Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Diagnosing hardware issues


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 millipede

millipede

  • Members
  • 617 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:outer space
  • Local time:02:47 AM

Posted 05 March 2011 - 12:59 PM

Quite often there are enough clues to lead a person to the source of the problem. But sometimes, it isn't that simple.

I'm not sure if this topic should go here or in software...
My question is, what tools do you use to determine hardware issues?

Seems that a lot of hard drive manufacturers have their own HD diagnostic tools. That's handy...
And there are memory testing programs like memtest...
I'm starting to think I should have put this in software? Not sure...

Memtest86 or memtest86 + ????
I googled that and found a LOT of people that could not explain the difference between the two very well.

Ultimate Boot CD?
I found that while looking up memtest86... mixed reviews on it. Looks handy but, any thoughts?


Back to the hardware... As I said, sometimes the clues are easy to follow. But when things are going wrong and you can't put your finger on just what is causing it...
Are there any ways to test the processor, or motherboard? Besides any obvious signs there might be, is there a way to test those parts for not so obvious issues?

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 hamluis

hamluis

    Moderator


  • Moderator
  • 55,753 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Killeen, TX
  • Local time:02:47 AM

Posted 05 March 2011 - 01:39 PM

Memtest 86+ (latest version) for RAM.

Hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic (long test, if short is offered within diagnostic).

I've never found a need for Ultimate Boot CD, et alia...I don't do this for a living and I always have access to my own disks and the Internet for downloads.

Louis

#3 MrBruce1959

MrBruce1959

    My cat Oreo


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,377 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norwich, Connecticut. in the USA
  • Local time:03:47 AM

Posted 05 March 2011 - 04:21 PM

Years ago there used to be programs out there that pretty much checked everything.

Norton system works used to be pretty thorough with doing this.

I no longer use symantec products, but I believe Norton 360 is the main program now and it is mostly geared on security and protection and not diagnostics like System works was.

I'll be honest, I have not seen any all-in-one programs out there since windows went to the NTFS file format, at least not any that I would trust running on my system.

You just have to have the various tools available to perform the task.

Some computer stores that have in store repair techs such as the Geek squad, use a disk program that was pre-written just for them and they do not like to share. <_< But it is their little secret that they use to perform hardware and software tests and disk cleanup procedures.

They boot to the disk and it does everything for them except install new hardware.

I see programs out there that are shareware, you need to be careful with what you download and install, some programs come with ad-ware, the price you pay for the free programs you get. :whistle:

Bruce.
Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
New Members: Please click here for the Bleeping Computer Forum Board Rules
 
My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

I Am Currently Using Windows 10 Home Edition.

As a Volunteer Staff Member of Bleeping Computer, the Help That I Proudly Provide Here To Our BC Forum Board Membership is Free of Charge. :wink:

#4 hamluis

hamluis

    Moderator


  • Moderator
  • 55,753 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Killeen, TX
  • Local time:02:47 AM

Posted 05 March 2011 - 05:13 PM

Back in my Win 98 days...I actually paid over a hundred dollars or so for "ocmputer diagnostic program" oreinted for techs and other computer types.

After playing with it for a short time, I realized that there really wasn't anything that I would ever encounter...that I could not solve simply by researching on the Web, using common sense, and/or simply reinstalling Windows.

You might take a trip to your local computer shop sometime...and ask them just what tools they use to troubleshoot/diagnose. The standard answers will probably be experience, the Internet, and whatever knowledge they have gained either via formal/informatl training.

Louis

#5 MrBruce1959

MrBruce1959

    My cat Oreo


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,377 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norwich, Connecticut. in the USA
  • Local time:03:47 AM

Posted 05 March 2011 - 07:28 PM

Luis this is very true about the various software available out there.

Some claim to be PC tune-up programs and system optimizers, they pretty much do the same tasks that the programs that come with windows.

Such as disk defraggers, Windows comes with well organized defrag program built right in.

Windows 7 has been shipped with many trouble shooting programs built right into the operating system.

Those can be easily found by using the short cut we often call GodMode.

It has a built in memory diagnostic program.

It has a chkdsk for checking hard drive problems.

It gives a computer a rating on over-all system performance and offers what needs to be improved upon to increase the performance score.

It has the ability to trouble-shoot hardware issues effectively.

A few of those features are also included in Windows Vista SP2 IMO.

The Microsoft web site also has Windows Live where you can download and run a scanner that fixes issues with windows.

MS has come a long ways with Windows 7 in my personal opinion.

Other than that, you would have to download and run the following programs. (Note these do not include hard drive diagnostic programs)

HWMonitor http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php

Speed Fan http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

Prime95 http://majorgeeks.com/Prime95_d4363.html

3dMark06 http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark06/introduction/

Memtest86 4.00 http://majorgeeks.com/Memtest86_d4226.html

Windows Memory Diagnostics http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

SIW-System Information http://www.gtopala.com/siw-download.html

Blue Screen View http://nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

Below is the short-cut code for GodMode


Hack for Godmode GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

To futher diagnose hardware issues, you would need a VOM meter and other diagnostic testing equiptment/hardware.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 05 March 2011 - 07:35 PM.

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
New Members: Please click here for the Bleeping Computer Forum Board Rules
 
My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

I Am Currently Using Windows 10 Home Edition.

