Friday, June 10, 2011

Toshiba Laptops Disassembly Manuals

The following laptop step-by-step disassembly manuals I have created myself. You can use them if you have a Toshiba laptop and want to repair or upgrade it yourself. You shouldn’t disassemble your laptop if you have no experience with computers because you can easily damage it. Also, you shouldn’t open it if the laptop is still under warranty. I’m still developing new laptop teardown guides and my goal is to add new guides every week. If you do not see a manual for your model, most likely I will add it later. Stay tuned.

Please read our Download Procedure if you are having trouble downloading or viewing the manuals below.
Click here to visit our Download procedure guide.

Toshiba Satellite disassembly guides and manuals:
Toshiba Tecra series disassembly guides and manuals:
Toshiba Portege series disassembly guides and manuals:
Toshiba Qosmio disassembly guides:
I’m still working on creating new disassembly guides. For more information please visit my Toshiba laptop disassembly site.

View original article here

Acer Laptop Service Manuals and FRU Documentation

You’ll find service manuals and FRU documentation forAcer laptops:
Acer Laptops Manual download links are provided below.

Please read our Download Procedure if you are having trouble downloading or viewing the manuals below.
Click here to visit our Download procedure guide.

  1. Acer Aspire 1610 Series  [ 4.5 Mb ]
  2. Acer Aspire 3680 / 5570 / 5580 [ 4.6 Mb ]
  3. Acer Aspire 4930 / 4930G Series [ 4.8 Mb ]
  4. Acer Aspire 5050 / 3050 Series [ 11.7 Mb ]
  5. Acer Aspire 5110 / 5100 / 3100 [ 7.0 Mb ]
  6. Acer Aspire 5520 / 5220 Series [ 3.5 Mb ]
  7. Acer Aspire 5530 / 5530G Series [ 7.4 Mb ]
  8. Acer Aspire 5680 / 5630 / 3690 / Acer TravelMate 4280 / 4230 / 2490 [ 7.7 Mb ]
  9. Acer Aspire 5710 / 5710G / 5310 / 5310G [ 3.2 Mb ]
  10. Acer Aspire 5720 / 5720G [ 3.4 Mb ]
  11. Acer Aspire 5920G [ 4.0 Mb ]
  12. Acer Aspire 5930 / 5930Z / 5730Z Series [ 28.6 Mb ]
  13. Acer Aspire 6920 [ 18.9 Mb ]
  14. Acer Aspire 6930 / 6930G [ 8.8 Mb ]
  15. Acer Aspire 6935 Series [ 23.2 Mb ]
  16. Acer Aspire 7520 / 7220 Series [ 3.7 Mb ]
  17. Acer Aspire 7720 / 7720G [ 3.4 Mb ]
  18. Acer Aspire 7730 / 7730G [ 7.1 Mb ]
  19. Acer Aspire 9420 / 9410 / 7110 / Acer TravelMate 5620 / 5610 / 5110 [ 9.1 Mb ]
  20. Acer Aspire 9920 [ 6.6 Mb ]
  21. Acer Ferrari 3000SG [ 3.4 Mb ]
  22. Acer Ferrari 4000 [ 4.7 Mb ]
  23. Acer TravelMate 2410 [ 2.7 Mb ]
  24. Acer TravelMate 4070 / 4080 [ 3.9 Mb ]
  25. Acer TravelMate 4210 / 4270 / 4670 / Acer Aspire 5620 / 5670 [ 6.2 Mb ]
  26. Acer TravelMate 4220 / 2480 / Acer Aspire 5600 [ 20.7 Mb ]
  27. Acer TravelMate 540 Series [ 7.0 Mb ]
  28. Acer TravelMate 5720 / 5320 / Acer Extensa 5620 / 5220 [ 29.3 Mb ]
  29. Acer TravelMate 5730 / Acer Extensa 5630 Series [ 23.4 Mb ]
  30. Acer TravelMate 5710 / 5310 / Acer Extensa 5610 / 5210 [ 29.1 Mb ]
  31. Acer TravelMate 7720 / 7320 [ 37.7 Mb ]
  32. Acer Travelmate 7730 / 7730g [ 8.3 Mb ]
  33. Acer TravelMate 8100 [ 4.5 Mb ]
  34. Acer TravelMate 240 / 250 [ 5.1 Mb ]
  35. Acer Aspire 4720 / 4720G / 4720Z / 4320 [ 3.1 Mb ]
  36. Acer Aspire серии 4720Z / 4720 / 4320 Руководство Пользователя [ 3.4 Mb ]
  37. Схема на ноутбук Acer Aspire 4720Z (Z01)-E3C [ 0.9 Mb ]
  38. Acer Aspire 8935G [ 10.5 Mb ]
  39. Acer Aspire 5110 / 5100 / 3100 / TravelMate 5510 / 5210 / Extens 5410 / 5010 [ 14.0 Mb ]
  40. Acer Aspire 9300 / 7000 / Acer TravelMate 7510 [ 9.7 Mb ]
  41. Acer Aspire 6530 [ 3.8 Mb ]
  42. Acer Aspire 4520 / 4220 / 4520G / 4220G [ 9.1 Mb ]
  43. Acer Aspire 5738G / 5738ZG / 5738Z / 5738 / 5338 / 5536 / 5536G / 5236 [ 19.4 Mb ]
  44. Acer Aspire 2930 [ 10.4 Mb ]
  45. Acer TravelMate 42
     [ 8.9 Mb ]
  46. Acer TravelMate 6492 [ 4.4 Mb ]
  47. Acer TravelMate 3000 [ 4.7 Mb ]
  48. Acer Aspire 4920 / 4920G [ 4.8 Mb ]
  49. Acer TravelMate 4530 [ 6.8 Mb ]
  50. Acer Aspire 4715z / 4315 [ 26 Mb ]
  51. Acer TravelMate 2480 / 3260 / 3270 [ 4.7 Mb ]
  52. Acer TravelMate 4720 / 4320 [ 14.0 Mb ]
  53. Acer Aspire 5935 / 5935G  [ 8.4 Mb ]
  54. Acer Aspire 8930 [ 18.6 Mb ]
  55. Acer Aspire 8920 [ 15.5 Mb ]
  56. Acer Aspire 3810T / 3810TZ [ 13.5 Mb ]
  57. Acer Aspire 5810T / 5810TG / 5810TZ / 5410T [ 34.5 Mb ]
  58. Acer Aspire 5737Z [ 7.2 Mb ]
  59. Acer Aspire 1710 [ 4.6 Mb ]
  60. Acer Aspire 2920 / 2920Z / 2420  [ 16.9 Mb ]
  61. Acer Ferrari 5000 [ 17.5 Mb ]
  62. Acer Aspire One [ 5.5 Mb ]

