Basic Computer Troubleshooting: Hardware

Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving most often applied to repair of failed products or processes. It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem so that it can be solved, and so the product or process can be made operational again. Troubleshooting is needed to develop and maintain complex systems where the symptoms of a problem can have many possible causes. Troubleshooting is used in many fields such as engineering, system administration, electronics, automotive repair, and diagnostic medicine. Troubleshooting requires identification of the malfunction(s) or symptoms within a system. Then, experience is commonly used to generate possible causes of the symptoms. Determining which cause is most likely is often a process of elimination - eliminating potential causes of a problem. Finally, troubleshooting requires confirmation that the solution restores the product or process to its working state.

In general, troubleshooting is the identification of, or diagnosis of "trouble" in a system caused by a failure of some kind. The problem is initially described as symptoms of malfunction, and troubleshooting is the process of determining the causes of these symptoms.

A system can be described in terms of its expected, desired or intended behavior (usually, for artificial systems, its purpose). Events or inputs to the system are expected to generate specific results or outputs. (For example selecting the "print" option from various computer applications is intended to result in a hardcopy emerging from some specific device). Any unexpected or undesirable behavior is a symptom. Troubleshooting is the process of isolating the specific cause or causes of the symptom. Frequently the symptom is a failure of the product or process to produce any results. (Nothing was printed, for example).
Troubleshooting is a process. The process for troubleshooting is to isolate the area of the system that the problem has occurred and attempt to take steps toward resolving the problem.

It is important to note any changes to the system prior to the problem as well as immediate symptoms. Troubleshooting is a process. The process for troubleshooting is to isolate the area of the system that the problem has occurred and attempt to take steps toward resolving the problem. It is important to note any changes to the system prior to the problem as well as immediate symptoms. For instance, if a system performs well until you open an unexpected mail attachment from a co-worker. It is possible the system was affected by the act of opening the attachment (possible virus/worm).


Trying to track down and resolve technical problems on your computer is, undeniably, one of life's most frustrating experiences. To help you through the process, I've written some articles that explain the critical issues you need to understand to do effective troubleshooting on personal computers. This section will tackle mainly on the basic troubleshooting of computer's hardware problems.

1. The computer does not display, beep, clear POST or boot.

* Because each of these steps represents a possible solution to this issue, check the computer status after completing each step.

  1. Restart the computer by pressing and holding the power button until all power indicator lights are off, waiting 30 seconds, and then pressing the power button again.
  2. Remove or disconnect all removable media.
  3. Restart the computer to Safe Mode.
  4. Reset the computers BIOS to the default values.
  5. Restart the computer to the Last Known Good Configuration.
  6. Disconnect all peripheral devices connected to the computer.
  7. Remove any additional third-party cards that were installed in the computer.
  8. Remove any additional RAM memory modules that have been added to the computer.
  9. Remove and replace (reseat) the original RAM memory modules that came installed in the computer.
NOTE: Refer to the operating instructions supplied with the computer for specific information on how to install, remove or replace RAM memory modules.

The troubleshooting steps listed above should resolve your issue. If you have completed all of the steps and the issue is not resolved, service may be required.

2. The Windows freezes or stops responding frequently.


This issue could be caused by any of the below possibilities.

1. Software related issue.
2. Driver related issue.
3. Operating system related issue.
4. Heat related issue.
5. Hardware issue.
6. Serious issue with Windows
7. Hardware failure.


This article contains recommendations on what to do if the computer frequently freezes or completely halts. An easy way to determine if your computer is in this situation is by pressing the Num Lock button on the keyboard and watching the Num Lock led to see if it turns off and/or on.

If you're able to get the light to turn off an on, press CTRL + ALT + DEL and attempt to end task the program. Additional information about this can be found on document CHTSR. Otherwise continue reading this document.
Software related issue

A computer locking up or freezing is often is caused by a software related issue. If you're encountering lockups when the computer is opening a particular program, make sure you have all the latest updates for that program. You can find the latest updates for your software through the software developer or publisher.

Driver related issue

A computer lock up can also be caused by drivers. For example, if there is an issue that exists with your video drivers a computer could lock up while playing a game or displaying any other type of video. Make sure you have the latest drivers for all major devices in your computer (video, sound, modem, and network). A listing of driver related pages as well as driver related help can be found on our drivers page.

Operating system related issue

Make sure your operating system has all of the latest updates installed on it. Additional information about updating Windows can be found on document CH000545.

Heat related issue

If the computer processor is getting too hot it can cause the computer to freeze. If you have heard any abnormal noises coming from your computer recently such as a high squealing, this could indicate a fan may be failing in your computer.

You can first start by verifying the fan on the power supply is working by examining the back of the computer and seeing if the fan is moving and moving smoothly. For all other fans in the computer you will need to either open the computer and make sure the fan are working (processor fan and case fan) and/or if your BIOS monitors the RPM of the fans, enter BIOS and make sure the BIOS does not report any errors.

Users may also be able to determine how hot their computer is by onboard thermal sensors. If your computer comes equipped with these sensors, make sure your CPU is not running too hot.

Hardware issue

In addition to software, hardware can also cause a computer to lock. If you have recently added any new hardware into the computer, try temporarily removing it to make sure it is not the cause of your issue.

Before attempting to remove any hardware, make sure you are not encountering this issue because of hardware conflicts by viewing Device Manager for errors. Additional information about Device Manager can be found on our Device Manager page.

If you have not recently installed any new hardware into the computer, the next best solution to determining if this is a hardware issue would be remove any hardware on the computer that is not needed. For example, remove your modem, network card, sound card, and any other expansion cards that are not needed for the computer to operate. Run the computer without these cards to see if they are the cause of your issue.

Serious issue with Windows

If you have tried all the above recommendations and the computer continues to frequently lock up, its possible that Windows may be seriously corrupt. Try running through the basic troubleshooting steps for your version of Windows on our basic troubleshooting page. If these additional steps do not resolve your issue, we suggest you backup all information and erase and reinstall Windows on your computer.

Hardware failure

If after reinstalling your operating system, or during the installation of your operating system, your computer turns off abnormally, it is very likely that other hardware is failing in the computer. Often this is RAM, CPU, Motherboard, and/or Power Supply (in that order).

If you have extra available parts or have a friend or co-worker with a similar configuration that is willing to allow you to test their hardware in your computer, try swapping these parts to determine if they are at fault. Otherwise, you will need to have the computer serviced.

1 comment:

mahasiswa teladan said...

hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)