You can upgrade or repair your own computer if you have the right information, computer tools and service manuals for your PC. As you know, hiring a professional to upgrade your PC or replace a drive, graphics card or memory, can be expensive. There are some jobs the average computer user can do on their own provided they have the right information at their fingertips.
Problems can be separated into either hardware or software. Hardware computer problems can result in beeps codes, nothing on the screen, a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), a dead system or even smoke. Software problems can manifest themselves in BSODs and other errors that show up once Windows boots.
Before Your Attempt To Repair Your Own Computer
Computer troubleshooting is a process requiring both logic and knowledge of every component inside of a PC. Knowing the boot process and the way components interact with each other can save techs and PC users a lot of time when troubleshooting problems with a system. First thing to do before you attempt to repair your own computer is to stop and think. Did you make any recent hardware or software changes? Did you notice a Windows Update prior to this issue? If not, proceed with the following steps:
1. Write down any error messages you see on the screen. Write clearly, as the syntax in the error must be exact for techs to track down the problem.
2. If anything is smoking or running hot, be sure to unplug the computer.
3. Do you hear any beep codes? If so how many and note if they are long or short beeps.
4. Is there any power? Do you hear fans spinning or the hard drive churning?
5. If it says “No Operating System Found,” can you tap the BIOS setup key and confirm that the hard drive is showing up in the BIOS.
6. Confirm there are no disks in DVD drive or any thumb drives in the USB ports.
7. Your computer might have built-in Diagnostics, try tapping the F12 or F10 key when booting. If you see an option for Diagnostics, try running it.
The above steps should at least help you determine if the problem is hardware or software related. In either case, make sure you have the system recovery disk or your Windows Operating System disk, as you may not be able to repair your computer without those.
Essential Tools To Fix Your Computer
Aside from saving a lot of money, there is a lot of satisfaction when you fix your computer or perform an upgrade to improve its performance. But you need a few things to get started. The following are a few of the essentials we feel are necessary for the beginning computer repair enthusiast:
Service manual for your computer – Most people don’t realize your computer has a detailed service manual out there on the Internet. If you go to the manufacturer of your computer (Dell, HP, etc) You will likely find several manuals online. You probably received a Quick Start sheet of paper with your new computer. But service manuals show detailed information, such as how to take apart your computer, the specifications and part numbers for everything. A detailed service manual is a must have for home computer repair.
Computer Toolkit – You will need more than just a screwdriver to repair your own computer. Computer tool kits are inexpensive and contain tools you probably do not already have, such as precision screwdrivers, wire strippers, and Torx bits. Having the right tools can make the job easier and reduce the likelihood your computer will get damaged by a slip or gouge of a standard screwdriver.
Read more about this great starter computer toolkit.
Books To Help You Fix Your Computer
Computer Troubleshooting Book – Research and learn about computers in general. Learn what makes computers “go”. There are numerous parts that interact with each other and can often produce the same symptoms when there is a problem. Learn the difference between the various ports, expansion cards, memory and other hardware before you even consider trying to fix your computer.
We recommend this book for computer troubleshooting. It has extensive flowcharts that walk you through the process of figuring out what is wrong with your computer. It’s not a huge book, which makes it easy to carry around or keep handy near your PC. Read more about this Computer Troubleshooting Book.
If you’re looking to know everything there is to know about computers, Upgrading and Repairing PCs (19th Edition) is a great book for that. At nearly 1200 pages, this book covers it all.
In conclusion, you can certainly perform most computer repair jobs on your own if you have the right service manuals, reference books and tools you can fix your computer and save money.