Analyze and Repair PC Hardware - gHacks Tech News

Analyze and Repair PC Hardware

I'm the family's computer guy and it is slowly spreading to family friends and even neighbors as well thanks to recommendations of family members. Recently my mum told my grandmother's neighbors that I could take a look at their computer which was showing a bluescreen during startup and well, it's hard to say no to your mother so I took the computer to analyze the problem that was leading to the bluescreen message.

It was an old computer, an AMD Duron 800 Mhz with a 40 Gigabyte hard drive, 256 Megabytes of RAM running Windows XP. The first thing I did was to look-up the Stop error message that was showing when the bluescreen appeared only to find out that it was most likely a hardware related problem.

My guess was that it was either the motherboard, the RAM or the hard drive that were leading to the bluescreen so I had to test them to find the cause for it. Oh, before I started I made sure that every piece of hardware that was not needed to run the computer was disconnected, like sound and network adapters but also secondary drives and onboard components.

The only way to do this was to burn a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD which contains tools to analyze the hardware and boot it. The disc contains all kinds of utilities to scan, analyze and repair hardware connected to a computer and it is especially effective when it comes to RAM and hard drives.

I decided to run Memtest to test the RAM of the computer which turned out to be fine. The next tool was the Drive Fitness Test designed for IBM and Hitachi hard drives. It turned out that the hard drive had damaged sectors which the tool was able to repair.

With the errors corrected I tried to boot into Windows again and it happened to load just fine. If that would not have helped I would have tried some additional tools to test the CPU for instance. I would have used the cloning tool to clone the hard drive and format it completely to start the installation a new.

The Ultimate Boot CD is an excellent utility if you want to test major PC components without having to install software on the computer.

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Comments

  1. colin_w said on March 25, 2008 at 6:39 pm
    Reply

    Good example of troubleshooting BSOD. The first Podnutz podcast also deals with BSOD problems at boot up. Podnutz is a relatively new podcast on DIY computer repair. Well worth listening to:

    http://podnutz.com/

  2. Kirk said on March 25, 2008 at 9:32 pm
    Reply

    sometimes , mostly motherboard is the damage when there’s nothing u can see in the monitor.

  3. z0iid said on March 26, 2008 at 12:23 am
    Reply

    If you can boot into the windows recovery console, you can run “chkdsk /r”. You can run ntfsdos from the Ultimate Boot CD, but you don’t get the chkdsk options. You can just run it, but not in repair mode.

    First attack for blue screens? F8 and select “last known good configuration”. Occasionally, this does actually work. If that doesn’t, I do an harddrive scan (using the Ultimate Boot CD) based on the manufacturer of the HD. This may take some time, but sometimes you will find that the hard drive is “failing” and should be replaced.

    At this point, you can slave up the drive and backup important files. If the drive still isn’t “visible” as a drive letter when slaved up, but shows up in mass storage devices – then you may need to use recovery software. My software of choice is EasyRecovery Professional.

    As Martin says, occasionally you run up against bad memory or a processor, but the majority of the time (and I do this for a large organization) it has something to do with the harddrive or filesystem.

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