Data Centers

Building a PC? Make sure you can get past the POST

Whether you're building a system for yourself or your organization, a POST problem can stop you dead in the water. When one member encountered a POST error with a new Athlon XP system, the TechRepublic Q&A was there to help.

Demanding users want to get the most from their computer systems. Box systems from manufacturers such as Dell, Gateway, and Compaq can be a great purchase for many people, but as an IT pro, you probably have hardware/software requirements that exceed such basic packages.

One option for meeting both individual and corporate computer needs is building your own system. At first, this can appear to be a daunting task. Nevertheless, with a little research and elbow grease, a great system can be built—even by an inexperienced tech. But, as with any do-it-yourself project, problems can and often do arise. One such problem that can appear during the early stages of assembling your system is a Power On Self Test (POST) error.

Can't pass the POST
The computer POST ensures that the necessary system requirements are met before booting up. The result of this test is indicated by a series of beeps. This beep code tells you what problems, if any, are present. Generally, if the computer is configured properly, you will receive either a single or a double beep, depending on your system BIOS.

But sometimes a system won’t even get to the POST. In our Technical Q&A forum, TechRepublic member Carisu wrote, “I am trying to build my first computer. I have installed the CPU and the memory and connected the power supply to the motherboard in order to do a POST.”

Using an AMD XP+1600 processor and an Asus A7V266 motherboard, Carisu encountered a power supply problem. She wrote, “When I plug in the power cord, the power supply fan and CPU fan spin momentarily and then stop. The motherboard LED indicates that it is in stand-by mode.”

Carisu replaced the power supply, but to no avail, commenting, “What am I missing? Is the motherboard bad, or have I missed a step or connection?”

Know your hardware
Luckily for Carisu, a solution is right around the corner. Jonathanmullen wrote, “The Asus motherboards do that when power is given [to them] at first, but the system will not boot until you connect the power switch.” For the Asus A7V266, “this is the only way you can boot the system.” This TechRepublic member warned, “Make sure the power switch is connected, then connect the power cord.” Now a simple flip of a switch or push of a button should power up the computer and begin the POST.

Planning is the key
As with any IT endeavor, you need to make sure you know all pertinent hardware specs and requirements when assembling your system. An improper configuration or compatibility problem can hamper the best of efforts. Make sure to plan carefully and be knowledgeable of the components you’re using. Doing a little homework could mean the difference between getting to the POST—or not.

Ask your TechRepublic peers for advice and assistance
If you have a question that you can't find an answer to, post it in TechRepublic’s Technical Q&A section. Other TechRepublic members will try to answer your question in return for TechPoints.


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