Why laptop runs hot and turns off or freezes?

My laptop runs very hot and eventually turns off or freezes – this is one of the most common complaints I have been receiving from my customer for many years. Why it’s happening? Is there an easy fix for that?
Most likely this problem is heat related. Take a look at the following picture.

Any laptop has a cooling module which consists of heatsink and cooling fan. When laptop is working, the processor (CPU) heats up and because of that the heatsink is getting hot too. At some temperature level, the fan kicks in and cools down the heatsink.
The problem starts when the laptop cooling module collects too much dust inside. Usually dust collects between the fan and heatsink. Dust clogs the heatsink and kills normal airflow inside the cooling module. Eventually, the processor gets very hot and the laptop turns off unexpectedly or freezes. This problem can be fixed by cleaning the laptop cooling module.
Cleaning laptop cooling module.
Some laptops give you an easy access to the heatsink and fan. In laptops like that you can access the cooling module through the bottom cover.

In my example I had to remove the cooling module. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to remove the fan and access the heatsink. In some laptops you can remove the fan without separating the heatsink from the CPU.
After I removed the fan, I found a thick layer of dust inside the heatsink. Cleaning the heatsink should fix any heat related problems.

Apply thermal paste on the processor.
If thermal paste on the processor dried out, you should replace it with fresh thermal paste.

Remove old thermal paste from the processor and heatsink using alcohol swab.
WARNING: In some laptops the heatsink also covers the graphics chip. The part of the heatsink which covers the graphics chip might have thermal pad on it instead of regular thermal paste. Do not replace thermal pad with thermal paste! Do not apply thermal paste on the thermal pad! Just leave thermal pad alone and apply thermal paste only on the processor.
I usually use Shin-Etsu thermal paste which is relatively cheap and performs well.

After applying new thermal paste, install the heatsink and fan back into the laptop. Do not forget to connect the fan cable to the motherboard!
What if cooling module cannot be accessed easily?
In some laptops the cooling module is buried deep inside the case and cannot be easily accessed and removed. In order to remove the cooling module it’s necessary to disassemble the whole laptop but it’s only for experienced users.
In laptops like that you can use the following technique:

Buy a can of computer compressed air.
1. Blow air into the fan grill on the bottom of the laptop.
2. Blow air into the grill on the side of the laptop.
Switch direction a few times until all dust is gone. Most likely this quick cleaning will fix your laptop overheating problem.

View original article here

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to fix laptop motherboard with failed NVIDIA graphics chip

In this post I explain how you can fix a laptop motherboard with failed NVIDIA graphics chip. This repair might apply to some HP/Compaq laptops and probably some other laptop brands. If this repair works for your laptop, please mention the brand and model number in comments after the post. This will help other readers with similar laptops.
This method should work for the following models: HP Pavilion dv2000, Pavilion dv6000, Pavilion dv9000, Compaq Presario v3000, Presario v6000, HP Pavilion tx1000, Pavilion tx2000.
By the way, I just fixed my son’s Xbox 360 with red ring of death (error 74) using exactly same technique.
1. Laptop turns on with garbled video on the internal laptop screen and external monitor.
2. Laptop turns on as normal but there is no video on the internal laptop screen or external monitor.
The NVIDIA graphics chip soldered to the motherboard. When the laptop gets very hot, the NVIDIA chip separates from the motherboard and laptop video fails.
I have previous posts explaining how I fixed same problem by baking the motherboard in an oven or bubble-wrapping the laptop. But today I’m going to fix the motherboard using a heat gun. Basically, I’m going to heat up the NVIDIA chip with a heat gun to solder it back to the motherboard (reflow). I think this method is more reliable and the repair should last for a while.

