Thursday, May 24, 2012

Computer Troubleshooting–Computer Will Not Start

I plan to do a number posts on troubleshooting computer problems, so start with, a computer that will not start up.  I am going to cover just the physical booting of computer; for example, you press the power button and nothing happens!  Outside of swearing, lots of four letter words, and threatening the computer, what do you do?  I suggest reading through all the suggestions first before starting.

  • Ok, this may sound kind of obvious, but make sure you have power!  This is relatively easy to test, just plug a device you know works into the outlet or power/surge strip the computer is plugged into, if the device works then you know computer as at fault.  Do not be the guy that contacted customer support because his computer would not power on, because the power was out (supposedly this is a true story)!  Just to note, most motherboards have a little light on them that indicate that are getting power.
  • Along with the last suggestion, if you have reason to suspect a power problem, you can replace the power cord for the computer.  The computer should have a standard power cord that can be picked anywhere or even from other devices.
  • For the third troubleshooting step we are going to unplug the computer’s power and if you have a laptop pull the battery out.  Leave the computer and battery out for approximately a minute, then plug everything back in and see if that corrects the problem.  In my experience this fixes most computers that stubbornly refuse to boot for no good reason.
  • This next step simply takes the third troubleshooting step to the extreme.  In addition to unplugging the computer and if you have a laptop, removing the battery; also, remove the little coin battery on the motherboard and unplug the main power supply’s connection to the motherboard.  Leave everything unplugged and out for a couple minutes, the plug everything back in and try powering on the computer.  Just to note, if you have a laptop, removing the coin battery may be next to impossible without disintegrating the entire laptop, in which case you may want to try some of the other troubleshooting steps first.  In the third picture below, the coin battery is located under the graphics card.
  • motherboard power24 pin power connectormotherboard coin battery
  • Reset the CMOS/BOIS.  You will have to look up in  your computer’s manual how to do this or do a web search.  Some motherboards use dip switches, others pins, and also actual CMOS reset buttons, you will have to consult the manual to determine what your computer has.
  • Unplug everything from the rear of the computer, all USB devices, computer monitors, internet ect.  Try powering the computer once everything is unplugged.  If unplugging everything fixes the problem, power the computer back off by holding in the power button until the computer shuts off.  Then plug everything back and see if the computer works, if not then one of the devices is probably malfunctioning and you will have to test one by one which device is causing the problem.  I actually had this one time where an external USB CD/DVD burner was somehow preventing the computer from starting, it was not until I unplugged the device that I could power the computer on.
  • Unplug and remove all components from the motherboard, including RAM, CPU, Hard drives, CD/DVD ROM drives, and add-on cards (graphics, sound, modems, ect.).  Also unplug the power from all these devices.  Once everything is unplugged (except for the power button!) try powering the computer, while the computer will not work it should at the very least power on.  If this works, then you will have to determine which device is failing by plugging them back in one by one.
  • Check and make sure the power switch is working.  I have also had this one happen to me, the power switch failed.  You will have to consult your computers manual to determine where the power switch is and where it plugs into the motherboard.  If you have an electrical tester you can test the button using the OHM’s setting on the electrical tester.  Depending on your computer, if you have a reset button; you can plug this into the motherboards power switch and see if that button will work.  This is what I have able to do with my computer, I unplugged the power switch and plugged in the reset switch which worked.
  • Test the power supply or switch out the power supply.  If you have a power supply tester (cost about $20-30 for a cheap one) you can test if the power supply works and is outputting all the correct voltages.  Alternatively, if you have another power supply, you can also switch out the power supply.  If the power supply is working and none of the other suggestions have worked, then the motherboard is most likely dead.
  • A general inspection of the components may also reveal the problem.  Look for any blown components, components with burn marks; or any smoke pouring out of the electronics.

Friday, May 11, 2012

3 Tips to Test Internet Connection Speed

Guest Post by Brianne

Internet has changed the way people interact and do their businesses. Be it having an online shop or connecting with friends around the world, internet has become the means of communication. Therefore, it is essential to have optimal connection speed to avoid downtime when you need most. With internet service providers abound, it has become quite difficult to find a reliable service provider. The only way to choose a right provider is to test internet connection speed.

Here are different ways to test your internet connection speed:

1. Networx - http://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/

It is a simple yet powerful network monitoring tool that can evaluate bandwidth of your internet connection. Apart from finding internet speed, this application can determine source of problems for slow speed and help you stay within your data limit as well. Additionally, it can also track suspicious activities by Trojan horse or other malicious programs. The program is simple to install and use. After you install, the application automatically starts collecting data when you connect to internet. Its usage table is well organized with detailed information such as date, time, average download speed, average upload speed, volume of data transferred with average per hour transfer rates.

The range of reports it provides includes in-depth network usage, daily report, weekly report, monthly report, details about sessions, and hourly rates with graphs. You can also export data for further analysis in CSV, XLS, RTF, HTML, and TXT format.

2. Netspeed Monitor - http://www.floriangilles.com/software/netspeedmonitor/

This application allows you to track upload and download speed with traffic logging. You can use traffic logging to peruse your internet connection speed over a period. You can launch this tool by right clicking on the windows taskbar and the tool has to be configured first time for a specific network interface before it can analyze network data. This network monitoring tool runs on Windows 7, Vista, and XP. After you configure the tool, you need to click on its “Start Tracking” button. The tool then displays connection speed details along with list of processes that use internet.

