• Identifying and trouble-shooting hardware problems

  • Sorting Hardware/Software/Configuration Problems
  • One of the first steps in troubleshooting a computer problem (or any other programmable system problem) is to determine whether the problem is due to a hardware failure or to faulty software. In most PCs, you can use a sig- nificant event that occurs during the startup process as a key to separate hardware problems from software problems: the single beep that most PCs produce between the end of the power-on self test (POST) and the begin- ning of the startup process.
  • Errors that occur, or are displayed, before this beep indicate that a hardware problem of some type exists. Up to this point in the operation of the system, only the BIOS and the basic system hardware have been active. The operat- ing system side of the system does not come into play until after the beep occurs.
  • Typically, if the startup process reaches the point at which the system's CMOS configuration information is displayed onscreen, you can safely assume that no hardware configuration conflicts exist in the system's basic components. After this point in the bootup process, the system begins load- ing drivers for optional devices and additional memory. If the error occurs after the CMOS screen displays and before the bootup tone, you must clean boot the system and single-step through the remainder of the bootup sequence. You can still group errors that occur before the beep into two distinct categories:
  • Configuration errors.
  • Hardware failures.
    A special category of problems tends to occur when a new hardware option is added to the system, or when the system is used for the very first time. These problems are called configuration problems , or setup problems. These problems result from mismatches between the system's programmed configauration held in CMOS memory and the actual equipment installed in the system.
    It is usually necessary to access the system's CMOS setup utility in the following three situations:
  • When the system is first constructed.
  • When it becomes necessary to replace the CMOS backup battery on the system board.
  • When a new or different option is added to the system (such as memory devices, hard drives, floppy drives, or video display), it might be necessary to access the setup utility to accept the changes that have been implemented.


Electronics engineering, or electronic engineering, is an engineering discipline where non-linear and active electrical components such as electron tubes, and semiconductor devices, especially transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, are utilized to design electronic circuits, devices and systems, typically also including passive electrical components and based on printed circuit boards. The term denotes a broad engineering field that covers important subfields such as analog electronics, digital electronics, consumer electronics, embedded systems and power electronics. Electronics engineering deals with implementation of applications, principles and algorithms developed within many related fields, for example solid-state physics, radio engineering, telecommunications, control systems, signal processing, systems engineering, computer engineering, instrumentation engineering, electric power control, robotics, and many others