There is no guaranty this method works all the time. While doing this repair you may damage the motherboard and make it unrepairable. Also, you may damage the laptop while taking it apart.
Proceed at your own risk and don’t blame me if you turned your laptop into a very expensive door stop. :)
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this repair, take your laptop to the repair shop.
First of all, you’ll have to disassemble the laptop and remove the motherboard. You can find laptop disassembly procedure in the service manual. If you having trouble finding the manual, leave a comment and maybe I can point you to the right direction.
In my example I’m using a motherboard removed from HP Pavilion tx2000 laptop.
In most laptops the graphics chip located under the CPU heatsink (and it has NVIDIA logo on it), so there shouldn’t be a problem locating the chip. The chip has a glossy top surface.

For this repair I’m going to use an Ecoheat heat gun EC-100.

In order to figure out how to position the heat gun and for how long, I tested it on a penny with a small piece of solder on the top.
The Ecoheat heat gun has a switch on the handle. There are two positions for the switch. Position 1 – slow. Position 2 – fast.
I used position 1 – slow.
I positioned the heat gun about 1 inch away from the penny and turned it on.

After about 40-45 second the solder started melting. After 50 seconds the solder melted completely.

To protect the motherboard from the heat I used a regular cooking aluminum foil. I cut off a piece of aluminum foil and folded it a few times to make my protection shield thicker. After that I cut off a square opening right in the middle, same size as the NVIDIA chip.
After I removed the heat sink, I had some old thermal grease stuck on the NVIDIA graphics chip. You can remove old thermal grease using alcohol swabs. It’s not necessary to make it perfectly clean. Just make sure there are no large chunks of thermal grease on the chip.

UPDATE: Some people mentioned that I should have applied some liquid flux underneath the NVIDIA chip for better results. I didn’t do it this time. I’ll definitely do it next time if the motherboard fails again. I found this video explaining how to apply liquid flux under the GPU chip. This video was made for Xbox 360 motherboard but should apply to any laptop motherboard too.
Liquid flux for GPU reflow available on eBay.
Finally, I positioned the heat gun above the NVIDIA chip about 1 inch away and turned the heat gun into the position 1.

After 50 seconds I turned it off and let the motherboard cool down for about 20 minutes.
Don’t forget to apply new thermal grease on the NVIDIA chip when you install the heat sink.
Some laptops use thermal pads instead of grease. If that’s the case with your laptop, make sure the thermal pad positioned correctly.
After I assembled the laptop back together, the video started properly!
The NVIDIA graphics chip problem fixed!
Will it last for a long time? I don’t know. Still testing.

Make sure to visit The NVIDIA GPU Litigation site.
It’s possible that your HP/Compaq laptop qualifies for a free replacement. Here’s a quoted from the site:
If you have an HP or Compaq notebook computer, you may be eligible to receive a replacement computer. A repair remedy is not available for HP/Compaq computers because replacement parts are not available. Replacement computers will be shipped 6 to 8 weeks after a claim is approved.

View original article here

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to Stop Computer Problems in Your Office Before They Start

Okay sooner or later your office PC (personal computer) will have something go wrong with it. Like any other office machine, computers are subject to glitches, bugs and crashes caused by failing hardware or software. And in the long run your small business PC will be no different.

Just like in many home-based businesses, large modern offices have the exact same computer problems as a much smaller shops because they had the same “computer user” issues. All the computer users are mired in the “busy-ness” of the job at hand.

“Busy-ness” is what happens when working folks, like you and me, get caught up in using our business PCs day-in and day-out without taking the time to perform proper computer maintenance on them.
We lug around our laptops from home to car to office and back again without stopping. We download everything from music to maps without thinking about where these programs come from or what harm they can do to our business systems.

“Busy-ness” is the secret serial killer of technology and the biggest source of on-going computer problems. We slowly kill our technology with software that has not been updated in years, by downloading all types of viruses and spyware that is “attached” to more innocent applications and emails or by ignoring the signs of obviously failing hardware.

After all we are too involved in our “busy-ness” to take time to fix these “minor” computer problems…until it’s too late.

Unchecked computer troubles and poor computer maintenance will eventually lead to damaged or destroyed data files, lost work productivity due to hours of downtime. Not to mention costing you a fortune in computer repair fees.

So what can you do to fix computer problems before they get out of hand?

Fix Your Computer Problems Tip# 1 – Be Sensitive to What You Have. First, understand that your personal technology, your PC and the data and applications on it, are the lifeblood of your business. Take an inventory of what data files you have and what software you have installed. There are several free programs that can make this computer maintenance problem an easy fix.

Fix Your Computer Problems Tip# 2 – Be Aware of What You Download. The biggest problem, I have ever had both professionally and personally (hey I did it do, you know) was PCs with viruses or malware (malicious software) that were downloaded from “freebie” sites.

Free music, free software, etc. are great if you get them from a safe and trusted source, but no matter what you kind of anti-virus program you may have, like a vampire, malware loves it best when you “invite” them into your home.

Fix Your Computer Problems Tip# 3 – Be Certain You Update Often. Another problem that has always caused problems is failing to update your operating system or hardware drivers on a regular basis. Hackers never sleep. Somewhere in the world some greedy, little nerd is hard at work learning how to break into your PC.

