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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please add or correct the following check list that I've been using - Thank you!
Let's see if we can make a definitive check list, eh?

Safety procedures.
- Turn off the computer if possible (start, shut down)
- ALWAYS remove the power cord before touching anything inside the computer
- Place the computer on a work bench or the floor - not on a carpet
- Either use an anti static strap or at least hold the metal casing with one hand

First, a list of possible complaints:
Computer does not boot up?
Are there beep codes?
No lights on the tower (front or back)?

Second the list of questions:
- Taking off the side panel to look at the motherboard:
Does the CPU fan spin?
Does the Power Supply fan spin?
Is there a light on the mother board?

Steps to isolate the problem
1) Dial up modem (first thing that gets fried - and takes down the whole computer)
Remove the modem. Reboot the computer.
2) Network cards - remove, reboot. If the computer works, case solved.
3) CD - dislodge cable and power of reader/dvd/writer etc. remove, reboot
4) RAM (gently remove).
If you get beep codes, you may have found your problem.
If two or more ram sticks - replace one at a time, till you find the bad one.
5) Hard drive. dislodge cable and power
Reboot without the hard drive.
Replace with any similar hard drive (ata cables are wide. sata cables are narrow).
Ignore boot up errors. At this stage, isolate the drive as a problem
Aside: You can have a dead computer, but the hard drive and data may be intact.
Check the jumpers (cable select) and use a second computer to read
and back up the data - if indeed the drive spins up.

6) Power button (especially on eMachines?)
If you can locate the power input to the board,
then you can try using a screw driver to jump the power.
If done incorrectly, the mild shock will not kill you (one hopes).

If you have gotten this far and not been able to determine the problem - then you may have a MOTHERBOARD failure or a CPU Chip failure.

7) Check the capacitors. They look like tiny batteries with a K on the head.
If one or more is bulging - or worse - leaking its guts - then your motherboard is dead. Please note, really really good hardware guys can replace these.

8) Still a dead computer?
Here is where * I * get stumped.
If you have another similar (do your research) chip, you can swap it out.
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