Home > Store

Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 21st Edition

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 21st Edition


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



  • Beefed-up coverage of the latest hardware, plus ninety minutes of all-new Scott Mueller how-to videos on DVD
  • Cutting-edge coverage of the latest processors, chipsets, motherboards, graphics cards, and more
  • The de facto standard hardware guide for PC professionals and enthusiasts alike - now better than ever!


  • Copyright 2013
  • Edition: 21st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5000-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5000-6

For 25 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 21st edition offers beefed-up coverage of the newest hardware innovations and maintenance techniques, plus more than two hours of new DVD video.

Scott Mueller delivers practical answers about PC processors, mother-boards, buses, BIOSes, memory, SSD and HDD 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 3rd generation Ivy Bridge Core i-Series processors and AMD’s 2nd generation Trinity 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, and Windows 8 compatible multi-touch touchscreen technology
  • Updated PCI Express 3.0, 4.0 interfaces, and Power Supply specifications for powering high-end video cards
  • Emerging interfaces such as SATA Express, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt
  • Updated coverage of building PCs from scratch—from choosing and assembling hardware through BIOS setup and troubleshooting


Get 2 hours 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 motherboards, solid-state drives, and more.

You will see a detailed tour of a modern high-performance motherboard, showing all the components from the processor socket and CPU voltage regulators to the audio and network chipsets, and more. You’ll learn how all the devices on the board are interconnected, so you can more easily understand their importance. There is a detailed segment comparing solid-state drives (SSDs) to conventional hard disk drives (HDDs), explaining all the differences and similarities between them in an easy to understand fashion. Finally, there are several segments on building a state-of-the art system from scratch using a high-performance overclockable motherboard and processor combination. You’ll see tips on how to best prepare the components, how to assemble the system properly, how to make the front panel connections much easier to deal with, and finally how to route the cables for maximum airflow and ease of future upgrades or repairs.

This DVD also contains the complete 19th and 20th editions of this book in printable form, plus extensive technical reference material, a comprehensive glossary, and more!


Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Upgrading and Repairing PCs: The ATA/IDE Interface

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 7 and Index)

