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Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 20th Edition

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Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 20th Edition

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  • Copyright 2012
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 20th
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-277687-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-277687-5

“…a comprehensive resource for PC enthusiasts and professionals alike. Packed with the latest speeds and feeds, you’ll want to keep this book on-hand as an authoritative technology reference.”

–Chris Angelini, Managing Editor, Tom’s Hardware

For 20 years, Upgrading and Repairing PCs has been the world’s #1 guide to PC hardware: the single source for reliable information on troubleshooting and fixing problems, adding hardware, optimizing performance, and building new PCs. Now, better than ever, this 20th Edition offers beefed-up coverage of the newest hardware innovations and maintenance techniques, plus more than 90 minutes of new DVD video.

Scott Mueller delivers practical answers about PC processors, motherboards, buses, BIOSes, memory, storage, video, audio, I/O, input devices, networks, Internet connectivity, power, and much more. You’ll find the industry’s best coverage of diagnostics, testing, and repair–plus cutting-edge discussions of improving performance via overclocking and other techniques.

Mueller has taught thousands of professionals in person and millions more through his books and videos–nobody knows more about keeping PCs running perfectly. Whether you’re a professional technician, a small business owner trying to save money, or a home PC enthusiast, this is the only PC hardware book you need!


  • The newest processors, including Intel’s 2nd generation Core i3, i5, i7 plus the Atom, and AMD’s new VISION series CPUs
  • 3TB (and larger) disks, 4K sectoring, partition alignment, faster SATA disk interfaces, and SSD (Solid State Drive) hard drive replacements
  • New firmware innovations, from full UEFI BIOS support to built-in motherboard flash BIOS upgrade utilities
  • Integrated video and audio, including 5.1/7.1 surround sound, HDMI, and DisplayPort connections
  • Updated PCI Express and Power Supply specifications for powering high-end video cards
  • Emerging interfaces such as USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt
  • Updated coverage of building PCs from scratch–from choosing and assembling hardware through BIOS setup and troubleshooting


Get more than 90 minutes of up-to-the minute, studio quality how-to videos–all playable on your DVD player or computer! In this edition, Scott Mueller offers true insider information about several of the key components in a PC, including hard disk drives, power supplies, motherboards, and more.

You will see hard drives completely dissected–even see an open hard drive in operation–so you can observe exactly what happens under the covers. One of the most common causes of failure in modern motherboards, power supplies, and many other PC components are bad capacitors–otherwise known as the capacitor plague. Mueller will show several real-world examples of this “disease,” so you can easily identify and perhaps even repair the problem. Finally, because external hard drives are now commonly used for supplementary storage and backups, you’ll find a complete discussion of several alternatives on the market. This includes tips and tricks for building or assembling your own flexible, high performance and highly reliable external storage drives, with several examples shown. This DVD also contains the complete 19th edition of this book in printable form, plus extensive technical reference material, a comprehensive glossary, and more!

