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Leo Laporte's PC Help Desk

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Leo Laporte's PC Help Desk


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
Not for Sale


  • Copyright 2006
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-3394-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-3394-8

Nurse your PC back to health with a little help from Leo Laporte. Leo Laporte's PC Help Desk in a Book uses a unique, medical dictionary approach, complete with symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for all of your common and not-so-common PC maladies. Flow-charts will help you correctly diagnose and treat such problems as:

  • Windows installation woes
  • Storage device tragedies
  • Printer problems
  • Pesky audio, video and general multimedia mayhem
  • Keyboard and mouse afflictions
  • Home networking headaches
  • Core PC hardware issues
  • Application failures
  • Viruses, spyware and spam infections
Don't waste time digging through paperwork only to find a tech-support line that is going to cost you an arm and a leg to cure your PC's ailments. Make your own house calls instead with Leo Laporte's PC Help Desk in a Book.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapters

Troubleshooting Storage Devices

Troubleshooting Storage Devices

Table of Contents


1. PC Anatomy 101.

    Subsystems Make the Computer

    All Around a Desktop PC

      Front Views of Typical Desktop Computers

      Rear Views of Typical Desktop Computers

    Stop ESD-Don't Fry Your PC!

    Inside a Typical PC

      Expansion Slots

      Points of Failure Inside the Computer

    All Around a Notebook Computer

      Points of Failure on a Notebook Computer

    Controlling Your PC's Operation with BIOS Setup

      How the BIOS Displays Your PC's Components

      BIOS Setup Screens and Their Uses in Troubleshooting

      What to Do If Your Computer Can't Retain BIOS Setup Information

      Power-On Self Test

    Hardware Resources


      I/O Port Addresses

      DMA Channels

      Memory Addresses

      Viewing Hardware Resources in Use

    Using Your Computer's Anatomy for Troubleshooting

2. Troubleshooting Windows XP and Windows Applications.

    Fixing Startup Problems

      Overview of the Computer Boot and Windows Startup Processes

      Fixing Hard Disk Configuration Problems

      Fixing Other Startup Problems with Windows XP

    Fixing Shutdown Problems

    Using Control Panel

      Accessibility Options

      Add Hardware

      Add or Remove Programs

      Administrative Tools

      Display Properties

      Folder Options



      Power Options

      Sounds and Audio Devices

      User Accounts

      System Properties

    Using Device Manager

      Solving Resource Conflicts with Device Manager

      Using Device Manager to Determine Other System Problems

      Signed and Unsigned Device Drivers

      Windows Update and Device Drivers

    Using the Windows XP Hardware Troubleshooter

    Other Windows Diagnostic, Reporting, and Repair Tools

      Using System Information

      Using System File Checker

      Using Error-Checking (CHKDSK) and Defrag

      Using Remote Assistance in Windows XP

      Using MSConfig

    Keeping Windows Healthy with Service Packs and Windows Update

      Using Windows Update

      Ordering and Downloading Service Packs

    Performing a Repair Installation

    Fixing Programs That Won't Run

      Troubleshooting Programs That Won't Run Under Windows XP

      Troubleshooting Programs That Won't Run from Shortcuts

      Troubleshooting Programs That Won't Run from Windows Explorer

      Adding a Shortcut

      Why Application Software Can Fail

      Researching Your Program's Compatibility with Windows

      I'm Not Sure What My Exact Program Version Is

      I'm Having Problems Removing My Application

      I'm Having Problems Reinstalling My Application

      Upgrading Applications

      Problems with Applications' Default Settings

      The Unworkable Application

      Troubleshooting Games

    Troubleshooting STOP Errors with Windows XP

      Preventing and Reducing Occurrences of BSOD Errors in Windows

    Stopping Viruses

      Antivirus Strategies

    Slamming Spyware

3. Troubleshooting Storage Devices.

    Troubleshooting Installed Hard Disk Drives

    Non-Bootable Floppy Disk in Drive A:

