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Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC

Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC - PCSTATS
Abstract: Once you have got the idea of upgrading into your head, the next step is to figure out how to go about it.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats Mar 13 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats

Using the POST Screen

Once the processor and speed information flash up onscreen as the computer begins to boot, it will begin to enumerate the hard drives and other IDE devices connected to the computer. This is known as the POST (or Power On Self Test) screen. Hit the 'pause key' when it has reached 'secondary slave device.' Ideally the screen should look something like this. You may have to reboot a couple of times to get it right.

Note that the CPU type and speed are clearly visible. Depending on the manufacturer, the amount of RAM and the type and speed of it may or may not be visible here.In this example, the amount of memory present is not shown, but the speed of it is, 266Mhz DDR-SDRAM memory.

The Motherboard type and manufacturer is there, but somewhat cryptic, the 'A6380MS' stands for Microstar - 6380 mainboard. This will vary depending on the manufacturer of your board. The hard drives and other IDE devices attached to the system are also clearly listed.

In this case, the system has all 4 IDE slots filled. (Note: many modern mainboard manufacturers use splash screens to cover this booting screen. Generally you can hit the Tab, F2, F10, or ESC keys to get rid of the splash screen.)

Examining the BIOS Settings

The next step is to check the BIOS setting of your mainboard. Locate the 'delete' or 'del' key on your keyboard. Restart the computer.

As the POST screen described previously comes up, press the 'del' key repeatedly. In a few seconds, you should be taken to the mainboard's BIOS settings screen, where you can configure the mainboard hardware.

Above is an example of the BIOS settings screen of a typical modern mainboard. Yours may well look completely different, but will in general contain the same options. There are many, many things that can be done here, but that will wait for another article. In the mean time, we are concerned about finding as much information as we can.

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC
 Pg 2.  Using Diagnostic Software
 Pg 3.  — Using the POST Screen
 Pg 4.  Inside the BIOS
 Pg 5.  Opening the Case
 Pg 6.  Power Issues
 Pg 7.  Upgrading Memory
 Pg 8.  Installing a new hard drive
 Pg 9.  HDD's Continued
 Pg 10.  Installing a new optical (CD) drive
 Pg 11.  Upgrading the CPU
 Pg 12.  Finishing with an Upgrade

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