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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | General Troubleshooting Techniques | General Diagnostic Techniques ]

Do One Upgrade or Assembly Step At a Time

Changes made to the system are the most frequent cause of problems; this is the nature of change. Much the way many problems can be diagnosed by using the process of elimination through making single changes to the system, you can avoid or detect problems with upgrades or new installations by going "one step at a time" in your changes as well. New system installations or major upgrades often can have problems that are very difficult to diagnose simply because there are so many modifications being performed at the same time.

When you build a new PC you will probably be assembling a large number of components that have never been used or tested before. To whatever extent possible, try to go as slowly as possible when assembling the machine. For example, when assembling a new PC from scratch, it is always best to first make sure the basic system is working, with the only expansion card in the system the video card (if applicable). Adding the sound card, network card and other devices should be done later on, and one at a time if possible. Similarly, do not try to do major software or operating system upgrades at the same time that you make hardware changes. Doing this can make it very difficult for you to troubleshoot any system problems.

If you do make multiple changes at once, try retracing your steps. Undo the changes you have made one at a time and see if you can identify the change that caused the problem that way.

Next: Make Use of Components That You Know Work

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