Whether they hack your computer for fame (bragging rights) or fortune (to sell your stolen identity or credit card numbers), you need to learn to protect both your PC and more importantly your personal data. And one of the best ways to do this is update your operating system (OS) at least once a week.
Microsoft has a Windows update system that automatically downloads and installs updates and upgrades on your PC. Granted every once in while the Microsoft engineers mess up and release an update or upgrade that has some negative consequences, in the long run, their updates are one of the better way to safeguard your PC from outside attackers.

Fix Your Computer Problems Tip# 4 – Be Sure to Backup Your Business Files Frequently. I can honestly say, this is one biggest mistakes made in almost all small offices and businesses. We get knee deep in the “busy-ness” of making a living and then forget all about the data and files that make that business possible.
Think you can live without your hard drive? What if every single file, every picture, document or software program you have bought and paid or downloaded and installed, were to go, POOF overnight? It happens….

Now that you are aware of some of the problems of being too busy, you can set aside time every week to perform some simple computer maintenance tasks, so you will not have to fix more serious computer problems later on.

View the original article here

How to recover files from computer with crashed operating system

In this guide I explain how to recover files from a laptop (or desktop PC) with crashed, failed, damaged operating system.
1. The guide will work if your operating system damaged but the laptop (or desktop PC) hardware still works fine.
2. The guide might work if the hard drive has some minor damage, like a few bad sectors.
For this recovery I’ll be using a Ubuntu CD (Linux OS). Also, you can create a bootable Ubuntu USB stick and use that instead of the CD. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a Linux guru for that. The interface will be very similar to Windows OS.

You’ll need another working computer to download and create a bootable Ubundu CD or USB stick.

1. Download the latest version of Ubuntu OS here. When you click on the download button you’ll start downloading an ISO image.
2. Burn this ISO image on a CD or create a bootable USB stick. It’s explained on the same Ubuntu download page, just scroll a little bit down.

3. Find the target drive where you going to save recovered files. You can use an external USB hard drive or USB memory stick. The target drive can be formatted with any common Windows file system: FAT, FAT32, NTFS.
Boot your laptop from the Ubuntu CD or USB stick. Simply insert the CD or USB stick and restart the computer.

If the laptop (of desktop PC) keeps trying to boot from the internal hard drive, you’ll have to enter the BIOS setup menu and change the boot order. Set your CD/DVD drive or USB stick as first device in the boot order. Safe changes and restart the computer.
From my experience, Ubuntu OS works fine with most laptop and desktop PC hardware and you shouldn’t have any problem booting it to the desktop. It may not work if your computer hardware is too new.
The computer will start booting from the CD or USB stick.
Now read carefully!

After some time a welcome screen will pop up. On this screen you can choose your language and choose between two options: Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu.

Select Try Ubuntu. In this case Linux OS will run directly from the CD or USB stick without changing any files on the hard drive.

Ubuntu OS will continue loading and after a while you’ll boot to the desktop, as it shown on the following picture.

In order to access the internal hard drive, you click on Places in the top toolbar. You should see your internal hard drive in the drop down menu under the Computer.

When you click on the internal hard drive a new window will open up. In this window you’ll see all files located on the hard drive.

Now plug in your target drive: external USB hard drive or USB flash drive.
Another window will pop up. In this window you’ll see files located on the external drive. In my case I have no files on the external drive, that’s why the window is empty.
You can move windows same way you do it in Windows OS. Arrange both windows as you like.

Finally, drag and drop needed files from the internal hard drive to the external drive.
After the transfer is done, you can unplug the external drive and use it on any other computer.

In case if your laptop (or desktop PC) has faulty hardware, you should try recovery with external USB enclosure.
View the original article here

Monday, June 6, 2011

Three of the Most Common Computer Problems

With computers being such an integral part of our day-to-day lives, it’s little surprise that computer problems can quickly turn our worlds upside down.  Having a computer that won’t turn on, one that’s unbelievably slow or one that is acting plain weird can be a frustrating yet all-too-common experience. Thankfully, with a little effort on your part and access to an expert computer support team, the most common computer problems can be resolved quickly and efficiently.

Believe it or not, one of the most common computer problems involves simply getting the computer to turn on.  So if you hit the power button and nothing happens, there are definitely a few things you’ll want to check. First, as obvious as it may seem, check the power supply.  Is your computer plugged into to the power strip and is the power strip turned on?  Ensure that the power cable is firmly seated in the power slot on the back of your computer as well.

If your power cables are all plugged in and connected, it’s time to start looking elsewhere for a diagnosis.  Does the computer come on but just not show anything on the screen?  If so, check your monitor cables, and also make sure that the cleaning crew didn’t inadvertently change your monitor contrast and brightness settings as they were touching up your workspace.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to contact your computer support team. They can replace the computer’s power supply if it turns out to be the culprit, and they can likely troubleshoot any other potential causes.

Your computer ran as fast as lightning when you first got it, but now, it seems to take forever to do something as simple as open a new Web page or save your Microsoft Word document. What’s happening?  Before you contact your computer support technicians, check a few things for yourself.

A common complaint, slow computer problems are typically caused by a combination of simple things adding up.  Do you have lots of files in your Recycle Bin?  When was the last time you deleted files from your Temp folder?