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

Book Objectives     1

The 20th Edition DVD-ROM     2

My Website: informit.com/upgrading     2

A Personal Note     2

1 Development of the PC     5

Computer History: Before Personal Computers     5

   Timeline     5

  Electronic Computers     10

Modern Computers     11

  From Tubes to Transistors     11

  Integrated Circuits     13

History of the PC     13

  Birth of the Personal Computer     13

  The IBM Personal Computer     15

  The PC Industry 30 Years Later     16

2 PC Components, Features, and System Design     19

What Is a PC?     19

  Who Controls PC Software?     20

  Who Controls PC Hardware?     23

  White-Box Systems     25

  PC Design Guides     26

System Types     27

System Components     28

3 Processor Types and Specifications     31

Microprocessor History     31

  The First Microprocessor     31

  PC Processor Evolution     34

  16-Bit to 64-Bit Architecture Evolution     36

Processor Specifications     37

  Data I/O Bus     42

  Address Bus     43

  Internal Registers (Internal Data Bus)     44

  Processor Modes     45

  Processor Benchmarks     49

  Comparing Processor Performance     49

  Cache Memory     54

Processor Features     60

  System Management Mode (SMM)     60

  Superscalar Execution     61

  MMX Technology     62

  Dynamic Execution     64

  Dual Independent Bus Architecture     65

  HT Technology     66

  Multicore Technology     67

Processor Manufacturing     68

  Processor Re-Marking     72

  PGA Chip Packaging     72

  Single Edge Contact and Single Edge Processor Packaging     73

Processor Socket and Slot Types      74

  Socket 478      76

  Socket LGA775     77

  Socket LGA1156     78

  Socket LGA1366     79

  Socket LGA1155     80

  Socket 939 and 940     80

  Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+     81

  Socket F (1207FX)     83

CPU Operating Voltages     83

Math Coprocessors (Floating-Point Units)     83

Processor Bugs and Steppings     84

Processor Code Names     85

P1 (086) Processors     85

P2 (286) Processors     86

P3 (386) Processors     87

P4 (486) Processors     88

P5 (586) Processors     90

A  MD-K5     92

Intel P6 (686) Processors     92

  Pentium Pro Processors     93

  Pentium II Processors     93

  Pentium III     95

  Celeron     97

Intel Pentium 4 Processors     97

  Pentium 4 Extreme Edition     100

  Intel Pentium D and Pentium Extreme Edition     102

Intel Core Processors     104

  Intel Core 2 Family     104

  Intel (Nehalem) Core i Processors     106

AMD K6 Processors     110

  NexGen Nx586     110

  AMD-K6 Series     110

AMD K7 Processors     111

  AMD Athlon     111

  AMD Duron     113

  AMD Athlon XP      113

  Athlon MP     114

AMD K8 Processors     115

  AMD Athlon 64 and 64 FX     115

  AMD Sempron     118

  AMD Athlon X2, 64 X2, and 64 FX     119

AMD K10 Processors (Phenom, Phenom  II, Athlon II, Athlon X2, Sempron)     120

AMD Fusion Processors     122

Processor Upgrades     122

Overclocking     124

  Quartz Crystals     124

  Modern PC Clocks     126

  Overclocking Tips     128

  Unlocking Cores     129

  Bus Speeds and Multipliers     130

Processor Cooling     132

  Heatsinks     133

  Liquid Cooling     138

  Thermally Advantaged Chassis     138

Processor Troubleshooting Techniques     141

4 Motherboards and Buses     143

Motherboard Form Factors     143

  Obsolete Form Factors     144

  ATX and Other Modern Form Factors     155

Processor Sockets/Slots     167

Chipsets     169

  Chipset Evolution     169

  Intel Chipsets     171

  Intel Chipset Model Numbers     172

  Intel Integrated Graphics Architecture     173

  AMD Integrated Graphics Architecture     173

  Traditional North/South Bridge Architecture     174

  Hub Architecture     175

  Third-Party North-South Bridge Connections     177

  HyperTransport     178

Intel’s Early 386/486 Chipsets     178

Fifth-Generation (P5 Pentium Class) Chipsets     179

Sixth-Generation (P6 Pentium Pro/II/III Class) Chipsets     181

Seventh/Eighth-Generation (Pentium 4/D, Core 2, and Core i) Chipsets     185

  Intel 915 Family     192

  Intel 925X Family     193

  Intel 945 Express Family     193

  Intel 955X and 975X Family     194

  Intel 96x Series     194

  Intel 3x and 4x Series Chipsets     195

  Intel 5x Series Chipsets     198

  Intel 6x Series Chipsets     201

Third-Party Chipsets for Intel Processors     203

  SiS Chipsets     203

  ULi Electronics Chipsets     203

