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Tools for diagnostic PC

Posted on 2010-01-11
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Hi all experts

I am still new to IT support Role. I have come across quite alot of bluescreen issue and i really hate it. One of the scenarios that really turn me down was that one of our client he has a home PC that always freeze on him in 5 minutes. I read the event viewer and do some google research regarding the event error and most of the site refer that issue has harddisk failure. Before Ii told him to replace a new harddisk, i change the SATA port on M/B to other SATA port and it worked. (at least i though so because it was working for more than half an hour). So i though i have solved the issue. But few days later, the same client told me that his PC still freeze.
So i adviced him to take the PC back to the store he bought the pc from and ask for a check (since it still have the warranty) and next day he came back and told me the problem is solved, it was the graphic card fault. He even told me that the guy from that store took no more than 15 minutes and have diagnostic that was the video card faulty. I feel so embarrasing as i have spent more than an hour on this issue.

And another case is another client, he has BSOD occurs. Took me few hours to diagnostic and still hasn't solved the problem.

So, from your experience in solving BSOD and all kind of issue with PC. What tools do you use/recommend? Thanks!
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Question by:TiffanyLee
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bank_on_it earned 256 total points
ID: 26288844
A lot of blue screen errors are caused by a device driver failure. You could ask if the user has installed any hardware recently and if so, look into it.

Here's a site to look into.
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

I'm currently learning more on this in regards to dell. Here's a great tool!
http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?docid=E9589B9626A0982CE030030ABD6210B6&c=us&l=en&s=dhs

Also you can run the Diagnostics Tool by pressing F12 or Ctrl,Alt,F10 while the system is booting

Hope this helps! :)
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by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 248 total points
ID: 26289074
Very common causes of BSOD are faulty memory and overheating.

You need to create a memtest boot disc - CD and/or floppy:
http://www.memtest.org/

For overheating of course, you need to check that fans are operating and that the system is dust free.

You also need the Ultimate Boot CD which has many useful tools:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

A "live" Linux boot CD (boots into Linux without installing anything on the HDD) is also very useful.

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by:danlein
danlein earned 248 total points
ID: 26289119
To do it on your own, analyza the crash dumps using the debugger.  Once you get Dumps, then the Windows Debugger is usually adequate to read the crash dumps.

WinDbg
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/installx86.mspx

Use the Microsoft Symbol Server to obtain debug symbol files
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311503
(so you dont need the full symbol packages for each OS, and SP....)
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by:nobus
nobus earned 248 total points
ID: 26291432
i suggest to forget debugging minidumps with ms tools
instead use bluescreenview, fast and easy : http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

for diagniosing hardware, you can use a POST card : http://www.uxd.com/      (look under products, hardware)

there are many : http://www.micro2000.com/postprobe/index.php

personally, i don't use them...
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Author Comment

by:TiffanyLee
ID: 26296795
Thanks everyone for the recommendation!

I have been using WinDbg for the bluescreen all the time. But sometime it's not very useful/accurate. However sometime i did solve the BSOD using it which im very impressed of myself :-)
I will try bank_on_it's dell tool: http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?docid=E9589B9626A0982CE030030ABD6210B6&c=us&l=en&s=dhs

And also nobus's suggestion bluescreen view: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

i have been looking at the universal diagnostic tools from micro200 and im not sure if it's good for us to buy it. Any advice?

Thanks in advace!
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 26301317
here a complete description of the tools you need, and for what from leew :  
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/techtoolkit.asp
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