Having leftover files cluttering up your hard drive can negatively affect your computer’s performance.  Also, performing a Disk Cleanup or Disk Defragmenter on your computer on a regular basis is a good idea; this process removes unnecessary files and streamlines your computer’s performance.

Check, too, to see how many programs your computer is loading on startup—you can do so by going to Start, then Run, then typing in msconfig.  Uncheck all but the items you really need to have available as soon as the computer boots, and you’ll likely speed up your computing experience.

Has your computer simply not been acting like itself lately?  If you’ve noticed your computer freezing up, giving you a blue screen, slowing down for no apparent reason or even doing something as annoying as switching the home page on your Internet browser, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a virus or malware.

For problems like this, your computer support team can serve as an excellent resource to get you back up and running, but there are a few things you can do yourself.

First, ensure that your virus definitions are up-to-date, and then run a full scan of your system.  Next, run your anti-malware/anti-spyware program to see if it identifies threats.

Depending on what your software finds, you may be able to remedy the problem yourself by quarantining or deleting the offending files, but if you’re uncertain at all, this is one of those tasks that may be best left to your computer support technicians.  Don’t be afraid to give them a call.

View the original article here

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How to fix video problem on HP laptops

In this post I explain how you can fix a known video problem on some HP laptops without actually taking it apart. Most likely the fix is not permanent but this will buy you some time, enough to backup personal files or even use the laptop until you get a new one. There is no guaranty this fix work 100%.
Here are some HP models affected by this known video failure problem: HP Pavilion dv2000, dv6000, dv9000, tx1000 tablet PC, Compaq 700, v3000, v6000 and probably some others.
If you know more models, please mention them in comments after this post.

As I know, the video problem somehow related to NVIDIA chip located on the motherboard. Overtime the NVIDIA chip separates from the motherboard and the laptop video fails.

When you turn on the laptop, all LEDs light up but there is no video on the laptop screen or external monitor. The laptop screen remains completely black and blank. The cooling fan spins as normal, on some models it stars spinning right away on other models after some time.
I found this trick mentioned by Walliot (comment 85) in this post. This trick called “towel fix” and used to fix “no video” issue in xbox360.
1. Remove laptop battery and hard drive.
2. Plug the AC adapter and turn on the laptop. Make sure the laptop is actually on, all LEDs should work.
3. Wrap the laptop with towels so all air intakes are closed.
4. Keeps the laptop wrapped in the towel for about one hours.
5. Unplug the AC adapter from the wall the let the laptop cool down (do not touch it for a while).
6. Unwrap the laptop and try tuning it on.
I didn’t really believe that this trick might work and tried it just because of curiosity but… IT WORKED!!!!
LAPTOP #1. HP tx1000 Tablet PC.

First, I tried this fix on a failed HP tx1000 Tablet PC.
I didn’t have paper towels at work but I had plenty of bubble wrap.
I closed the laptop in a tablet mode (with hard drive and battery removed), plugged the AC adapter and wrapped the laptop properly in bubble wrap.

After that I just waited for about two hours and unplugged AC adapter from the wall.
Waited for about 30 minutes and tried turning it on.
Success!!! The laptop started with video.

I just couldn’t stop and tried the fix on another failed laptop.
LAPTOP #2. HP Pavilion dv6000.
This is a different model with very similar failure symptoms. It turns on, all LED lights work but there is no video.
This time I didn’t something extra. To make sure there is no cool air coming into the laptop though bubble wrap, I closed all air vents with sticky tape.

After that I turned on the laptop from AC adapter (again with hard drive and battery removed) and wrapped the laptop base with bubble wrap.

The laptop was running like that for about 60-70 minutes but then I noticed that all LED lights went off. Not sure what happened, maybe the laptop overheated too much and shut down on its own. Anyway, I didn’t touch it for about 30 minutes and let it cool down.
My fix was successful again! The laptop turned on with video and booted to the desktop.

Here’s my understanding of how this fix works.
When you run a laptop wrapped in towels (bubble wrap in my case), it gets very hot because there is no air circulation inside the heatsink. The heatsink and GPU (NVIDIA chip) run so hot that it melt solder between the chip and motherboard and the video chip gets resoldered to the motherboard.
Now I have to test for how long this fix last. 

View the original article here

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do's and Don'ts Computer Repair Guide

Troubleshooting Do's are extremely important to remember since they will save you money as you follow these steps to prevent damage and save you grief should you ignore any of these which may result in a problem showing up. Take the time to go over these troubleshooting Do's first and pay close attention to
removing any and all static buildup from yourself. Troubleshooting Do's consist of the following procedures.

DO make sure your hardware device drivers are up to date with any patches downloaded and installed. Take the time to visit your video card, sound card, motherboard, and other hardware manufacturer web sites to see if you have the most up to date device drivers.

DO check that all connections are seated firmly and properly in their sockets. This is a must check as these connections do tend to work themselves loose over time and cause problems you may blame on software.

If you have been working in your system unit recently and you noticed a fault manifesting itself, you want to go back and take a look at all connections you were near. Look to be sure your fingers did not press against other connections and causing then to work loose.

DO perform preventive maintenance on your computer and keep it clean regularly. Its a good idea to open up the system unit and remove all dust that have accumulated on the motherboard as well as all other boards.

Dirt and dust conducts heat and will cause the computer to run at higher temperatures than it normally would. Take a look at the vents in the back of the case and remove dust that have accumulated.

