pc troubleshooting

 

Overview

no video or won't boot with video card

  1. clean the video card cooler and cpu cooler and air vents in the pc and power supply.
  2. try powering off and plugging your monitor into the onboard video or another video port. if this worked, then you can guess maybe the video port is bad or it's the monitor dying.
  3. try another monitor on the same port. you can get them cheaply from the computer recycliing store for about $25. did this fix it? if so, it is the monitor and not the video port. if not, could be video port. repeat to step 1 until you are pout of ports you can try.
  4. onboard video step: try the video on the mainboard/motherboard/system board. does it work? if so, you may have the BIOS switched to the mainboard for video. an older BIOS may not allow you to use both mainboard video and card video at same time. I have not seen newer machine's BIOSes that have onboard video. switch bios to your video card or video card+onboard video and have the monitor plugged into the video card as well, because it will probably try detection to makie it work, and windows will too. gets really tricky with 1 monitor in this situation. if you want to stay with this solution, then do. onboard video is sometimes O.C.-able.
  5. disconnect power.
  6. if it's been 3-4 years since you replaced the motherboard battery, write down BIOS settings first and then replace it.
  7. you may have the card set for a bus type like pcie 3.0 but your card may only support pcie 2.0. if you can try 2.0, do.
  8. is the card completely seated, or is there some kind of case motherboard offset that makes the card seat in angled (which would not be good)? if that's the case, loosen the motherboard screws and then plug the card in and screw it back down but not too tight so you don't damage the board. layers have really thin metal and vias that can be accidentally cut! but you do want it sufficiently grounded to the case.
  9. reconnect power.
  10. does it boot to BIOS?
  11. what is the POST code? look it up in motherboard manual or here. if it says video card, then you know to replace the video card. that was the last step it was initializing when it failed. it may show a success code of sorts.

strange things happen when typing

  1. once in a while, windows gets confused or the keyboard controller chip (guess) gets confused. but in any case, some data gets lost, especially when hitting multiple keys at the same time or at high speeds. the keys that usually get stuck are: [alt], [shift], [ctrl], and the [windows-logo-flag-key]. hit all of those you can find on the keyboard in sequence (one at a time) with 1 finger slowly. also, hit the context menu key (the one that looks like a popup menu). then click outside of that window to make it go away.
  2. try a reboot.
  3. if this doesn't fix it, replace the keyboard. on laptops, this costs $200-$259. on desktops keyboards range from $5-$200.
  4. if #1 happens a lot, I suggest you get an n-key rollover keyboard here or here or here (these are made for IBM, you can have custom layouts too).

moving mouse causes strange things to happen

go here for full instructions. you don't need to change the cpu, but the rest regarding cpu replacement applies.

  1. reboot, using the keyboard ([windows-logo-flag-key]-I in win8/8.1 or [windows-logo-flag-key],[tab] until you have shutdown highlighted.
  2. turn the mouse on if it has a power switch.
  3. replace the mouse batteries and reconnect the mouse if it has a wireless connect button.
  4. reinstall usb and BlueTooth (BT) drivers.
  5. if that doesn't work, replace the mouse. they do go bad. the cheaper the mouse, usually the shorter it lasts. a $35 mouse lasts about 5 years. a $14 mouse lasts 1-2 years.

wifi troubles

go here.

cpu runs too hot or computer shuts itself down or computer goes crazy

possible causes:

the steps to reapply thermal paste to a cpu or gpu can be found here, but below is an overview.

  1. remove cpu cooler
  2. remove old thermal compound or pad from cpu and cooler with blue shower degreaser or arcticlean and or maybe you can get a degreaser from the auto parts store (if it has the thin tube attachment).
  3. apply antec formula 7 in a smiley face configuration.
  4. put heatsink back on. don't rub it in, that causes nasty bubbles, straight is nice, avoid angles, ado as even as possible, tightenening evenly on all sides round-robin fashion.
  5. test memory with memtest86+ will take 2-3 hours maybe
  6. test your setup a bit. your setup is probably good if you can use it to the max and temps don't reach to 60°C which is maximum and it doesn't shut itself down. the i7-4960HQ has a max of 100°C so be sure to look up your cpu's max temperature at intel.com and monitor with with cpuid.com HWMonitor if it does get more than 55-60°C, then maybe you should try again. maybe this time with a closed loop liquid cooler like the corsair H110i and a case that works with same like corsair 500R, 400R, or 600T.
  7. stability testing (burn-in testing): (optionally test with prime95 in burn-in mode for stability for 4 hours if it's not a laptop. make sure your power supply has enough power to handle all your internal devices and usb ports. see this power supply calculator before you run the program. if your system is under-spec'd, it can maybe burn something out at this step, so user beware! don't say I didn't warn you! better to leave this step out if you are not sure. you assume the risk of possibly purchasing replacement parts or computer if you do a burn-in program. usually what happens with prime95 as I understand it is the cpu may simply shut itself down. prime95 is a program written to find prime numbers, and is cpu-intensive. people can share their cpu over a network to contribute to finding larger prime numbers. the burn-in mode doesn't use the network and is a courtesy to people who want to stress-test their cpu.

somebody wrongly flagged what I thought was good burn-in software package probably because of this. it's a risk you take to run the program. unlike that program, this doesn't exercise all the hardware at once, only the CPU and maybe memory. better to leave this step out if you are not sure. usually, burn-in software is used by system builders to make sure their builds are good over a period of at least 4 hours.

your actual computer use won't match the use a full burn-in does.