General Procedures

After you assemble a toolkit with the hand tools and utilities described in the preceding sections, you have everything you need to upgrade or repair a PC except the new components. Before you get started, take a few minutes to read through the following sections, which describe the common procedures and general knowledge you need to work on PCs. These sections describe the general tasks you perform almost any time you work on a computer—things like opening the case, setting jumpers and switches, manipulating cables, and adding or removing expansion cards. Instructions for specific tasks like replacing a motherboard, disk drive, or power supply are given in the relevant chapter.

Before You Open the Case

Although you may be raring to get in there and fix something, taking the time to prepare properly before you jump in pays big dividends later. Before you open the case, do the following:

Make sure it’s not a software problem

The old saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” is nowhere more true than with PC repairs. Just as surgeons are often accused of being too ready to cut, PC technicians are always too ready to pop the lid. Before you assume that hardware is causing the problem, make sure the problem isn’t being caused by an application, by Windows itself, or by a virus. Use your hardware diagnostic utility and virus scanner before you assume the hardware is at fault and start disconnecting things.

Think things through

Inexperienced ...

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