|| Main Menu
Spadata Systems FAQs (frequently-asked questions)
Category: Main -> Tech Tips|
Your Optical Drive (CD or DVD) Runs Slower and Slower....
The villain may be dirt, since optical drives rarely "slow down" on their own. Optical drives either work---or they don't, so a mechanical problem is ruled out. Back to top
What most likely has happened is that your drive has accumulated a layer of dirt or dust.
Here's the fix: You'll need a can of "spray air" (available everywhere). Eject the disc tray and spray into the drive with short bursts---and be sure to spray at an angle so the dust will be expelled out of the drive. Do not spray continuously or turn the spray can upside down (doing so could introduce moisture into the drive.
Repeat this process a few times, then try test the drive.
The system's fan is whining loudly.
A loud fan can be the result of a number of minor problems.Back to top
The common cause is dirt. A dirty fan, clogged with dust, is highly inefficient and works harder to handle its cooling duties. As the fan struggles to cool the system, it produces the whirring sound. A quick cleaning should do the trick.
If the fan is new and you're still hearing a loud whirring, your problem may be "ambient heat." You need to operate your PC in a cool environment.
Many PCs get louder as they get hotter, with the fans spinning faster to keep the system cool. Be certain your PC is clean and cool and you'll run trouble-free.
Your PC spontaneously reboots.
A long-standing mystery solved! Back to top
If rebooting occurs in a PC that you've just built, try re-seating your CPU's heat sink. Make sure you're using the proper thermal gel and spread it evenly between the heat sink and the processor. If inadequate amounts of gel have been applied or low-quality gel has been used, the system will reboot as the CPU heats up---and builds in the uneven "pockets" created by the uneven gel.
Also check to see if you've removed the protective sticker on the bottom of the heat sink (don't laugh---it happens!). And by all means, make sure your motherboard supports the CPU you're installing.
If these steps check out and you're still experiencing spontaneous reboots, your problem may be one of the following:
Overclocking: We do not recommend overclocking.
Memory Timing: The fix? Go into your BIOS and set your memory on "Auto" or at a more conservative setting and see if the reboot problem goes away.
Oudated BIOS: Make sure you have the latest BIOS for your board. You can determine if your CPU is supported by browsing the BIOS updates of the motherboard's manufacturer. If you're running a Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and notice that it's only supported with the latest BIOS updates, you may have located the problem!
Inadequate Power: If you've made significant component upgrades---with the exception of the power supply---your power supply may be overstressed or failing due to heat or age.
Finally, if you've migrated your OS and other files from machine to machine to machine, it may be time for a clean install.
I have four pieces of RAM installed and I'm pretty sure that at least one is bad. What's the best way to test RAM for errors?
Since you have four pieces of RAM, you can install just one DIMM in your motherboard at a time and run the machine until it crashes. This isn't a completely reliable way to test RAM, though. Back to top
As an alternative, download Memtest86 (www.memtest86.com) and create a bootable CD. Memtest86 does a fair job. It runs several test patterns through the RAM. If a piece of RAM passes these tests, swap it with another DIMM and continue your tests.
Even better than Memtest86 is Ultra-X's RAM Stress Test Pro 2, which is a self-booting diagnostic plug-in card. This card uses a comprehensive set of test patterns to assess your memory, and we've found that it finds bad pieces of RAM that other testers miss.
Keep in mind that it may not actually be a stick of RAM that's bad. The problem may in fact be a bad DIMM slot. If all four pieces of RAM pass the test, you may have to rerun them in each individual slot on your motherboard.
Finally, your motherboard's BIOS usually sets RAM timing by reading the SPD setting on the module. If the SPDs are set too aggressively (we've seen this), it may cause problems. You should consider going into the BIOS and manually tweaking settings such as your CAS latency to a more conservative setting.
Sometimes when I play games for a long time, my computer just randomly crashes to the desktop.
Random crashes in games can be the result of a few different problems. Typically, it's a heat issue, a driver issue, or a problem with the game. Back to top
The first thing you should do is check for a patch for any of your games that are crashing. It seems like common sense, but frequently we receive complaints from people trying to run games that have been patched three or four times.
Once you've updated your games, you need to update your videocard and chipset drivers. Get you videocard driver from the company that manufactured your card's chipset, either ATI or nVidia.
You should also check for newer drivers for your motherboard's chipset whenever you update your videocard drivers. Outdated motherboard chipset drivers are one of the main causes of general system instability.
If you've updated all your hardware, but are still having problems, you may have a heat issue. Open your case and look at your AGP card. Is there another card right below it? If there is, you should consider moving that card to another slot. A card directly below a high-end videocard can disrupt airflow enough to cause overheating issues with today's top-of-the-line videocards.
If freeing the neighboring slot doesn't alleviate your problem, try adding a fan that fits into one of your PCI slots and exhausts hot air from the bottom of your PC.
I just bought a new PC, and now my PocketPC refuses to connect via the USB port.
This is a common issue. You'll have to buy a new PocketPC. Back to top
Just kidding. This problem occurs if you plug your PocketPC in before installing ActiveSync.
Check the Device Manager by right-clicking My Computer, selecting Properties, clicking the Hardware tab, and then selecting Device Manager.
If you see an Unknown Device entry, delete it by right-clicking it and selecting Uninstall.
Restart you PC, install your PocketPCs drivers from the manufacturer's disc, and plug it in again.