The best way to remove dust from all circuit boards in the system unit is by a can of compressed air, available at any computer store and now, most retail stores.

DO make absolutely sure you have removed any and all electrical static buildup from yourself before working inside your computer and before touching any new circuit cards and chips.

Please don't overlook this troubleshoot tip. It would be a tragedy to purchase new memory only to short circuit them either before you installed them or you do so the process. 

RAM, short for Random Access Memory chips are very vulnerable for this. So to rid yourself of Electrical Static Charge you may consider purchasing a Wrist Strap. This tool is especially designed for this. If you don't want to go this route, you can simply touch the case's mental chassis.

Troubleshooting Don'ts are just as important to remember and follow as those troubleshooting Do's and they will include the following.


DON'T allow your computer to run hot. Each device you install in the system will generate heat. Be sure your system is well ventilated. If you install more than two extra devices, you should consider installing an extra cooling fan.

Cooling fans are easy to install and will be well worth the effort. They come will instructions that are easy to follow. It may be best to simply keep the extra devices in your system down to two or three at the most.

DON'T use a brush when you decide to clean the circuit cards and motherboard in your computer. They create static electricity that will render them useless. If you don't have a can of compressed air, wait until you can get one.

DON'T download and install files from the Internet without scanning them for viruses first. This as particularly true for any applications or files you download from filesharing networks.

DON'T plug in your mouse, keyboard, or any peripheral while the computer is on. Switch the computer off before disconnecting or connecting anything from it.

About the only device you can connect to, disconnect from your computer while it is running are USB devices. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and now come in the new version 2.0.

You may have escape that one time when you turn on your computer and something went wrong. But it will happen at one time or another.

Don't add to the problem by failing to Do such tasks as removing static buildup.

Learn to troubleshoot your computer with great care and you'll be richly rewarded by the fact that you were able to diagnose the problem and were safe in the process.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review on Podnutz - Steve Cherubino - Laptop Repair Video Collection

This collection of videos teach people how to fix your laptop computer. It is extremely useful for people who want to learn how to save money by fixing their own stuff, or maybe someone wants to learn a new trade and make some side money by fixing other peoples' broken computers. This could also be useful to someone who doesn't necessarily have a laptop right now, but is thinking about purchasing one in the future and wants to know how to repair it.

I'm sure the first thing you are wondering is how in depth does the Podnutz series really take you into laptop repair. Well the great thing about Podnutz is they really did a good job of organizing the information in the video series to utilize the video time as much as possible. The series is about 10 hours long so you can imagine how it could go both ways. When I watch the videos I really feel like the creators put a lot of time into the outline of the course making it very effective as opposed to just throwing something together. 

There is also Podnutz website that has a chat forum dedicated to discussing computer repair, as well as answering questions regarding the video collection. This is a great resource for people who watched the video, but didn't get all their questions answered. You can just join the forum, post a question, and get an answer from a knowledgeable person. Another bonus is that there is a 60 day money back guarantee, so if the videos aren't up to par with what you are looking for, you can return them and get a full refund.

Podnutz Official Laptop Repair Videos Learn How To Fix Laptops

"I would not have released these videos if they weren't ready. Even though I had some footage over a year ago, I wanted to wait until I had enough material, fully edited and in FULL HD to blow you guys away! I hope you like the package I put together for you!"
- Steve Cherubino (creator of

Podnuts Laptop Repair Video Collection (available in Full HD Downloadable video files and or DVD Format)

What You Will Learn After Watching The Podnutz Videos

I was very surprised at how much information is packed in this video series. Throughout the 10 hour course you will learn everything there is to know when it comes to fixing laptops. Here is a small preview...
How to replace a motherboard
How to replace an LCD Screen
What to do when the laptop keeps shutting down
How to fix DC power jacks
The crucial difference between a bad screen and a bad inverter board
How to replace hinges
Where I buy all my parts
The best way to go about taking a laptop apart
How to solder laptop components
How to fix AC adapters
How to handle a laptop that has had liquid spilled in it
What to do when a laptop overheats
How to replace CD/DVD drives, RAM, processors, hard Drives and wireless cards.

In conclusion, 

I advised those persons who are interested in learning how to fix your own personal laptop to check out Podnutz Laptop Repair Videos. It is worth the investment, and might even save you some money in the long run. I highly recommend it to those computer enthusiast out there...

If you're interested on this product click here to visit PODNUTS Official website

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Create Shortcut to Shutdown / Restart / Lock Windows 7 or Vista

 First right-click on the desktop, choose New and then Shortcut. image
In the shortcut location box, you’ll need to enter the correct command, which I’ve listed for you below.
Shutdown Computer
Shutdown.exe -s -t 00
Restart Computer
Shutdown.exe -r -t 00
Lock Workstation
Rundll32.exe User32.dll,LockWorkStation
Hibernate Computer
rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll,SetSuspendState
Sleep Computer
rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0
When you’ve clicked next on the above dialog, you’ll be asked to name the shortcut. Probably best to name it according to the right function.
After you click Finish, you should now have a new icon that you can double-click to immediately shutdown, restart, or lock your computer.

