Build a Computer
Step By Step Instructions to Build Your Own Computer
1. Getting Started
2. A List of Everything you Will Need
3. Choosing Your Parts and Operating System
4. Your Workspace
5. Preparing the Case
6. Power Supply Installation
7. Preparing the Motherboard
8. CPU and Heatsink Installation
9. Memory Installation
10. Motherboard Installation
11. Connect Case Cables to Motherboard
12. Install Video Card
13. Connect Power Supply to Motherboard
14. Quick Power up Test
15. Install the Hard Drive and Floppy Drive
16. Install CD-Rom and/or DVD Drive
17. Connect Internal Cables
18. Connect External Cables
19. First Boot
20. BIOS Setup
21. Preparing the Hard Drive for the OS
22. Install the Operating System
23. Update Drivers
24. Recommendations After You Are Done
25. Troubleshooting Your New Computer
· Guidelines For Dealing With PC Application Errors
· Best Methods To Combat DLL Issues On Your PC
· Simple Steps To Speed Up Your PC
· High CPU Usage Issues And How To Resolve Them
· Common DLL Issues And Solutions
· Alternative PC Operating Systems
· Find Computer Drivers
· Smart Ways To Avoid Frustrating PC Problems
· Common DLL Errors And How You Can Resolve Them
· Tips To Easily Fix Common Computer Problems
· Steps to Researching and Fixing Uncommon PC Errors
· How To Cope With EXE Application Errors
· Guidelines for Resolving Printer Problems
> Getting Started
Building a custom PC is not difficult, but it does take good preparation and the right tools to insure a smooth installation. One of the first things to think about before getting started is what are you going to be using your new computer for primarily?
Type of Machine?
Is this machine going to be used as your daily computer to browse the internet, check e-mails, and do some word processing? Are you going to be doing a lot of digital or video editing? Maybe you want a machine that is capable of playing the latest games?
Selecting the right hardware from the beginning is a key part of building your new machine, and you really need to have a plan for this.
We will discuss in further detail the types of machines that you can build, and the right parts to choose for each one.
What is your Budget?
You should set a general budget for your custom PC project and try to stick to it. There are many different choices of hardware and you can generally streamline your options to come in under budget.
The nice part about building your own computer, is that you can always upgrade and add parts in the future. Maybe you don’t have quite enough money to buy extra memory now, but you definitely can add it in the future for example.
Relax and Have Fun!
Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax. You can use this guide to learn about building your own super computer, or have the parts ready and follow along step by step as you put everything together. You will see that building a computer system is a fun hobby. You can click the links at the bottom of each page to go to the next step. Now, lets get started…
> A List of Everything you Will Need
Ok are you relaxed? Feeling good? Let’s talk about what you are going to need to build your new system.
A good basic computer tool kit would be a wise investment, but if you don’t want to pay for a kit, you may already have some or all of these tools already:
· Phillips Head Screwdriver
· Flat Heat Screwdriver
· Long Nose Pliers
· Anti-Static Strap
· Flash light
Computer Parts Needed
Necessary Computer Parts
· Power Supply
· Processor (CPU)
· Memory (RAM)
· CD-Rom Drive or DVD Drive
Optional Computer Parts and Accessories
· Floppy Drive
· Video Card (If there is no onboard video or you are building a gaming machine)
· Sound Card (if there is no onboard sound or you want high quality surround sound)
· Modem (Used for a dial up internet connection if you are not going with Cable or DSL)
· Power Strip (Highly Recommended)
As we continue along, make sure to stay calm and be patient. Forcing together the computer or missing a step will only lead to frustration as you build the computer. If you are a handyman, or have a natural ability to work with your hands or electronics then this should be easy for you.
Above we have listed the basic things needed to get you started. Next we will talk about the different computer parts, how to select the right ones, and which operating system to choose.
> Choosing Your Parts and Operating System
Now that we have our tools ready, and a list of things needed, it is time to make some decisions on what type of system that we want to build. This is probably the longest section, and for good reason. There is a lot to consider when buying the parts to build your new PC. First, we are going to classify custom PC’s into 3 separate categories. This will help you know what parts to spend more money on and a general guide for the type of machine you are wanting. Second, we will tell you the best places to buy your computer parts, and to save the most amount of money in the process. Third, we are going to list each individual part and a basic description of what it is. We will also list options available for each part.
And last on our list we will talk about which operating system will work best for your needs.
Which Type Of Computer?
Here is a list of computer types. The budgets listed will give you a ball park idea of how much you will need to spend. Pick the one that will best suit your needs and follow the guidelines for selecting hardware for it:
The budget PC is good for a person or family that needs to surf the Web, check e-mail, and do some word processing. It will handle basic games and tasks. Generally the budget PC is comprised of some of the cheapest computer parts available, and will use onboard video and/or sound via the motherboard.
· AMD Sempron or Intel Celeron Processor
· 256MB – 512MB of RAM
· 40GB+ IDE or SATA Hard Drive
· Motherboard with onboard video and sound
· Inexpensive Case and 300+ watt Power Supply
· DVD / CD burner/drive combo
· Inexpensive 15″ – 17″ LCD Monitor
· Inexpensive Keyboard and Mouse
· Inexpensive Speakers
· Basic Inkjet Printer Approximate Budget: $600 or less Workstation
The workstation computer usually serves in a home office or business environment and runs software that requires more processing power and memory. Development tools for databases, Web design, photo editing, and sound engineering need the added resources to work efficiently. Setting up a comfortable and ergonomic environment is one of the most important aspects for the workstation machine, so you may want to splurge on wireless keyboards and mice. For video and sound editing applications it is usually wise to get as much RAM as you can afford, and that the motherboard will allow for.
· AMD Athlon or Pentium 4 Processor
· 512MB – 2GB of RAM
· 250GB+ SATA Hard Drive
· Motherboard that allows for adequate memory
· 256MB AGP or PCI Express Video Card
· Case and 400+ watt Power Supply
· DVD / CD burner/drive combo
· 17″ – 19″ LCD Monitor
· Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
· Inexpensive Speakers
· Inkjet or Laser Printer Approximate Budget: $1200 or less Gaming Machine
The gaming machine is used for playing the latest games that require high end video cards, the fastest processors, and large amounts of memory. The nice thing about building a gaming machine, is that you will be able to run about any software, and not have to worry about performance. Building a gaming machine with the latest hardware can be costly, but it is the price you will have to pay to be able to play the newest games on the market with the performance that you desire. A relatively new option is to buy two video cards and link them together. There are a couple of different video card manufacturers that support this capability. You also will want to get a lot of room for storage, so invest in a large hard drive.
· The latest AMD or Intel Dual Core based Processor
· 2GB of RAM +
· 500GB+ SATA Hard Drive
· Motherboard that allows for large amount of memory, video card linking, and overclocking
· 1 or 2 512MB AGP or PCI Express Video Card(s) that have the option to link with another card
· Full Tower Case and 600+ watt Power Supply
· Multiple DVD / CD burner/drive combo drives
· 19″+ LCD Monitor
· Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
· Satellite Speaker System with Subwoofer
· Inkjet or Laser Printer Approximate Budget: $1500 or more Computer Parts and Options
One of the trickiest things about buying all the parts is making sure that your memory, CPU, video card, and motherboard will all be compatible with one another. Don’t get overwhelmed with the part names and acronyms, model numbers, etc. The key is to make sure that everything fits with the motherboard. If you follow the specifications of the motherboard, you can’t go wrong.
Make a list of the parts and prices to get an idea of your system cost. Here are a few general tips to get started when selecting hardware:
1. We recommend that you first decide on going the Intel or AMD route. AMD is generally cheaper and offers comparable or better performance in some cases, it is just a matter of preference. Buy the retail version that includes a fan.
2. Once you have chosen to go AMD or Intel, decide on a motherboard that fits with the type of system you are buying (budget, workstation, or gaming)
3. Select the Processor that matches your machine type (budget, workstation, or gaming) and motherboard specifications. You will need to make sure that the speed and core type of the processor you select is compatible with the motherboard.
4. Select RAM (memory) according to the motherboard specifications and your machine type
(budget, workstation, or gaming)
5. Choose a video card that makes the most sense for your type of system. Make sure to select one that is compatible with the slots on your motherboard. If you are buying a gaming machine, consider buying two identical cards that can be linked together for performance. The motherboard will have to be able to support this feature as well.
6. Select a hard drive based on your machine type (budget, workstation, or gaming). We recommend going with an SATA hard drive over an IDE hard drive unless you are on a tight budget. The cost difference is not that much, but an IDE drive would be fine for a budget machine.
