I thought that I would write a post about the troubleshooting techniques that I wrote up a few years ago. This is just a small checklist that has helped me tremendously with computer problem calls that I tend to get from family and friends.
HARD DRIVE NOT DETECTED
1. PCI bus out of specification, can cause problems
2. Power cable faulty or not plugged in
3. IDC cable in incorrectly or faulty CHECK BOTH ENDS
4. Master/Secondary conflict, disconnect all other devices on chain.
5. Check jumper settings. Some drives have a "single drive" setting, and won't work properly as a "slave" or "master" if they are the only drive in the chain.
NEW CPU NOT WORKING
1. CPU incompatible with board
2. Chipped core (only for athlon/durons)
3. Socket arm not down
4. BIOS may need reset
5. Fan failure protection may cause motherboard to shut down if there's no power draw on the CPU fan socket, make sure fan is plugged in if this applies to your board.
NEW MOTHERBOARD WILL NOT POWER UP
1. Check if grounded properly and there's no shorts
2. Remove all unrequired hardware (soundcard, ide cables etc.)
3. Make sure ATX cable is plugged in
4. Make sure your RAM and CPU is compatible with this board
5. Do NOT forget to plug in the ATX power button
6. Check BIOS reset pins
7. Check keyboard wakeup jumper
8. Check for correct CPU jumper settings (If Applicable)
PC POWERS UP BUT MONITOR HAS NO SIGNAL
1. Unplug all non-essential components (this includes hard drives, extra case fans (NOT YOUR CPU FAN!!!), optical drives, lights, etc.)
2. If you are using a dedicated graphics card, reseat it and make sure any external power cables (Molex or PCI-e) are connected securely.
3. Cycle your RAM (move the sticks around, try single sticks in each slot, etc.) or try a different set or RAM.
4. Ensure all power cables are in place securely. Specifically, check the 4/8pin CPU power connector (you may or may not have this on your system) and check the 20+4 pin ATX...