Table of Contents

        Introduction 1

1    Development of the PC 5

    Computer History: Before Personal Computers 5

        Timeline 5

        Electronic Computers 10

    Modern Computers 10

        From Tubes to Transistors 11

        Integrated Circuits 13

    History of the PC 14

        Birth of the Personal Computer 14

        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 26

    System Types 26

    System Components 28

3    Processor Types and Specifications 29

    Microprocessor History 29

        The First Microprocessor 29

        PC Processor Evolution 32

        16-Bit to 64-Bit Architecture Evolution 34

    Processor Specifications 35

        Data I/O Bus 42

        Address Bus 42

        Internal Registers (Internal Data Bus) 44

        Processor Modes 44

        Processor Benchmarks 49

        Comparing Processor Performance 49

        Cache Memory 53

    Processor Features 60

        System Management Mode (SMM) 60

        Superscalar Execution 61

        MMX Technology 62

        Dynamic Execution 64

        Dual Independent Bus Architecture 65

        HT Technology 65

        Multicore Technology 66

        Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Support 68

    Processor Manufacturing 69

        Processor Re-Marking 74

        PGA Chip Packaging 74

        Single Edge Contact and Single Edge Processor Packaging 75

    Processor Socket and Slot Types 75

        Socket 478 78

        Socket LGA775 79

        Socket LGA1156 80

        Socket LGA1366 81

        Socket LGA1155 82

        Socket LGA2011 83

        Socket 939 and 940 83

        Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+ 84

        Socket F (1207FX) 86

        Socket FM1 86

        Socket FM2 86

    CPU Operating Voltages 87

    Math Coprocessors (Floating-Point Units) 87

    Processor Bugs and Steppings 88

    Processor Code Names 88

    P1 (086) Processors 89

    P2 (286) Processors 90

    P3 (386) Processors 91

    P4 (486) Processors 92

    P5 (586) Processors 93

        AMD-K5 96

    Intel P6 (686) Processors 96

        Pentium Pro Processors 97

        Pentium II Processors 97

        Pentium III 99

        Celeron 100

    Intel Pentium 4 Processors 101

        Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 104

        Intel Pentium D and Pentium Extreme Edition 106

    Intel Core Processors 108

        Intel Core 2 Family 108

        Intel (Nehalem) Core i Processors 110

    AMD K6 Processors 114

        NexGen Nx586 114

        AMD-K6 Series 116

    AMD K7 Processors 117

        AMD Athlon 117

        AMD Duron 118

        AMD Athlon XP 118

        Athlon MP 120

    AMD K8 Processors 120

        AMD Athlon 64 and 64 FX 120

        AMD Sempron 124

        AMD Athlon X2, 64 X2, and 64 FX 125

    AMD K10 Processors (Phenom, Phenom II, Athlon II, Athlon X2, Sempron) 126

    AMD “Bulldozer” and “Piledriver” FX Processors 128

    AMD Fusion/HSA (Heterogeneous Systems Architecture) APUs 131

    Processor Upgrades 132

    Overclocking 133

        Quartz Crystals 134

        Modern PC Clocks 136

        Overclocking Tips 138

        Unlocking Cores 139

        Bus Speeds and Multipliers 140

    Processor Cooling 142

        Heatsinks 143

        Liquid Cooling 148

        Thermally Advantaged Chassis 149

    Processor Troubleshooting Techniques 151

4    Motherboards and Buses 155

    Motherboard Form Factors 155

        Obsolete Form Factors 156

        ATX and Other Modern Form Factors 167

    Processor Sockets/Slots 178

    Chipsets 181

        Chipset Evolution 181

        Intel Chipsets 183

        Intel Chipset Model Numbers 184

        Intel Integrated Graphics Architecture 185

        AMD Integrated Graphics Architecture 185

        Traditional North/South Bridge Architecture 185

        Hub Architecture 187

        HyperTransport and Other Processor/Chipset Interconnects 188

    Intel’s Early 386/486 Chipsets 190

    Fifth-Generation (P5 Pentium Class) Chipsets 190

    Sixth-Generation (P6 Pentium Pro/II/III Class) Chipsets 192

    Seventh/Eighth-Generation (Pentium 4/D, Core2, and Core i) Chipsets 195

        Intel 915 Family 202

        Intel 925X Family 203

        Intel 945 Express Family 203

        Intel 955X and 975X Family 204

        Intel 96x Series 204

        Intel 3x and 4x Series Chipsets 205

        Intel 5x Series Chipsets 208

        Intel 6x Series Chipsets 211

        Intel 7x Series Chipsets 213

    Third-Party Chipsets for Intel Processors 215

        SiS Chipsets 215

        ULi Electronics Chipsets 215

        ATI Chipsets 216

        VIA Chipsets 216

        NVIDIA Chipsets for Intel Processors 216

