Adare Information Technology 151 Lincoln Hts. Road, Ottawa,Ontario K2B 8A5 Tel: 613-596-1312
The following is some basic help for the most common hardware problems seen in computers and printers. Hopefully this information will help you ascertain the severity of you problem and may even save you a service call. As always though the best way to keep your equipment in top form and working properly for you is to have it covered by a maintenance contract.
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If no lights are on either on the computer or monitor, check your power outlet. Toggle the
main power switch (sometimes on computer rear, near power cord) on both computer and monitor.
Allow 30 seconds before attempting to power on again. If power light on the monitor is OK, but lights on the computer are all off, most likely power supply is defective.
If you have an 'A" floppy, and can not access it, then you either have (a) a
defective floppy drive, (b) a defective floppy drive cable,
or (c) CMOS setup is incorrect. Also, do not rule out the
possibility of a defective diskette.
If your computer has a floppy drive, does your computer try to boot only from
it, i.e. the "A" drive light stays on?
This means your computer cannot access the hard drive.
Caused by corrupted "boot track" on the hard drive. Depending on whether the
hard drive file system is FAT32 or NTFS, you can try booting from a floppy or
If your computer has a floppy drive, try
putting a bootable diskette into it, and
reboot your computer. When you get the "A>" prompt, try
entering C: which should give you the "C" prompt. If you know
your hard drive has FAT32 formatting, and you get the "C:" prompt, try typing "dir"
(Enter) and you should get a
directory listing of files on the hard drive. You probably
just have a corrupted "boot track". If you get a message
"invalid drive specification" your hard drive is either NTFS formatted, has a
serious problem or is
If you do not have a floppy drive, or you know
your hard drive is NTFS formatted, try booting from a bootable
CD, in most cases this will be the Windows system CD that came with your
computer. As an example, the Windows XP CD will run through some initialization
tests, and come to a text screen where it asks you to type "R" for the
repair console. If you cannot get to the repair console, or when you do, you
cannot access the Windows folder, then the drive is severely corrupted. Call
us for further assistance.
Note: You may need to change CMOS settings to
allow boot from floppy or CD - consult your computer manual.
(Though this is not a hardware issue it's common enough to be listed here.) If you get this message on initial boot up, make sure that a floppy disk has NOT accidently been left in your floppy drive. If it has remove it and reboot. If problem remains or no disk is present you will probably have to reload your O/S.
1. Your computer may be infected with viruses or
spyware. Do you have antivirus software installed and is it up to date? Our Products
will link you to resources for resolving this.
2. The registry may be corrupted or dirty.
Download and run Eusing Free Registry Cleaner from
3. Hard drive files may be fragmented. Run the
My Computer > Right Click "Drive"
icon (usually this will be "C:") > Left click Properties > Left
click "Tools" tab > Left click "Defragment" > Left
click "Defragment" button.
Defragmentation can take many hours, so be
patient! When finished, view the report - you should have an overall
fragmentation less than 10%. If not, run defragment again, preferably in
4. Defective hard drive. Hard drives do age. As
they get older they develop weak areas which require "re-reads" to get
data, the more weak areas, and hence re-reads, the slower the computer will be.
Reformatting will sometimes resolve this, but usually only temporarily, and at
the cost of total loss of data. Make sure to backup before taking this step!
5. Insufficient memory. Many older machines were
sold with the bare minimum memory to run Windows, when memory was quite
expensive. Memory is inexpensive to-day, so this is an easy and cost-effective
remedy to many slow down problems.
Memory problems are relatively rare. Are you getting a count up during your memory test
on power up? Does it count to the maximum you know you have in your machine - a number like
"1024Mb" or "512Mb" that you are used to seeing? If there has been a recent change in this number, then you do indeed have defective memory. Note that some so-called memory problems are caused by software demanding more memory than is available in your machine. Are you running a new program? Some memory problems are caused by improper CMOS settings; others occur with certain software because
a file used on bootup is incorrect.
Do your CMOS settings change when you turn power off? If so, you have a defective backup battery on your motherboard. Some machines have rechargeable Ni
Cad batteries, which will rejuvenate if the machine is left on for 24 hours or so. Many still have Lithium batteries which need to be changed at intervals of 3 years or so.
Beep (POST) Codes
Most PC's conduct Power On Self Tests prior to attempting to boot. Should there be a failure at this stage, you will hear a series of "beeps" which give an indication of the error.
The following is a typical set of beep codes, used in AMI WinBios, which may or may not be correct for your particular machine - check your computer or motherboard manual for exact
codes for your machine.
For other problems, please call us at (613)-596-1312
Troubleshooting Tips is just a small compilation of basic tips. We have tried to make the tips as simple as possible, but cannot avoid some technical language. The tips are "generic", and not aimed at any specific make or model. If these tips do not help, or you need software help please phone us at (613)-596-1312.
If you get random smudging of your prints, your printer may just need a thorough cleaning. We recommend this be done at 6 month intervals with normal use; Adare's charge is $59.00 for this.
If you get a grey background to your prints, you need a new OPC drum or toner cartridge; Adare sells recycled drums and toner cartridges for many popular models at very reasonable prices.
If you get a dark stripe down the middle of the page, you probably need a new fuser.
Repetitive marks down the page can be caused by a defective fuser, toner
cartridge or OPC drum.
Noises such as
clicking or grinding may be caused by a defective toner cartridge, but may be
more serious such as damaged gears or fuser. A high pitched squeal is often due
to the toner cartridge.
Fading print can be caused by low toner; generally you will get a "low toner" message before print deterioration is noticeable. Depending on your printer, you will need to replace the toner cartridge, or the OPC/Toner cartridge.
Do you see a horizontal white line through your text prints? If so, you have a defective print head. Sometimes, cleaning the printhead carefully with a Q-Tip and isopropyl alcohol will resolve this problem. On some printers, the print head is an integral part of the ink cartridge, so a new ink cartridge may solve the problem.
If you are getting poor print quality, check to see if you are using proper inkjet quality paper. Although regular bond paper, as used in laser printers or photocopiers, will work, you can expect some smudging or bleeding. Horizontal smearing is usually caused by dust and dirt buildup on the printhead, which cleaning the printhead carefully with a Q-Tip and isopropyl alcohol will resolve.
Paper jams can often be remedied by proper cleaning of paper pickup and feed rollers. Jams are also caused by paper pieces which stick in hard-to-get-at places inside the printer's mechanism. Labels are notorious for peeling off, their gum backing often causing them to stick securely in awkward places. Adare's technicians have the experience to remedy all kinds of paper jams.