In the Forums...
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 18, 2000
Booting Up for the First Time
Before closing up your case, do the following:
- Make sure you've plugged in all your fans
- Check all of your cable connections
- Push down on your add-in cards and RAM modules to make sure they are seated properly
Now you're ready for prime time. Close up your case, plug in your monitor, keyboard, and mouse (you can get the other stuff later), attach the power cable, and power up. If all goes well, you should hear a beep and the BIOS loading screen should pop up. You need to enter your BIOS setup screen (on most computers, you do this by hitting the DEL key). In there, you need to do two things: (a) make sure that the IDE autodetect feature detects your hard drive[s] (and for best results, assign the detected drive in the BIOS so it won't have to detect every drive upon rebooting), and (b) make sure your processor is set to the right speed. If both are all right, skip on down to the BIOS configuration section.
Troubleshooting Common Bootup Problems
What do you do if you can't get your computer to POST (power-on-self-test), or it doesn't detect your hard drives, you should check the following things before calling the respective company's tech support lines:
- Listen for the beep code when you hit the power button. You can use this to determine which part of the computer is causing the problem. If your computer didn't come with the listing of the beep codes for its particular BIOS, you should be able to download them from the net. If you aren't getting a beep, either the speaker isn't plugged in correctly to the motherboard or you've got a dead board that will need to be replaced.
- If you can determine from the beep code what is causing the problem (be it the CPU, the RAM, or whatever) go back into the computer and make sure the connection for that piece is solid. You may need to reset the part using more force than you did originally. RAM slots on extremely cheap or generic motherboards are notorious for needing a lot of force to make a connection.
- If your hard drives aren't being detected properly, make sure that the jumpers are set properly and that the IDE cables are fit snugly into their ports. Also, if you aren't hearing the drive spin up when you hit the power button, check and see if the power cable is properly connected to the drive.
- If the light on your floppy drive won't turn off within a few seconds of boot up, you've got the floppy cable upside down (don't worry, it happens to everyone sometimes). Just go back and flip it over, and it'll work fine.