7. Select a DVD/CD-Rom burner combo drive that will meet the needs of your system type. IDE is the standard type for these drives and should work with about any type of motherboard you buy. Most of these drives will be a combination all in on drive that can handle both reading and writing to CDs and DVDs. The cheapest drives offer great performance and value. If you have a gaming system, or extra needs it may be a good idea to buy two drives to be able to copy or use them both at the same time. You will have to have the ability to read DVDs if you plan on installing a new version of Windows such as Vista.
8. Select a Case and Power supply that will meet the needs of your system. If you have ordered an
SATA hard drive, make sure that your power supply has SATA power connectors.
9. Decide on a monitor that is compatible with the type of output that your video card has. You want to go with digital (DVI) monitor and video card if possible for improved image quality. We highly recommend an LCD monitor for the small footprint and price.
10. Choose all of the rest of your peripherals and accessories, including keyboard, mouse, printer, and scanner if necessary.
11. A network and sound card should not be necessary, as most motherboards that you can buy have these built in. If you are serious about your sound though, and want better quality with surround you might invest in a separate sound card.
12. We recommend going with broadband (Cable or DSL) for your internet connection, which will likely need an Ethernet port to connect to, which should be built into your motherboard (so you do not need to purchase additional hardware for this). If you want to go with a slower dialup
internet service you will need to buy a PCI based 56k modem however. These are very inexpensive.
Operating System Choices
It’s a fact that most of the PC’s running today are driven by one of the many flavors of Windows. The alternative to Windows is to run one of the many distributions of Linux, but if you are new to computers or to building your own machine, we recommend sticking with Windows for the large amount of software available for it, and support community.
For any of the types of systems that we have been talking about, (budget, workstation, or gaming), Windows XP is probably the standard right now. Windows XP comes in a few different versions, but we will focus on the two main ones:
Windows XP Home
Perfect for a budget PC, Windows XP home lacks networking tools and other business related features. It is just fine for the budget based computer.
Windows XP Professional
You will want to buy Windows XP Professional if you plan on networking computers together, or want some of the added features and business functionality. Unless you are building a budget based machine, we would recommend Windows XP Professional over Windows XP Home.
Now as we are completing this Web site, Microsoft has introduced it’s newest operating system, Windows Vista. It comes in 5 main versions, which can be a bit confusing. It also comes in 32 bit and 64 bit versions, but with limited driver support for the 64 bit version, we feel it is not worth the effort at this time, especially for home users. When you buy Windows Vista you will be getting both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions, so you can always move to the 64 bit version down the road if you hardware supports it. We will briefly list the different versions below as described by Microsoft:
Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic is ideal for homes with basic computing needs like e-mail, browsing the Internet, and viewing photos. Easy to set up and maintain, it enables you to quickly find what you’re looking for on your PC and the Internet, while providing a more secure environment to help protect you from an unpredictable world.
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium is the preferred edition for home desktop and mobile PCs. It provides a breakthrough design that brings your world into sharper focus while delivering the productivity, entertainment, and security you need from your PC at home or on the go.
Windows Vista Business
Windows Vista Business is the first edition of Windows designed specifically to meet the needs of small businesses. You’ll spend less time on technology support-related issues—so you can spend more time making your business successful. Windows Vista Business is the definitive choice for your business today and tomorrow.
Windows Vista Enterprise
Designed to significantly lower IT costs and risks, Windows Vista Enterprise meets the needs of large, global organizations with complex IT infrastructures.
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows Vista Ultimate is the choice for those who want to have it all. Easily shift between the worlds of productivity and play with the most complete edition of Windows Vista. Ultimate provides the power, security, and mobility features needed for work, and all the entertainment features that you want for fun.
For most users, we recommend Vista Home Premium. It has the functionality and features that most home users need. If you are in a business environment, go with the Business or Enterprise edition, depending on your companies needs.
So should I choose Windows XP or Windows Vista?
If you are building a budget based or cheaper PC, then Windows XP is the way to go, and specifically home if you do not need to network it. For improved security, functionality, and newer features then we would recommend going with Windows Vista. Keep in mind that as a new operating system, driver and software support can be flaky. Also the hardware requirements for Windows Vista are a lot higher than Windows XP, so keep that in mind. If you do decide to go with a Windows Vista installation, make sure that all of your hardware is certified as ‘Windows Vista’ compatible. If you are the adventurous type and are building a higher end machine, choose Windows Vista 🙂
How Much is My Custom PC Going to Cost?
Now that you have made a list and you can see if the entire system, including shipping costs, will meet your budget. If you come in under your budget, expand your memory or upgrade another component such as the video card to improve performance.If you are over budget you can cut back on some of the costlier accessories, or reduce the amount of memory, or CPU speed to curb the cost. Again, the nice thing about building your own custom computer is that you can easily add components and upgrade in the future and get more for your money down the road.
Keep Boxes and Understand the Warranties and Return Policies
After you have everything ordered and receive your shipment, make sure to check and make sure that you received all of the correct parts. Often computer parts will have a warranty that doesn’t last very long, so it is important to understand this, especially on OEM parts. Keep all of the original boxes in case you need to make a return. Whew! Did you get through all of that without falling asleep?!? The planning stage is the most time consuming part of the process, but well worth it.
Our next step in the process of building a new PC is selecting the proper workspace.
> Your Workspace
Selecting the proper workspace for your computer building project is very important. You need enough space to layout all of your parts, and you need good lighting to see what you are doing inside the case.
A large computer desk is a good area to work on, where you can have the parts all to one side.
Another solution is a large kitchen table with overhead lights. You want to avoid working on the ground, and especially the carpet because of the threat of static electricity. You will need to have an ESD wrist strap handy and use it at all times when handling your PC parts and building your computer. Once you have selected your workspace, go ahead and layout all of your tools and parts. We are ready to get started building the PC!
> Preparing the Case
Now that we have our workspace ready to go with our parts and tools laid out, we need to get our case ready to install everything. Most cases are laid out generally the same way, but our example assumes that you are using a standard sized ATX type case. Some cases have a removable tray that the motherboard fits on also, but the holes to install the motherboard will be the same. If
these directions don’t match the type of case you have, make sure to consult the documentation that came with your case.
We have included some photos to help you understand the steps involved.
Opening the Case
1. Open the left side of the case, by removing the two screws in the back that hold the side on.
Once the screws are removed, you may need to slide the panel back completely along the rails
to remove it. Your case may have clips instead of screws, and you will need to undo the clips to remove the side. If you have a more expensive case that is locking, make sure the lock is undone before trying to remove the side of the case.
2. Once you have access to the inside of the case, you will probably see some hardware that has been included, including instructions. You may want to go ahead and open the bag of hardware and have the instructions handy as you follow along.
Now is probably the best time to get your wrist strap out and get yourself properly grounded to avoid damage to your parts as we start working. Follow the installation directions of your wrist strap and continue on below. If you choose to work without a wrist strap, make sure to touch the case every time you start working on the computer, to
remove static electricity from your body.
Understanding the Inside of the Case
After taking a look inside the case for the first time, you should see a lot of wires running every which way. The twisted looking wires are used to connect such things are your case speaker,
hard drive light, power light, and power switch. There may be an extra set of wires running from the top or the bottom of the case as well that connect to the USB ports on the front of your case if it so equipped.
You may have a fan at the bottom front of the case with a power wire running from it, which is used for cooling and airflow. There should be a speaker mounted somewhere on the front part of the case with a wire coming from it that will later be attached to the motherboard. If you bought a case that already has a power supply installed, you will see the power supply mounted in the upper rear, with many different power connectors coming out of it. These various connectors are used to supply power to your hard drive, CD/Rom and DVD drives, floppy drive, speaker, and motherboard etc. We won’t be doing anything with these wires until we get the motherboard installed, so move everything aside as good as you can, to make a clear open space to mount the motherboard into the case.
Install Motherboard Standoffs
Now you will want to get that bag of hardware back out that came with your case, and remove the motherboard standoffs. You will probably also need to get your needle nose pliers ready for screwing them in. The motherboard standoffs are the small screws that have a male and female end to them. This will allow a base for your motherboard to set on, that you can then attach the screws to.
1. Remove your motherboard from the case and packaging and examine the holes that are present on the motherboard. This is where the screws will go.
2. Examine the holes inside the case, and hold the motherboard inside the case, and figure out where you need to screw the standoffs into the case to match the holes on the motherboard. When you think you have them all in correctly, set the motherboard on top of the standoffs one last time to make sure you didn’t miss any.
Make sure you get the standoffs screwed in tightly, as these will serve as the base and support for your motherboard on the case. You can now remove the motherboard, set it aside, and continue below.
Install I/O Plate
The I/O plate is the metallic looking piece that fits in the large rectangular space on the back of the case. It should snap into the space with ease, and it will fit around all of the I/O ports on the back of the motherboard when it is installed.