    Chipsets for AMD Processors 217

    AMD Athlon Chipsets 217

    AMD Athlon 64 Chipsets 218

        AMD 8000 (8151) Chipset 219

        AMD (Formerly ATI) Chipsets for Athlon 64, Sempron, Phenom 220

        Third-Party Chipsets for AMD Processors 226

        VIA Chipsets 226

        SiS Chipsets 227

        NVIDIA Chipsets 227

    Super I/O Chips 228

    Motherboard Connectors 228

    System Bus Types, Functions, and Features 239

        The Processor Bus (FSB) 245

    Types of I/O Buses 245

        The ISA Bus 245

        The Micro Channel Bus 246

        The EISA Bus 246

        Local Buses (VESA, PCI, PCI Express, AGP) 246

    System Resources 254

        Interrupts 254

        DMA Channels 259

        I/O Port Addresses 259

    Motherboard Selection Criteria (Knowing What to Look For) 260

        Chipset Documentation 262

5    BIOS 263

    BIOS Basics 263

    Motherboard ROM BIOS 267

        ROM Hardware 267

        ROM Shadowing 269

        ROM Chip Types 269

        ROM BIOS Manufacturers 273

        BIOS Hardware/Software 274

    Upgrading the BIOS 274

        Where to Get Your BIOS Update 275

        Determining Your BIOS Version 275

        Checking the BIOS Date 275

        Backing Up Your BIOS 276

        Backing Up Your BIOS Setup (CMOS RAM) Settings 276

        Upgrading a Flash BIOS 277

        Motherboard CMOS RAM Addresses 285

    Preboot Environment 287

    Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) 289

        UEFI and BIOS Limitations 290

        UEFI Support 291

    BIOS Setup 292

        Running or Accessing the BIOS Setup Program 292

        BIOS Setup Menus 292

        Maintenance Menu 293

        Main Menu 294

        Advanced Menus 295

        Security Menu 311

        Power Menu 312

        Boot Menu (Boot Sequence, Order) 314

        Exit Menu 315

        Additional BIOS Setup Features 316

    PnP BIOS 317

        PnP Device IDs 318

        ACPI 318

    BIOS/MBR Error Messages 319

        BIOS Boot Error Messages 320

        MBR Boot Error Messages 322

6    Memory 325

    Memory Basics 325

        ROM 327

        DRAM 327

        Cache Memory: SRAM 329

    Memory Standards 331

    Speed and Performance 332

        Fast Page Mode DRAM 335

        Extended Data Out RAM 336

        SDRAM 337

        DDR SDRAM 338

        DDR2 SDRAM 340

        DDR3 SDRAM 342

        DDR4 SDRAM 344

        RDRAM 345

    Memory Modules 346

        Registered Modules 351

        SDR DIMM Details 352

        DDR DIMM Details 353

        DDR2 DIMM Details 353

        DDR3 DIMM Details 353

    Determining a Memory Module’s Size and Features 354

    Memory Banks 356

    Memory Module Speed 357

    Parity and ECC 357

        Parity Checking 359

        How Parity Checking Works 359

        ECC 360

    RAM Upgrades 361

        Upgrade Options and Strategies 362

        Purchasing Memory 364

        Replacing Modules with Higher-Capacity Versions 366

        Installing Memory Modules 366

    Troubleshooting Memory 368

    Memory Defect Isolation Procedures 372

    The System Logical Memory Layout 374

7    The ATA/IDE Interface 377

    An Overview of the IDE Interface 377

        Precursors to IDE 377

        IDE Origins 378

        Origins of ATA 379

    ATA Standards 380

        ATA-1 (ATA Interface for Disk Drives) 382

        ATA-2 (ATA Interface with Extensions-2) 382

        ATA-3 (ATA Interface-3) 383

        ATA/ATAPI-4 (ATA with Packet Interface Extension-4) 383

        ATA/ATAPI-5 (ATA with Packet Interface-5) 384

        ATA/ATAPI-6 (ATA with Packet Interface-6) 385

        ATA/ATAPI-7 (ATA with Packet Interface-7) 386

        ATA/ATAPI-8 386

    PATA 387

        PATA I/O Connector 387

        PATA I/O Cable 390

        Longer or Rounded Cables 392

        PATA Signals 392

        PATA Dual-Drive Configurations 393

        PATA PIO Transfer Modes 396

        PATA DMA Transfer Modes 396

    SATA 398

        SATA Standards and Performance 398

        SATA Express 399

        SATA Cables and Connectors 401

        eSATA 404

        SATA Configuration 407

        Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) 408

        Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) 409

        SATA Transfer Modes 409

    ATA Features 410

        ATA Commands 410

        ATA Security Mode 411

        Host Protected Area 412

        ATAPI 413

    ATA Drive Capacity Limitations 413

        Prefixes for Decimal and Binary Multiples 414

        BIOS Limitations 415

        CHS Versus LBA 416

        CHS/LBA and LBA/CHS Conversions 417

        BIOS Commands Versus ATA Commands 418

        CHS Limitations (the 528MB Barrier) 419

