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Before Submitting Contacting Tech Support

Before Submitting Contacting Tech Support

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Published by: api-3836139 on Oct 18, 2008
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Before Submitting Contacting Tech Support

Attempt to isolate the problem This is an exercise in thinking like a computer. Take whatever problem you have and try to pin it down or rule out possibilities. If you are having problems with a component, begin by ruling out everything related to it. If there are any vias on the line, remove them. For example, if you are having printer problems but the printer is attached in tandem to other items such as a scanner or ZIP drive, remove those items. Then, if the trouble persists, you know it has nothing to do with those other things. This could also go for items on an IDE channel, etc. If wires or cables are used (such as IDE cables, printer cables, phone cords) always test these wires. Try another one. Try another IDE cable, for example. If it involves a phone wire on a modem, use a phone to test the phone wire and jack and make sure they are active. Many times in doing this, you may also fix the problem inadvertantly by fixing a previously bad connection. Many times on PC assembly, people will go to far and install everything before making that first boot. Once again, you need to isolate the problem. This is why we recommend always building a PC only to barebone status before making that first boot. This way you have less to worry about. It is nice to have extra hardware around. Techs often ask if you do, because a great way to rule out problems is to throw in a replacement and see what happens. for example, you just installed a new video card or are having problems with it all of a sudden. Well, you could play with drivers and all sorts of crap, but you need to rule out a hardware failure as well. After double checking connections per above (monitors connected, card fully seated in slot), you can remove the video card and put in another, such as a simple VGA or SVGA card. If your system comes back to life, then you can assume your other video card is broken, because even with crappy drivers, any video card should at least pump out the old 16-color display if it works. Update the Drivers A high percentage of PC problems can be fixed simply by downloading the latest drivers for your hardware and updating or installing them. Especially if you have just changed operating systems, this needs to be done. Sometimes ( and this also goes for narrowing down the problem) you update your drivers and then it doesn't work whereas before it was. In this case, you may be using buggy drivers or incompatible ones. Always make sure the drivers you install are specifically stated on the manufacturer web site that they are for your specific harwdare and your specific operating system. Also, while in most cases beta drivers will work fine, you never really know otherwise they wouldn't be in beta. So, if, after installing beta drivers, you start seeing problems, un-install those drivers and go again with the tried-and-true. Somtimes it is good to start with a clean slate, so you can just completely un-install the hardware by deleting it from Device List in system properties (after uninstalling any drivers) and then rebooting and letting Windows re-detect and install. Be Aware of your Resources While we would love for you to think PC Mechanic is the only resource you could ever go to for problems, it just isn't true. In fact, PCMech should be your last line of defense because, quite frankly, we are not really equipped to handle more specific questions that have to do with specific pieces of harwdare. Always check the web site of your manufacturer. Check the Support section of their web site. Some sites offer really bad support, but many others offer great support or even interactive support. We get a lot of more specific Windows error questions. We can help with the basic ones, but the more specific ones can be searched for over at the Microsoft Knowledge Base. I recommend you do so because, quite frankly, we use it quite a bit so you might as well save us the hassle and look it up yourself. You can also use newsgroups and internet search engines to find solutions. Very often you will find other people who have the same exact problem and can tell you what they did, or if they ever even fixed it.

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