How To : install computer hardware at difficult times

Posted February 10, 2013 by pconthego
Categories: How Tos

Tags: , , , , , , ,

In my experience in installing hardware inside, I’ve learned that nothing goes in easy all the time. As much as manuals and booklets tell you that ZIF means no pressure to push down the lever on CPU sockets, the reality is, there is going to be some pressure involved.

The first time I installed an AMD Athlon XP 3200+ processor in a PGA ZIF socket, I thought I broke it because I had to use a lot of pressure to push down the lever to lock the CPU in the socket correctly. But then, when I finally turned on the computer, apparently I had done it correctly, because it booted up fine and I actually still have it to this day.

So yeah, hardware is going to be a pain to install sometimes. That’s reality.

Another reality is, installing RAM sticks in RAM slots.

Another one of those “it’s real easy, no problem” deals.

You’re going to run into difficulty.

So during my experiences with hardware, I’ve also learned easier ways of installing hardware, without hurting yourself or the hardware.

We can start with the CPU I suppose. This of course goes for PGA ZIF style socket processors. Ol skool Intel processors, modern AMD processors.

The thing you need to remember is as follows. Stay away from electric or magnetic tools. If it creates any outside force (i.e. magnetic or electrical field) it’s bad! Computer hardware is very sensitive and expensive.

So get yourself a nice screwdriver with a plastic handle and push bits.

There is a metal latch on both sides of the stock heat sink and fan unit that came with the processor on PGA style CPUs. That latch is for the plastic unit that will hold the heat sink unit onto the motherboard.

You want to get the other latch holding the plastic on the opposite side. And then put a screw driver in the hole of the latch with a hole and pull towards yourself. It will automatically do what it’s suppose to do.

RAM sticks.

They can be a pain for sure. They are thin and you want to be careful to take precautions not to touch or damage the black chips on either side. But what happens when they refuse to be inserted into the slot?

I’ve had this happen many times before. I hated installing RAM because of this. But then I got smart.

The handle on my non magnetic non electric screw driver was all plastic. So I just pressed down on one side of the RAM stick and snapped it into the plastic latch and then used the plastic handle on my screwdriver to push the other side down. It locked into place perfectly.

And my finger was saved the aggravation.

You can do the same for those pesky video cards if they are AGP style. Just remember to insure the latch is locked when you push it in.

Obviously you don’t want to overdo it and break the cards. Exercise proper ESD methodsĀ  and use some common sense. But tools can be used to properly install hardware in the computer when your fingers just won’t do it.

As for other problems that I’ve had with computer hardware, if the hardware isn’t fitting in the slot or space where it’s suppose to be fitting, it’s good to ask why?

Sometimes something is in it’s way. For example, I’ve had computer chassis houses that the optical drive wouldn’t fit in. And after a few minutes of trying to shove it in the 5.25″ slot, I pulled it out and looked in the slot. One of the metal levels was bent up. Therefore the optical drive could not slide into the slot properly. I had to go and bent it back down and make sure it was leveled before I could put the drive inside. Which, once I did, it slid in perfectly.

Same thing goes for the plastic front face panel. You can take that off with a screwdriver as well. Just remember not to accidentally short out any circuit board for the USB or front audio or whatever.

Another tip, don’t assume the motherboard is dead until you have at least tried to boot it up properly. For example if you spilled something on the boards surface or dropped something and think you’ve ruined the board. Don’t assume it until you’ve tried to boot it up. I’ve done this a couple of times and feared the worst until I tried to boot it up and realized it was actually fine. Yes computers are sensitive, but make sure it’s broken before you try to fix it or throw it out.

You’re going to want to make sure that whatever you’re storing computer parts in is a standard anti static bag. Another stupid mistake i’ve made before, using old poor quality anti static bags. If you need to store these things, or at least have a platform for working with them, I’d recommend getting new ones from time to time. The last thing you want to do is short out a customers video card because you were too lazy to have a proper work area and follow the safety rules.


Question: Is there a way that you can use bootcamp on Macs to dual boot a Linux OS instead of Windows on a Mac?

