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The Complete Professional Troubleshooting Guide

From Proprofs

The Complete Professional Troubleshooting Guide

Welcome to the Complete Professional Troubleshooting Guide!

All PC and network technicians really run into the same issues time and time again, and after all, how long have you spent looking for a solution to a simple problem only to find it after hours of searching on obscure Microsoft Tech Net databases and hardware forums? Kiss goodbye to the days of searching for these fixes as the Complete Troubleshooting Guide at ProProfs is designed to be a comprehensive and fully user-editable guide to all of the common issues that face the everyday computer technician or power user.


The Complete Professional Troubleshooting Guide covers topics from wireless networking to serial ports and is meant to replace the large, bulky “bibles” of computing that you typically shell 50 to 60 bucks for at your local bookstore. Unlike these bibles, however, the guide is oriented around the problem that real PC technicians face and not around which year VESA was widely implemented. Best of all, it is a dynamic library of current and up-to-date information because users like you at ProProfs continue to update and expand the topics covered in the guide. Feel like the guide is missing a topic? Feel free to add one or expand a subtopic on an existing one! The Complete Professional Troubleshooting Guide is really more of a cram sheet for repair technicians as it has only relevant information for today’s professional.


If you spot an error in the guide, be it factual, grammatical, or otherwise, feel free to edit and change the guide to correct the mistake. The guide depends on your contributions, and it can only improve as time goes on, so devote some time to making changes if you feel they are necessary. Any and all of your contributions will go to making this guide better, and if you are a top five contributor, your help will not go unnoticed as you will be noted at the bottom of the Wiki as one of the top donators of information to this page.


We hope that you find the guide useful and that you are able to locate the information you are looking for in the guide. ProProfs wants you to continue to utilize and improve the Complete Professional Troubleshooting Guide so that it becomes the most comprehensive and pertinent collection of troubleshooting info on the Internet, but it starts with your help. Thanks for your continued contributions!


      • Acknowledgement ***

A special thanks to bobby1234 for being the chief author of this guide, for conceptualizing it, contributing to it and for making it available on the wiki. Without Bobby's effort this guide would not be possible.


Contents

[edit section] Troubleshooting tips

A. Important tips to follow during troubleshooting.

1. Define the problem.

2. Check the simple stuff first.

3. Check for user error.

4. Reboot the system.

5. Determine if the problem is hardware or software.

6. If hardware, determine what component.

7. If software, do a clean boot.

8. Check service information resources/websites/manufacturers.

9. Check all system/hardware/software documentation.

[edit section] Input/Output Devices

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Keyboards

  • Keyboard is locked or inactive, Keyboard error message, Keyboard error during testing.

A. Causes-1. CMOS setup incorrect, 2. Old or wrong keyboard BIOS, 3. Bad keyboard cable or connection.

B. Solution-1. Check and set proper parameters for the keyboard in CMOS setup, 2. Update the keyboard BIOS chip or replace the Keyboard, 3. Check connections and replace cables if defective 4. Use compressed air to clean any dust/dirt out of the keyboard.

[edit section] Mouse

  • Trackball mouse hard to control, jumping around all over screen.

1. Cleaning the contacts will usually solve this problem.

  • USB Mouse not responding.

A. Causes-1. Improper connection, 2. Device manager did not recognize device, 3. Bad port.

B. Solution-1.Try unplugging the USB connector and replugging it back into port. 2. Check device manager to make sure the mouse has been recognized. 3. Try restarting system. 4. Test mouse on a different system to make sure the mouse is not defective or that there is no problem with the USB port.

  • Pointing device not working.

A. Causes-1. Incorrect cable connection, 2. Incorrect driver, 3. Conflicts with other devices.

B. Solution-1. Check cables connecting device to computer, 2. Check CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files (under dos) or mouse and port settings under windows for correct driver, 3. Check for confilcts between device and serial devices installed on other ports in your computer.

  • Device works sometimes and then stops working.

A. Causes-1. You are using windows, but running non-windows software that uses a mouse or running software with its own mouse driver (especially notable when running windows 3.0).

B. Solution-1. Do not run such programs within windows. If possible disable the program's pointing software device driver, which will not support the mouse while using that program but will not affect your windows mouse, either, you may just want to restart your system, which will restore window's mouse after using the offending program.

  • Device used to work fine, now it behaves erratically.

A. Causes-1. Mechanism needs cleaning, 2. Optical mouse surface worn or damaged, 3. Connecting cable damaged (for an infrared mouse, an internal cable connects the infrared receiver to the system board).

B. Solution-1. Periodic maintenace and cleaning is important, 2. Make sure all optical sensors and grid surfaces are clean and not worn, 3. Inspect cables for damage.

[edit section] CRT Monitors

Never work inside a monitor unless you are a qualified repair tech due to high voltage capacitors and power supply.

  • Display is wiggly, pulsing, blurred, too large, too small, display shrinks.

A. Causes-1. Varying AC power, 2. Unstable monitor power supply, 3. Defective or misadjusted internal monitor circuits, 4. Monitor interference from other nearby equipment, 5. defective monitor, 6. Loose connection between monitor and computer.

B. Solutions-1. Fix the power wiring or voltage selection orapply power conditioning, 2. Check connections, 3. Move monitor away from other electrical equipment and see if it corrects the problem, 4. Replace the monitor.

[edit section] LCD Monitors

  • Screen totally black, but can still see the desktop slightly if looked at from a sharp angle.

A. Causes-1. Brightness controls not set properly, 2. Failed backlamp.

B. Solution-1. Make sure all controls are properly set, 2. Replace backlamp.

[edit section] Speakers

  • No Sound.

1. Check to see if speakers are turned on.

2. Check to see if speaker connector is plugged in and that there is no loose connection.

  • No power to speakers.