Remove front Covers on Case
Now would also be a good time to figure out think about where you want to install your
DVD/CD Rom drive and floppy drive at.
On the front of the case, you will see the individual panels that can be removed. Depending on the size of your case, you should have a few of the larger panels towards the top. Think about where you want the DVD/CD Rom to be installed, and pop out that section. For aesthetics, generally the top most slot works the best.
Repeat this process for the floppy drive if you bought one, and remove the smaller panel below where you want your floppy drive to sit at.
NOTE: You may need to use your flat head screwdriver to gently pry the panels loose. Don’t put too much effort into it though, as they should easily come out.
When it comes time to install these drives, you will now be able to slide them in from the front of the case.
We have successfully prepared the case for installing parts, and now it is time to move on and install the power supply if your case did not come with one already.
> Power Supply Installation
If the case that you bought already has a power supply installed, then you can skip this step. If not continue on below.
1. Take the power supply out of the box and make sure to switch to 115v if it is not already
(If you are outside the United States, this will be different)
2. Mount the power supply to the upper back part of the case by inserting the power supply through the side of the case, and then sliding it on the support rails in the back. (NOTE: If your power supply has two fans, make sure the second fan is pointing down.)
3. If you have everything lined up correctly, you should be able to attach the power supply to the case with the four screws in the back that hold it in place.
We now have the power source necessary to run everything! The next step is to prepare the motherboard for installation.
> Preparing the Motherboard
It may not even be necessary to do anything on this step, depending on the age and type of your motherboard.
Motherboards over time have lost many of the ‘jumpers’ that were required for configuring the board. Most of the setup is done with the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) that is accessible when you first turn on your computer.
You will need to view your motherboard instruction manual, and see if any jumpers need to be set on the motherboard itself for configuration. Common settings include CPU voltage and bus speed, so read through the directions and make sure that these or anything else does not need to be configured on motherboard before continuing.
After you set anything on the motherboard that is necessary, you will want to lay out the number of screws you need to install the motherboard inside the case, and set the motherboard on a flat surface so we can install the CPU and memory. It is a good idea to keep the motherboard on the anti static bag that it came with to reduce the possibility of damage due to static.
We also recommend to have the motherboard manual handy as we start to build your computer.
Let’s move on to installing the CPU and heatsink next!
> CPU and Heatsink Installation
Now we are getting started! This isn’t very hard is it?
Inspect the CPU
Before installing the CPU, we recommend that you take it out of the packaging and verify that you have received the correct one that you ordered. With all of the different core types and speeds, it is necessary to check before installing. You also want to check the pins on the underside of the processor, and make sure that all are straight with no damage. Try to avoid touching the pins with your bare fingers if possible.
If everything looks good continue on below.
Depending on your choice of Intel or AMD, your socket type may look different. Generally, all sockets on a motherboard have a latching feature, which holds the CPU in place.
NOTE: If these instructions do not match your motherboard and CPU type then consult the directions that came with your CPU for proper installation.
1. Unlatch the socket on the motherboard by pulling the lever up.
2. You should see a small triangle on one corner of the socket. You will need to match this up to the triangle on the processor, so the triangles are oriented and in the same position. Once you
have these lined up, simply set the CPU onto the socket and gently move until it falls into place. (You shouldn’t have to force the CPU in the socket, and if it is not going in easily, something is wrong. Check the pins for damage if it is not sliding in correctly)
3. Push the lever back down to secure the CPU into the socket.
Processors run very hot, and it is necessary to attach a cooling device to control the temperature as your computer runs. If you bought the retail version of your CPU selection like we recommended, it should have come with a fan and heatsink combo. Again, depending on your choice between AMD and Intel, your heatsink and fan may look different. We recommend following the directions that came with your CPU for specifics on attaching to the top of the CPU, but here are the general directions.
1. Remove the heatsink/fan from the box, and make sure to remove the plastic cover that is over the bottom. This plastic cover is to keep the thermal grease in place with shipment. You need to remove the plastic cover so the thermal grease can attach to the CPU and improve heat
2. Place the heatsink and fan combo squarely on the CPU
3. Attach the mounting brackets from the heatsink over the tabbed parts of your CPU socket.
Many times this is a small square tab sticking out on each side of the socket. It will probably be necessary to use a flat screwdriver to push down when attaching the second side.
4. There may be a large lever that you need to turn clockwise and push down to finish attaching the heatsink. This insures the heatsink and fan are firmly attached.
Connect CPU Fan to Motherboard
Your motherboard should have a place to connect the wire from the CPU fan to, and it should match the number of pins that the connector has. Please consult your motherboard manual to see where you need to connect your CPU fan to for power. This is an important step, because we do not want to run the computer without proper cooling to the CPU, as it may cause damage.
We have just installed the Processor and are ready to continue building your new computer. The next step in the process is memory installation.
> Memory Installation
The next step is to get the memory installed and this is a very easy step.
1. Remove the memory from the packaging and notice the number of pins on the bottom of the memory module. One side will have more pins than the other side, and there will be a large gap in between the two sides of pins.
2. Look at the memory slots on the motherboard and you can see the same pattern, with one side having more pins than the other.
3. Make sure you match the pattern up on both the memory stick and the motherboard, and place the memory into the slot, and firmly push down.
4. The memory should ‘snap’ into place, and you want to make sure that the plastic tabs at each end of the memory slot are tightly secure to the sides of the memory.
5. If you have more than one memory module, repeat the above process to install the remainder of the memory.
NOTE: You should not have to really force the memory into the slot, it should go fairly easily. Make sure you have the memory turned the right way, and that the side tabs are not in your way as you push it into the slot.
That was easy huh? Now that we have the ‘core’ of our components installed on the motherboard, it is time to install the motherboard itself. We installed the CPU and memory before installing
the motherboard because it is generally easier to work with the motherboard out of the case. You could however install these things while the motherboard was in the case.
> Motherboard Installation
Since we have already prepared the case, installing the motherboard into the case should be fairly easy.
Mount the Motherboard onto the Standoffs
1. Put the motherboard into the case, and set it onto the open screw holes which have been created by the standoffs. If you matched the pattern before to the case, you should have the same number of openings to insert screws into. (To get the holes to line up perfectly, you may need to push the motherboard back towards where the I/O plate is, as this generally fits snugly)
2. Insert screws into all of the holes and tighten gently. It is not necessary to overtighten these screws.
You should now be looking at your motherboard installed inside the case! The I/O ports should be sticking out the back and should fit squarely and snug. If you could not install all of the
screws or the I/O ports do not fit correctly through the plate, make sure to correct this before you continue. The slots on the motherboard to line up correctly and be straight for add on cards to be
We have the motherboard installed, and now it is time to get all of the cables on the inside connected.
> Connect Case Cables to Motherboard
With the motherboard installed, it is time to connect the internal cables that run from the case.
Connect the Cables from the Case
It is difficult to give detailed instructions for this, because every motherboard and case is different. In general, you should have twisted cables for the speaker, case fan, hard drive light, power light, power switch and reset buttons. You may also have cables for USB ports if your case has them built in.
Your motherboard manual will have a detailed diagram on where to attach these. Follow the directions on where these go for a smooth installation. Make sure to attach the wires in the correct orientation, usually each set of wires has a ground so it is pretty easy to figure out which way they go.
If you are not using onboard video via the motherboard, then the next step is to install the video card into the proper slot.
> Install Video Card
If you bought and plan on installing a separate video card for your new computer please continue below. If you bought a motherboard that has onboard video built in, you may skip this step.
1. Remove the card from the original packaging and look at the slot type on the card. It should match the slot that is on your motherboard. (AGP and PCI Express are currently the most popular video card types)
2. Hold the card in the proxmity of where it will be installed in the slot. You will need to remove the back cover plate with your screwdriver where the card will stick through the back of the case.
3. Gently install the card into the slot, by pushing until it fits snug into place. There may be an extra tab as part of the slot the wraps around and helps secure the card.
4. Replace the screw that you removed for the slot, to secure the card to the back of the case.
That is it for the video card installation, not too difficult is it? Next we need to attach the power supply connector(s) to our motherboard.
> Connect Power Supply to Motherboard
This is a very quick step, and will allow us to prepare ourselves for a test to see how smoothly our computer building project is going.
Attach the Power Supply Connector
If you have an ATX style power supply, it will have one large connector, and possibly a smaller square connector that both need to be attached to provide power to the motherboard. They can only be attached on way, and each have a tab that needs to be pressed as you push them into their respective slots. You should here a ‘click’ and be able to feel when they are secure.