        CHS Translation (Breaking the 528MB Barrier) 421

        The 2.1GB and 4.2GB Barriers 423

        LBA-Assist Translation 425

        The 8.4GB Barrier 427

        The 137GB Barrier and Beyond 429

        Operating System and Other Software Limitations 430

    GPT and the 2.2TB Barrier 432


Software RAID 436

8    Magnetic Storage Principles 439

    Magnetic Storage 439

    History of Magnetic Storage 439

    How Magnetic Fields Are Used to Store Data 440

    Read/Write Head Designs 443

        Ferrite 444

        Metal-In-Gap 444

        Thin-Film 444

        Magneto-Resistive Heads 445

        Giant Magneto-Resistive Heads 446

    Head Sliders 448

    Data-Encoding Schemes 450

        Frequency Modulation Encoding 451

        Modified FM Encoding 451

        Run Length Limited Encoding 452

        Encoding Scheme Comparisons 453

        Partial-Response, Maximum-Likelihood Decoders 455

    Capacity Measurements 455

    Areal Density 456

Perpendicular Magnetic Recording 458

9    Hard Disk Storage 461

    Definition of a Hard Disk 461

    Hard Drive Advancements 462

    Form Factors 463

        5 1/4-Inch Drive 464

        3 1/2-Inch Drive 465

        2 1/2-Inch Drive 465

        1.8-Inch Drive 466

        1-Inch Drives 466

    HDD Operation 466

        The Ultimate HDD Analogy 469

        Tracks and Sectors 470

        ECC 472

        Disk Formatting 477

    Basic HDD Components 482

        Hard Disk Platters (Disks) 483

        Recording Media 484

        Read/Write Heads 485

        Head Actuator Mechanisms 487

        Air Filters 494

        Hard Disk Temperature Acclimation 495

        Spindle Motors 495

        Logic Boards 496

        Cables and Connectors 497

        Configuration Items 497

    Hard Disk Features 498

        Capacity 498

        Performance 500

        Reliability 504

10    Flash and Removable Storage 507

    Alternative Storage Devices 507

    Flash Memory Devices 507

        CompactFlash 509

        SmartMedia 509

        MultiMediaCard 510

        SecureDigital 510

        Sony Memory Stick 510

        ATA Flash PC Card 511

        xD-Picture Card 511

        SSD (Solid-State Drive) 511

        USB Flash Drives 516

        Comparing Flash Memory Devices 517

        SD Cards Speed Class and UHS Speed Class Markings 519

        File Systems Used by Flash Memory 520

        Flash Card Readers 520

        Card Readers 520

        ReadyBoost Support 521

    Cloud-Based Storage 522

    Floppy Disk Drives 523

    Tape Drives 523

11    Optical Storage 525

    Optical Technology 525

    CD-Based Optical Technology 526

        CDs: A Brief History 526

        CD Construction and Technology 527

        Mass-Producing CDs 527

        Writable CDs 539

        MultiRead Specifications 545

        MultiPlay and MultiAudio 547

    DVD 547

        DVD History 548

        DVD Construction and Technology 549

        DVD Tracks and Sectors 550

        Handling DVD Errors 554

        DVD Capacity (Sides and Layers) 555

        Data Encoding on the DVD Disc 558

        Recordable DVD Standards 559

        Multiformat Rewritable DVD Drives 566

    BD 567

    HD-DVD 569

    Optical Disc Formats 570

        CD Formats 570

        DVD Formats and Standards 578

        Optical Disc File Systems 582

    Ripping/Copying Discs 587

        “For Music Use Only” CD-R/RW Discs 588

        CD Copy Protection 588

        CD Digital Rights Management 589

        DVD and Blu-ray Copy Protection 589

    Optical Drive Performance Specifications 593

        CD Data Transfer Rate 593

        CD Drive Speed 593

        DVD Drive Speed 595

        Access Time 598

        Buffer/Cache 598

        Direct Memory Access and Ultra-DMA 598

        Interface 598

        Loading Mechanism 599

        Other Drive Features 600

    How to Reliably Record Optical Discs 600

        Booting from a Floppy Disk with Optical Drive Support 601

        Bootable Optical Discs—El Torito 601

        LightScribe and LabelFlash 602

    Troubleshooting Optical Drives 602

        Caring for Optical Media 606

        Updating the Firmware in an Optical Drive 607

12    Video Hardware 609

    Display Adapters and Monitors 609

    Video Display Adapters 610

        Video Adapter Types 610

        Integrated Video/Motherboard Chipsets 611

        CPUs with Integrated Video 616

        Video Adapter Components 617

        Identifying the Video and System Chipsets 619

        Video RAM 620

        The DAC 624

    Video Display Interfaces 624

        The System Interface 624

        The Display Interface 626

        TV Display Interfaces 641

    3D Graphics Accelerators 642