1. Check to make sure speaker power supply is plugged into power strip or outlet. 2. Make sure the power button is on and volume is at a reasonable setting.

[edit section] Printers

  • Add to this by using the subsections liste below

[edit section] Dot Matrix

  • Consistently faded or light characters.

A. Causes-1. Worn-out printer ribbon.

B. Solution1. Replace ribbon with a new vendor recommended ribbon.

  • Print lines fade from dark to light as the printhead move across page.

A. Causes-1. Printer ribbon-advance gear slipping.

B. Solution-1. Replace gear or mechanism.

  • Small, blank line running through a line of print (consistantly) or intermittenly.

A. Causes-1. Printhead pin stuck inside the printhead, 2. A broken, loose, or shorting printhead cable.

B. Solution-1. Replace printhead if consistanly, 2. Check connection of printhead cable and replace if damaged.

  • A small, dark line running through a line of print.

A. Causes-1. Printhead pin stuck in the out position.

B. Solution-1. Replace printhead as pushing the pin back in may cause further damage.

  • Printer makes a printing noise, but no print appears on page.

A. Causes-1. Worn, missing, or improperly installed ribbon cartridge.

B. Solution-1. Reinstall the cartridge correctly.

  • Printe prints garbage.

A. Causes-1. Cable partially unhooked, 2. Wrong driver selected, 3. Malfunctioning printer control board.

B. Solution-1. Connect cable properly, 2. Select the proper driver, 3. Replace the printer control board.

  • Print appears "wavy" or out of alignment.

A. Causes-1. Printhead not aligned properly.

B. Solution-1. Use alignment procedures from owners documentation to calibrate proper alignment or check on manufacturers website for proper details.

[edit section] Impact (other)

[edit section] Bubble-Jet

  • Paper jams become more frequent.

A. Causes-1. Worn pick up roller, 2. Paper quality could cause jams, 3. Small foreign object has become lodged in printer (small bits of paper, dirt, etc).

B. Solution-1. Replace pick up roller if worn, 2. Check documentation or website for suggested paper, 3. Visually inspect for debris and keep printer clean and maintain preventative maintenance.

[edit section] Laser

  • Printer is printing nothing but blank pages.

A. Causes-1. Toner cartridge needs replacement, 2. The corona assembly is damaged or missing corona wire, 3. High voltage power supply is malfunctioning.

B. Solution-1. Replace toner cartridge, 2. Visually inspect to see if corona wire is damaged or missing and replace if broken, 3. If the other two problems have been examined and both are in working order the high voltage power supply is at fault and needs to be replace or repaired by a qualified technician.

[edit section] Thermal

  • STATUS indicator does not to GREEN when powered on.

A. Causes-1. Power connections not properly attached 2. Media and ribbon are not loaded.

B. Solution-1. Check all power connections 2. Check that the media and ribbon are loaded properly.

  • Print quality is faded or poor.

A. Causes-1. Print head is dirty 2. Printing speed/darkness set incorrectly 3. Incorrect media width or incorrect media and thermal transfer ribbon in use.

B. Solution-1. Clean print head 2. Adjust printing speed/darkness 3. Use only manufacturer recommended media and tranfer ribbon for the specific model being used.

  • STATUS indicator is RED.

A. Causes-1. Possible jam 2. Possible transmissive sensor problem (gap) 3.Transmissive sensor dirty 4. Incorrect configuration.

B. Solution-1. Clear any jams and restart printer 2. Check sensor for dirt and clean if needed, Check sensor for alignment (perform Autosense) 3. Check memory configuration and that the data syntax is correct.

[edit section] Ink Jet

  • Smeary lines or smudges down length of page or missing lines of text and bands of information is missing from an image.

1. Try cleaning the print nozzles

[edit section] Solid Ink

[edit section] Scanner Problems

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] General Problems (not brand/type specific)

  • The scanner software cannot find a scanner attached to the computer.

A. Causes-1. Hardware connection of scanner to computer incorrect, 2. Conlficts with another i/o device in your system.

B. Solution-1. Check for proper hardware connections, 2. Check for proper scanner cable length (not to long for your specific brand), 3. If connected via parallel port make sure configuration is correct in CMOS, 4. If via SCSI, make sure that scanner is supported by the SCSI adapter in system also make sure SCSI ID you used is correct, 5. If via standard serial port, make sure there is no IRQ conflicts, 6. If via USB, make sure usb is implemented and enabled correctly and conforms to the real usb standard.

  • The scanner seems to be connected and the software will scan but does not produce a usable image.

A. Causes-1. The software connection or configuration of your scanner is not correct.

B. Solutions-1. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the driver and that the driver is updated. 2. If reinstalling driver does not work, make sure to check the manufacturer's website for more details and updated drivers. 3. Try rebooting system or unplugging then replugging the USB cable back into system.

[edit section] Flat Bed

  • ( HP Scanjet 5590 ) The scanner has stopped working properly and will no longer scan.

A. Causes-1. A loose cable connection 2. Software conflict 3. Failed usb port.

B. Solution-1. Check the usb cable for proper connection 2. Unplug scanner from power source, shut down system and wait for 60 seconds then restart system and plug scanner back into power source (this will reset the scanner) 3. Try another usb port 4. Reinstall the HP photo and imaging software.

[edit section] Sheet Fed

[edit section] Handheld/Portable

[edit section] Touchscreens

  • Touchpad or touch screen does not work.

A. Causes-1. Improper device drivers or outdated 2. Improper configuration.

B. Solution-1. Reinstall device drivers or update 2. Check device manager for errors or proper configuration 3. Try rebooting system.

[edit section] Finger Print/Biometric Devices

[edit section] Boot/Start Up Problems

  • Most common start up problems are caused by the following.

