Data Centers

Solution: Why did Michael's computer stop working?

In a recent Pop Quiz, we left Michael trying to figure out why his computer wasn't booting up after flashing his BIOS and adding a DIMM. This week, we provide the solution to his problem and award two lucky members a TechRepublic T-shirt!

You could win a TechRepublic T-shirt by submitting a correct solution to the Support Republic’s Pop Quiz. A random winner is selected from all correct entries received. This week, we proudly award a TechRepublic T-shirt to David Rafalski and Richard Longwell, whose winning entries were randomly selected from all correct entries out of the over 800 e-mails received.
Could it be the memory?
When we last left Michael, he was faced with an interesting problem. He had just flashed the BIOS on his SOYO motherboard and while he had his machine turned off for a reboot, he installed a new 64-MB DIMM. It seemed like a good idea at the time, as he would essentially be killing two birds with one stone.

When he turned the computer back on, however, he encountered a strange situation. His machine was not booting up, nor was there a signal coming through to his computer. The computer beeped at him a few times, so he pulled the plug out of the back of the machine. He plugged it back in, turned on the power, and was faced with the same problem. This time, however, the computer did not beep as it had done before.

Michael thought to himself for a moment, trying to figure out exactly why his machine would have beeped the first time he turned it on, and why it wasn’t sending a video signal to his monitor. He thought about what he had done moments before—flashing the BIOS and installing new memory. He didn’t think that it could possibly be a problem with flashing the BIOS, as he had done it many times before and had never encountered a problem. This led him to conclude that it could be a problem with the memory he had installed while the computer was off, awaiting a reboot for the BIOS update.

Time to try again
Michael turned off the computer again, holding in the power button until the machine powered off. He pulled the power supply out of the machine and touched a metal piece of the shell to make sure that he wouldn’t send off an ESD to any part of his computer. He carefully removed the new memory he had installed only moments earlier and plugged the machine back up. Upon restart, he noticed that the computer was once again sending a signal to his monitor, and the machine began to boot up normally.

But was it the memory causing the problem? Michael refused to believe that he had a bad chip, so he decided to take a look at the new BIOS settings on his machine. Sure enough, the memory settings were off, as the memory that was currently in his machine in slot 1 had been set to 10ns, and slots 2 and 3 were set to 8ns. He changed slot 1 to 8ns to match the other two slots, saved the BIOS changes, and turned off his machine. He replaced the new memory in slot 1, turned on the machine, and to his delight, the computer recognized the memory.
Do you have a story that you think would make a great Pop Quiz? If so, we want to hear from you! If we use your story, we’ll send you a free TechRepublic T-shirt for your trouble.

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