Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Check the Physical Setup of Your Computer

If you have recently opened the computer case or the computer has been moved or shipped, connectors may have loosened. You should perform the following tasks to verify that connections are solid:

  • Confirm that the power cords for all devices are firmly plugged in and that the computer power supply meets hardware specifications Computer power supplies are available in different sizes and are typically rated between 200 and 400 watts. Installing too many devices into a computer with an inadequate amount of power can cause reliability problems or even damage the power supply. See the manufacturer's power specifications when installing new devices and verify that your computer can handle the increased electrical load.
  • Disconnect external accessories External accessories-such as those that connect using USB or IEEE 1394, PC cards, and ExpressCards-can malfunction and interfere with the startup process. You can identify the cause of the problem either by disconnecting devices one by one and attempting to start the computer after disconnecting each device or by disconnecting all the devices, restarting the computer, and then reconnecting the devices one by one.
  • Verify that you correctly installed and firmly seated all internal adapters Peripherals such as keyboards and video cards often must be installed and functioning to complete the initial startup phase without generating error messages. Adapters might become loose if the computer is moved or bumped or if the computer vibrates from moving parts such as hard disks.
  • Verify that you correctly attached cables Check that you have firmly seated all cable connectors by disconnecting and reconnecting cables. Search for damaged or worn cables and replace them as required. To ensure that contacts are solid, use a pencil eraser to clean dirty connectors.
  • Check the system temperature High temperatures inside a computer can cause unpredictable failures. Many computers will display internal temperatures for the processor, hard disk, graphics card, or other features if you start the Firmware menu. Graphical third-party tools also run within Windows for displaying temperature diagnostic information. If the temperature is high, verify that all fans are working properly and the vents are not blocked. Verify that the computer's case is completely assembled. Leaving panels open might seem like it would improve airflow, but it can actually misdirect air that should be cooling hot features. Verify that air can flow freely around the outside of the computer. Particularly with mobile PCs, verify that the computer is not resting on a soft surface that can prevent heat dissipation, such as a couch or carpet. Finally, reset processor and memory speeds to their default settings to verify that the computer has not been overclocked.
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In this tutorial:

  1. Troubleshooting Hardware, Driver, and Disk Issues
  2. Windows 7 Improvements for Hardware and Driver Troubleshooting
  3. Windows Troubleshooting Platform
  4. Built-in Troubleshooting Packs
  5. Windows Troubleshooting Platform Components
  6. Creating Custom Troubleshooting Packs
  7. Running Troubleshooting Packs Remotely
  8. Windows 7 Reliability Monitor
  9. Windows 7 Resource Monitor
  10. Windows Memory Diagnostics
  11. Disk Failure Diagnostics
  12. Self-Healing NTFS
  13. Improved Driver Reliability
  14. Improved Error Reporting
  15. The Process of Troubleshooting Hardware Issues
  16. How to Troubleshoot Problems That Prevent Windows from Starting
  17. How to Troubleshoot Problems Installing New Hardware
  18. How to Troubleshoot Problems with Existing Hardware
  19. How to Troubleshoot Unpredictable Symptoms
  20. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  21. How to Use Device Manager to Identify Failed Devices
  22. How to Check the Physical Setup of Your Computer
  23. How to Check the Configuration of Your Hardware
  24. How to Verify That System Firmware and Peripheral Firmware Are Up to Date
  25. How to Test Your Hardware by Running Diagnostic Tools
  26. How to Simplify Your Hardware Configuration
  27. How to Diagnose Disk-Related Problems
  28. How to Use Built-In Diagnostics
  29. How to Use Reliability Monitor
  30. How to Use Event Viewer
  31. How to Use Data Collector Sets
  32. How to Use Windows Memory Diagnostics
  33. Memory Failures
  34. How Windows Automatically Detects Memory Problems
  35. How to Schedule Windows Memory Diagnostics
  36. How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics When Windows Is Installed
  37. How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics from the Windows DVD
  38. How to Configure Windows Memory Diagnostics
  39. How to Troubleshoot Disk Problems
  40. How to Prepare for Disk Failures
  41. How to Use ChkDsk
  42. ChkDsk Examples
  43. ChkDsk Syntax
  44. How to Use the Graphical ChkDsk Interface
  45. How to Determine Whether ChkDsk Is Scheduled to Run
  46. ChkDsk Process on NTFS Volumes
  47. How to Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard
  48. How to Disable Nonvolatile Caching
  49. How to Troubleshoot Driver Problems
  50. How to Find Updated Drivers
  51. How to Roll Back Drivers in Windows 7
  52. How to Use Driver Verifier
  53. How to Use the File Signature Verification
  54. How to Use Device Manager to View and Change Resource Usage
  55. How to Use Windows 7 System Restore
  56. How to Troubleshoot USB Problems
  57. How to Solve USB Driver and Hardware Problems
  58. Understanding USB Limitations
  59. How to Identify USB Problems Using Performance Monitor
  60. How to Examine USB Hubs
  61. How to Troubleshoot Bluetooth Problems
  62. Troubleshooting Tools
  63. DiskView
  64. Handle
  65. Process Monitor