializes and sends out signals to devices that are connected to it. The printer will respond by "initializing" for just a moment. With inkjets and dot matrix printers this will be quite audible and obvious however with LaserJet's, the lights will probably only just blink on and off. If there is no sign of initialization from the printer, the LPT printer port may very will be faulty. Replace the LPT parallel printer port and in the case of computers that have the LPT printer ports built in the Motherboard, disable this port in the CMOS/BIOS configuration and install the new card

* VIRUS - You may have unwillingly introduced a virus into your PC. 99% of the time it’s introduced via a diskette. Some may argue that they have received a virus via the Internet but we believe that this is highly unlikely and have never seen this to be the case. If you suspect a virus, and you have not already purchased an anti virus program of some description, our advice is to get one and install it as soon as possible. Make no mistake, the threat of viruses is widespread and can fool you into thinking that your computer has a hardware problem when really it is a virus playing havoc upon your system

* OPERATING SYSTEM DOES NOT SEE THE PORT - This should really only be an issue for Windows ‘95-98. Bypass Windows and do not allow the system to boot up into this environment but instead boot into a basic DOS environment. in other words get to the DOS prompt but don’t enter via Windows either. Press the print screen key on your keyboard (you may have to do this a few times). If the printer prints the information from the screen then it is fair to say that your hardware is OK and the problem is software

Check the system from within the control panel and check to see if the parallel printer port is seen by Windows ‘95-98 and if it is, is it conflicting with another device. You may attempt to install new hardware to see if Windows ‘95-98 responds to this demand and finds the port. Most of the time, there will be a confliction with another device and you may have to reassign the interrupts or IRQ’s

* CORRUPT PRINTER DRIVERS - Printers require a software program or printer driver to interface between the operating system and the printer operation. Ensure that the correct printer driver has been selected and that the correct port has been selected. It is not uncommon for your printer to become corrupt and it is not enough to just reinstall this driver. The driver must be physically removed and your printer driver must then be reinstalled. A wrong printer driver will result in garbage being printed

MODEM NOT WORKING:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* VIRUS - You may have unwillingly introduced a virus into your PC. 99% of the time it’s introduced via a diskette. Some may argue that they have received a virus via the Internet but we believe that this is highly unlikely and have never seen this to be the case. If you suspect a virus, and you have not already purchased an anti virus program of some description, our advice is to get one and install it as soon as possible. Make no mistake, the threat of viruses is widespread and can fool you into thinking that your computer has a hardware problem when really it is a virus playing havoc upon your system

* MODEM NOT PROPERLY CONFIGURED - Ensure that the modem is correctly configured in your operating system and the drivers and ports are properly installed and assigned. Reinstall the drivers if necessary

* INTERRUPT/IRQ CONFLICT - Your computer sees your internal modem as a serial device. Care must be taken in order for your other serial ports to not be in conflict with the modem and vice versa. You may have to disable one of your serial ports if this easier. This does not really apply to external modems as they are connected to a serial port. Although some software packages state that they can utilize Com1, 2, 3 or 4, we find that in some cases they respond best to either Com1 or 2 so you may have to reshuffle your other serial devices (if any) around in order to achieve the best results

* MODEM NOT SWITCHED ON OR CONNECTED PROPERLY - The following applies to external modems only :

Ensure that the modem is plugged in, switched on and that the cable from the modem to the computer are correctly installed to the right serial port

Ensure that the modem cable from the modem to the telephone line is correctly installed to the "line" port of the modem

* CORRUPT SOFTWARE - We generally find that corrupt software with regards to your operating system could very well be the cause of this type of fault. In most cases, reinstalling the operating system will not rectify the situation. You need to keep any important or critical data files, format your hard disk, reinstall your operating system and programs and start again. Can be quite time consuming - a very common fault - especially with Windows 3.* and Windows ‘95-98

* CORRUPT MODEM DRIVERS - Remove your modem drivers and then reload them

* FAULTY MODEM - If you have Windows ‘95-98, you may want to add new hardware via you control panel and ensure that Windows detects your modem. If Windows ‘95-98 does not detect your modem now, there are no conflictions and the modem worked previously then we suspect your modem to be faulty and may require replacement. If you modem is still detected and still won’t respond then try the following :

Install your fax/modem software or drivers that should have come with your modem. If the program does not detect the modem then we suspect the modem to be faulty. Testing a modem with the Internet can produce inaccurate results so use the dialer facility to test for a response

Modems can be quite tricky at times, they may work in one application and not the other, be recognized by DOS, but not in Windows. Contact us for further assistance with regard to this type of fault

INSUFFICIENT MEMORY:

POSSIBLE CAUSES
* NOT ENOUGH RAM - The demands of software means that you simply do not have enough Ram to run your application. Try exiting out of any application that are not currently in use and try again. If your find that you do require more Ram, contact us and we can arrange for a Ram upgrade

* APPLICATION ERROR - Exit right out of the application and try again. If the problem persists, you may have to exit out of every application including Windows and restart the computer

* NOT ENOUGH MEMORY TO RUN A DOS GAME - You may have 256MB of Ram, it won’t make any difference. DOS games run between 0 and 640k, combine this with sound, CD rom, mouse drivers and there is not much left. Make a boot disk and use EMM386 to manage the memory to load high the drivers in upper memory. There is no guarantee and our advice is to purchase only Windows compatible games

 

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