> Quick Power Up Test
With the CPU, memory, and video card installed on the motherboard, and our case cables and power supply connected, now is a good time to do a quick power up test to see if we get video or not, and to make sure that the fans are all operating correctly.
1. Plug in your power strip to the wall and turn it on, and then plug the PC power cable that came with your motherboard or power supply from the surge strip to the back of the power supply. Make sure the power supply is set to the proper voltage (115v in the US) and that the switch is in the on position.
2. A small LED light may come on somewhere on the motherboard, telling you that the motherboard now has power. Your motherboard may or may not have such a light.
3. Plug the monitor and keyboard into their respective ports.
4. Make sure your monitor is also plugged in to your power strip.
NOTE: Make sure you have the CPU fan connected to the proper place on the motherboard for power. Starting the computer without proper CPU cooling can cause damage to the processor, even if it does not run for very long.
Now comes the moment of truth. Go ahead and push the power button on the front of the case (it should be the largest button on the front) and see what happens.
If all is well, you should hear the power supply fan, CPU fan and case fan(s) start, and see some video on the monitor for the first time. Here we want to make sure that all fans are operating as they should, and that we have video. If we can see something on the monitor, then it is very likely that the CPU and memory are operating properly and that everything is installed OK.
If everything that was just mentioned happens, then shut off the computer and move on to the next step.
Oh No, Nothing is Happening!
If the computer will not power on, then double check your power connections from the power supply to the motherboard and try again. Double check to make sure your power switch cable is installed correctly to the motherboard.
If you fail to see video then make sure your monitor is attached correctly. If you hear the fans starting but do not see any video make sure that you attached the second power connector from your power supply to the motherboard. It should be a smaller type connector.
If you are still having problems, reverse your steps and reinstall the memory and video card and CPU. If you cannot get the machine to power on at this point, and are sure everything is installed correctly, then it is likely that you have a defective component. You will know if the power supply is defective because the fan will not run when you power it on. Consult with who you bought your parts from for more assistance on troubleshooting and determining which part is defective.
The next step on how to build a computer is to install the hard drive and floppy drive.
> Install Hard Drive and Floppy Drive
Now that we know our main components are working after doing our quick power up test, we can finish building the computer. We are going to configure all of the drives, and install them in the case.
Installing the Hard Drive
1. Remove the hard drive from its packaging/anti static bag.
2. Select where you want to place the hard drive within the case, usually there are a couple of spots labeled ‘HDD’ where the hard drive is intended to go.
3. On the top of the hard drive, there should be a diagram telling you how to jumper the drive for installation.
4. If this is your only hard drive, and it is an SATA type drive, then you can set the drive as ‘master’.
Follow the diagram and place the jumper across the pins to make this setting. Many times leaving a jumper off completely will default the drive as master.
5. If you are installing an IDE type drive with another IDE hard drive or DVD/CD rom drive on the same cable, then set your jumper for master or cable select. Cable select means the computer will auto configure it for you. If you do set the drive to master, make sure you set the other drive you are installing on the same cable to ‘slave’ by setting the jumper correctly.
6. Once you have the drive jumpered and setup correctly, push it into the slot you want and line up the screw holes with the case. Make sure to leave the back to attach connections open, so you will want this facing to the rear.
7. Attach the four screws to the case and you are set!
Installing the Floppy Drive
It is not as necessary as it used to be to have a floppy drive installed in your computer, but we recommend having one. If you did buy one follow the steps below:
1. Remove the floppy drive from its packaging/anti static bag.
2. You should have already removed the front cover of where you want it to go, so slide the floppy into the case from the front in your designated open bay.
3. Line up the holes with the drive and the case, and make sure the floppy drive is flush with the front edge of the case.
4. Attach the screws to the case to secure the drive.
Let’s continue on to install your DVD and/or CD-Rom drives.
> Install CD-Rom and/or DVD Drive
When we prepared the case before, we recommended that you remove the front cover(s) for the location where you wanted to install your CD-Rom and/or DVD drive. The next step is to make sure they are configured correctly, and position them in the case.
1. Remove the drive from its packaging/anti static bag.
2. Your drive should be an IDE type drive, and we will need to configure the drive, depending on if it is installed on its own cable or not. If the drive is on its own cable, and you have already installed an SATA hard drive, then set the jumper to master on the
drive. Like the hard drive we configured before, there should be a diagram somewhere on
the drive, or labeled on the drive directly how to configure it as master. If the drive is sharing a cable with the hard drive, we recommend setting is as cable select if your IDE hard drive was set to cable select, or slave if the IDE hard drive has been set to master.
3. You should have already removed the front cover of where you want it to go, so and slide the drive into the case from the front.
4. Line up the holes with the drive and the case, and make sure the drive is flush with the front edge of the case.
5. Attach the screws to the case to secure the drive.
6. If you have more than one CD-Rom or DVD drive to install, repeat the exact same process as above.
Now that we have all of our drives secure in the case, it is time to hook everything up.
> Connect Internal Cables
This is starting to look like a real computer isn’t it? We are approaching the home stretch so hang in there. We have to attach the drives to our motherboard and power supply next. The cables you need to attach everything should have come with either your motherboard or individual drives, depending on if you bought the retail or OEM versions. Get the cables out as you will need them to install the drives.
Connect Hard Drive Cables
1. If you bought an SATA hard drive, the cable going from the drive to the motherboard is very easy to install, as the connectors can only fit one way into the drive and motherboard connections. Connect one end to the hard drive, and the other connector to the hard drive, aligning the connectors properly. If you bought an IDE hard drive, more than likely the connectors are tabbed, and can only fit one way into the connection slots. To be sure, when connecting the IDE cable to the hard drive, you want the red stripe facing closest to the power connecter. This is also known as ‘pin 1’, and is always installed this way. Attach the other end of the cable to the motherboard by installing it into the slot. Make sure both connections are snug and tight.
2. Attach the SATA power connector from the power supply to the back of the hard drive if you have this drive type, or one of the standard power connectors if you have an IDE version. (A standard power connector will be the same shape as the connection slot on your drive, long and rectangular in shape)
Connect Floppy Cables
1. You will notice two connectors on the floppy cable probably, and since we have only one floppy drive, you want to attach the connector that is after the twist on the cable. This will mean that the floppy drive will be labeled as the A: drive within your operating system.
2. Attach the other end of the cable to the motherboard, more than likely this will only fit one way, similar to attaching the other end.
3. Use the small power connector that runs from the power supply and plug it into the back of the floppy drive. Again, this can only be connected one way.
Connect CD-Rom / DVD Drive Cables
1. As described above, on an IDE cable more than likely the connectors are tabbed, and can only fit one way into the connection slots. To be sure, when connecting the IDE cable to the hard drive, you want the red stripe facing closest to the power connecter. This is also known as ‘pin 1’, and
is always installed this way. Attach the other end of the cable to the motherboard by installing it into the slot. Make sure both connections are snug and tight.
2. Attach a standard power connector from the power supply to the back of the drive. (A standard power connector will be the same shape as the connection slot on your drive, long and rectangular in shape)
All of our drives are now secure, connected and have a power source. We can now finishing connecting things to the outside of the case.
> Connect External Cables
Now that everything is finished up on the inside of the machine, we need to connect all of our external devices such as the keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
1. If you still have the monitor connected from before on our quick power up test great! If not, go ahead and connect it to the video port on the video card now. If you have onboard video this will be mixed in with the other I/O ports on the back of the case, and if you installed it seperately to a slot it will be farther down in the back.
2. Connect the keyboard, mouse, and speakers to the matching I/O ports on the back of the case. Many times these are color coded so it makes it easier to connect. They are also labeled next to the ports with a mouse symbol for mouse, keyboard for keyboard etc.
3. Depending on how you plan on connecting to the internet, either connect the phone line to your modem OR connect the network cable that runs from you cable modem, DSL modem, or wireless router to the network port on the back of your computer. It will be the port that looks similar to a phone jack, just slightly larger.
4. If you bought a scanner or printer, you can go ahead and connect it now, since Windows will detect and set the drivers for you when you run installation for the first time.
With everything attached to the inside and the outside of your new computer, we are ready to try and do a full boot test for the first time. Keep the side off the case so we can make sure everything is functioning properly, and troubleshoot if necessary.
> First Boot
The goal of the first boot, is to test out all of our hardware and make sure that there are no problems before we get ready to install the operating system.
Now that everything is connected, go ahead and press the power button to start the machine up. Check and make sure that things are operating like on our previous quick power on test, mainly that the fans are working and we have video.
If the computer has been built correctly to this point, you should see a posting of the memory available and then a message stating that a first boot device or OS needs to be installed. Since we have nothing on the new hard drive, this is normal, and shows that the computer is properly seeing the hard drive.