A. Hardware Failure, bad driver, corrupt file or volume, system misconfiguration, virus infection.

[edit section] Power Supplies

  • Power indication but no operation (flickerig LED), Fan starts and stops, Erro messages 01x or 02x, Intermittent system failurs, System boots then turns off.

A. Causes-1. Power supply, 2. Power connections, 3. PC power supply 110/220 voltage selector, 4. Faulty outlet/powerstrip/surge protector. 5. Damaged power cord.

B. Solutions-1. Check AC power connections, 2. Check voltage selector for proper setting, 3. Replace power supply if found to be defective, 4. Ensure the system is not overheating, 5. Check AC outlet is working properly with an outlet tester, 6. Check power cords for damage (breaks, cuts, frays, melted plastic coating, bent/broken outlet prongs).

[edit section] Motherboard/System Board Problems

  • System does nothing at startup, System suddenly hangs up, Windows will not run, System reboots when you try to run or exit from windows.

A. Causes-1. CPU overclocked, 2. Temperature too high, 3. Defective cpu or chipset, 4. Defective external cache chips, 5. Defective Ram modules, 6. System board malfunction, 7. Defectice power supply.

B. Solution-1. Run diagnostics to rule out cpu, memory, power supply etc., 2. Make sure all vents are clear of dust and dirt and all fans are functioning properly, 3. Check for proper CMOS settings, 4. Replace any component that is defective.

  • Error message "coprocessor not found", Application failure, Hardware lockup, Diagonstics fail or do not show math coprocessor interrupt.

A. Causes-1. Software does not recognize the coprocessor, 2. System does not recognize the coprocessor, 3. Coprocessor not seated properly, 4. Short circuit in the coprocessor socket, 5. Broken pin on coprocessor, 6. System board does not support or provide a hardware interrupt line for the NPU.

B. Solution-1. Check system for CMOS/DIP switch settings, 2. Check application software setup to see if it provides a math chip selection, 3. Make sure proper alignment for coprocessor and socket, 4. Check for proper ventilation, fans, cable routing.

  • System clock problems.

Date/time wrong, fast, slow. Error messages 01x, 02x, 102, 103, 161, 162, 163, 164, 199, or 17xx. Long beep at startup followed by previous message. Memory size error. CMOS RAM error.

A. Causes-1. CMOS/clock battery, 2. Defective CMOS RAM device, 3. Amount of memory has changed.

B. Solution-1. Replace CMOS/clock battery, 2. Replace system board battery circuitry (if a qualified technician), 3. Replace defective clock/CMOS RAM chip.

[edit section] Central Processing Unit Problems

  • CPU fan making a slow grinding noise.

1. Power down your system and replace fan before damage to cpu occurs.

[edit section] Random Access Memory Problems

  • 201 error upon bootup, Memory Parity check error message,Diagnostics can reports bad memory chips, parity errors or read/write errors.

A. Causes-1. Memory modules defective or damaged, 2. If memory location changes each time you boot your system the problem might be due to hardware conflicts installed in your system, faulty memory control circuit, or motherboard or adapter problems.

B. Solution-1. Replace any defective or damaged memory modules with known good ones. 2. Determine if it is due to hardware conflicts, if so remove the offending hardware.

  • Memory configuration problems-Error messages about insufficient or no memory of a specific type, Error messages containing the letters DPMI, VCPI, DOSX, or another name that refers to a DOS extender.

A. Causes-1. Unless there is a real lack of a specific kind of memory, the problem is probably memory management, 2. A program that is using memory that it does not need.

B. Solution-1. Check your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for driver and program parameters and setting that affect memory, 2. Look for terms such as SWAPFILE, EXTMAX, MAXMEM, DPMI, VCPI or numbers that set memory size, 3. Check programs for extended, expanded, or protected mode, and other types of memory to determine if any can access unlimited amounts of memory, if found make sure that the program is only able to access the amount of memory it requires to function.

[edit section] Video/Graphics Card Problems

  • Video display flickering.

1. Check video cable connection. 2. Try to reseat video card.

  • One long and two short beeps, error message in 4xx, 5xx, 24xx, 74xx range.

A. Check for improper video CMOS RAM setup, Improper motherboard video switch settings, Missing or defective video card.

B. Solution-1.Run CMOS setup and correct the video setting, 2. Set switches for proper display type (color, monochrome, or none), 3. Check video card installation or replace it, 4. Replace the motherboard (if video adapter is built in).

[edit section] CMOS Problems

  • Loss of date/time, memory, disk, or system information, error messages 01x, 02x, 102, 103, 161, 162, 163, 164, 199, 17xx, or long beep at startup followed by the proceding message "CMOS RAM error', "Memory size error", "Disk drive configuration error".

A. Causes-Internal battery on clock card or motherboard or CMOS RAM chip.

B. Solution-Replace or recharge battery or Replace the CMOS RAM chip.

[edit section] BIOS Problems

[edit section] Hard Drive Problems

Image:Hard drive1.jpeg

  • Error messages in the 17xx or 104xx range.

A. Causes-1. Hard disk drive, 2. Hard disk format, 3. Hard disk adapter or system board (if drive adapter is built in).

B. Solution-1. Check hard drive power and data cables, 2. Check adapter card or system board (if adapter is built in), 3. Replace drive or adapter.

  • Drive will not start spinning or it groans.

A. Causes-1. Drive motor or electronics problem, 2. Power supply inadequate or defective.

B. Solution-1. Check all cables, connections, jumpers, switches to make sure they are correct. 2. Replace drive if defective, 3. Check or replace power supply if causing the problem.

  • Drive spins up and down erratically.