  ATI Chipsets     203

  VIA Chipsets     204

  NVIDIA Chipsets for Intel Processors     204

Chipsets for AMD Processors     204

AMD Athlon Chipsets     205

AMD Athlon 64 Chipsets     206

  AMD 8000 (8151) Chipset     206

  AMD (Formerly ATI) Chipsets for Athlon 64, Sempron, Phenom     207

  Third-Party Chipsets for AMD Processors     213

  VIA Chipsets     213

  SiS Chipsets     213

  NVIDIA Chipsets     213

Super I/O Chips     214

Motherboard Connectors     214

System Bus Types, Functions, and Features     223

  The Processor Bus (FSB)     229

  Types of I/O Buses     229

  The ISA Bus     230

  The Micro Channel Bus     230

  The EISA Bus     230

  Local Buses (VESA, PCI, PCI Express, AGP)     231

System Resources     238

  Interrupts     238

  DMA Channels     243

  I/O Port Addresses     243

Resolving Resource Conflicts     246

  PnP     247

Motherboard Selection Criteria (Knowing What to Look For)     249

  Chipset Documentation     250

5 BIOS     251

BIOS Basics     251

Motherboard ROM BIOS     255

  ROM Hardware     256

  ROM Shadowing     257

  ROM Chip Types     258

  ROM BIOS Manufacturers     262

  BIOS Hardware/Software     264

Upgrading the BIOS     265

  Where to Get Your BIOS Update     266

  Determining Your BIOS Version     266

  Checking the BIOS Date     266

  Backing Up Your BIOS     267

  Backing Up Your BIOS Setup (CMOS RAM) Settings     267

  Upgrading a Flash BIOS     268

  Motherboard CMOS RAM Addresses     276

  Year 2000 BIOS Issues     278

Preboot Environment     278

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)     280

  UEFI and BIOS Limitations     280

  UEFI Support     282

CMOS Setup     282

  Running or Accessing the CMOS Setup Program     282

  BIOS Setup Menus     283

  Maintenance Menu     283

  Main Menu     285

  Advanced Menus     286

  Security Menu     300

  Power Menu     301

  Boot Menu (Boot Sequence, Order)     303

  Exit Menu     305

  Additional BIOS Setup Features     305

PnP BIOS     306

  PnP Device IDs     307

  ACPI     307

BIOS/MBR Error Messages     308

  BIOS Boot Error Messages     309

  MBR Boot Error Messages     312

6 Memory     315

Memory Basics     315

  ROM     317

  DRAM     317

  Cache Memory: SRAM     319

Memory Standards     321

Speed and Performance     322

  Fast Page Mode DRAM     324

  Extended Data Out RAM     325

  SDRAM     326

  DDR SDRAM     328

  DDR2 SDRAM     330

  DDR3 SDRAM     332

  RDRAM     333

Memory Modules     333

  Registered Modules     338

  SIMM Details     340

  SDR DIMM Details     340

  DDR DIMM Details     340

  DDR2 DIMM Details     341

  DDR3 DIMM Details     341

Determining a Memory Module’s Size and Features     341

Memory Banks     343

Memory Module Speed     344

Parity and ECC     345

  Parity Checking     347

  How Parity Checking Works     347

  ECC     350

RAM Upgrades     350

  Upgrade Options and Strategies     351

  Purchasing Memory     353

  Replacing Modules with Higher-Capacity Versions     355

  Installing Memory Modules     355

Troubleshooting Memory     358

Memory Defect Isolation Procedures     361

The System Logical Memory Layout     363

7 The ATA/IDE Interface     367

An Overview of the IDE Interface     367

  Precursors to IDE     367

  IDE Origins     368

  Origins of ATA     369

ATA Standards     370

  ATA-1 (ATA Interface for Disk Drives)     372

  ATA-2 (ATA Interface with Extensions-2)     372

  ATA-3 (ATA Interface-3)     373

  ATA/ATAPI-4 (ATA with Packet Interface Extension-4)     373

  ATA/ATAPI-5 (ATA with Packet Interface-5)     374

  ATA/ATAPI-6 (ATA with Packet Interface-6)     375

  ATA/ATAPI-7 (ATA with Packet Interface-7)     376

  ATA/ATAPI-8     376

PATA     377

  PATA I/O Connector     377

  PATA I/O Cable     380

  Longer or Rounded Cables     382

  PATA Signals     382

  PATA Dual-Drive Configurations     383

  PATA PIO Transfer Modes     385

  PATA DMA Transfer Modes     386

SATA     387

  SATA Cables and Connectors     389

  SATA Configuration     391

  Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI)     392

  SATA Transfer Modes     393

ATA Features     394

  ATA Commands     394

  ATA Security Mode     395

  Host Protected Area     396

  ATAPI     397

ATA Drive Capacity Limitations     397

  Prefixes for Decimal and Binary Multiples     398

  BIOS Limitations     399

  CHS Versus LBA     400

CHS/LBA and LBA/CHS Conversions     401

BIOS Commands Versus ATA Commands     402

