BEFORE COMING TO SEE ME
Technology problems are frustrating and it’s okay not to know how to fix something, a computer is a complicated machine. Maybe you hear a strange noise or constantly crash to an annoying blue screen. Maybe you just need something installed, whatever your computer needs are we’re here to help.
Red Ant Computer Services will respond promptly to your needs in person or over the phone with our remote desktop support service. (TeamViewer)
Make sure it’s not a cable problem.
Weird things can happen with cables. Disconnect all unessential cables, leaving only the mouse, keyboard, and display attached. Unplug the printer, USB hub, and any other attached peripherals to give them a chance to reset themselves. Turn your computer off, then restart it. If the problem is gone, try reattaching the cables one at a time to see if it comes back.
Make sure it’s not a software problem.
The old saying that “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is nowhere more true than with PC repairs. Before you assume that it’s a hardware problem, make sure that the problem isn’t caused by an application, by Windows, or by a virus. Use Knoppix and your virus/malware scanners before you assume the hardware is at fault and start disconnecting things. If the system boots and runs Knoppix successfully, defective hardware is very unlikely to be the problem.
Make sure it’s not a power problem.
The reliability of electrical power varies by where you live, which individual circuit you are connected to, and even from moment to moment as other loads on the circuit kick in and out. Sporadic problems such as spontaneous reboots are often caused by poor-quality power. Before you start tearing your system down, make sure the problem isn’t caused by bad electrical power. At a minimum, upgrade your power supply or use a surge protector to smooth incoming power. Better still, connect the system to a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). If you don’t have a UPS, connect the system to a power receptacle on a different circuit.
Make sure it’s not an overheating problem.
Modern systems particularly ‘high-performance models run very hot. Sporadic problems, or those that occur only after a system has been running for some time, are often caused by excessive heat. Most modern motherboards include built-in temperature sensors generally one embedded in the processor socket to report CPU temperature and one or more others near the memory, chipset, and other critical components.
Most motherboard manufacturers supply utility programs that report and log temperature readings, as well as such other critical information as the speeds of the CPU and other system fans, the voltages on specific voltage rails, and so on. If no such utility is available for your operating system, simply reboot the computer, run BIOS Setup, and navigate the Setup menus until you find the option for Hardware Monitoring or something similar. Because the built-in temperature, voltage, and fan-speed sensors report their readings to the BIOS, you can read and record those values directly from the BIOS Setup screen. It’s best to reboot and take the reading after the computer’s been up and running for a while, and preferably just after it’s exhibited the problems you are trying to resolve.
It’s useful to establish baseline values for temperature readings, because “normal” temperatures vary significantly depending on the type and speed of the processor, the type of heatsink/fan unit used, the number and type of supplementary case fans, ambient temperature, degree of system load, and so on. For example, a processor that normally idles at 35 C may reach 60 C or higher when it runs a CPU-intensive program. The idle and loaded temperatures are both important. An increase in idle temperature probably indicates a cooling problem, such as clogged air inlets or a failing CPU fan, while very high loaded temperatures may result in system errors, processor slow-downs due to “thermal clamping,” or, in the worst case, actual damage to the processor.