A. Causes-1. Drive motor or electronics problem, 2. Power supply connection problem, 3. Data cable connection problem.

B. Solution-1. Check power connections, data cable connection or Repair or replace drive if defective.

  • Drive makes a high pitched noise.

A. Causes-1. Antistatic wiper or spindle is defective, 2. Heads have crashed (heads touched the platter while spinning).

B. Solution-1. Repair or replace the drive, 2. Adjust the antistatic wiper.

[edit section] Floppy Drive Problems

  • Error messages in the 6xx or 73xx range.

A. Causes-1. Floppy drive, 2. Floppy drive adapter card or system board (if the floppy disk controller is built in).

B. Solution-1. Check floppy drive power and data cables for good connection, 2. Check the adapter card connection to the motherboard, 3. Swap or replace drive, 4. Replace floppy drive adapter card or system board (if built into system board).

[edit section] CD ROM/Burner Problems

Mechanical problems for CD ROMs can also apply to DVD ROMs.

  • No audio when attempting to play audio CD.

A. Causes-1. Missing or defective audio cable between CD-ROM drive and sound card, 2. Missing or no audio CD player support in multimedia or sound card installation.

B. Solution-1. Reinstall multimedia features software, 2. Upgrad CD-ROM drive or sound card for current audio compatability, 3. Insall multimedia/CD audio player software, 4. Install or replace CD audio cable to sound card.

  • CD-ROM drive sounds like it's spinning out of control.

A. Causes-1. Worn, dirty, or defective hub lock inside CD-ROM drive, 2. Worn hub hole in disk.

B. Solution-1. Replace CD-ROM drive, 2. Replace disk if damaged or defective.

  • CD/DVD ROM seems to be working, but CD/DVD not playing.

A. Causes-1. Dirty or damaged CD/DVD. 2. Dirty optical lens.

B. Solution-1. Check disc for scratches, smudges, cracks or any other physical signs of damage and clean disc if needed 2. Clean optical lens with a long swab moistened with proper cleaning solution (do not soak swab in solution and make sure the system is shut down and unplugged to prevent electrical shock. Allow for cleaning solution to dry completely before restoring power). 3. Purchase a CD cleaning disc and use it to clean the optical reading lens. This applies to DVD drives also.

  • The disc does not spin up or disc starts/stops constantly and does not spin.

This will result in the device not to read the disc and you will receive a disc reading error.

A. Causes-1. The device has dirt/debris that stops the disc from spinning. 2. The spindle motor is defective.

B. Solution-1. Use compressed air to blow any dirt/debris out. 2. It would be cost effective to just replace the whole device if spindle motor has completely malfunctioned.

  • CD/DVD tray will not open/close properly.

A. Causes-1. Dirt/debris preventing tray from operating properly. 2. The gears or belt have broken. 3. The tray motor has malfunctioned.

B. Solution-1. Use compressed air to clean device out. 2. Replace any broken gears or belt if broken (sometimes the small belt can com off and just needs to be put back on). 3. Replace the tray motor. (It may be cost effective to buy a whole new drive if you can not fix/replace the parts yourself rather than pay a technician to do it for you).

[edit section] DVD Drive/Burner Problems

[edit section] Modem/Nic Problems

  • The modem dials out, but nothing else happens.

A. Causes-1. COM port assignment conflicts with another device 2. If using dial up the ISP you are trying to connect with may be busy (you will usually get a busy message).

B. Solution-1. Locate the conflict and an IRQ that you can assign the conflicting device 2. Wait and try reconnecting at a later time.

  • The modem does not respond with a dial tone or communication signal (windows 98/98SE).

A. Causes-1. The COM port may have not been detected 2. COM conflict with another device 3. Improper or damaged device drivers.

B. Solution-1. Use the Add New Hardware to configure 2. Configure device on different IRQ 3. Replace or update drivers.

[edit section] SCSI Device/ISA Expansion Card Problems

  • SCSI device not recognized.

1. Check connections and that it is properly terminated.

[edit section] TV Tuner/Video Capture Card Problems

[edit section] MIDI Device Problems

  • Sound file seems to play but no sound heard.

A. Causes-1. Speakers not turned on or volume up 2. The mixer control for MIDI is turned down 3. The MIDI Sequencer is not installed 4. The .idf file is corrupt or invalid 5. Sound card improperly installed 6. Resource conflict with IRQ, I/O address, DMA.

B. Solution-1. Check speaker for power and volume settings 2. Make sure the mixer control is at proper setting 3. Check to make sure the sequencer is installed properly 4. Replace the .idf file with a good one (if file was corrupt on the disc that came with the MIDI device contact the manufacturer for a replacement) 5. Reseat the sound card and check to make sure proper drivers are installed and current 6. Check for conflicts and if found resolve by assigning an alternate setting that is free.

[edit section] Web Camera/Microphone Problems

[edit section] Digital Camera/Flash Memory Problems

  • Horizontal bands on printed picture.

A. Causes-1. Printer heads need cleaning 2. Printer can not handle large high quality print jobs.

B. Solution-1. Try cleaning the print heads 2. You may have to buy a better printer if it will not handle printing large high quality print jobs.

  • If you have (NiCad)batteries and even after charging do not last as long as they should.

A. Causes-1. NiCad batteries failure 2. NiCad remembers the level they were discharged at.

B. Solution-1. If you find the batteries are defective or damaged replace them 2. Sometimes you can use the batteries until they are totally drained, then recharge them (they sometimes can remember what level they were discharged at and will not longer charge fully past that point).

  • Olympus digital camera does not work with windows XP.

A. Causes-1. a driver problem specific to that model of camera and will not work with the windows XP system.

B. Solution-1. Make sure you use the drivers contained on the Camedia utility software provided by Olympus. (for a list of specific Olympus models that have this problem you can go to the Mirosoft website and enter 281090 in the search box).