Next we need to go into the BIOS and configure the DVD drive to be bootable for installation of
> Bios Setup
We will need to access the BIOS now on your computer, and this is usually accomplished by pressing and holding down the ‘delete’ key after you turn on your computer. Depending on your BIOS type, the key or keys you enter may be different. Please consult your motherboard manual on how to access the BIOS if it is not the delete key.
You will also need to follow the instructions in your motherboard manual for changing the first boot up device, and you need to set the first boot device to be your DVD drive.
Why, you may ask, do we change the computer to boot from the DVD drive?
The newest versions of Windows are on media that is bootable, and will start the installation process themselves when you turn on the computer. When you have a hard drive with nothing on it, this is a quick and easy way to get your operating system installed.
We should not be too concerned with any of the other settings in the BIOS at this time. Later, after we have everything installed and working properly, we can come back to the BIOS to tweak some settings, but for now it is not necessary.
Let’s get ready to install our operating system on the hard drive.
> Preparing the Hard Drive for the OS
This step may not even be necessary, but we wanted to include it for reference. The newest versions of Windows, including Windows XP and Windows Vista, have a way to partition and format the hard drive during the installation process. If you plan on installing either of these versions of Windows on a new hard drive as a standard installation, then you do not have to do anything except specify how you want the drive setup during the install process. Skip the information below and continue on to the next step.
If you plan on installing multiple operating systems, or want the drive split up into separate sections or partitions, then you may want to so this before starting the install. Third party utilit ies are available to handle partitioning and formatting, some of which are free. This will need to be done to the hard drive prior to installing windows if you have a specific way you want to set the drive up. Make sure to use a compatible file type if you do your own partitioning, NTFS for Windows XP is recommended, and Windows Vista uses a newer version of NTFS so make sure your partition utility program will set the drive up to be ready for Vista if you are planning to install it.
We are going to assume that this is a standard Windows installation, and continue on to the next step.
> Install the Operating System
We have set our DVD drive to be the first bootable drive in the BIOS. Now we can continue and install Windows on our blank hard drive.
1. Start the computer with your Windows operating system install disc in the DVD drive.
You may have to power the computer on once to have power to open the DVD drive.
2. The computer should now boot into Windows Setup, and start your installation. As we mentioned before, you will have the option to partition and format your drive for your Windows installation as the setup program takes care of all this for you. Follow the on screen prompts, and your documentation that came with your version of Windows to complete the installation.
Once the Windows installation is complete, you can go to the next section below.
> Update Drivers
With your new installation of Windows, you have now completed building your first computer, and you are ready to start tweaking your system!
One of the first steps will be to get your internet connection up and running. You will have to select an ISP (Internet Service Provider) if you have not already, to setup a subscription to get internet service to your house. We recommend going with broadband (Cable or DSL) it is available for your area. Expect to pay $30-$50 monthly for this type of service. Dial up service is available through most regular phone carriers, but the service is slow and not as reliable. To fully take advantage of what the internet has to offer, go with broadband!
We recommend that you run Windows update, which will apply any security patches and
updates to Windows that are necessary. We also recommend that you update the drivers for all of
your hardware components (motherboard, video card, etc) to make sure you are running the latest and most stable drivers.
NOTE: If you have decided to go with Windows Vista, hopefully you followed our recommendations to buy hardware that is ‘Vista Certified’. As with all new operating systems, driver and software support may not be universally supported. If you find yourself having trouble getting a piece of hardware to work in Vista, then try our message forums, or look to the Web for help.
> Recommendations After You Are Done
Congratulations! You have successfully built yourself a new PC computer!
You can now go ahead and put the side back on the case, and attach the screws to the back to hold it in place. The case is designed to direct air flow a certain way and you want to keep the case closed in most situations.
Installing software and learning about your new computer are probably going to be the next steps in your journey.
Buy a few books on how to run Windows, and there is a wealth of information on the Web as well for learning.
Hopefully everything went smoothly as you built your new computer, but if not we offer some troubleshooting tips and solutions in the final section.
Troubleshooting Your New Computer
Having problems with your newly built PC? We have categorized different kinds of basic problems, and offer some tips to try below. Some of the answers may seem obvious, but you should always start troubleshooting the easiest things first, and work backwards. Many times cable connections will be a cause of failure, so always check first and don’t assume!
My computer will not power up
1. Check to make sure the power cord is plugged in securely to both the computer and outlet. If using a power strip, it needs to be turned on.
2. Try another power cord and/or power strip.
3. Try plugging it into another outlet.
4. If you are confident that your outlet and cord are fine, then replace the power supply.
Computer shuts itself off
Does the computer shut off at the same time consistently (after opening a certain application), or is the problem intermittent?
If you notice the computer shutting down specifically when running certain software, then there may be some corrupted files or the windows registry has problems. You should try and uninstall the software and reinstall.
Many times when a computer shuts itself off randomly it is a hardware related problem, either having to do with the CPU getting too hot, or the power supply starting to fail, or perhaps you are running a power supply that is not supplying enough power for all of the hardware that you have. Open the case and make sure all fans are running properly. Go into the BIOS and view the
hardware monitor for your motherboard and processor. Look at the temperature readings. If they
are much higher than normal, or exceed what the manufacturer recommends as acceptable, then try replacing the CPU Fan. If everything seems ok, you can try hooking up a different power supply if you have one handy.
When I turn on my computer there is no video
1. Check to make sure the monitor is plugged in securely to the video card, and that the monitor is powered on.
2. Is there a light on the monitor at all? Generally an orange light or message on the screen indicates that there is no video signal, while a green light means that the signal is OK.
3. Try to hook up a different monitor to see if you have video. If you do then the monitor is failing.
4. Install a new video card if possible to determine whether or not the current one is faulty.
5. Some motherboards come with onboard video, you can use this to test as well. The onboard video must be disabled in the BIOS and/or Windows usually, so you might check to make sure that it is. This could be the cause of not seeing the video to begin with.
Guidelines For Dealing With PC Application
Most computer errors can be classified into two categories – hardware errors and software errors. Hardware errors are usually less common than software related errors. Most software errors such as DLL errors and EXE errors are much easier to troubleshoot in comparison to hardware errors.
In this article we will learn how to troubleshoot common DLL errors, such as the uus.dll or gameux.dll errors.
Perform a malware scan
Malware programs not only adversely affect the performance of your Windows computer, but are also the root cause of many software errors such as DLL errors. Malicious programs, such as virus, rootkit, Trojan, and worms delete or change DLL files. As a result, every time an application tries to execute a DLL file that is infected or was deleted by malware, a DLL error occurs.
To repair DLL errors, run a malware scan of your entire computer with the help of good quality antivirus and antispyware software.
Perform System Restore
Incorrect modifications done to core Windows files may also cause a DLL error. If you have recently made any changes to any core Windows file and started receiving recurring DLL errors soon after that, then use the built-in System Restore utility to roll back your system to a prior date.
Perform a registry scan
A corrupt or unclean registry may also cause recurring DLL errors, such as the uus.dll error or the gameux.dll error on your computer. To fix these issues, we recommend you clean your registry with the help of a reliable registry cleaning utility. Top-rated registry cleaning software allows you to conduct custom registry scans to identify and fix DLL issues.
Download the missing DLL file from a reputable DLL online directory
If the DLL error such as the xvidcore.dll not found error is occurring due to a missing DLL file, download a copy of the missing DLL from a free and trusted online DLL directory.
Next, save the file in its correct folder. If you are not sure of the DLL’s default location, then save it in C:\Windows\System32 (for Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista) folder.
In case the DLL file named in the error message is a Windows file, extract the DLL file from your Windows installation CD or DVD to fix the DLL error.
Reinstall the application that is generating the DLL error
Often, you may receive a DLL error only when you run a particular program and not with other programs or applications. If this is the case, uninstall the application with which you are getting the DLL error and reinstall it. This should fix the DLL error.
When you uninstall a program, make sure all the files, processes, and registry entries related to the program are also removed. Leftover processes or registry entries may cause errors in the future and have an adverse affect on your system’s performance. Either use the built-in Add or remove programs utility or a reliable third-party uninstaller program to ensure complete uninstallation of programs or applications.
Update your drivers
Obsolete driver files may also cause recurring DLL errors. To repair DLL errors that are occurring due to the use of outdated drivers, install the latest device drivers on your computer. You may seek the help of a reliable third-party driver scanner tool to automatically update your device drivers.
Best Methods To Combat DLL Issues On
In this article, we will explain what a DLL file is and the steps you can follow to troubleshoot DLL errors on your own. Each computer consists of several DLL files. A DLL file contains code that allows it to complete a specific function. A single DLL file can be used by multiple applications to perform a specific function.
