Troubleshooting until your up and Running

Well, were back!  That took a good month, well, to be honest in the middle of that my wife and I took a trip to Europe to celebrate our anniversary.   The rest of the time, I'll call part problems which happen sometimes, and when it does you have to do a couple of things to get up and running.  So let's talk about how to solve hardware problems.

First, it's a good idea to start with all new parts, which I didn't.  I tried to patch a system together, which if your just starting out, you should not do, but hold on a second.  Even new parts, sometimes, do not work.  Let's review some troubleshooting.

A troubleshooting check list  to check to get your system together.
1. Are all the cables connected properly?  Sometimes when you put one cable in, you can knock a previously connected cable out of its socket.  When your done connecting everything, recheck all your cables.
2. Plug all your mouse, monitor and keyboard cables in, and turn on the power to the monitor.
3. Plug the computer power cable in and turn on the switch on the back of the power supply.  Depending on the board, a light will illuminate on the motherboard to indicate you have power to the motherboard.
4. Press your computer start button on the front panel and your computer should start.
5. When your computer comes up you should see the motherboard logo screen on the monitor, if the monitor is blank, you have problems.

Sometimes you will get an error message, like I did.  No disk, or the disk is not recognized or something along those lines.  If its not the cabling, then you have a hardware problem.  Not recognizing a disk, can mean many things,
1. The disk is bad.
2. The disk controller on the motherboard is bad.
3. Some other part of the motherboard is bad.
4. The computer chip is bad.
5. Or simply, you bios software is not configured properly to recognize the disk.

No video, usually means the graphic cars is bad, but that could be the motherboard, or monitor.

Since most memory is tested on start up, memory problems come in the form of programs that don't operate properly, because a part of the memory is faulty.

Another trick you can use is simply to see if a part you suspect is bad, is making noise, or is not cold to the touch when it should be warm.

If you have a problem, all you can do is return the parts one at a time, until you find the problem.   This can be very time consuming.  To do this:
1. You have to call or email support at the manufacturers website.  And trade several emails.
2. Work with their tech support to run tests on your system until they say you should send the board back to them, because all their tests have not worked.
3. Ask for an RMA number (Return Materials Authorization) to mark the package, so they know its your board that is getting sent back.
4. They usually test the board or component on their tester and if its good, the send the same part back to you.
5. You go nuts when this happens, and move to another part that could be bad.

You get the idea.  Then you have the pain of packaging the part for shipping, taking the part to the shipper, paying for the shipping, waiting for a part to return in a return shipment.  Very time consumming and frustrating until you find what is causing  the problem and preventing your computer from running.  It's quite common to send a motherboard back to the manufacturer.  They usually test it and send it right back to you.

Long story short, disks are cheap now, so to short circuit a lot of the above headaches, I just purchased a new motherboard and disk.  That did the trick, and I'm up and running, and have installed Ubuntu on my system.

Ubuntu 9.10 is loaded on my disk, stable, and the computer runs fine.  More on loading Ubuntu and the software in my next post.

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