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Fix hardware, software

and network problems

Easy step-by-step workshops

REPAIR The complete manual

Plain E
and ja nglish


The Complete PC Repair Manual

Essential skills 4 Solving network problems 56

The tips, tricks and tools that you’ll need to This in-depth guide will help you connect to your
diagnose and repair your computer network, verify that you can connect to the internet
and show you how to check your settings
Top 10 tips 6
Essential skills 8 Fixing network problems flowchart 58
Finding and installing drivers 10 How to… Connect a wired network 60
How to… Restore your system 12 How to… Connect a wireless network 61
How to… Uninstall software 13 Setting up a secure wireless network 62
How to… Recover deleted files 14 Testing your wireless network 66
Troubleshooting Windows 16 How to… Check your network settings 68
Troubleshooting hardware problems 21 How to… Check for other computers 69

Solving boot problems 26 Solving internet problems 70

If your computer won’t turn on or crashes before Find out how to diagnose and fix all internet
Windows has even started, this chapter will help problems, including problems getting online,
you get your PC running again email faults and file-sharing errors
Top 10 tips for solving boot problems 28 Fixing internet and network application
Fixing boot problems flowchart 30 problems flowchart 72
BIOS beep codes 32 How to… Configure your firewall 74
How to… Check your browser settings 75
How to… Speed-test your broadband
connection 76
Solving Windows problems34 How to… Check your email settings 78
Whether applications are crashing or Windows isn’t How to… Diagnose error messages 79
working the way you want, this chapter can help How to… Share files and printers 80
Into the BIOS 102 Testing 120
Fixing Windows problems flowchart 36 The BIOS controls all the hardware in your PC and Once you think you’ve found the cause of a
Introducing… the Device Manager 38 can be responsible for a range of faults. Here we problem, testing your components can help confirm
Introducing… the Task Manager 40 Preventing problems 82 show you how to configure the BIOS properly and your diagnosis. Here we show you how to do it
Introducing… the Event Viewer 42 In this chapter we show you how to avoid potential
Introducing… the Reliability Monitor 44 where to go when you need to troubleshoot How to… Reset your CMOS 122
problems, perform common maintenance tasks and
Error codes and messages 45 Into the BIOS 104 Checking external cables 123
make a backup of your computer, so you’ll never
How to… Edit the BIOS 105 Checking internal cables 124
lose another file even if the worst happens Testing memory 128
Testing your hard disk 130
Solving accessory problems 46 Making an image of your hard disk 84 Testing your PC for heat 132
Problems with sound, monitors printers and more How to… Maintain your hard disk 88 Operating systems 110
with the essential advice here How to… Use Windows Update 89 Sometimes a fault’s so bad that you have to
Cleaning your computer 90 reinstall Windows. Our step-by-step instructions
Top 10 tips 48 How to… Use System Configuration 95
will help you with Windows Vista and XP Glossary 142
Solving sound problems 50 Uninterruptible power supplies 96 Baffled by some computer jargon or confused
Solving monitor problems 52 Avoiding viruses 98 How to… Install or repair Vista 112 about what a certain connector does? Find out
Solving printer problems 54 Installing an anti-virus program 100 How to… Install or repair XP 116 what it all means in our jargon-busting guide


Fixing boot problems
Chapter 2 Solving boot problems

Do the computer’s fans Remove any media cards Test the hard disk (see page 130)
NO spin when you push the YES from USB devices, and NO and, if it’s working OK, restore the
power button? remove any discs from drives. backup of your PC (see page 84) or
Does this solve the problem? reinstall Windows (see page 110). If
the test fails, replace it and restore
the backup or reinstall Windows.

Check the power cables. Do you see an image NO YES

Does this solve the problem? NO on the screen?
Do you see an “NTLDR Can you hear unusual
NO YES missing or corrupted” or YES noises coming from your NO
“Operating system not hard disk?
found” message?
Try replacing the Check the video and
power supply. monitor power cables. Does
this solve the problem?
Do you see a blue screen
with an error message? YES
Does the POST sequence Does your PC hang (crash)
complete successfully? YES before the Windows splash NO
screen appears? Try removing any recently
NO installed hardware. Does
this solve the problem?
Have you overclocked
your PC? NO

Try resetting the CMOS NO Uninstall any recently Can you boot into Safe
(see page 122). If this works, installed programs (see YES Mode? (Press F8
your overclocking settings page 13). Does this immediately after the
were incorrect. Does this Check the BIOS settings solve the problem? POST sequence.)
solve the problem? NO (see page 104). Does this
solve the problem? NO NO


Use System Restore Repair the Windows

Do you hear beeps when (see page 12). installation (see page 110).
you turn your computer on? Does this solve the problem?

Check the hard disk cables NO

(see page 139). Does this
solve the problem?

It’s likely your computer Reinstall Windows (see

Refer to your Try replacing or reseating NO has a serious fault. Contact NO page 110) or restore a
motherboard manual, major components (see your supplier. backup image (see page 84).
or check the beep pages 136 to 141) and Does this solve the problem?
codes on page 32. check for overheating.