Change Shortcut Icon
If you want to have separate shortcuts for each function you might want to change the icon. Right-click on the icon and choose properties.
Click the Change Icon button, and then you can pick from the available icons in the system, or you can use the Browse button to pick an icon you downloaded off the web.
Note that you can drag them to your quick launch bar if you’d prefer to have them there.

How to Backup/Copy Files that are "In Use" or "Locked" in Windows (Command Line)

If you’ve ever tried to copy a file that is locked by another application, you’ve probably seen an error message similar to “The process cannot access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file”. So how do you copy it anyway?
Since XP, Windows has supported a technology called Volume Shadow Copy, which is used to power the previous versions feature in Vista as well as System Restore and backups. What it does is take a temporary snapshot of the file or drive, and then allow an application to read from the snapshot even while other applications are accessing or modifying the file.
What we can do is use a command line utility called HoboCopy that utilizes this service to copy the file.

Understanding the Prerequisites
HoboCopy and most other backup utilities make use of two services in Windows, and you’ll need to verify that these services are not disabled:
  • Volume Shadow Copy
  • Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
They can be left as Manual startup, so they don’t need to be running all the time. Hobocopy will start the two services automatically when needed, and the Volume Shadow Copy service will be turned back off after it’s done.

Using HoboCopy to Backup/Copy a Single File
The syntax is a little weird, because HoboCopy is really meant to be used for backing up an entire set of folders. We can use it to backup a single file by passing in the filename argument at the end.
Note: on Windows Vista you will need to launch an Administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the Command prompt in the start menu and choosing Run as Administrator.
hobocopy c:\directoryname\ d:\backupdirectory\
For example, I want to backup my c:\users\geek\mail\outlook.pst file to d:\backups\outlook.pst. Here’s the syntax that I’d use:
C:\> hobocopy c:\users\geek\mail\ d:\backups\ Outlook.pst
HoboCopy (c) 2006 Wangdera Corporation.
Starting a full copy from c:\users\geek\mail to d:\backups\
Copied directory
Backup successfully completed.
Backup started at 2008-03-09 01:57:28, completed at 2008-03-09 01:58:39.
1 files (606.45 MB, 1 directories) copied, 7 files skipped
Using HoboCopy to Backup an Entire Directory
A much more useful task would be to backup my entire User folder, probably to an external hard drive for safekeeping. For this, we’ll want to add a couple of command-line arguments.

/full Copy all files
/skipdenied Ignore any access denied messages because of permission errors.
/r Copy recursively
/y Don’t prompt, just copy everything

hobocopy /full /skipdenied /y /r c:\directoryname\ d:\backupdirectory\
Let’s go with the same example, I want to backup my entire user directory to d:\backups\, so I’d use this command:
hobocopy /full /skipdenied /y /r c:\users\geek\ d:\backups\
This command will likely take a very long time to complete, so you might want to take a nap or something. At the end you should have a nearly perfect copy of the directory… if there are any permission errors you’ll be alerted to files that didn’t copy. Realistically any files in your user directory shouldn’t have this problem.

Using HoboCopy to Incrementally Backup a Drive
Hobocopy also supports backing up files incrementally, so it will only copy the files that have changed since the last backup. This works similarly to utilities like rsync, except hobocopy stores the last backup date in a file that you need to specify on the command line.
/statefile=filename This flag specifies the file that contains the last backup information.
/incremental Only copy files that have changed since the last full copy.

hobocopy /incremental /statefile=filename /y /r c:\directoryname\ d:\backupdirectory\
hobocopy /incremental /statefile=d:\lastbackup.dat /y /r c:\users\geek\ d:\backups\
The first time that you run this command you will need to use /full instead of /incremental, or else you will get an error because the state file hasn’t been created yet. After that you can run the incremental backup with the /incremental switch.

This would be an excellent way to automatically backup a set of folders as part of a scheduled task.


If you are having problem using the command line you may try CopySharp, which is a GUI version tool for copying open/in process files. It is inspired by robocopy and vshadow. CopySharp V1.0 requires Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows XP.

Allow Users To Run Only Specified Programs in Windows 7

I was doing some reading today and came across an interesting article that I thought I’d share with you. It’s about allowing users to run only specified programs in Windows 7. I think that this would be helpful to restrict programs you don't want others to use or execute on your own computer. This also prevents unwanted application execution like viruses and malwares thus keeping your computer safe and sound.

If you have a shared or public computer you might want to allow users to use only specified programs. Today we take a look at a setting in Local Group Policy that allows you to set only specified programs to run. Note: This process uses Local Group Policy Editor which is not available in Home versions of Windows 7.
First click on Start and enter gpedit.msc into the search box and hit Enter.
Navigate to User Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ System. Then under Setting scroll down and double click on Run only specified Windows applications.
Set it to Enabled, then under the Options section click on the Show button next to List of allowed applications.
A Show Contents dialog comes up where you can type in the apps you want to allow users to run. When finished with the list, click OK then close out of  Local Group Policy Editor.
If a user tries to access an application that is not on the specified list they will receive the following error message.
This is a nice feature for limiting what programs users can or cannot access on the computer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to unhide hidden folders caused by malwares and viruses

Most hidden files and folders are needed by Windows to work. However there is a darker side. Sometimes viruses and Spyware will hide themselves on your computer. In addition, if you are a parent, your children most likely knows how to hide files they do not want you to see. In this presentation you will learn how to see the hidden files and folders on your computer.
  1. Step 1: Start With Start

    The first step we do is to go down to the Start button on the bottom-left hand side of your screen.
    Now this is also a good time to bring up a point: everything I’m going to show you, by default, is how Windows is set up. You might have changed some settings, but this is how Windows comes naturally.
    So we’re going to click on the Start button. We’re going to have this menu pop up, and we’re going to go to My Computer, and we’re going to single-click on this.
  2. Step 2: Top Tip: The Mouse

    Let me explain what this means – single-click, double-click, and all this stuff. Single-click means one click of the left mouse button. Double-click means you click it twice. If you hear alternative click, that means you click the right mouse button.

