FixSmith-A New Era in Online Technical Support

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Fixsmith - PC Repair Fundamentals

• Learn about  tools you’ll need as a PC support technician.
• Learn how to develop a preventive maintenance plan and what to include in it.
• Learn how to work in a computer case.
• Learn what happens when you first turn on a PC before the OS is loaded.
• Learn how to approach and solve a PC problem.
• Learn how to troubleshoot a failed boot before the OS is loaded.

• Basic repair skills – Developing a maintenance plan – Implementing a maintenance plan – Working inside a computer case – Following the sequence of events that occur at startup
• Advanced repair skills – Using commonsense guidelines to solve problems – Interviewing a user – Determining if a problem occurs before or after boot – Troubleshooting and solving a problem of a failed boot 3
PC Support Technician Tools
• Help you maintain a computer
• Help you diagnose and repaircomputer problems
• Criteria for choosing tools: – Level of PC support you expect to provide – Amount of money you can spend• Some essential tools: – Ground bracelet, ground mat, or groundgloves – Torx screwdriver set – Recovery CD, DVD, or floppy disk for the target OS
• Store tools in toolbox for PC troubleshooting 4
Recovery CDs
• Used to boot a system
• Also used to repair and reinstall Windows
• Primary recovery CD sources – PC manufacturer (preferred) – Operating system distributor, such as Microsoft
• Some hard drives have a hidden recovery partition – A hidden partition can be used to reinstall Windows – A utility for creating recovery CDs may be provided – Access hidden utilities by pressing a Fn key at startup 6
Cleaning Pads and Solutions
• Various types are designed for specific uses
• Example: contact cleaner – Cleans contacts on expansion cards
• Warning: solutions may be flammable and/or toxic
• Sources of safety and emergency instructions: – Side of the can of solution – Material safety data sheet (MSDS)
• Adhere to safety procedures of your employer – Example: fill out an accident report (if required) 10

Post Diagnostic Cards
• Report computer errors and conflicts .
• How to use a POST diagnostic card: – Install card in an expansion slot on the motherboard – Attempt to boot your system – Record any error codes appearing in LED panel – Look up the entry associated with the error code.
• Examples of Post diagnostic cards: – PCI Error Testing/Debug Card by Winic Corporation – POST card V3 by Unicore Software, Inc. – Post Code Master by MSD, Inc. 12.
PC Preventive Maintenance
• Preventive maintenance reduces number of problems.
• Goals of preventive maintenance plans: – Prevent failures – Reduce repair costs – Reduce downtimes• Goal of disaster recovery plan: manage failures.
• Some causes of PC failure: heat, dust, spills, viruses.
PC is your Permanent Responsibility
• Tasks and procedures to prepare for troubleshooting – Keep good backups of data and system files – Document all setup changes, problems, and solutions – Protect the system against viruses and other attacks
• Always use a firewall (software or hardware barrier)
 • Install and run antivirus software
• Keep Windows Updates current – Physically protect your equipment. 
Preventive Maintenance Plan
• Plan based on history or pattern of malfunctions – Example: PCs in dusty areas need more maintenance.
• Goals common to maintenance plans – Extend the working life of a PC – Anticipate problems that could disrupt service – Ensure data is secure and backed up – Provide support to PC users.
• Basic steps involved in designing a plan – Define your overall goals – Incorporate procedures for achieving goals • Dealing with Dust.
• Dust accumulates in layers over components
• Two major problems due to dust blankets – PC components directly over heat – Cooling fans jam, also resulting in overheating.
• Maintenance task: remove the layer of dust.
• Two tools used to remove dust: – Antistatic vacuum – Compressed air .
Preparing a Computer for Shipping
• Adverse factors to consider: – Rough handling – Exposure to water, heat, and cold – Misplacement or theft of a computer.
• Some shipping guidelines to follow: – Backup the hard drive onto a backup medium – Remove inserted disks, tape cartridges, or CDs – Coil and secure all external cords – Separately wrap hardware components – Purchase insurance on the shipment.

