Troubleshooting Problems When Building Your Own PC
This article will attempt to cover some of the problems that can occur when you build your own computer.
The single most important thing to check is that everything is correctly connected according to the manuals. Your manuals are very important... every build is completely different.
There are a couple of things you should check before anything else:
- Is your CPU fan mounted correctly, and running smoothly?
- Are all the components connected correctly? (Especially power cables)
- Make sure that your motherboard isn't screwed in too tightly to the case.
- Try Removing All Extra Components (hard drive, dvds, extra add-in cards)
- Verify that your CPU is supported by the motherboard
Make absolutely certain that your motherboard supports the exact CPU you are using. If you are using 45nm vs 65nm CPUs, they may not be supported correctly.
When the Computer Beeps But Does Not Turn On
Usually when the computer beeps at you the problem is either that the components have not been correctly connected, or that there is a faulty component.
Verify Memory Installation
Most BIOS versions use one long beep to indicate a problem with the memory. You can usually take one memory stick out and test again - if no luck, test with just the other memory stick.
Check Manufacturer Beep Codes
Each BIOS manufacturer has a set of beep codes that mean certain things. Two short beeps would mean something different than one single beep, etc. Verify which BIOS version you have, and look for their beep codes.
Usually you can find a section of the manual called something like "Starting up for the first time", which will list the most important beep messages.
When Your Computer Won't Turn On OR Beep
In this case, there's likely something connected extremely wrong, or there's a hardware failure. Does anything happen when you press the power button? Is the power button plugged in?
Also, make sure that your power supply is turned on. On the back of the power supply there will be a flip switch to turn it on and off so make sure you did not accidentally turn it off when you were setting everything up.
When Your Computer Turns on and then Immediately Off
This can often indicate an overheating problem - with today's modern CPUs running so fast, any problem in the cooling system can cause them to overheat and shut off quickly.
Verify Your Heatsink / Fan installation
The CPU fan or heatsink must be connected exactly according to the manual. (sometimes it's difficult to push it down enough so that it'll be tight enough against the CPU for the heat to transfer)
Verify that the Heatsink / Fan Turns on
Did you plug the fan into the power connector? Is the fan running smoothly or rattling?
Check if the CPU is being detected at the wrong speed.
If your CPU is being detected incorrectly at the wrong speed, it will turn itself off because it will overheat or have other issues. This can be a result of overclocking settings being set wrong.
Check the CPU Temperature in the BIOS (if you can get that far)
Verify that the Case Wires for Power and Reset are connected correctly
There's some slight possibility that there's a short or a problem with the power switch. You could disconnect the power and reset wires, and carefully use a screwdriver on the two pins for the power button switch (very carefully).
Check for Blown Capacitors
You should look over the motherboard to make sure that there are no blown capacitors (they'd look like the top or sides exploded if so).