  CHS Limitations (the 528MB Barrier)     403

  CHS Translation (Breaking the 528MB Barrier)     404

  The 2.1GB and 4.2GB Barriers     406

  LBA-Assist Translation     408

  The 8.4GB Barrier     411

  The 137GB Barrier and Beyond     412

  Operating System and Other Software Limitations     413

GPT and the 2.2TB Barrier     415


8 Magnetic Storage Principles     421

Magnetic Storage     421

History of Magnetic Storage     421

How Magnetic Fields Are Used to Store Data     422

Read/Write Head Designs     425

  Ferrite     426

  Metal-In-Gap     426

  Thin-Film     427

  Magneto-Resistive Heads     427

  Giant Magneto-Resistive Heads     429

Head Sliders      430

Data-Encoding Schemes     432

  Frequency Modulation Encoding     434

  Modified FM Encoding     434

  Run Length Limited Encoding     434

  Encoding Scheme Comparisons     436

  Partial-Response, Maximum-Likelihood Decoders     437

Capacity Measurements     437

Areal Density     438

PMR     441

9 Hard Disk Storage     445

Definition of a Hard Disk     445

Hard Drive Advancements     446

Form Factors     447

  5 1/4-Inch Drive     448

  3 1/2-Inch Drive     449

  2 1/2-Inch Drive     449

  1.8-inch Drive     449

  1-Inch Drives     450

HDD Operation     450

  The Ultimate HDD Analogy     452

  Tracks and Sectors     453

  ECC     456

  Disk Formatting     461

Basic HDD Components     465

  Hard Disk Platters (Disks)     466

  Recording Media     467

  Read/Write Heads     469

  Head Actuator Mechanisms      470

  Air Filters     477

  Hard Disk Temperature Acclimation     479

  Spindle Motors     479

  Logic Boards     480

  Cables and Connectors     481

  Configuration Items     481

Hard Disk Features     482

  Capacity     482

  Performance     484

  Reliability     488

10 Flash and Removable Storage     493

Alternative Storage Devices     493

Flash Memory Devices     493

  CompactFlash     495

  SmartMedia     496

  MultiMediaCard     496

  SecureDigital     496

  Sony Memory Stick     496

  ATA Flash PC Card     497

  xD-Picture Card     497

  SSD (Solid-State Drive)     498

  Virtual SSD (RAMdisk)     498

  Flash-Based SSDs      498

  USB Flash Drives     501

  Comparing Flash Memory Devices     502

  Flash Card Readers     504

  Card Readers     504

  Type II PC Card Adapters     505

High-Capacity Removable Magnetic Storage Devices     505

Floppy Disk Drives     506

  1.44MB 3 1/2-Inch Drives     507

  Floppy Drive Interfaces     507

  Drive Components     508

  Read/Write Heads     508

  The Floppy Controller     509

  Power and Data Connectors     510

  The Floppy Disk Controller Cable     510

  How the OS Uses a Floppy Disk     512

  Disk Change     513

  Floppy Disk Media Types and Specifications     514

  Density     514

  Media Coercivity and Thickness     514

  Floppy Disk Media     515

Tape Drives     516

11 Optical Storage     517

Optical Technology     517

CD-Based Optical Technology     518

  CDs: A Brief History     518

  CD Construction and Technology     519

  Mass-Producing CDs     519

  Writable CDs     531

  MultiRead Specifications     538

DVD     539

  DVD History     540

  DVD Construction and Technology     541

  DVD Tracks and Sectors     542

  Handling DVD Errors     546

  DVD Capacity (Sides and Layers)     547

  Data Encoding on the DVD Disc     550

  Recordable DVD Standards     551

  Multiformat Rewritable DVD Drives     558

BD     559

HD-DVD     561

Optical Disc Formats     562

  CD Formats     562

  DVD Formats and Standards     570

  Optical Disc File Systems     573

Ripping/Copying Discs     579

  “For Music Use Only” CD-R/RW Discs     580

  CD Copy Protection     580

  CD Digital Rights Management     581

  DVD Copy Protection     581

Optical Drive Performance Specifications     584

  CD Data Transfer Rate     585

  CD Drive Speed     585

  DVD Drive Speed     588

  Access Time     590

  Buffer/Cache     590

  Direct Memory Access and Ultra-DMA     590

  Interface     590

  Loading Mechanism     591

  Other Drive Features     592

How to Reliably Record Optical Discs     592

  Booting from a Floppy Disk with Optical Drive Support     593

  Bootable Optical Discs—El Torito     594

  LightScribe and LabelFlash     594

Troubleshooting Optical Drives     595

  Caring for Optical Media     598

  Updating the Firmware in an Optical Drive     599

12 Video Hardware     603

Display Adapters and Monitors     603

Video Display Adapters     604

  Video Adapter Types     604