[edit section] Sound Card/Onboard Sound Problems

  • Sound card not seen by installation program or driver software, Sound card emits constant noise (pops, iterations of sound, click).

A. Causes-1. Improper hardware or software configuration, 2. Conflicting device (PCMIA, network, of SCSI cards are most often involved) configuration.

B. Solution-1. Double check hardware and software configurations, 2. Make sure IRQ and DMA settings are not in conflict with existing hardware, 3. Make sure device drivers are correct, updated and properly configured.

[edit section] Ports

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below
  • Common problems for serial and parallel ports.

1. The Cable is damaged (in some cases device cables have inline fuses that can malfunction). 2. Bent or broken pin or damaged connection end. 3. Cable not completely or securely attached and is not making a proper connection.

[edit section] Serial

[edit section] Parallel

[edit section] USB

  • Your pc has a USB port but the device you plug in does not work.

A. Causes-1. The usb port on your system is not enabled, 2. The usb drivers installed in your system are not up to date.

B. Solution-1. Verify that the usb is enabled, 2. Make sure all drivers are installed correctly and are up to date.

[edit section] Firewire

[edit section] Windows 9X Problems

  • Add to this section by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Windows 95 (all versions)

  • Minimum requirements for installation: 486-25 MHz or higher processor, 4 MB (8 MB recommended) of RAM, 50 MB hard drive space.
  • Microsoft no longer supports Windows 95
  • Windows will not start in safe mode.

1. Causes-1. Possible virus infection. 2. Incorrect CMOS settings. 3. Hardware conflict. 4. Settings in the msdos.sys file may need to be changed. 5. Incorrect driver. 6. You are using a Windows 95 OEM service pack 2.

2. Solutions- 1. Run virus detection utilities. 2. Check CMOS for proper settings. 3. Check for hardwae conflicts in PCI BIOS settings, IRQ conflicts, defective RAM chips, COM port conflicts. 4. For more detailed information about the msdos.sys file check the following http://support.microsoft.com/kb/118579/EN-US/ 5. Make sure you are using the vga.drv and vga.vxd video drivers. 6. The Windows 95 OEM sp 2 was designed for new installations only and will not boot back into Windows 95 from a previous operating system.

[edit section] Windows 98 (all versions)

  • Minimum requirements for installation: 486DX-66 MHz (pentium is recommended) processor or higher, 16 MB (24 MB recommended) of RAM, 195 MB (315 MB recommended) hard drive space.
  • Microsoft no longer supports Windows 98

[edit section] Windows ME (all versions)

  • Minimum requirements for installation: Pentium 150 MHz processor or higer, 32 MB of RAM, 320 MB hard drive space.
  • Microsoft no longer supports Windows ME.

[edit section] Windows XP Problems

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Home

  • Minimum Install reqs. for Windows XP Home & Pro
    Pentium 233 / 64Mb RAM / 1.5Gb Disk space
  • Windows XP will only boot up in safe mode after upgrading operating system/processor/hard drive.

Cause-1. Some drivers may have not loaded correctly 2. Drivers may need updating for recently installed hardware 3. BIOS firmware may need updating 4. Hardware/software compatibility issue.

Solution- 1. Reload drivers manually from CD 2. Check for updated drivers using device manager 3. Check for compatibility issues from manufacturer's website 4. Check for BIOS firmware updated from manufacturer's website 5. Check all documentation for hardware/software for proper installation procedures.

  • The modem makes mating noises but can not connect.

Cause-1. Modem may not be compatible with the ISP's (Internet Service Provider)equipment.

Solution-1. You may need to update/upgrade the modem's firmware by flashing and updated BIOS onto it.

  • The connection fails after dialing.

Cause-1. Your account name or password may be wrong. 2. Your ISP might have frozen your account or terminated it. 3. Your ISP may be temporarily down or busy if you are using dial up.

Solution-1. Recheck that you have typed in the correct account name and password. 2. Check with your ISP to clarify that your account is active and current. 3. Wait a few minutes and try reconnecting to your account.

  • You get an Error 691 (Access Was Denied)

Cause-1. This error means that access was denied because the user name and or the password was invalid on the domain. 2. You may have the (Include Windows Logon Domain check box is selected on the Options page of the Properties dialog box for the connection and that you have entered some text in the resulting Domain text box that appears in the Connect dialog box.

Solution-1. Double check that your user name and password were not mistyped. 2. If you do not absolutely require this option, it is better to not use this option if you do not need it.

[edit section] Professional

  • Minimum Install reqs. for Windows XP Home & Pro
    Pentium 233 / 64Mb RAM / 1.5Gb Disk space

[edit section] Media

  • Minimum install requirements: 1.6 GHz processor, 256 RAM, 60 GB available hard drive space, 64 MB DDR 4x AGP DirectX 9 graphics card.

[edit section] Windows 2000

  • Minimum Install requirements for Windows 2000 Pro
    Pentium 133 / 64Mb RAM / 650 Mb Disk space

[edit section] Windows Vista

  • To add to this section use the subsections below.

[edit section] Home/Home Premium

  • Minimum install requirements for Vista home basic:1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, 512 MB of system memory, 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space, Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory.(recommended)
  • Minimum install requirements for Vista home premium:1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, 1 GB of system memory, 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space, Support for DirectX 9 graphics with: WDDM Driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware, 32 bits per pixel.(recommended)

[edit section] Business

  • Minimum install requirements for Vista Business, Enterprise, Ultimate are the same: 1-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 1-GHz 64-bit (x64) processor, 1 GB of system memory, Windows Aero-capable graphics card this includes a DirectX 9-class graphics card that supports the following:A WDDM driver, Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware, 32 bits per pixel, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum). 40-GB hard disk that has 15 GB of free hard disk space (the 15GB of free space provides room for temporary file storage during the install or upgrade).

