PC Hardware


Knowledge and preparation are the primary ingredients for a successful, efficient, and profitable upgrade or repair. Before attempting any work on a computer, it is wise to know what you are working with and to have a good understanding of the problem, or task, at hand. Ten minutes to an hour of preparation can save hours of endless guessing and frustration.

Documentation is the key to preparation. If adequate documentation is not readily available, your first step is to collect or create it. When you finish a job, don't forget to save the documentation, including an account of what you did and any problems you encountered.

Documentation to Collect Before Starting the Job

The following list provides examples of the types of documentation you should assemble before you begin a repair.

  • A computer configuration sheet. A sample computer configuration sheet is shown in Figure 14.1 in Lesson 2 of this tutorial.

  • Copies of the computer and/or motherboard documentation.

  • A list of all installed expansion cards. If possible, include the date on which they were originally installed.

  • Copies of the operating-system documentation (especially if you are not familiar with the system).

  • A plan of action. Writing down a checklist of tasks and related tools and parts before starting a project can help you keep focused and stay on target. Remember, plans can always be changed; but without a plan, you could find yourself wandering aimlessly through the project and perhaps getting sidetracked or lost.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting the Job

Carefully consider the following questions before you open the case of any computer:

  • Is this the right computer?

  • Why am I taking it apart?

  • Do I have everything necessary to do the job?

  • Do I need more information before starting this job?

  • Might any components of this machine be proprietary hardware? If so, do I have the right tools and parts to do the job?

  • Do any of these tasks require the assistance of a third party-for example, monitor adjustment?