Guide to troubleshoot new (re)builds

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Guide to troubleshoot new (re)builds

Postby Peanya » Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:36 pm

This guide is meant to help troubleshoot and resolve problems with new computer builds. It addresses the most common problems that are encountered, so read this and hopefully it'll solve a problem that you might have.

Hopefully, you have read the manual that came with the motherboard. Many times it's something small someone didn't do. When all else fails, read the manual!

Before I forget, many issues can be corrected by a BIOS update. If you are having issues, the first place I recommend checking is the manufacturer's website for any updates that can correct your specific issue. Please be aware, that some manufacturers are very slow to do updates, and some do not even list what the BIOS corrects! ***NOTE: Always clear the CMOS after you flash the BIOS too.*** Also, it is only recommended updating only to correct an issue you are having. If not, then it's best to keep the current BIOS you have.

The first thing that should be done to troubleshoot a computer is to do what is called a minimal boot. This entails taking the motherboard out of the case and putting it on a non-conductive surface, such as wood or the cardboard box it came in. From there, you plug in just one stick of memory, the CPU and heatsink, and (if applicable) the video card. Before plugging in the power supply, clear the CMOS for a few seconds, then return the jumpers back to the normal position.
Now that we've done that, plug in the power supply, keyboard, and the monitor. Refer to the manual for the pins that are the power switch connectors. Short these two out briefly to get the board to power up. If it boots and you can get into the BIOS, set it up and then power down, and try again. Next, if applicable, insert the rest of the system memory and boot again. From there, reinstall the motherboard in the case. Why did I ask you to take it out of the case in the first place? Well, motherboards stand off of the case on little stands. Many times, there is a stand shorting out something on the motherboard. When installing it, make sure that you have the same stands as you do holes, and every one of them lines up.

What do you do if the minimal boot doesn't work? This indicates that, obviously, the problem is with one of the components connected. Most often, the memory and/or the motherboard are the culprit. As memory speeds climb, the issues become more and more common. Try moving the memory to other slots and see if that gets it to boot up. If still no luck, double-check the seating on the video card and the CPU. Although it is rare, the CPU pins can become bent, or even installing the heatsink improperly can cause this problem. Finally, if still not getting a boot, try another stick of memory if you have access to it. Also try another video card, and lastly check your power supply. I've seen where the voltage selector comes set in the wrong position, or the power supply is just bad.

Other common issues with installs happen because of the drives attached to the system. Check all the jumper settings on each drive, and refer to the manual to ensure this is correct. Sometimes, the manuals are poorly written, or unclear. In this case, experiment with one drive connected to the IDE cable and try different positions. You won't fry your HD or CD-Rom by doing this.

Please feel free to PM me if you have any suggestions you feel should be added to this.
Last edited by Peanya on Fri Jun 25, 2004 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby somedude » Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:43 pm

Two things that I would like to add:

- connect the speaker to the mobo before you fire it up - it is a very useful tool for debugging the initial setup.
- check the CMOS reset jumper first - many boards are shipped with the jumper in the 'clear' position, to save battery.
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Postby peta_byte » Tue Jan 27, 2004 11:44 pm

good stuff Peanya.. now we can simply link folks over to this thread.
(as you know, folks don't always read stuff.. even stickies, before posting)
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Postby son0rous » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:04 am

peta_byte wrote:good stuff Peanya.. now we can simply link folks over to this thread.
(as you know, folks don't always read stuff.. even stickies, before posting)

http://www.motherboards.org/forums/view ... hp?t=38952
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Postby peta_byte » Wed Jan 28, 2004 12:25 am

yep Smurf.. saw that the other day.. :wink:
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Postby A2Z » Sun Feb 01, 2004 6:03 pm

Great post Peanya Image

Heres photo example since some PPL are more visual.
Image



Here is a closeup of the power switch & piezo speaker which can be purchased at any computer show, http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&product%5Fid=273-074, etcImage

Heres the I/O for video card, mouse & keyboard.
Image

Hope that helps PPLImage
Last edited by A2Z on Fri Jun 18, 2004 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rayluckins » Tue Feb 03, 2004 7:40 pm

One thing I learned through my recent experience was that the "minimal install" is well worth the effort, if for no other reason than to verify the fit and function of the CPU heatsink. Not to mention the fact that some MOBO the CPU is easier to install outside of the case!

On first boot, get into BIOS and check the CPU temp. If it is normal (what the heck is normal, below 50C?) your heatsink is installed properly and you should be good to go.
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Postby A2Z » Fri Feb 06, 2004 2:14 am

I would agree with fredfillis :D
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Postby Nomad69 » Fri Feb 06, 2004 3:31 am

Good post A2Z, excellent 8)
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Postby int_53185 » Sat Feb 21, 2004 6:45 pm

I would also add to check for updated drivers....particularly the chipset drivers on the motherboard.....just did a new build that wouldnt start windows on every startup...went through hell troubleshooting this thing...turned out all it needed was the latest chipset{Intel} drivers ARGH!
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