Checking internal Motherboard
cables connections
Chapter 10 Testing

Your power supply provides power for all doesn’t work. Here we’ll show you what the power YOUR MOTHERBOARD IS is the centre of your loose, you can suffer from serious problems. This
your components. If the cables aren’t connected supply’s connectors do so you can make sure that computer, and all your components and picture will help you locate where everything plugs
properly or have come loose, you could end up they’re connected properly. The information here peripherals plug directly into it. If any connectors in, which will make the guides later in this chapter
with intermittent problems or a PC that simply will be useful throughout this chapter. or components aren’t connected or have become easier to follow.

1 2 3


These are used for
Tuck or tie any
internal peripherals
unwanted cables out of
such as TV tuners and
the way inside the case
graphics cards
to improve airflow and
keep your PC tidy.
SOCKET For the

power supply’s second
connector plugs in here

1 The ATX connector FireWire ports plug
provides power to your into these headers
2 The SATA connector are for hard disks,
is for hard disks and 4 newer DVD writers and
optical drives Blu-ray drives

3 A standard PCI 6 FRONT PANEL

Express graphics CONNECTORS The
card connector power switch, reset
switch and status light
4 The newer 8-pin connect here
PCI-E power connector 1 2 3 4
7 IDE PORT This is for
5 The secondary attaching a DVD writer
motherboard power or an old hard disk
6 A connector for The power supply’s
floppy disks and ATX connector plugs
memory card readers in here

7 The Molex 9 MEMORY SLOTS

connector is for These are for your
hard disks 5 6 7 5 6 7 8 9 PC’s memory

How to… 5 6

Check internal cables

POWER connect the switch. It doesn’t matter which way
Chapter 10 Testing

To get your PC to turn on when you push round this connector goes.
the power button, you need to connect the power
switch to the motherboard. Among the loose POWER AND HDD LEDs
cables in your case, you’ll find a two-pin connector.
3 The HDD connector connects to an LED on
This will usually be marked PWR SW, but check the front of the case and lights up when the hard 7 8
the case’s manual if you’re not sure. disk is in operation. This is useful, as you can see
This needs to be connected to the power whether your PC is working or if it’s crashed.
jumpers on the motherboard. Typically, these will As this connects to an LED, it must be
be located on the bottom-right of the motherboard connected correctly. The cable should be marked
and will be marked, although you should double- as positive and negative (usually written on the
check your motherboard’s manual to make sure. plug). The motherboard HDD jumper will also
The connector will plug on to the two pins and have a positive and negative port. Check your
should connect easily. motherboard’s manual carefully to make sure that
you get this right, and then connect the cable.
RESET Do the same thing for the power LED, which will
2 If your case has a reset switch – not all do have a similar connector. This must be connected
– then there will be a similar connector to the the right way round, so make sure that you get the you exactly where these are. USB connectors take the appropriate connector on the motherboard.
power switch, with RESET SW written on it. positive and negative connectors aligned. power, so you need to plug the cable in the right This is used to give warning beeps.
Connecting this to your motherboard lets you way round. Fortunately, the USB ports on most
restart your PC after a major crash, as it resets the USB cases have a single plug that can be connected to FANS
hardware and forces your computer to reboot.
4 If your case has front-mounted USB ports or the motherboard in only one way. If it doesn’t,
7 It’s common for modern cases to have extra
To connect it, you need to find the reset a card reader, you’ll need to connect these to spare you’ll need to check the case and motherboard fans pre-fitted. These help increase airflow through
jumpers on the motherboard. These will be near headers on your motherboard. In all likelihood, the manuals carefully to make sure that you install the the case and keep your PC cool. While fans can
the power switch, but you should read your cable in the case will be marked USB. connectors correctly. be connected directly to the power supply, it’s
motherboard’s manual for the exact location. Your motherboard will probably have spare Assuming you’re using a block connector, plug better to connect them to spare fan headers on
Simply push the connector over the two pins to connectors marked USB, but the manual can tell it into a spare USB header on the motherboard. the motherboard. This way, the motherboard can
We’d recommend using the closest header to the automatically control the fan speed and keep
cable to avoid draping cables everywhere. your PC running as quietly as possible.
1 2 If your fans end in three- or four-pin connectors,
FIREWIRE you can plug them into your motherboard. Look at
5 Front-mounted FireWire cables plug in much the manual to find a spare fan connector and then
the same way as USB cables. Again, look for a plug in the fan’s power connector. Three-pin
spare FireWire header on the motherboard (the connectors can plug into four-pin ports and vice
manual will explain where these are) and connect versa. These cables also only plug in one way,
the FireWire cable to it. The cable may be marked so it’s easy to get it right.
1394, as FireWire is also known as i1394.
CPU fan
8 The processor fan has to be connected
6 Front-mounted audio ports also need to to the motherboard. In the same way as system
3 4 be connected to the motherboard if you want fans, the processor’s fan speed is controlled by
to be able to plug in your headphones and a the motherboard based on the processor’s
microphone. Fortunately, most motherboards and temperature. This keeps your computer as
cases have a single block connector that plugs quiet as possible.
into the front audio connector on the motherboard. There’s a special connector for the processor
Your motherboard’s manual will have full details
of where this is connected, but it’s usually located
fan on the motherboard, which is often called CPU
Fan. Check your motherboard’s manual for its
LED connectors
by its back panel. Again, there’s only one way to location. This is likely to be a four-pin connector, need to be connected
connect this cable, so just slide it gently into place. but three-pin processor fans can also be used. The the right way round, or
If your case has a Speaker header, plug this into connector can only go in one way. ◼ they won’t work.