Disposing of Used Equipment
• Various guidelines for disposing of equipment: – Manufacturer documentation – Local environmental regulators.
• Danger posed by monitors and power supplies – Residual charge in capacitors can cause shock – Modern devices discharge if unplugged for 60 minutes – Older devices may require discharge with a probe.
• Destroy secondary storage devices with sensitive data.
How to Work Inside a Computer
• Objective: dismantle a computer, put it back together.
• Some safety precautions to follow: – Make notes that will help you backtrack – Keep screws and spacers orderly – Do not stack boards on top of each other – Do not touch the chips on circuit boards – Do not use a graphite pencil to change DIP settings – Turn off the power, unplug and ground the computer – Do not remove covers of monitors or power supplies – Keep components away from hair and clothing .
Static Electricity
• Build-up of charge due to absence of conductors.
• Electrostatic discharge (ESD) – Due to dissimilar electrical surfaces making contact – Only 10 volts of ESD can damage PC components – Walking across carpet generates up to 12,000 volts.
• Two types of damage: catastrophic and upset failure.
• Tool and methods for grounding yourself and the PC – Ground bracelet, ground mats, static shielding bags, antistatic gloves.
• If working inside a monitor, do not ground yourself.
 A ground bracelet, which protects computer components from ESD, can clip to the side of the computer .
Steps to Take Apart a Computer
• Essential tools: – Ground bracelet – Phillips-head screwdriver – flathead screwdriver, paper, and pen• Follow safety precautions at all times.
• Summary of Steps 1 - 4 – 1. Enter CMOS and write down customized settings – 2. Power down the system, unplug all components – 3. Put the computer on a good-sized table – 4. Remove the cover of the PC 25.
. Steps to Take Apart a Computer
• Summary of steps 5 - 11 – 5. Diagram cable connections and switch settings – 6. Identify cables connecting drives to motherboard – 7. Remove the cables to all drives – 8. Remove the expansion cards – 9. Remove the motherboard (or drives) – 10. Remove the power supply from the case – 11. Remove each drive (if not already removed)
Put a Computer Back Together.
• 1. Install power supply, drives, motherboard, cards.
• 2. Connect all data and power cables.
• 3. Plug in the keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
• 4. Ask an instructor to check the work (if in a classroom).
• 5. Turn on the power and check PC functions.
Understanding the Boot Process
• Key learning objectives – Know how to boot a PC – Understand what happens first when a PC is turned on – Understand how an operating system is loaded.
 Booting a Computer
• Process that drives a computer to a working state
• Hard (cold) boot: turn the power switch on
• Soft (warm) boot: allow the OS to reboot
• How to soft boot Windows XP – Click Start – Click Turn Off Computer – Click Restart
Hard Boot and a Soft Boot
• Hard boots are more stressful on machines – Power surges through the system when the PC is turned on.
• Reasons to choose a soft boot over hard boot – Less stressful on the machine – Faster due to skipping initial steps.
• Some computers have a soft and hard power switch – Soft power switch shuts down and restarts Windows – Hard power switch cuts power and restarts machine.
 BIOS Controls
• Boot The startup BIOS gets a system up and running.
• Four phases of the boot process: – BIOS runs the POST and assigns system resources.
• POST: power-on self test – BIOS searches for and loads an OS – OS configures system and completes its own loading – Application software is loaded and executed.
Boot Step 1: The ROM BIOS startup program surveys hardware resources and needs andassigns system resources to satisfy those needs.
Changing the Boot Sequence
• BIOS looks to CMOS RAM to locate the OS.
• Boot sequence: order of drives checked for an OS.
• Change boot sequence using CMOS setup utilities.
• Access CMOS setup utilities when PC is turned on – Example: press F8 before the Windows screen appears. 
How to Troubleshoot a PC Problem
• Assume the attitude of an investigator.
• Do not compound the problem by your own actions.
• Look at the problem as a learning opportunity.
• Ask questions until you understand the problem.
• Believe that you can solve the problem.
Steps to Solving a PC Problem
• Key advice: – Ask good questions – Document the process.
• Four-step problem solving process: – Step 1: Interview the user – Step 2: Back up data – Step 3: Solve the problem – Step 4: Verify the fix and document the solution.
Troubleshooting a Failed Boot
• It takes time to acquire troubleshooting skills.
• Hands-on training: troubleshooting a failed boot.
My Computer Won’t Boot.
• First step: maintain your calm.
• Second step: develop a game plan.
 • Plan is driven by a set of yes-no questions Example: Does the PC boot properly?
 • If no, troubleshooter is directed to another question .
• If yes, troubleshooter is directed to stop.
Major Subsystems Used For Booting
• Categories of troubleshooting steps– The electrical subsystem – Essential hardware devices.
• The motherboard, memory, and the CPU – Video – Reading from the hard drive.
• Key aides: tables identifying error codes.
• Some PC repair tools: recovery CDs, screwdrivers, POST, cleaning pads and solutions, diagnostic cards
• Preventive maintenance plans extend the life of a PC
• Follow an organization’s preventive maintenance plan, or develop one if it does not exist
• Computers present chemical and electrical hazards
• Protect components in case from ESD by grounding yourself and the PC
Assembling and reassembling a PC prepares the technician for actual repair work
• Startup BIOS controls when the boot process begins
• Four step boot process: POST, loading the OS, OS initializing itself, loading and executing applications
• Expert troubleshooters ask good questions• Before tackling a problem, develop a game plan.

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