Posted February 10, 2013 by pconthego
Categories: Things Concerning Linux


Question: Is it possible to format a mac computer and install Ubuntu on it, instead of MAC OS X?

Posted February 10, 2013 by pconthego
Categories: Things Concerning Linux



windows\system32\config\system error

Posted March 5, 2012 by pconthego
Categories: Computer Resolutions


“How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting”

When you start up your windows xp system and instead of going to the XP splash screen it gives you an error message that a file needed for start up of the OS is missing or corrupt. Basically it’s a registry file that has been corrupted somehow. It happens.

You need to have a backup copy of this file to overwrite the corrupted one. Also since it’s a configuration file, whatever configuration you’ve made to the computer will be lost when it’s rewritten.

This is where updated backups of the registry come in handy. Because if you regularly back up the registry on your windows xp profile, you can simply overwrite the corrupted one with your backup and not lose configuration information.

For those that don’t, you can also use your Windows XP startup disk or OS disc that you used to install the OS on the computer the first time. As I said it will rewrite the file to the original settings and you will lose current information, but you will be able to get back into your computer and can then apply changes where necessary.

In the Knowledge Base article on the Microsoft website they recommend you back up some files before replacing them, then delete them, then write new ones.

When I got this error message, I simply started the computer with the XP OS disc, chose Recovery Console, which is a DOS based interface, and copied the corrupted file (windows\system32\config\system) into a temporary folder on the C:\ drive with the md tmp command.

Then I just copied the repair version to the system32 folder, thereby overwriting the corrupted file and typed exit.

(copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system)

The computer restarted and I was able to get back in, no problem.

Of course the information that the file held was gone as it had been overwritten with the earlier file. But I could get back into my computer and I still had the drivers on another disc. No problem.

md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart.

Question : What is a modular power supply?

Posted October 30, 2011 by pconthego
Categories: Q & A

Simply put, a modular power supply has ports instead of wires.

A modular power supply doesn’t have wires soldered to it like a non modular power supply. It has ports instead. With the modular power supply comes the power cable connections for all of it’s possible ports. The idea is to clean up the inside of the PC, by not having all those wires unnecessarily hanging about. So you only connect the device you will be using to the port on the power supply. For example, instead of having 6 sata power wires hanging out the power supply when you are only using 2, you can clear 4 of those wires with a modular power supply and decrease the clutter inside. That’s it’s point.

Question: Can I fit DDR3 RAM in a DDR2 slot on my older motherboard?

Posted October 30, 2011 by pconthego
Categories: Q & A


The key card notch is physically different. Therefore you won’t be able to fit it in the slot.

If your motherboard is designed for DDR2 RAM, it would be wise to get DDR2 RAM for it. If you have DDR3 RAM available to you, you may want to look into getting a motherboard that supports it.

This applies to desktops as well as laptops/notebooks/portables(apple)

Question : Would it be best to turn off the SSID when configuring a wireless router?

Posted October 30, 2011 by pconthego
Categories: Q & A

It doesn’t do anything in reality for those who are looking for networks. You can easily spot wifi networks and IDs with any radar program available today. Turning off the SSID isn’t really going to matter. Mac Filtering isn’t really going to matter, because you can spoof Mac address’s today very easily.

What you should try to do, is create layers and make things more complex and therefor more time consuming. That sounds like a joke, but it’s seriously the only thing you can do. For example, turn off the SSID, turn mac filtering on, create a VPN with secure handshaking and limit the range of the router itself.

These things by themselves are basically pointless. But if you have layers, it’s more time consuming to those who want to break into your system. Think aboiut it like this, a car alarm is probably pointless on it’s own. It’s just annoying and most people ignore it anyways. However, a car alarm with a low jack and a steering wheel lock and an engine disabler. Now it’s gonna be real tricky and time consuming to get into that car. Now you step back and wonder if it’s worth the effort. That’s all.

Or if you like, another example would be the movie Entrapment. Having all those layers is like having those invisible laser beams of security. It’s very complex and time consuming to get to the jewel. So it has to be worth getting the jewel to go through all that madness.