        How 3D Accelerators Work 642

        APIs 645

        Dual-GPU Scene Rendering 648

    Monitors 650

        Display Specifications 650

        LCD Technology 661

        LED Backlit Technology 663

        CRT Display Technology 663

        Plasma Display Technology 665

        LCD and DLP Projectors 666

    Using Multiple Monitors 667

        Dualview 667

        Homogeneous Adapters 668

        Heterogeneous Adapters 668

    Choosing the Best Display Hardware for a Particular Task 668

    Video Troubleshooting and Maintenance 669

        Troubleshooting Video Cards and Drivers 670

        Video Drivers 672

        Maintaining Monitors 672

        Testing Monitors 673

        Adjusting Monitors 674

        Bad Pixels 675

        Troubleshooting Monitors 676

        Repairing Monitors 677

13    Audio Hardware 679

    Audio Hardware Concepts and Terms 680

        The Nature of Sound 680

        Evaluating the Quality of Your Audio Hardware 680

        Sampling 681

    Early PC Sound Cards 682

        Limitations of Sound Blaster Pro Compatibility 682

        Microsoft Windows and Audio Support 682

        DirectX and Audio Support Hardware 683

        Core Audio APIs for Windows 683

        3D Gaming Audio Standards 684

        Legacy Audio Support Through Virtualization 685

    Audio Hardware Features 686

        Basic Connectors 686

        Audio Signal Processing Methods 688

        Advanced Audio Features 688

        Volume Control 690

        MIDI Support Features 691

        Data Compression 692

        Sound Drivers 693

        Sound Cards for Sound Producers 693

    Motherboard Chipsets with Integrated Audio 694

        Intel “Azalia” HD Audio 694

    Troubleshooting PC Audio Problems 694

        Sound Card and Onboard Audio Problems 695

    Speakers 698

        Speaker Selection Criteria 698

        Theater and Surround Sound Considerations 699

    Microphones 700

14    External I/O Interfaces 703

    Introduction to Input/Output Ports 703

        Serial Versus Parallel 703

        Universal Serial Bus (USB) 704

        IEEE 1394 (FireWire or i.LINK) 718

        Comparing USB and IEEE 1394 (FireWire) 722

    Thunderbolt Technology 728

    Low-Speed External Connections 729

        Serial Ports 730

        Parallel Ports 734

15    Input Devices  739

    Keyboards 739

        Enhanced 101-Key Keyboard 739

        103/104-Key Windows Keyboard 740

    Keyboard Technology 742

        Keyswitch Design 742

        The Keyboard Interface 747

        Typematic Functions 749

        Keyboard Scan Codes 749

        International Keyboard Layouts 750

        Keyboard/Mouse Interface Connectors 751

        USB Keyboards 753

        Keyboards with Special Features 754

    Keyboard Troubleshooting and Repair 754

        Cleaning a Keyboard 755

    Keyboard Recommendations 756

    Pointing Devices 757

        Mouse Sensitivity 758

        Ball-Type Mice 758

        Optical Mice 759

        Pointing Device Interface Types 760

        Scroll Wheels 762

        Mouse Troubleshooting 764

        Cleaning Your Mouse 765

        Alternative Pointing Devices 765

    Touchscreen Technology 770

    Wireless Input Devices 771

        Power Management Features of Wireless Input Devices 772

        Troubleshooting Wireless Input Devices 773

16    Internet Connectivity 775

    Internet Connectivity Trends 775

    Broadband Internet Access Types 775

        Cable TV 776

        Digital Subscriber Line 779

        Wireless Broadband 783

        Cellular Broadband 3G and 4G Services 783

        Satellite Broadband 784

        ISDN 787

        Leased Lines 788

        Comparing High-Speed Internet Access 789

    Dial-Up Modems 790

        56Kbps Modems 791

    Internet Connection Security 794

        Having a Backup Plan in Case of Service Interruptions 795

        Sharing Your Internet Connection 795

        Routers for Internet Sharing 796

        Modem/Router Status LEDs 797

17    Local Area Networking 799

    Defining a Network 799

        Types of Networks 800

        Requirements for a Network 801

    Client/Server Versus Peer Networks 801

        Client/Server Networks 802

        Peer-to-Peer Networks 803

        Comparing Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer Networks 804

    Network Architecture Overview 804

        Wired Ethernet 806

        Wireless Ethernet 807

        Bluetooth 813

    Hardware Elements of Your Network 814

        NICs for Wired Ethernet Networks 814

        Network Cables for Wired Ethernet 816

        Wired Network Topologies 824

        Switches for Ethernet Networks 827

        Wireless Ethernet Hardware 831

    Network Protocols 836