  Integrated Video/Motherboard Chipsets     605

  CPUs with Integrated Video     609

  Video Adapter Components     609

  Identifying the Video and System Chipsets     611

  Video RAM     612

  The DAC     615

Video Display Interfaces     616

  The System Interface     616

  The Display Interface     618

  TV Display Interfaces     632

3D Graphics Accelerators     633

  How 3D Accelerators Work     633

  APIs     636

  Dual-GPU Scene Rendering     637

Monitors     639

  Display Specifications     639

  LCD Technology     650

  LED Backlit Technology     652

  CRT Display Technology     652

  Plasma Display Technology     654

  LCD and DLP Projectors     654

Using Multiple Monitors     656

  Dualview     656

  Homogeneous Adapters     657

  Heterogeneous Adapters     657

Video Troubleshooting and Maintenance     657

  Troubleshooting Video Cards and Drivers     658

  Video Drivers     660

  Maintaining Monitors     660

  Testing Monitors     661

  Adjusting Monitors     662

  Bad Pixels     663

  Troubleshooting Monitors     664

  Repairing Monitors     665

13 Audio Hardware     667

Audio Hardware Concepts and Terms     668

  The Nature of Sound     668

  Evaluating the Quality of Your Audio Hardware     668

  Sampling     669

Early PC Sound Cards     670

  Limitations of Sound Blaster Pro Compatibility     670

  Microsoft Windows and Audio Support     670

  DirectX and Audio Support Hardware     671

  Core Audio APIs for Windows Vista and Windows 7     671

  3D Gaming Audio Standards     672

  Legacy Audio Support Through Virtualization     673

Audio Hardware Features     674

  Basic Connectors     674

  Advanced Audio Features     676

  Volume Control     678

  MIDI Support Features     678

  Data Compression     679

  Sound Drivers     680

  Sound Cards for Sound Producers     680

Motherboard Chipsets with Integrated Audio     681

  AC’97 Integrated Audio     682

  Intel “Azalia” HD Audio     682

Troubleshooting PC Audio Problems     682

  Sound Card and Onboard Audio Problems     682

Speakers     685

  Speaker Selection Criteria     686

  Theater and Surround Sound Considerations     687

Microphones     688

14 External I/O Interfaces     691

Introduction to Input/Output Ports     691

  Serial Versus Parallel     691

  Universal Serial Bus (USB)     692

  IEEE 1394 (FireWire or i.LINK)     707

  Comparing USB and IEEE 1394 (FireWire)     711

  Hot-Plugging (and Unplugging)     714

Thunderbolt Technology     717

Low-Speed External Connections     719

  Serial Ports     719

  Parallel Ports     723

15 Input Devices     729

Keyboards     729

  Enhanced 101-Key Keyboard     729

  104-Key (Windows) Keyboard     731

Keyboard Technology     732

  Keyswitch Design     732

  The Keyboard Interface     737

  Typematic Functions     739

  Keyboard Key Numbers and Scan Codes     740

  International Keyboard Layouts     741

  Keyboard/Mouse Interface Connectors     742

  USB Keyboards     743

  Keyboards with Special Features     744

Keyboard Troubleshooting and Repair     745

  Keyboard Disassembly     746

  Cleaning a Keyboard     746

Keyboard Recommendations     747

Pointing Devices     748

  Ball-Type Mice     749

  Optical Mice     749

  Pointing Device Interface Types     751

  Mouse Troubleshooting     754

  Scroll Wheels     755

  TrackPoint II/III/IV     755

  Alternative Pointing Devices     758

Wireless Input Devices     761

  Power Management Features of Wireless Input Devices     762

  Troubleshooting Wireless Input Devices     763

16 Internet Connectivity     765

Internet Connectivity Trends     765

Broadband Internet Access Types     765

  Cable TV     766

  Digital Subscriber Line     769

  Wireless Broadband     773

  Cellular Broadband 3G and 4G Services     773

  Satellite Broadband     774

  ISDN     777

  Leased Lines     778

  Comparing High-Speed Internet Access 779

Dial-Up Modems     780

  56Kbps Modems     781

Internet Connection Security     784

  Having a Backup Plan in Case of Service Interruptions     786

  Sharing Your Internet Connection     786

  Routers for Internet Sharing     787

  Modem/Router Status LEDs     788

17 Local Area Networking     789

Defining a Network     789

  Types of Networks     790

  Requirements for a Network     790

Client/Server Versus Peer Networks     791

  Client/Server Networks     791

  Peer-to-Peer Networks     792

  Comparing Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer Networks     793

