Quickly determine the reason a computer refuses to boot with a hardware diagnostic card. These cards are designed to read the power-on self test (POST) error codes directly from the motherboard, and these codes can be used to solve simple hardware problems that are preventing the computer from booting. Save hours of tedious swapping and testing of components by inserting a POST diagnostic card in an available slot on the motherboard and letting it do the investigative work.
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Things you need
- Computer POST diagnostic card
- Screwdriver set
- Anti-static wrist strap
Disconnect the power cord from the computer or switch off the main power button on the power supply or outlet strip.
Don an anti-static wrist strap and connect the ground end to the metal part of the computer case.
Open the case and install the diagnostic POST card into an available PCI slot.
Connect the power or turn on the switch to supply power to the computer and then press the power button.
Read the code indicated by the LED lights, LED display or LCD display on the diagnostic POST card. Refer to the instructions that came with the card to interpret the code if it is not displayed clearly by a readout.
Cross reference the POST code with the BIOS manufacturer to determine what the code indicates for a problem.
Power off the computer and disconnect the power cord or switch off the source of electricity. Remove the indicated hardware item, such as the RAM module if that is shown to be the cause, and immediately reinstall it. Test the system again and replace the indicated component if the problem persists.
Power off the computer and disconnect the power cord or switch off the source of electricity and remove the diagnostic POST card.
Tips and warnings
- Occasionally, hardware errors occur due to a chip on the motherboard or an expansion board working its way loose over time, and the error can be resolved by pushing down on the chip to seat it firmly in its socket. Cards and components such as the video card, CPU or RAM can also be removed and reinserted to solve connectivity problems on occasion, eliminating the need to replace the component.
- Never install or remove any devices when there is power supplied to the motherboard and always use static protection devices such as an anti-static wrist strap when working on computers.
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