        IP and TCP/IP 836

        IPX and NetBEUI 837

    Other Home Networking Solutions 838

        HomePNA 838

        Power Line Networking 839

    Putting Your Network Together 840

        Network Adapters 840

        Cables and Connections Between Computers 842

        Switch/Access Point 842

18    Power Supplies 845

    The Power Supply 845

    Primary Function and Operation 845

        Voltage Rails 846

        The Power Good Signal 848

    Power Supply Form Factors 849

        Modern Form Factors 852

    Power Switches 866

        ATX and Newer 866

        PC/XT/AT and LPX Power Switches 868

    Motherboard Power Connectors 870

        AT/LPX Power Supply Connectors 870

        ATX and ATX12V Motherboard Power Connectors 872

        Backward and Forward Compatibility 885

        Dell Proprietary (Nonstandard) ATX Design 887

    Additional Power Connectors 887

        Peripheral Power Connectors 887

        Floppy Power Connectors 888

        Serial ATA Power Connectors 889

        PCI Express Auxiliary Graphics Power Connectors 890

    Power Supply Specifications 893

        Power Supply Loading 893

        Power Supply Ratings 895

        Other Power Supply Specifications 896

        Power Factor Correction 898

        SLI-Ready and CrossFireX Certifications 900

        Safety Certifications 900

    Power-Use Calculations 901

    Power Savings 903

        80 Plus 903

        ENERGY STAR 904

        Advanced Power Management 904

        Advanced Configuration and Power Interface 905

    Power Cycling 908

    Power Supply Troubleshooting 911

        Overloaded Power Supplies 912

        Inadequate Cooling 913

        Using Digital Multimeters 913

        Specialized Test Equipment 916

    Power Supply Recommendations 918

        Modular Cables 919

        Sources for Replacement Power Supplies 919

    Power-Protection Systems 919

        Surge Suppressors (Protectors) 921

        Network and Phone Line Surge Protectors 922

        Line Conditioners 922

        Backup Power 922

    Real-Time Clock/Nonvolatile RAM (CMOS RAM) Batteries 925

        Modern CMOS Batteries 925

        Obsolete or Unique CMOS Batteries 927

        CMOS Battery Troubleshooting 928

19    Building or Upgrading Systems 929

    System Components 929

        Before You Start: How to Decide What to Build 931

        Case and Power Supply 933

        Processor 934

        Motherboard 935

        Memory 936

        I/O Ports 937

        Hard Disk/Solid-State Drives 938

        Removable Storage 939

        Input Devices 939

        Video Card and Display 940

        Audio Hardware 940

        Accessories 941

    Hardware and Software Resources 942

    System Assembly and Disassembly 942

        Assembly Preparation 943

        Installing the CPU and Heatsink 946

        Installing Memory Modules 952

        Mounting the New Motherboard in the Case 953

        Preparing a Modular Power Supply 958

        Connecting the Power Supply 958

        Connecting I/O and Other Cables to the Motherboard 961

        Installing the Drives 962

        Installing a Video Card 967

        Installing Additional Expansion Cards 969

        Replacing the Cover and Connecting External Cables 969

System Startup 969

    Installing the OS 971

    Troubleshooting New Installations 972

20    PC Diagnostics, Testing, and Maintenance 975

    PC Diagnostics 975

    Diagnostics Software 975

        The POST 976

        Peripheral Diagnostics 989

        Operating System Diagnostics 989

        Commercial Diagnostics Software 990

        Free/User Supported Diagnostics 991

    The Boot Process 991

        The Hardware Boot Process: Operating System Independent 992

        The DOS Boot Process 996

        The Windows 9x/Me Boot Process 997

        Windows 2000/XP Startup 997

        Windows Vista/7 Startup 998

        Windows 8 Startup 998

    PC Maintenance Tools 999

        Hand Tools 1000

        Safety 1003

        Test Equipment 1004

        Special Tools for the Enthusiast 1009

    Preventive Maintenance 1011

        Active Preventive Maintenance Procedures 1011

        Passive Preventive Maintenance Procedures 1016

    Troubleshooting Tips and Techniques 1021

        Repair or Replace? 1021

        Basic Troubleshooting Steps 1021

        Troubleshooting by Replacing Parts 1022

        Troubleshooting by the Bootstrap Approach 1023

        Problems During the POST 1024

        Problems Running Software 1024

        Problems with Adapter Cards 1025

        Top Troubleshooting Problems 1025

9780789750006, ToC, 2/18/2013


Submit Errata

More Information

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