    Troubleshooting ATA/IDE Hard Disks

      Checking the Hard Disk Connection to the Power Supply

      Checking the Drive and Host Adapter Connection to the Data Cable

      Configuring ATA/IDE Drive Jumpers

      Checking a Laptop/Notebook's Hard Disk Power/Data Connection

    Troubleshooting Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Disk Drives

      Checking the SATA Hard Disk Power Connector

      Checking the SATA Data Cable

    Troubleshooting IEEE-1394 Drives

      Troubleshooting Other Problems with an IEEE-1394 Drive

    Troubleshooting a USB Drive

    Troubleshooting a PC Card/CardBus Drive

    Determining Actual Drive Failure Has Occurred

    Preparing a Hard Disk for Use

      Preparing an Additional Hard Disk with Windows XP

      Preparing a Bootable Hard Disk with Windows XP

      Troubleshooting Problems with Recognizing Full Drive Capacity

      Troubleshooting Disk Partitioning Problems

      Troubleshooting Booting Problems

      Troubleshooting Hard Disk or Optical Drive Bootup Problems

      Preparing Other Drives to Act as Bootable Devices

      Solving UDMA Mode Problems with ATA/IDE Drives

    Upg      rading a Portable Hard Disk

      Using EZ Upgrade Universal and EZ Gig II

      Installing the New Hard Disk in Your Portable Computer

    Solving Problems with Writeable CD and DVD Media

      Solving Can't-Write-to-Media Problems

      Troubleshooting Recorded Media You Can't Read on Another System

      Troubleshooting Buffer Underruns

4. Troubleshooting Your Printer.

    Printer Types and Technologies

    Troubleshooting Common Printer Problems

      Troubleshooting a Printer That Doesn't Print

      Port Problems

    Troubleshooting Inkjet Printers

      Troubleshooting an Inkjet Printer with Its Status Lights

      Solving the "Inkjet Printer Blues"

    Troubleshooting Photo Printers

      Troubleshooting Printing from the PC

      Troubleshooting Direct Printing

    Troubleshooting Laser/LED Printers

      Laser/LED Printer Status Lights and Messages

      Common Laser/LED Problems and Solutions

    Understanding Your Printer's Properties Sheets

      Accessing the Properties Sheets for Your Printer

    Troubleshooting Gibberish Output

5. Troubleshooting Graphics and Sound Problems.

    Troubleshooting the Display Subsystem

    Troubleshooting Monitors and Displays

      There's a Problem with the Size or Position of the Windows Desktop

      The Text and Icons Onscreen Are Hard to Read

      The CRT Monitor Flickers

      Troubleshooting Damaged or Defective Displays or Display Adapters

    Troubleshooting Graphics Cards

      Can't Start the Computer Using Normal Display Drivers

      Computer Locks Up Frequently or Has Display Quality Problems

      Colors Are Distorted

      Increasing Available Display Memory on Systems with Integrated Video

      Troubleshooting Multiple Displays

    Troubleshooting 3D Game Performance and Image Quality

      3D Games Run Too Slowly

      Improving AGP Video Performance

      Reinstalling or Updating Your Display Adapter Driver

    Troubleshooting Audio

      Can't Record or Play Back Sounds

6. Troubleshooting Multimedia and Imaging Devices.

    Troubleshooting DV Camcorder Connections

      Troubleshooting Camera and 1394a Port Recognition Issues

      Troubleshooting Video-Editing Software Problems

    Troubleshooting Digital Camera Connections

      Troubleshooting Digital Camera Configuration Problems

      Troubleshooting Digital Camera Power Problems

      Troubleshooting Digital Camera and USB Port/Hub Problems

      Troubleshooting AutoPlay Problems

      Preventing and Troubleshooting Data Loss in Digital Cameras

      Troubleshooting File-Viewing Problems

      Troubleshooting Problems with Camera and Printer Docks

      Troubleshooting Flash Memory Card Readers

    Troubleshooting DVD Playback

      Can't Use Advanced Speaker Systems with Your DVD Player

      Troubleshooting Aspect Ratio and Screen Resolution Settings

    Troubleshooting MP3 Digital Music and Media Players

      Troubleshooting PC Connections to Your MP3 Player

      Troubleshooting Capacity Issues with Your MP3 Player

      Troubleshooting DRM Problems with Your MP3 Player

      Troubleshooting Other Types of Media Playback

    Troubleshooting Scanners

      Using Device Manager to Troubleshoot Scanner Problems

      Common Problems and Solutions for Scanners

      Troubleshooting Scan Quality Problems

7. Troubleshooting I/O Ports and Input Devices.

    I/O Port Uses and Types

      Common I/O Port Types

      I/O Port Uses

    Diagnosing Problems with Ports and Input Devices

      Diagnosing Port and Driver Problems with Device Manager

    Troubleshooting USB Ports and Hubs

      Troubleshooting USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed USB) Support