Network Architecture Overview     794

  Wired Ethernet     795

  Wireless Ethernet     797

  Bluetooth     802

Hardware Elements of Your Network     802

  NICs for Wired Ethernet Networks     802

  Network Cables for Wired Ethernet     804

  Wired Network Topologies     813

  Switches for Ethernet Networks     816

  Wireless Ethernet Hardware     819

Network Protocols     825

  IP and TCP/IP     825

  IPX     826

  NetBEUI     826

Other Home Networking Solutions     827

  HomePNA     827

  Power Line Networking     828

Putting Your Network Together     829

  Network Adapters     829

  Cables and Connections Between Computers     830

  Switch/Access Point     831

18 Power Supplies     833

The Power Supply     833

Primary Function and Operation     833

  Voltage Rails     834

  The Power Good Signal     836

Power Supply Form Factors     837

  Modern Form Factors     840

Power Switches     854

  ATX and Newer     854

  PC/XT/AT and LPX Power Switches     855

Motherboard Power Connectors     857

  AT/LPX Power Supply Connectors     857

  ATX and ATX12V Motherboard Power Connectors     859

  Backward and Forward Compatibility     871

  Dell Proprietary (Nonstandard) ATX Design     873

Additional Power Connectors     875

  Peripheral Power Connectors     875

  Floppy Power Connectors     876

  Serial ATA Power Connectors     877

  PCI Express Auxiliary Graphics Power Connectors     878

Power Supply Specifications     881

  Power Supply Loading     881

  Power Supply Ratings     883

  Other Power Supply Specifications     884

  Power Factor Correction     886

  SLI-Ready and CrossfireX Certifications     888

  Safety Certifications     888

Power-Use Calculations     889

Power Savings     891

  80 Plus     891

  ENERGY STAR     892

  Advanced Power Management     892

  Advanced Configuration and Power Interface     893

Power Cycling     896

Power Supply Troubleshooting     899

  Overloaded Power Supplies     900

  Inadequate Cooling     901

  Using Digital Multimeters     901

  Specialized Test Equipment     904

Power Supply Recommendations     906

  Modular Cables     907

  Sources for Replacement Power Supplies     907

Power-Protection Systems     908

  Surge Suppressors (Protectors)     909

  Network and Phone Line Surge Protectors     910

  Line Conditioners     910

  Backup Power     910

Real-Time Clock/Nonvolatile RAM (CMOS RAM) Batteries     913

  Modern CMOS Batteries     914

  Obsolete or Unique CMOS Batteries     915

  CMOS Battery Troubleshooting     916

19 Building or Upgrading Systems     917

System Components     917

  Case and Power Supply     919

  Processor     920

  Motherboard     921

  Memory     923

  Hard Disk/Solid-State Drives     925

  Removable Storage     925

  Input Devices     925

  Video Card and Display     926

  Audio Hardware     926

  Accessories     927

Hardware and Software Resources     928

System Assembly and Disassembly     928

  Assembly Preparation     929

  Installing the CPU and Heatsink     932

  Installing Memory Modules     937

  Mounting the New Motherboard in the Case     938

  Preparing a Modular Power Supply     942

  Connecting the Power Supply     944

  Connecting I/O and Other Cables to the Motherboard     946

  Installing the Drives     948

  Installing a Video Card     952

  Installing Additional Expansion Cards     954

  Replacing the Cover and Connecting External Cables     954

System Startup     954

Installing the OS     956

Troubleshooting New Installations     957

20 PC Diagnostics, Testing, and Maintenance     959

PC Diagnostics     959

Diagnostics Software     959

  The POST     960

  Peripheral Diagnostics     972

  Operating System Diagnostics     973

  Commercial Diagnostics Software     974

  Free/User Supported Diagnostics     974

The Boot Process     975

  The Hardware Boot Process: Operating System Independent     975

  The DOS Boot Process     979

  The Windows 9x/Me Boot Process     980

  Windows 2000/XP Startup     980

  Windows Vista/7 Startup     981

PC Maintenance Tools     982

  Hand Tools     982

  Safety     986

  Test Equipment     987

  Special Tools for the Enthusiast     992

Preventive Maintenance     993

  Active Preventive Maintenance Procedures     994

  Passive Preventive Maintenance Procedures     999

Troubleshooting Tips and Techniques     1003

  Repair or Replace?     1003

  Troubleshooting by Replacing Parts     1004

  Troubleshooting by the Bootstrap Approach     1004

  Problems During the POST     1006

  Problems Running Software     1006

  Problems with Adapter Cards     1007

  Top Troubleshooting Problems     1007

Index     1019


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InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020