As a Volunteer Staff Member of Bleeping Computer, the Help That I Proudly Provide Here To Our BC Forum Board Membership is Free of Charge. :wink:

#6 millipede

millipede
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 617 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:outer space
  • Local time:02:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:01 AM

I ended up downloading ultimate boot cd.
Though I doubt I'll have much use for most of the programs on there, it has both memtest86 and memtest86+ on it... can run whichever one I want. Kind of handy just for that.
I've been trying to troubleshoot a friend's computer. Normally I can figure things out, normally things aren't that difficult to figure out. I had a hard time with this one and have been leaning towards a hardware issue the whole time. Still not sure...
Tried doing a lot of googling for similar symptoms and couldn't figure anything. So I had posted this just to get an idea if there were any ways for troubleshooting hardware when a few symptoms alone just isn't helping you.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts.

#7 RockOn

RockOn

  • Members
  • 21 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:09 AM

the problem is that,first, sometimes, diagnostic software don't always detect the problem. And, secondly, how the **** do you find find a problem that cause by a bad capacitor?

#8 MrBruce1959

MrBruce1959

    My cat Oreo


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,377 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norwich, Connecticut. in the USA
  • Local time:03:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:05 AM

how the **** do you find find a problem that is caused by a bad capacitor?

By visual inspection mostly.

Other wise you would need a very detailed service manual, oscilloscope, a digital multimeter and a major degree as an electronics engineer.

Checking the flow charts and taking measurements is what the real trouble shooting is all about.

But it is not worth the time with todays disposable electronics.

Knowledge of basic electronics isn't enough anymore to work with surface mount technology.

The soldering pencil is being phased out with a new method which is called the oven flow method.

The parts are glued to the board and they are put into ovens where they are cooked.

There is no way you can solder on a 130 pin microprocessor chip with a standard soldering iron without having solder bridges on almost all of the chips legs.

Those boards are then re-flowed a second time, before they are shipped out.

This makes those boards difficult to repair, so they are now considered disposable hardware.


Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 08 March 2011 - 02:05 AM.

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
New Members: Please click here for the Bleeping Computer Forum Board Rules
 
My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

I Am Currently Using Windows 10 Home Edition.

As a Volunteer Staff Member of Bleeping Computer, the Help That I Proudly Provide Here To Our BC Forum Board Membership is Free of Charge. :wink:

#9 RockOn

RockOn

  • Members
  • 21 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:01 AM

:lol: . So, i guess i should inspect my BSOD computer. How does a bad capacitor looks like? I guess it looks different than the rest. Maybe a crack, color change, or stain on the top? btw, Mr:Bruce, can you recommend me a heat gun or a workstation soldering stuffs.

Edited by RockOn, 08 March 2011 - 10:04 AM.


#10 MrBruce1959

MrBruce1959

    My cat Oreo


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,377 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norwich, Connecticut. in the USA
  • Local time:03:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:49 PM

I can provide some links to web sites that cover what to look for for bad capacitors.

Check these two links out which include images of what leaking or bulging capacitors look like and what symptoms they can cause.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

http://www.capacitorlab.com/visible-failures/

As for hardware for motherboard repair, if you have a Radio Shack close by your area or if you do not, you can visit their web site at http://www.radioshack.com as well, you can find some of the basic necessities available there.

Here are two direct links to their web site.

Tools and soldering equipment.

http://www.radioshack.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=2032236

Test and meter equipment

http://www.radioshack.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=2032235

There are other web sites out there where you can purchase equipment, the more complex the equipment the higher the price will be.

What you really need to get started is a few really good books which explain the basic principles of electronic theory. Such as Ohms law.

I can not recommend any one book for you to read if you're interested in learning.

I started out messing with electronics as a kid, I did not know anything at first, was confused and lost.

I purchased a few books at Radio Shack and started reading them.

Eventually, I went to a technical high school and took electronics as my major and went from there.

At the present moment, I still have to keep my knowledge up to date, because part of my career involves automotive ECM/OBD-II diagnosis, trouble shooting and re-programing and technology changes with each week that passes.

So I keep up-to-date with service bulletins even though I am currently retired from the field.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 08 March 2011 - 12:51 PM.

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
New Members: Please click here for the Bleeping Computer Forum Board Rules
 
My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

I Am Currently Using Windows 10 Home Edition.

As a Volunteer Staff Member of Bleeping Computer, the Help That I Proudly Provide Here To Our BC Forum Board Membership is Free of Charge. :wink:

#11 Eyesee

Eyesee

    Bleepin Teck Shop


  • BC Advisor
  • 3,541 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:In the middle of Kansas
  • Local time:02:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:15 PM

Tell us a little more about exactly what you are encountering.

There are a lot of good people on this site that will be more than willing to assist or provide input.
Please provide make/model of the system and as much info about the problem as possible.

Lots of times hardware troubleshooting becomes a process of elimination.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#12 millipede

millipede
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 617 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:outer space
  • Local time:02:47 AM

Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:43 PM

Thanks. I actually started a topic the other week about it. Bruce was trying to help me out with it.
You can have a look if you want.
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic381696.html/page__p__2148638__fromsearch__1#entry2148638

Basically I got to a point where I felt like the only thing I could do was reinstall windows. My friend wants to hold off on that. Even though I'm not sure that would resolve the issue, I don't think it's a bad idea at this point but, it's his computer so I'm not going to push that on him.

After getting stuck and because the entire time I felt it was hardware related, I thought I'd ask in a new topic what people usually do to troubleshoot hardware issues. Not specifically for that topic but in general.
Basically, if someone I know is having computer trouble, I try to help them out sometimes. I don't know a ton but, the majority of computer issues are relatively easy to troubleshoot on your own, if you're patient. I've saved a few people a bit of money, and some reformats... but, I'm sure not going to be able to solve every problem... doesn't surprise me but, sure is frustrating. That's how it goes though.

Anyway... thanks for the thoughts guys.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users