3. Online services to test internet connection speed

a. SpeedTest.net:

If you don’t wish to install software to test your internet connection or if you want to quickly check internet connection speed, you can rely on www.speedtest.net. The site allows you to configure a number of parameters like speed measurement, preferred server, and distance. You can also use the site to test multiple internet connections at the same time.

b. Reliable speed testing sites:

You can also find few reliable speed testing sites. Some of them are www.SpeakEasy.net, www.bandwidthplace.com, www.internetfrog.com, and www.testmyspeed.com. Most of the online speed testing sites also provide various tools to boost your connection, optimize your connection, clean your system, and improve performance of your system with free system scan. As number of websites that provide online speed testing is increasing, you should be wary of using such tools to scan your system. As providing permission to online tools to clean up your system may not be a good idea. However, you can use these online sites to test your internet connection speed.

speed-test-results-2Mbps

Day by day new tools are popping up to help you test your internet connection speed. On one hand, it provides you with wider choices; on the other hand, you need to be quite careful about online tools that claim to boost your connection speed. Moreover, to find out correct speed of your internet connection, it is better to test it on different speed testing tools and see whether it varies widely.

 

About the author: Brianne is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on samsung chat 322 attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on Bentley india.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Computer Specs

Ok, so you got this great laptop computer with a Intel Core i5 2467 1.6 GHz, 4 GB DDR3, 500 GB HDD, 13.3” LED HD Display, WiDi, 3x USB, Bluetooth, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.  Or maybe you have this great desktop with Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4 GHz GHz, 8 GB DDR3, 240 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD, 3GB GTX 590.  But, what do all these computer specs mean?  Just note, that is supposed to say WiDi above, not WiFi.  Even I had to lookup what is WiDi.

I have heard some wild specifications in my day, so I figured a post on how to read some of these specifications might be a good idea.

I will start with the Laptop specs I mentioned above: Intel Core i5 2467 1.6 GHz, 4 GB DDR3, 500 GB HDD, 13.3” LED HD Display, WiDi, 3x USB, Bluetooth, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.  This laptop is categorized as an ultra-portable laptop.

The first spec is Intel Core i5 2467 1.6 GHz.  In most computer specs the first spec is usually the CPU.  Now, I will have to admit this does not even mean anything to me, because there is one very important piece of information missing here, and that is the number of cores on this CPU.  So, before I pass judgment on this CPU, I am going to have to do a web search to find out how many cores this CPU has.  According to the Intel Website: http://ark.intel.com/products/56858/Intel-Core-i5-2467M-Processor-(3M-Cache-1_60-GHz), this CPU only has 2 cores, which is going to make this a rather slow CPU.  Of course for small laptop like this, that is to be expected.  A quick way to figure the speed is to multiply the speed 1.6 GHz times the number of cores, which gives us 3.2 GHz.  Just for comparison, the CPU in my laptop has a speed of 2.9 GHz and has 4 cores, which gives a speed of 11.6 GHz.  The higher the GHz number the better, just remember to check the number of cores!

The next spec is 4 GB DDR3 of RAM, which is usually second.  This specification is the RAM (random access memory), so this laptop has 4 GB of RAM, which for a small laptop like this is very respectable.  RAM is important for the CPU and the more you have the better generally.  The CPU uses the RAM for fast access to and storage of data.

The third spec is 500 GB HDD.  This specification is the laptops hard drive, which is a standard 500 GB hard drive.  Again, for a small laptop this is pretty good.  Just to note here as well, most laptop hard drives are 2.5 inches, compared to standard desktop hard drives which are 3.5 inches.

For the last few specs, you have a screen size of 13.3” and it is a LED backlit display, which is good for battery life.  As for the WiDi part, it is a wireless display, which allows you to wirelessly display content on a TV or other devices.  You also have 3 USB ports and built in Bluetooth (for mice, keyboards, ect.).

Ok, now they we are done with the laptop specs, we will take a look at the desktops specs: Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4 GHz GHz, 8 GB DDR3, 240 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD, 3GB GTX 590.  The very first spec is the CPU, which is a Core i7 2600K at 3.4 GHz, which makes a single core of this CPU faster than the entire Laptops CPU mentioned above.  This CPU has a total of 4 cores, so we can get a combined speed of 13.6 GHz.  The spec for the desktop is the RAM, of which there is 8 GB, which should be plenty.

The next spec for the desktop is the hard drive, this first of which if you will note seems kind of small at only 240 GB.  However, there is something special about this hard drive; this not a regular spinning platter hard drive; instead this is a solid state drive (SSD).  SSD’s are extremely fast, which should provide a significant boost in speed for this desktop.  Since the first hard drive is somewhat small, especially if you want to start storing pictures or videos; there is second regular spinning platter (HDD) hard drive, which is a whopping 1 TB is size (1000 Gigabytes).

And finally there is one last important spec for the desktop, which the laptop does not have.  This final spec is a dedicated graphics card, in this case a monstrous NVidia GTX 590 with 3 GB of RAM.  Should be all set for Call of Duty or for more boring tasks such video editing.

For a wrap up, most computer specifications start with the CPU, then the RAM, and finally the hard drives.  After that the specifications tend to be somewhat random.