[edit section] Enterprise

[edit section] Ultimate

[edit section] Windows 7

[edit section] Windows 2003 server

[edit section] Windows NT

[edit section] Macintosh Problems

  • Mac starting with a blinking question mark.

1. It is possible that something was moved from the system folder such as enabler, the system file or finder. (fix) start system with cd or disk tools disette that came with system.

  • You see an empty, blue screen. You might also see a progress indicator, which looks like a colored pinwheel or spinning disc.

1. Start up from disc or system folder, safe mode, Drag the Fonts folder from the Mac OS 9 System Folder (not the Mac OS X System folder) to the desktop, restart.

[edit section] Linux/Unix Problems

[edit section] Common Server Problems

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Server Hardware

[edit section] Server Software

[edit section] Wireless Problems

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Wireless Hardware

[edit section] Wireless Software

[edit section] Networking Problems

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Networking Hardware

  • Some common causes of network problems.

Misconfigured routers, Faulty ethernet cards, Broadcast storms, Unwanted protocols, Poor switch allocations, Server overloading, Faulty devices, Rogue equipment, Power outages.

  • Common causes of network cable media problems.

Cable breaks, Cable shorts, Incorrect wiring to connectors, Badly fitted or damaged connectors, Cables located near sources of interference, Environmental effects (heat, cold, water, etc).

[edit section] Networking Software

[edit section] Internet Connection Problems

  • Add to this section by using the subesections listed below.

[edit section] Common Not Brand/Type Specific

  • Unusual or blotchy color on Web pages that are clear and crisp on other systems.

A. Causes-1. Insufficient video color depth, 2. Web page is using a non-HTML standard color mappings requiring greater than 256-color depth.

B. Solution-1. Make sure a minimum of 256 color setting is being used (16 bit color depth is inadequate for most pages), 2. You may have to increase color depth to 64k to view the page (contact webmaster of this concern).

  • You see JavaScript errors after a web page appears to load correctly.

A. Causes-1. Insufficient memory and/or disk cache setup in browser.

B. Solution-1. Set memory cache to between 1,024 and 2,048k, 2. Set disk cache to between 2,048 and 8,192k.

  • Browser, e-mail, or other Internet applications indicate an inability to find the host name/address in DNS lookup, 2. Unable to connect to server/site, or you get "host not responding" messages, 3. Data requests go out and host connections appear to be made, but no data returns or you get "invalid host/destination" messages.

A. Causes-1. Improper or no DNS addresses in TCP/IP configuration, 2. Improper gateway address in TCP/IP configuration, 3. Wrong IP address in TCP/IP configuration, 4. Your hostname, domain name, or IP address in not back traceable through the DNS system, 5. Your ISP or network does not allow reverse lookups to validate your host.

B. Solution-1. Try reconnecting 2. Ensure DNS address and domain search order are correct 3. Change DNS server addresses in windows TCP/IP settings.

[edit section] Dial-Up

  • Dial-up connection does not happen automatically as it used to or connection happens automatically but is not desired.

A. Causes-1. The configuration of dial-up netoworking is not set to your specification 2. Configuration of internet explorer in not set to your specification.

B. Solution-1. Check configuration of both network settings and internet explorer settings and change them to your specification.

[edit section] DSL

[edit section] Cable

[edit section] Wireless

[edit section] Laptop Problems

  • (Note Some Troubleshooting Issues For Notebooks/Laptops can be the same).
  • Cloudy, dark, or no display on laptop lcd display.

A. Causes-1. Temperature too hot or cold, 2. Damaged lcd panel 3. Lcd panel not making proper connection inside system.

B. Solution-1. Cool or warm the system to room temperature, 2. Replace the lcd panel, 3. Check internal lcd connection.

[edit section] Notebook Problems

  • The notebook has no power and the indicator light is not on.

A. Causes-1. Battery low/not charged or defective. 2. To many peripherals connected to the system can drag down the power. 3. Power strip or AC outlet not functioning properly. 4. Voltage range incorrect. 5. AC adapter defective.

B. Solution-1. Charge battery and test in system or with multi-meter. 2. Unplug all unnecesary device from system then turn system back on. 3. Test AC outlet and power strip with a 110 outlet tester. 4. If system fails only when using the AC adapter, it might be defective. 5. The voltage range should be within +/- 5 percent of accepted voltage, test with multi-meter.

  • CMOS setup has lost configuration and date/time incorrect.

A. Causes-1. CMOS battery defective.

B. Solution-1. Replace CMOS battery.

  • Suspend mode and Standby mode does not work.

A. Causes-1. Faulty battery. 2. Defective DC controller. 3. Motherboard.

B. Solution-1. Eliminate battery as the problem by trying suspend mode or standby mode while connected to the AC outlet (if still not working replace battery). 2. If problem still persists, replace the DC controller and then the motherboard if that does not correct the problem.

  • Display is hard to read.

A. Causes-1. Consider electrical interference from other devices. 2. The display settings have been changed or set incorrectly.

B. Solution-1. Move notebook where other devices can not cause interference. 2. Try restoring the refresh rate, resolution, and other windows display settings to default values.

  • LCD panel is unreadable, character are missing, or incorrect characters appear.

A. Causes-1. LCD connector inside notebook is not connected properly 2. LCD panel could be damaged.

B. Solution-1. Check to make sure the connector is secured or connected properly 2. Replace if LCD panel is damaged.

  • Wireless connectivity is not working or is weak.

A. Causes-1. Possible interference from some other device 2. Wireless switch not activated 3. Internal antenna connection problem or damaged.