DLL errors are among the most common computer errors. Generally, DLL errors do not indicate a serious problem in your computer and can be easily fixed.
Shared below are a few examples of common DLL error messages that you may come across:
· “The mp3.dll file is missing”
· “This application has failed to load. An important component: msvcp71.dll was not found.
Reinstall the application to fix the error.
· “Xvidcore.dll not found”
A DLL file is missing from my computer – How do I fix this DLL error?
The most common reason behind DLL errors is a missing DLL file. If the DLL error that you are getting is due to a missing DLL file, you will need to procure a new copy of the DLL file and save it in its default location. If you do not know the default location, save the file in your
System folder (for windows XP and Windows Vista, it is C:\Windows\System32) Shared below are tips that help you procure or replace a missing DLL file:
· Recover the missing DLL file using a file recovery tool
If you have mistakenly deleted the DLL file and have also removed it from your Recycle Bin, use a reliable third-party file recovery tool to procure the missing DLL file.
· Download the DLL file from Internet
Various websites allow users a free download of numerous DLL files. You may download the missing DLL file from a reputable online DLL Directory.
· Extract the missing DLL from the Windows Installation CD
In case the DLL file that is missing is a Windows file, most probably a copy of the DLL file will be present in your Windows Installation CD. Extract the missing DLL from the Windows Installation CD to fix the missing DLL error. In fact, this is the preferred method of replacing a missing or damaged file when it comes to Windows files.
The DLL file is present – but I’m still getting a “missing” or “not found” DLL
Run a malware scan on your computer using advanced antivirus and antispyware tools to repair the issue. Malware programs such as viruses, trojans, and rootkits corrupt your DLLs by altering their codes. Other applications or processes are unable to access the infected DLL file and missing or not found DLL errors occur.
In case malware scans show no infection, uninstall and reinstall the application in which you are getting the DLL error. Incorrect installation of programs or overwriting of a current version of a DLL file with an older version may also cause DLL errors to occur.
If everything else fails, turn to the Windows registry for answers. An unclean or damaged
registry can cause frequent DLL errors such as msvcp71.dll error, mp3.dll error, and xvidcore.dll
errors. Run a registry scan using reliable registry cleaning software to clean your registry and to fix various computer errors, including DLL errors that are the result of an unclean and damaged registry.
Simple Steps To Speed Up Your PC
Why does the performance of a computer drop over time? There are many factors that contribute to this. Some of the most common ones are listed below:
· Insufficient resources
· Little or no maintenance
· Malware infection
· Registry Issues
Follow the pointers illustrated in this article and constant thoughts, such as how to speed up my
PC will be things of past.
Check your hardware configuration with your system requirements
Running too much on too little fuel is bound to slow your computer. Check your hardware configuration, such as RAM, video or graphics card, and hard disk space with your requirements. Ensure that your hardware configuration sufficiently meets your requirements.
Perform Disk Maintenance activities
Windows computers come with three useful built-in utilities that not only help you manage efficient disk space, but also prevent and fix various hard-disk related issues. These utilities are
easy to use and can be run by anyone. You must religiously run these utilities to avoid hard disk- related errors and increase your computer’s speed.
Disk Cleanup – As the name suggests, it helps you clean your disk of unwanted and unused files. Run this utility at least once-a-month to remove the unused files from your hard disk.
Disk Defragmenter – This utility helps you manage the stored data in a continuous manner. Over time, data stored on your hard disk gets fragmented, causing slow file retrieval. For best results, run the Disk Defragmenter immediately after you perform a Disk Cleanup.
Chkdsk Utility – This is a command-line utility available in Windows XP and upward versions. Chkdsk allows you to fix bad hard disk sectors, cross-linked files, and directory errors. Refer to the Windows Help and Support included in Windows PCs to know more about the Chkdsk utility.
In addition to the above three utilities, remember one more thing. Partition your hard drive for optimum performance. Keep your operating system and software files in different partitions. As a rule of thumb, maintain at least 25% of free disk space on the hard drive partition on which Windows is installed.
Install reliable antivirus and antispyware tools
Malware programs, like viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, and adware not only are the source of various system errors, but can also substantially slow down your computer’s speed. Install reliable and advance antivirus and antispyware software on your computer to combat this dreadful menace.
Schedule regular registry scans
With continuous usage, one component that takes more of a beating than any other component is the Windows registry. The registry is perhaps the most critical component of your computer and requires special attention. As you use your computer, the registry tends to get filled up with a lot of unwanted or junk information. The accumulation of this junk information in the registry slows your computer and also causes various errors, such as error 0x80040702 and binkw32.dll not found errors.
To maintain your computer’s optimum performance and to avoid and fix these errors, schedule regular registry scan and repair using top-rated registry cleaning software.
High CPU Usage Issues And How To Resolve
Computer slowdown and high CPU usage issues are most likely a symptom of application errors such as the EXE error. If you happen to encounter high CPU usage problem, you can resolve them yourself and regain your computer’s performance.
If you suspect a particular process is eating up your system’s resources and causing system slow downs, your first step should be to identify the process and then follow steps to fix the issue.
How to identify the process that is consuming high CPU resources
To determine which process is consuming high CPU resources, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open the Windows Task Manager window. Next, click on the Processes tab. Go through the list of currently running processes to identify which process is consuming a large amount of CPU resources.
I’ve identified the exe process, now how do I resolve my slow system issue?
After you have zeroed in on the culprit, identify with which program the faulty exe process is associated with. To rectify the issue, update the software of the exe process that is consuming a huge amount of CPU resources. For instance, if you notice an exe process called ekrn.exe to be consuming 90%-95% of your CPU resources, update your ESET NOD32 Antivirus Software to fix the issue.
Also, if you do not use the program that is consuming high CPU resources, then permanently remove the faulty exe process. For instance, if you do not use a printer, but find a process called spoolsv.exe to be consuming huge amounts of CPU resources, get rid of the spoolsv.exe process.
Common causes of high CPU usage and how to fix them
Listed below are other common causes of high CPU consumption and their solutions:
· Virus Infection: Your computer’s speed may fall considerably if it is infected with malware programs, such as a virus, worm, or trojan. The reason being, processes associated with malware programs often consume huge amounts of CPU resources.
Install reliable and advanced antivirus tools to prevent malware programs from breaching your system’s security. Also, to safeguard your PC against the latest malware, keep your antivirus tool updated with the latest virus definitions and security updates.
· Spyware programs: Generally, spyware programs are installed on your PC along with free software that you download from dubious websites. Spyware programs inject innumerable
processes that not only slow down your system, but also cause frequent exe errors. To tackle this menace, install an advanced and robust antispyware tool on your PC.
· Corrupt registry: Another common cause behind slow system speed is a corrupt registry. To rectify this issue, remove unwanted, incorrect, obsolete, and invalid registry entries. You can remove all the junk information from the registry within a few minutes by performing a registry scan using a reliable registry cleaner tool.
Remember, if you take proper care of your PC, you can have it working at its best for a long time.
Common DLL Issues And Solutions
A Windows computer consists of thousands of DLL files and it is likely that every now and then you will encounter a DLL error message. Therefore, every time you start your computer, open an application or shutdown your PC, there is a small probability of a DLL error occurring.
So, if you can’t completely avoid them, learn how to deal with them. Seeking a computer expert every time you receive a DLL error is not a practical solution. You can make substantial savings by learning to solve these problems on your own. It is quite easy to solve DLL errors on your own with a little knowledge and the correct approach.
In this article, we will learn the steps to resolve common DLL issues, such as msvcr71.dll and ntdll.dll errors.
To begin with, here are examples of some common DLL error messages:
· “The msvcr71.dll file is missing.”
· “STOP: C0000221 Unknown Hard Error \SystemRoot\System32\ntdll.dll.”
· “Msvcr71.dll not found.”
To resolve a computer error, the first thing that you need to know is the reason behind it. Listed below are the most common causes of DLL errors:
· Incorrect installation of Windows or other software programs.
· Missing DLL file.
· Outdated drivers, Windows, and software files.
· Corrupt or damaged registry.
Perform the following steps in the sequence they appear to fix DLL errors:
Download the missing DLL file from online resources
If you are receiving a DLL error because the DLL file is missing, then download a fresh copy of the DLL file from a reliable and free online DLL directory and save the file in your System (For Windows XP/Vista, it is C:\Windows\System32) folder.
Alternatively, you may also copy the missing DLL file from another Windows computer that has the same configuration as your computer.
Reinstall the program that is generating the DLL error
Incorrect installation of a program may also cause various DLL errors to appear. For instance, you may receive the ntdll.dll error immediately after you have completed Windows installation on your computer. To resolve the error, reinstall Windows on your computer. Before you begin with the reinstallation, make sure the Windows installation CD is not scratched or damaged.