      Installing the Right Device Drivers for Your USB Device

      Troubleshooting USB Hub Power Problems

    Troubleshooting IEEE-1394 Ports and Hubs

      Tracking Down Integrated and Add-on 1394 Ports

    Troubleshooting Keyboards and Mice

      Troubleshooting USB Keyboards and Mice

      Troubleshooting Wireless Keyboards and Mice

      Troubleshooting PS/2 Ports, Keyboards, and Mice

      Troubleshooting Pointing Device Problems with Control Panel

    Troubleshooting Serial and Parallel Ports

      Parallel Port Troubleshooting

      Serial Port Troubleshooting

8. Troubleshooting Your Network and Internet Connections.

    Troubleshooting Missing or Outdated Software Components

      Installing/Reinstalling ISP Setup Software

    Troubleshooting Problems with Secure Websites

    Troubleshooting Problems with Viewing Certain Websites

      Dealing with Website Error Messages

      Website Viewing Tips and Tricks

      Internet Options

    Troubleshooting a Dial-Up (Analog Modem) Connection

      Configuring Dial-Up Networking

      Troubleshooting Dial-Up Modem Hardware

    Troubleshooting a Broadband Internet Connection

      Troubleshooting a Cable Modem Connection

    Troubleshooting Ethernet Networks

      Troubleshooting Network Software Configuration

      I Can't Access Other Computers on the Network

      I'm Not Sure My Network Settings Are Correct

      Updating Network Hardware Drivers

      Troubleshooting Ethernet Network Hardware

    Troubleshooting Wi-Fi Networks

      Using the Windows XP SP2 Wireless Network Setup Wizard

    Troubleshooting Routers and Gateways

    Troubleshooting PC Card/CardBus Devices

    TCP/IP Configuration and Troubleshooting

      Using a Fixed IP Address with a Dial-Up or PPPoE Broadband Connection in Windows XP

      Using TCP/IP Diagnostics to Troubleshoot Your Connection

      Using PING

      Network Connections

      Troubleshooting the Windows XP Firewall

9. Troubleshooting Memory, Processor, and System Performance Problems.

    Troubleshooting Slow System Performance

    Troubleshooting Virtual Memory

      Defragmenting Your Drive

      Using Disk Cleanup

      Viewing and Adjusting Page File (Swapfile) Configuration

    Troubleshooting Memory Upgrades

      Determining the Right Memory for Your System

      Installing Desktop Computer Memory

      Installing Notebook Computer Memory

      Freeing Up Sockets for Additional Memory

      Troubleshooting Memory Upgrade Problems

    Troubleshooting Defective Memory or Memory Sockets

      Troubleshooting Installed Memory

    Troubleshooting Processor Failures

      Detecting Overheating and Incorrect Voltage Levels

      VCore Settings and Overclocking

    Troubleshooting Processor Upgrades

      Understanding Processor Brands, Models, and Sockets

      I'm Not Sure What Type of Processor I Can Use in My Motherboard

      I'm Having a Hard Time Installing My New Processor

      My System Won't Start After I Installed a New Processor

      My New Processor Isn't Running as Fast as It Should

    Troubleshooting Motherboard Failures

      Preventing Electrostatic Discharge Damage to Your Motherboard

      Preventing Powerline Damage to Your Motherboard

    Troubleshooting Motherboard Upgrades

      Making Sure Your New Motherboard Will Fit into Your Case

      I'm Having a Hard Time Fitting My New Motherboard into My Case

      Preventing Damage to Your Motherboard During Memory and Add-in Card Installations

      Preventing Damage from Loose Components Inside the Case

      Diagnosing Other Motherboard Problems

      My System Beeps Abnormally After I Restart It with the New Motherboard in Place

    Troubleshooting Cooling Problems

      Preventing Overheating Damage to the Motherboard

10. Troubleshooting Power Problems.

    Why Power Supplies Fail

    Determining You Have a Power Supply Problem

      Troubleshooting an Overheated Power Supply

      Troubleshooting a Power Supply That Reboots the Computer

      Troubleshooting a Computer That Won't Turn On

      Troubleshooting System Lockups

      Troubleshooting an Overloaded Power Supply

    Troubleshooting a Power Supply Upgrade

      Right-Sizing a New Power Supply

    Selecting Powerline Protection

      Checking Wall Outlets

      Choosing the Right Surge Suppressor for Your Equipment

      Battery Backup Systems

A. Troubleshooting Methods and Flowcharts.

    The Troubleshooting Process

      The First Step-Finding Out What Happened

      How to Check Out the Computing Environment

      Your Diagnostics Toolbox

      The Troubleshooting Cycle

      Testing a Subsystem

      Where to Start?

      Where to Go for More Information

      Keeping Track of Your Solutions

    Summarizing the Troubleshooter's Philosophy




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