B. Solution-1. Move notebook to another location 2. Make sure the wireless switch is turned on 3. Check internal antenna connection, if damaged check with notebook manufacturer for a solution or replace the antenna.

  • Error reading PC card.

A. Causes-1. PC card not seated properly 2. Drivers need updating or improperly installed.

B. Solution-1. Reseat PC card to make sure it is properly seated 2. Reinstall or update the drivers 3. Try rebooting system.

  • The system does not detect a PC card or Express Card.

A. Causes-1. PCMIA drivers not installed properly or need updating 2. Card defective 3. PCMIA assembly damaged 4. Motherboard could be damaged or defective 5. Improper configuration.

B. Solution-1. Reinstall PCMIA drivers or update them 2. If possible try Card in different system or another card in system you are working on to determine if card is defective 3. If card is not defective, the PCMIA assembly may be damaged and needs replacing 4. Possible motherboard has been damaged or is defective and needs replacement. 5. Configure device using device manager.

[edit section] Charts/Diagrams

Windows Protection error message occur when your computer attempts to load or unload a virtual device driver (VxD). This error message is a way to let you know that there is a problem with the device driver.
Possible Causes
If a real-mode driver and a protected-mode driver are in conflict.
If the registry is damaged.
If either the Win.com file or the Command.com file are infected with a virus, or if either of the files are damaged.
If a protected-mode driver is loaded from the System.ini file and the driver is already initialized.
If there is a physical input/output address conflict or a RAM address conflict.
If there are incorrect CMOS settings for a built-in peripheral device (such as cache settings, CPU timing, hard disks, and so on).
If the Plug and Play feature of the BIOS on the computer is not working correctly.
If the computer contains a malfunctioning cache or malfunctioning memory.
If the motherboard on the computer is not working properly.
If you installed Microsoft Office 97 and you are using the Novell Client 32 software.


Kernel32.DLL Error for Win. 95, 98, ME
Possible Causes
Damaged swap file.
File allocation damage.
Damaged password list.
Damaged or incorrect version of the Kernel32.dll file.
Damaged registry.
Hardware, hot CPU, over clocking, broken power supply, RF noise, ground bounce, or bad hard disk controller.
BIOS settings for Wait states, RAM timing, or other BIOS settings.
Third-party software that is damaged or incorrectly installed.
.dll files that are saved to the desktop.
Non-existent or broken Temp folder.
A control panel (.cpl) file is damaged.
Incorrect or damaged hardware driver.
Incorrectly installed printer drivers or HP Jetadmin drivers.
Damaged Java Machine.
Damaged .log files.
Damaged entries in the History folder.
Incompatible or damaged dynamic link library files.
Viruses.
Damaged or incorrect Msinfo32.exe file.
Low disk space.


HP Laser Jet Error codes
Message Description
00 Ready Ready to print
02 Warming up Fuser is being warmed
05 Self Test Full self test being performed
11 Paper out Paper tray sensor reporting no paper
13 Paper jam Paper caught in paper path
14 No EP cart No toner cartridge in printer
15 Engine test Engine self test in progress
16 Toner low Toner cartridge needs replaced
50 Service A fuser error has occurred
51 Error Laser scanning assembly problem
52 Error Scanner motor in the scanning assembly malfuction
55 Error Communication problem between formatter and DC controller


Common DMA Assignments
DMA Channel Default Assignment DMA Channel Default Assignment
0 Dynamic RAM refresh 1 Hard disk controller
2 Floppy disk controller 3 Available on all pcs
4-7 Available on AT and Micro Channel PS\2 computers


Common I/O Address Assignments
Address Assignment Address Assignment
000-0ff Reserved for the system itself 1f0-1f7 Primary hard disk controller
170-177 Secondary hard disk conrtoller 200-207 Game port
278-27f Second parallel port ( LPT2) 2f8-2ff Secondary serial port ( COM2)
378-37f First parallel port (LPT1) 3f0-3f7 Floppy disk controller
3f8-3ff First serial port (COM1)


Common IRQ Default Assignment
IRQ Assignment IRQ Assignment
0 System timer 1 Keyboard
2 Cascade to 9 3 Com 2 and 4
4 Com 1 and 3 5 LPT2 (usually available)
6 Floppy controller 7 LPT1
8 Real time clock 9 Cascade to 2
10 Available (often used for sound and nic cards) 11 Available
12 PS/2 mouse port (available if not used) 13 Math coprocessor
14 Primary hard disk controller 15 Secondary hard disk controller

[edit section] Runtime Error Codes

Runtime Errors
Message Description Message Desciption
5 Illegal function call 6 Overflow
7 Out of memory 9 Subscript out of range
10 Duplicate definition 11 Division by zero
13 Type mismatch 14 Out of string space
19 No resume 20 Resume without error
28 Out of stack space 35 Sub or function not defined
48 Error in loading 52 Bad file name or number
53 file not found 54 Bad file mode
55 File already open 58 File already exists
61 Disk full 62 Input past end of file
63 Bad file name 68 Device unavailable
70 Permission denied 71 Disk not ready
74 Can't rename with different drive 75 Path/file access error
76 Path not found 91 Object variable set to nothing
93 Invalid pattern 94 Illegal use of NULL
102 Command failed 339 A file is missing or invalid
429 Object creation failed 438 No such property or method
439 Argument type mismatch 440 Object error
901 Input buffer larger than 64k 902 Operating system error
903 External procedure not found 904 Global variable type mismatch
905 User defined type mismatch 906 External procedure interface
1001 Out of memory 1025 DLL not supported

[edit section] List of Numeric Error Codes and Meaning

  • Add to this section by using the subsections below.
IBM Post Codes
Error Description Error Description
100-199 System board 200-299 Memory
300-399 Keyboard 400-499 Monochrome display
500-599 Color/graphics display 600-699 Floppy disk drive or adapter
700-799 Math coprocessor 900-999 Parallel printer port
1000-1099 Alternate printer adapter 1200-1299 Asynchronous adapter,port,device
1300-1399 Game port 1400-1499 Color/graphics printer
1500-1599 Synchronous communication device, adapter, port
1700-1799 Hard drive or adapter 1800-1899 Expansion unit (xt)
2000-2199 Bisynchronous communication adapter
2400-2599 EGA system board video 3000-3199 LAN adapter
4800-4999 Internal modem 7000-7099 Pheonix bios chip
7300-7399 3.5 disk drive 8900-8999 MIDI adapter
11200-11299 SCSI adapter 21000-21099 SCSI fixed disk and controller
21500-21599 SCSI cd rom system

[edit section] List of Text Error Messages and Meaning

  • General Protection Fault.