Similarly, in case you receive a DLL error soon after you have installed a program or whenever you try to run a particular program, uninstall and reinstall the program to fix the DLL error.
Update your Windows, software, and driver files
The use of outdated files, be it Windows, software, or driver files may also cause recurring DLL errors. If you are still receiving the DLL error after performing the two tasks mentioned above, you may need to update your computer files. Download the latest updates for Windows, software, and device drivers from their manufacturer’s website and install them on your computer.
If you use Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows 7, enable the built-in Automatic Update feature to have new Windows updates automatically downloaded on your computer. To keep your drivers up-to-date, you may also use a reliable driver scanner tool.
Clean your registry
A corrupt or damaged registry may also throw random DLL error messages on your screen. To fix DLL errors occurring due to registry issues, such as the msvcr71.dll error, run a registry scan with the help of a reliable registry cleaning software.
Alternative PC Operating Systems
After I graduated college, I landed an entry level finance job assisting an accountant at a larger accounting firm. I spent many hours inputing data into an online database. One of the things I had to learn, was how to use the Operating System they had on all their computers. After I left
and found a better job, I had to learn the OS that company employed. After a few years of switching companies, I came the be familiar with a few Operating Systems that can be used as an alternative to Windows. I will list 3 of the most popular ones that are available to everyone, some are free and some will cost you a little money.
Ubuntu is a Linux based open source (basically mean it free) operating system for Mac’s or PC computers. It has many of the same features as Windows and in my opinion just as easy to use. The main benefits of Ubuntu is how it and all Linux based Operating Systems are designed. The basic structure of the coding, makes it harder for hackers to develop viruses and mal-wares for it. It is also update much more frequently than Windows, which makes it hard to keep up with.
Red hat is also a linux operating system, but it will cost you a little cash. It can be considered as the grandfather of other linux OS. It has a great interface and a very dedicated staff behind it. Hed Hat is mostly used by larger companies and programmers, but they have products for household desktops as well.
Sun Microsystems OpenSolaris
Opensolaris is a specialize operating system designed mostly for programmers. It is a Unix based
Operating System with many similarities to Apple’s Mac OS X. Unlike the Mac’s OS, Opensolaris is open source and can be downloaded freely. If you a fan of Mac’s and happen to own a PC, this would be the OS for you to try.
While Windows is the most used, it is not your only choice. There are many others that I did not list here that you can find by searching Google. In fact, Google will be releasing their own linux based Operating System called Chrome in a few months. If you want to switch from window’s or Mac’s OS you can do a little research on these to find the best system for you.
Find Computer Drivers
Where to Locate Computer Drivers
If you have a PC you know how difficult it can be to keep your drivers up to date. There are some places on the internet to go and search for drivers but finding the right version and keeping them current is a major task and a huge headache. Generally when you are trying to find computer drivers you do a search with your favorite search engine with the type
of hardware you are needing a driver for and the term ‘driver’. Half the time you get to the site and the driver is either gone, the download doesn’t work or it is not the latest version!
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Keep Drivers Up To Date Automatically
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Smart Ways To Avoid Frustrating PC Problems
First, the bad news, computer errors are inevitable. Whatever you do, you will never be completely free from computer errors. This is because a computer comprises millions of hardware and software files working together, all of them created and used by humans who have a saying “To err is human”. There is always a possibility of one of these files causing a glitch.
The good news is that it is largely possible to avoid a lot of these errors by taking some smart steps to prevent them. These steps require that you understand the basics of common computer problems, identify their causes and then deploy tools as well as adopt practices that will minimize the chances of encountering them.
This article discusses some smart ways to avoid one of the most frustrating PC problems that are caused by DLL errors. DLL files are required for an application or a program to work properly. DLL errors can occur if your DLL files have become corrupted, damaged, or are out of date. Corrupted drivers, malware infection and a damaged registry can also cause DLL errors.
Steps to avoid DLL errors:
1. The first step to avoid DLL errors is to ensure that you install programs and applications and their updates from a reliable source and also ensure that the file that you download is not corrupt. For example, you can resolve the npswf32.dll error by installing the latest versions or updating your Netscape, opera or Firefox Web browser.
2. A missing DLL file can prevent a program from not working properly. For example, mose.dll is an important Outlook Express file. You will receive a mose.dll-related error if the Windows Address Book is deleted from your computer or if you have two versions of Outlook Express installed on the system. To resolve the address book-related error, you need to reinstall Outlook Express on your computer and to resolve the latter error you need to uninstall both Outlook Express versions and then reinstall the version you want to use.
3. Regularly updating your device driver, operating system and software programs can help you in avoiding a large number of DLL errors. You can download and install the latest fixes, patches and updates with the help of tools such as Windows Update.
4. At times, the reason behind an error can be virus and malware infection in your computer system. Virus, Trojans, spyware, worms and adware often delete or edit important files from your system. To avoid errors caused by malware program, regularly scan your computer with a reliable and effective anti-virus and anti-spyware program.
5. You can also receive an error message if some registry entries are missing, corrupted or invalid.
For example, you might receive an error message related to the wmp.dll file if the related registry entries are missing. To resolve this error you need to register the file in the system registry. You may also use a good registry tool to scan the registry for any DLL related issues and fix them.
Common DLL Errors And How You Can
When it comes to researching and troubleshooting computer errors, millions of computer users have been empowered because of the Internet. Vast information available on the Internet has not
only helped in saving billions of dollars for computer community, but has also played a great role in making today’s computer user more aware and prepared to take on computer errors.
This article is another step in the pursuit of enlightening computer users to combat a common category of computer application errors known as DLL errors. Along with EXE errors, DLL errors are one of the most frequently encountered application errors.
DLL or Dynamic Link Library files were originally a product of Microsoft, the makers of the Windows operating system. They were created to make the computer system more efficient and simple by creating a library of files which can be called upon to perform certain tasks. Today almost every Windows-based software application uses DLL files to make their applications smaller and faster.
Common DLL errors:
DLL file errors occur when something happens to a DLL file itself or to the process to which the file is associated with. Usually, it is one of the following things that generate a DLL error message.
· File not found errors: When a file goes missing or is not accessible, your system will generate errors, such as “Msvcr71.dll Not Found”.
· Infections from malicious software like spyware, virus, and Trojans: A common example of DLL
errors caused by malware is the rundll error. The rundll file is used by Windows to invoke functions stored in DLL files. You get rundll errors when an application is unable to reach the code that it needs to perform a particular task.
· Incorrect installation and removal of a program: Incorrect addition and removal of programs may generate buggy files on the system and generate errors.
· Hardware issues: DLL errors can occur to due to problems in the hard drive or other system hardware. In such cases, you will see stop error messages like:
“STOP: C0000221 Unknown Hard Error \SystemRoot\System32\ntdll.dll”
Resolving DLL Errors
Just like most computer errors, in order to resolve DLL errors you must first diagnose the cause of the error message. This can either be done by searching on the Internet or directly going to a few websites that are dedicated to resolving DLL errors. These websites provide authentic information on resolving DLL errors. Usually solving DLL problems will involve one or more of the following steps:
· If the file is missing, you may obtain the file from a genuine source and replace it on the system.
You can also reinstall the complete application to which the DLL file belongs.
· If you suspect that malware infection is behind the error, you will need to scan and eliminate malware from your system with the help of a good anti-malware tool.
· If the error occurs during installation or uninstallation of an application, you should take the cue and reverse the process immediately.
· At times, you will find that the DLL error is occurring due to a driver problem. In such cases, the first step should be to replace the device driver involved.
· In the end, it is always a great idea to sweep your Windows registry with a reliable registry tool as many DLL errors leave traces behind.
Tips To Easily Fix Common Computer
One of the main reasons computer problems occur so frequently is lack of periodic preventive
PC maintenance. Often computer problems get aggravated before the user takes a serious note of it and decides to call for help.
There are two reasons why the health of our computers deteriorates over time. First, a lot of us are not concerned about our computer’s health until it encounters a serious error that causes a major loss of productivity and time. Second, we are wary of trying to troubleshoot or solve computer problems as we presume the task is too difficult and is best left to the experts.
In reality, it is possible for you to not only take steps to avoid computer errors, but also easily fix a large number of them. This combined strategy of prevention and treatment by you would save you a lot of time, money and hassles.
You need to start with securing your computer from external threats, such as hackers and malware. For this, you first need to implement a firewall. For home PC users, it is usually enough to enable the Windows Firewall. However, if your data is more critical, it is recommended that you opt for a more robust third-party firewall. Next, you need efficient and
thorough antivirus and antispyware tools. These tools need to be updated on regular basis so they
are equipped to handle the latest malware. Finally, you need to schedule periodic—preferably daily—full system scans to ensure that your PC is free from any type of security threat.
