On The Bench
Dell Inspiron 519 Desktop With Windows Vista - Dead
Customer complains that nothing happens when you turn the computer on.
When I got the machine setup on the bench, I hit the power and guess what... nothing happens.
No lights, no fans running, no power hum. Dead as can be. I didn't bother to test the power
output with a volt meter. I just ordered a new power supply that has a 50 watt maximum output more than the OEM unit.
This is an easy diagnosis. If the power supply (PSU) is good, something will usually happen.
- You should see the fans begin to move and then stop.
- Or the power or drive light come on and off again.
- Or hear the power supply hum and then click off.
Any or all the above indicate a good power supply and that a device on the motherboard is shorted.
If you smell wire burning or the power supply begins smoking or bursts into flame, then there is a shorted device attached the motherboard and the power supply just burned up.
Turn power off immediately or pull the power cord!
(Yes, I have seen power supplies burst into flame.)
If the power supply checks out, suspect an adapter in a slot first.
Modems, Sound cards, video cards etc.
To find the culprit, try removing devices one at a time and try to boot.
Last but not least try removing RAM sticks one at a time.
Remove or unplug all unnecessary devices until you get to the BIOS screen or the motherboard is bare. In which case it's time for a new motherboard.
After a new Power Supply was installed and all devices plugged in, I booted into Safe Mode. Once in Safe Mode I ran a previous System Restore check point. I moved the system back to a Restore Point a day or two before the Power Supply went bad. This insures any files damaged by a hard Shut Down are replaced with good files.
After restart with the good Restore Point, I ran all Windows Vista updates. Since the customers Anti Virus had expired, I removed it and installed AVG Free 2012.
I also ran Spybot S&D to remove Malware and uninstalled several unwanted tool bars. Windows Firewall had been turned off. That's not good, I turned it on.
I always give a customers system a quick once over to look for software or system problems, just to make sure the customer will be happy with the repair. I don't charge for system updating and a malware scan unless I find something seriously wrong. I call that Customer Service.
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On The Bench
Toshiba Satillite Lap Top - With Windows 7, will not start up.
Customer complians the computer won't start since her daughter dropped it.
This lady told me that she asked a friend of her daughter if he knew anything about computers. He started it up and when it didn't boot, he said that her daughter had knocked the memory out of it and she should throw it in the garbage. lol. I offered her $20.00 for it! Of course, I then offered to try to fix it. She knew from my belly laughing that I knew better.
When the Laptop was on the bench, I plug it into the battery charger to eliminate any low battery problems.
I hit the power button and watched the POST process. The machine started right up and performed the POST operation without error and then just stopped.
Since the machine just stopped after POST without an error, I assumed that the Hard Drive did not pick up the initiation hand-off from POST to start the OS.
Thinking a likely Hard Drive issue, I rebooted the machine with a SeaTools boot CD. After booting to SeaTools, I ran a short test on the drive and Seatools notified me that it had found errors and I should run the long test which I did. When I started the long test, every address on the drive was showing and error and the drives Smart Monitor tripped. No doubt a bad drive and very little chance of retrieving any data from the drive.
Free SeaTools is awesome, it will test almost any hard drive from any manufacturer.
Waiting for the customer to get money for a new drive. Mean while I will give data recovery a shot.