Most common error and happens when a program accesses memory that another program is using or when a program accesses a memory address that doesn't exist.

  • Windows Protection Error (windows 9x only).

A condition that usually happens on either startup or shutdown. Protection errors occur because windows 9x could not load or unload a virtual device driver.

  • Illegal Operation.

Usually means that a program was forced to quit because it did something windows did not like. No specific pinpoint reason for this type of error.

  • Failure To Start GUI.

The system will hang just before Gui appears. In windows NT, 2000, XP you get the blue screen and in windows 9x you get a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left corner. Problem is usually related to a misconfigured driver misconfigured hardware.

  • Invalid partition table, Missing operating system.

1. Master boot record is corrupt due to hard disk errors or virus infection.

  • NTLDR is missing, A disk read error occurred, or System hangs after BIOS POST finishes.

1. Boot sector is corrupt due to hard disk errors or virus infection.

  • Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem, Could not read from selected boot disk, Check boot path and disk hardware.

1. Boot.ini file is corrupt, missing, or needs updating.

  • Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt.

1. Boot volume is corrupt or the referenced system file is missing.

  • You get a blue screen (BSOD).

1. Typically caused by hardware failure, driver problem, virus infection.

  • One or more services failed to start.

1. Typically caused by misconfiguration, registry corruption and possibly application incompatibility of some sort.

[edit section] List of Beep Codes

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below

[edit section] Phoenix Bios 3.x and earlier

Phoenix Bios 3.x and earlier
Beeps Description
1 short Normal
2 short Configuration with video card, monitor, loose monitor cable
1 long, 1 short Video Failure (if present check DIP/Jumper)
1 long, 1 short, 1 long, 1 short Double video failure (color/monchrome) video adapter

[edit section] Phoenix Bios 4.0

[edit section] Compaq Bios

Compaq Beep Codes
Beeps Description
1 Short Normal
1 Long, 1 short BIOS ROM checksum error
2 Short General error/Unknown
1 Long, 2 short Video error
1 Long (never ending) Memory/Bad RAM
1 Short, 2 long Bad RAM
7 (1 long, 1 short, 1 L, 1 S, Pause 1 L, 1 S, 1 S) AGP video card faulty

[edit section] Award Bios

Award Beep Codes
Beeps Meaning
1 long, 2 short Video adapter error
Repeating (endless loop) Memory error
1 long, 3 short No video card or bad video ram
High frequency beeps while running CPU overheating
Repeating high/low beeps CPU error

[edit section] AMI

AMI Beep Codes
Beeps Description
1 Short beep Normal post
2-4 Short beeps Memory problem
5 Short beeps Motherboard problem
6 Short beeps Keyboard controller
7 Short beeps CPU problem
8 Short beeps Video card problem
9 Short beeps BIOS problem
10 Short beeps CMOS problem
11 Short beeps Cach memory chip problem
1 Long, 3 short beeps Conventional/Extended memory problem/Reseat module
1 Long, 8 short beeps Display/Retrace test failed/Reseat video card

[edit section] IBM

IBM Beep Codes
Beeps Description
1 Short beep Normal post
2 Short beeps Post error
Continuous beep Power supply/ System board/ Keyboard
Repeating short beeps Power supply/ System board
1 long, 1 short beep System board
1 long, 2 short beeps Display adapter problem (mda,cga)
1 long, 3 short beeps Enhanced graphics adapter (ega)
3 long beeps 3270 keyboard card

[edit section] Preventative Maintenace and Safety Tips

  • Add to this by using the subsections listed below.

[edit section] Hardware

  • Keep all Keyboards, Mouse, Monitors, Scanners, Printers clean and free of dust and dirt.
  • When working inside a system make sure you wear an antistatic wrist strap or you are properly grounded to prevent ESD (electro static discharge) that could damage components.
  • Never work inside a system without unplugging it from the outlet unless you are a qualified technician.
  • Clean out your tower with compressed air 2-3 times yearly to prevent dust/dirt build up.
  • When cleaning tower with compressed air be careful around the CPU fan and and power supply as too high pressure could damage the fans.
  • If possible do not set your tower next to air/heating vents as this will blow dust and dirt into your system.
  • Always use a good quality surge protector or if at all possible use a UPS (uninterrupted power supply). During bad weather where lightening could be a problem a good policy would be to power down your system and unplug it from any outlets along with all your hardware devices.

[edit section] Software

  • Make sure your operating system is updated with Microsoft's latest patches and updates.
  • Defrag your operating system atleast twice a month.
  • Clean out your Temparary Internet files and Cookies after each internet session.
  • From IE, go to Tools, Internet Opts, Advanced, scroll down & enable "Empty Temporary Inet files folder when browser is closed". (Automatically deletes Inet temp files when close IE)   
  • Run Scan/Chk Disk utility to find and correct errors at least once a week.
  • Make sure you have a good Firewall, Antivirus, Antispyware program and keep them updated.

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