Next, you need to update your software as updates and service packs are released by the product manufacturers. These updates help in patching up any bugs—that can be exploited by malware— and also in incorporating new features in the products. Many errors, such as ccapp.exe errors, occur when you fail to update your products. Almost all software available today provides you with an update option. Some of these updates are manual and some are automatic. You must use these options to ensure that all your third-party software remains updated. To update your Microsoft products, ensure that the Windows Automatic Feature is always enabled. Also, to keep your device drivers updated, you may seek the help of an easy-to-use driver scanner tool.
Svchost.exe is a generic host process that is usually used to administer DLL or Dynamic Link Library files and a few other supplementary Windows process. If you open Task Manager, you may notice multiple instances of svchost.exe running on your computer. Errors related to svchost.exe occur when there is a problem with the files of the program that are using this process. If the program that fails in a Windows process, you may replace its files from your Windows setup CD. Otherwise, you may attempt to uninstall and then reinstall the application
that caused the error. If nothing works, try to use System Restore to revert your PC to last known working state.
Many errors, such as EXE, DLL, driver, and runtime errors occur when the registry of your computer crashes. To fix EXE error and other such errors, you need to fix your registry by cleaning it. Just like many computer experts, you can do registry repair by using a reliable registry tool.
Steps to Researching and Fixing Uncommon
The Internet has changed the process of troubleshooting and fixing computer errors. More and more users tend to research PC errors on the Internet before deciding on a course of action. This helps them understand difficult error codes and messages. It also gives them an insight to possible causes and solutions of the problem they are facing. It also helps them in the decisio n making process whether they should troubleshoot the error themselves or outsource it to an expert.
This initiative on the part of the users has come in the wake of an increase in the number of errors that lead to loss of time and money. PC owners have realized the fact that the only permanent solution to fighting computer problems is to spend some time gaining knowledge about the errors that ail their computers.
This article will help you in finding the reasons behind some of the computer errors that are not so common and also offers easy solutions to them.
Where to Find Solutions to Computer Errors?
Whenever an error occurs on your computer either an error message is displayed or the problem is logged. You can view the logged errors by using the Event Viewer tool. To look for solutions
to your problem, you can use the error message displayed or logged to search for solutions on the
Internet. To look for errors related to Microsoft products, you may look for a solution on the Microsoft Knowledgebase Web site. Many other software manufacturers provide solutions and tools to resolve problems associated with their products on their Web site. For example, if you encounter the coh32.exe error, you may look for a solution for it on the Symantec Website. Similarly, you can look for a solution to the dot1xfg.exe error on the Intel Website and a solution to Syntpenh.exe related errors on the Synaptics Web site.
If you don’t find a solution on these web sites, then you may search for information on various third-party message boards and help web sites. Most of the time, you are not the only one who has encountered a particular error, and a solution is recorded somewhere on the Internet. What you need to do is to search for this solution.
How to Prevent These PC Errors?
It is not very difficult to prevent PC errors. A little vigilance and a few useful tools can do magic. First, let’s have a look at the tools that you can use. Let us start with antimalware tools, such as
antivirus and antispyware. These tools are required to keep your PC free from various malicious programs that can infiltrate your PC and cause many different types of problems. You must ensure that these tools are updated with the latest definitions on a regular basis and that they are scheduled to scan your PC on a regular basis.
Next, you must ensure that all your software is updated on a regular basis. Software updates are released regularly to patch up bugs and incorporate new features in products. Failure to update may result in many different problems.
Finally, it is essential for you to maintain a healthy registry and ensure that it is free from unwanted information. You can easily assure this by using a reliable registry tool to scan and clean your registry.
It is also important to be a vigilant user in order to prevent PC errors. You must avoid accessing and downloading software from suspicious web sites, never open emails that have attachments that look dubious—even if they come from a known source, and always run a virus scan before copying any content from external media, such as pen drives and CD/DVDs.
How To Cope With EXE Application Errors
New computer applications are being launched every day that aim to make your lives better, faster and easier. These computer applications increase your productivity and help you complete a lot of work in a short amount of time.
It is very tempting to download every new application that becomes popular irrespective of whether it is required or not. While there is no denying the fact that some of these applications are really great, you need to consider other consequences as well. Every new program that is added on your computer puts a burden on the system resources. These new programs bring along with them a large number of executable files. This exponential increase in the number of
applications and exe files increases the probability of exe errors. This threat is increased by many bogus applications that are intentionally and stealthily installed and launched to cause damage through spyware.
Listed below are some common exe error fixes that will help you to reduce the number of exe errors on your machine:
Computer users should be careful while installing high graphics programs, such as hi-tech games on their system. Certain exe errors, such as iw3mp.exe may crop up in case the program you are using is not installed correctly or there are some compatibility issues with your system configuration. To correct such problems you may need to uninstall and then reinstall the
program. Depending on your system configuration you also may need to download the latest drivers for your hardware components.
Computer manufacturers like Microsoft, constantly release new updates in order to make their operating systems more secure and to add new features. While it is recommended that you update your system with the latest service pack, at times, you may receive exe errors, such as taskmgr.exe application error in case of incomplete installation of a service pack. You can fix this problem by reinstalling the service pack or by installing the latest service pack for your operating system. You can get the latest service pack by enabling the Automatic Updates option on your computer. You can also manually download it from the Windows Update web site.
As all your programs reside on the hard disk, it is important that you regularly run hard disk checks to ensure it is in good health. You can achieve this by running the chkdsk command. Next, remove the unwanted programs using the Add or Remove Program utility and delete the unwanted files using the Disk Cleanup Utility. Further, use the Disk Defragmenter tool to defrag the hard disk to make data stored on it contiguous, thus reducing the data processing time and improving the hard disk’s overall performance.
It is also important that you keep your system protected from virus infections. Malware programs, such as viruses, spywares, and adwares have an adverse affect on your system and may cause various exe errors. To combat the malicious programs, it is recommended that you use a robust security tool to safeguard your computer from such malicious programs. Also, remember to regularly update your security tool with the latest virus definitions and security updates to protect your computer from the latest malware.
Lastly, use an advanced registry cleaning tool to maintain a compact and error-free registry. Schedule regular registry scans to remove unwanted and malicious entries from it. A healthy registry not only improves your computer’s performance, but also helps in getting rid of exe errors that arise due to registry problems.
Guidelines for Resolving Printer Problems
Printers are one of the key hardware peripherals that are attached to computers. They are extremely popular in the business world and can be termed as a lifeline of many business organizations. A computer printer needs regular maintenance to ensure that it is free of problems. While business users have the luxury of their IT department or an outside expert to regularly maintain their printers, home PC users have to take this initiative themselves.
This means that as a common user you need to educate yourself about the potential causes of printer- related errors. Printers are not only prone to hardware problems, but there could also be several other
issues, such as EXE file errors or driver errors that may hamper normal functioning. While it is advisable to contact a printer expert for hardware related issues, a lot of software issues can be resolved with the help of the guidelines listed below.
Let us first take a look at how printing jobs are handled. When you give a command to print, the print tasks are spooled and temporary spools files are created and stored on your computer’s hard disk or in memory until the printer is ready to print them. On successful completion of the printing job these files are automatically deleted. In case these spool files fail to delete, the
printer spool folder may fill up and cause spoolsv.exe error. Often times, you may find the
spoolsv.exe process using 99% or 100% of CPU resources, making your PC unstable. You can correct this by deleting all the unwanted files from printer spooler. Just go to the C:\Windows\system32\spool\Printers folder and remove all files located in it.
Many other exe problems may occur if your driver is corrupt or outdated. You can fix these errors by downloading the latest drivers from the vendor’s website and installing them on your PC.
Windows users can also visit the Microsoft Knowledgebase website to get solutions to common printing problems. For instance, solutions to various Vista printer issues, such as printer not printing or slow printing problems are listed under Windows Vista Help & How to section.
Like all other software present on your machine, printer drivers are also registered in the Windows registry. You may encounter problems with your printer in case entries related to printer driver are corrupt or if your registry is damaged. To prevent printing errors due to registry problems, we recommend you use an advanced registry cleaning tool to run a deep scan of your registry for incorrect entries. A good registry cleaner helps you identify all errors and fix them with just a few mouse clicks.
You may also encounter printer errors if the EXE and other printer driver files are infected with a virus. To determine whether your printer files are healthy or not, we recommend you scan your PC for infections, using an advanced antivirus tool. In case you find any infected files, promptly repair them using the tool.
Always remember that with a little understanding and a bit of maintenance, the average computer user can easily maintain and enjoy a trouble free printer.
Optional: Testing The Bundle