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Chapter 24. Troubleshooting and Maintenance Fundamentals. You Will Learn…. About your role as a PC technician in troubleshooting and maintenance, and tools available to help you in those roles How to approach a troubleshooting problem

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chapter 24

Chapter 24

Troubleshooting and Maintenance Fundamentals

you will learn
You Will Learn…
  • About your role as a PC technician in troubleshooting and maintenance, and tools available to help you in those roles
  • How to approach a troubleshooting problem
  • How to develop a preventive maintenance plan and what to include in it
troubleshooting perspectives
Troubleshooting Perspectives
  • PC support technician
  • PC service technician
  • Bench technician
  • Help-desk technician
essential troubleshooting tools
Essential Troubleshooting Tools
  • Bootable rescue disk for any OS you might work on (may need several)
  • Ground bracelet and/or ground mat
  • Screwdrivers (flat-head, Phillips-head or cross-head, Torx set, particularly size T15)
  • Tweezers, preferable insulated
  • Chip extractor and a spring-loaded extractor
useful troubleshooting tools

Needle-nose pliers


AC outlet ground tester

Small cups or bags

Antistatic bags

Pen and paper

Diagnostic cards and software

Utility software

Virus detection software on disks

Useful Troubleshooting Tools
bootable rescue disk
Bootable Rescue Disk
  • Can boot the PC even when the hard drive fails
  • Ensures cleanest boot possible
diagnostic cards and software
Diagnostic Cards and Software
  • POST diagnostic cards
  • Diagnostic software
  • General-purpose utility software
post diagnostic cards
POST Diagnostic Cards
  • Discover and report computer errors and conflicts at POST
  • Examples:
    • Amber Debug Card (Phoenix Technologies)
    • PCI Error Testing/Debug Card (Trigen Industries)
    • POSTcard V3 (Unicore Software, Inc.)
    • Post Code Master (MSD, Inc.)
    • POSTmortem Diagnostics Card (System Optimization, Inc.)
diagnostic software
Diagnostic Software
  • Identifies hardware problems
  • Examples:
    • PC-Technician (Windsor Technologies, Inc.)
    • PC-Diagnosys (Windsor Technologies, Inc.)
general purpose utility software
General-Purpose Utility Software
  • Diagnoses problems
  • Repairs and maintains software on a PC
  • Recovers corrupted or deleted data on hard drive or floppy disks
  • Provides security
  • Monitors system performance
  • Downloads software updates from Internet
fundamental rules for troubleshooting
Fundamental Rules for Troubleshooting
  • Make backups before making changes
  • Approach the problem systematically
  • Isolate the problem; eliminate unnecessary hardware and software
  • Don’t overlook the obvious
  • Check simple things first
  • Make no assumptions


fundamental rules for troubleshooting1
Fundamental Rules for Troubleshooting
  • Become a researcher
  • Write things down
  • Reboot and start over
  • Establish priorities
  • Keep your cool and don’t rush
  • Don’t assume the worst
  • Know your starting point
gathering information
Gathering Information
  • Interacting with the user
  • Investigating the problem on the computer
  • Isolating the problem
  • Intermittent problems
interacting with the user
Interacting with the User
  • Ask questions with diplomacy
  • Find out exactly what happened when the computer stopped working
  • Consider yourself a guest when working at the user’s desk
guidelines for working with a user
Guidelines for Workingwith a User
  • Don’t take drastic action before asking the user about data that may not be backed up
  • Provide alternatives before making decisions for the user
  • Protect confidentiality of data on the PC
  • Don’t disparage user’s choice of hardware or software
  • If you make a mistake or must pass the problem on to someone with more expertise, be honest
investigating the problem on the computer
Investigating the Problemon the Computer
  • What OS is installed?
  • What physical components are installed – processor, expansion cards, drives, peripheral devices? PC connected to network?
  • What is the nature of the problem – occur before or after boot? Any error messages? Does the system hang?
  • Can you duplicate the problem?
isolating the problem
Isolating the Problem
  • Consider the possibilities
  • Eliminate simple things first
  • Eliminate the unnecessary
  • Trade good for suspected bad
  • Trade suspected bad for good
intermittent problems
Intermittent Problems
  • More challenging
  • Look for patterns or clues
  • Keep a log of when problems occur and exactly what error messages appear
preventive maintenance
Preventive Maintenance
  • Goals
    • Reduce likelihood that events that cause PC failures will occur
    • Lessen the damage if they do occur
  • Make and implement a preventive maintenance plan to help prevent failures and reduce repair costs and downtime
  • Develop a disaster recovery plan to manage failures when they occur
when a pc is your permanent responsibility
When a PC Is Your Permanent Responsibility
  • Organize hard drive boot directory
  • Create rescue disks
  • Document all setup changes, problems, and solutions
  • Record setup data
  • Take practical precautions to protect software and data
    • Back up original software
    • Back up data on the hard drive
moving equipment
Moving Equipment
  • Back up hard drive
  • Remove removable disks, tape cartridges, or CDs from drives
  • Turn off power to PC and devices
  • Disconnect power cords and external devices
  • Label cable connections
  • Coil all cords and secure them
  • Pack in original shipping cartons
  • Purchase insurance
fire extinguishers
Fire Extinguishers
  • Mount a fire extinguisher for Class C fires (ignited and heated by electricity) near your workbench, but not directly over it
  • Know how to use the fire extinguisher
chapter summary
Chapter Summary
  • Common-sense guidelines to solving computer problems
    • Avoid making situation worse by damaging equipment, software, or data, or by placing undue stress on users
    • Follow safety precautions