    And again, these are by default. If you’ve set your computer for a southpaw, a left-handed person, your buttons might be reversed, but by default, single-click – one left button mouse click, double-click – two left mouse button clicks, and alternative means the right mouse button.
  3. Step 3: Navigate My Computer

    So we’re going to click on My Computer, and we’re going to get this window pops up, and this window will pop up, and we’re going to go to the Tools option up here at the top of the page. We’re going to click on the Tools button, single-click.
  4. Step 4: Explore Folder Options

    Then we get this drop-down menu. We go to Folder Options. This new dialog box pops up. Notice there’re tabs up here. We want the View tab, so we’re going to click on the View tab, and we’re going to look for the option that says “Show hidden files and folders”. Here it is. Right now, you see the little button is in the “Do not show hidden files and folders”. We’re going to click in the other button, right there, and now “Show hidden files and folders” is enabled.
  5. Step 5: Apply The Changes

    Now we want to close this window out. We can do it one of two ways: we can either go Apply or OK. The difference between the two is “Apply” means you want to continue working in this window. So, for example, if I want this change to occur, but I’m still going to work in here, I’m going to hit the Apply button. And then I can still look in my General tabs and the other tabs.
    If I want to close this window out when I’m done, then I would click the OK button. It does the same thing as the Apply button, except it closes the window out once you’ve pushed it.
  6. Step 6: Done

    So that showed you how to unhide your files and folders. Once again, this is an important tool to begin cleaning your computer up, as well as finding out where the children have been. Hope this helps you out, and we look forward to seeing you for our next video presentation.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Troubleshooting Connectivity Problems on Windows Networks

This article series will explain various troubleshooting techniques that you can use when machines on a Windows network have difficulty communicating with each other.

Today’s network hardware and software is more reliable than ever but even so, things do occasionally go wrong. In this article series, I am going to discuss some troubleshooting techniques that you can use when a host on your Windows network has trouble communicating with other network hosts. For the sake of those with less experience in working with the TCP/IP protocol, I’m going to start with the basics, and then work toward the more advanced techniques.

Verify Network Connectivity

When one host has trouble communicating with another, the first thing that you must do is to gather some information about the problem. More specifically, you need to document the host’s configuration, find out if the host is having trouble communicating with any other machines on the network, and find out if the problem effects any other hosts.
For example, suppose that a workstation is having trouble communicating with a particular server. That in itself doesn’t really give you a lot to go on. However, if you were to dig a little bit deeper into the problem and found out that the workstation couldn’t communicate with any of the network servers, then you would know to check for a disconnected network cable, a bad switch port, or maybe a network configuration problem.
Likewise, if the workstation were able to communicate with some of the network servers, but not all of them, that too would give you a hint as to where to look for the problem. In that type of situation, you would probably want to check to see what the servers that could not be contacted had in common. Are they all on a common subnet? If so, then a routing problem is probably to blame.
If multiple workstations are having trouble communicating with a specific server, then the problem probably isn’t related to the workstations unless those workstations were recently reconfigured. More than likely, it is the server itself that is malfunctioning.
The point is that by starting out with a few basic tests, you can gain a lot of insight into the problem at hand. The tests that I am about to show you will rarely show you the cause of the problem, but they will help to narrow things down so that you will know where to begin the troubleshooting process.


PING is probably the simplest TCP/IP diagnostic utility ever created, but the information that it can provide you with is invaluable.  Simply put, PING tells you whether or not your workstation can communicate with another machine.
The first thing that I recommend doing is opening a Command Prompt window, and then entering the PING command, followed by the IP address of the machine that you are having trouble communicating with. When you do, the machine that you have specified should produce four replies, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A:
The specified machine should generate four replies
The responses essentially tell you how long it took the specified machine to respond with thirty two bytes of data. For example, in Figure A, each of the four responses were received in less than four milliseconds.
Typically, when you issue the PING command, one of four things will happen, each of which has its own meaning.
The first thing that can happen is that the specified machine will produce four replies. This indicates that the workstation is able to communicate with the specified host at the TCP/IP level.
The second thing that can happen is that all four requests time out, as shown in Figure B. If you look at Figure A, you will notice that each response ends in TTL=128. TTL stands for Time To Live. What this means is that each of the four queries and responses must be completed within 128 milliseconds. The TTL is also decremented once for each hop on the way back. A hop occurs when a packet moves from one network to another. I will be talking a lot more about hops later on in this series.

Figure B:
If all four requests time out, it could indicate a communications failure
At any rate, if all four requests have timed out, it means that the TTL expired before the reply was received. This can mean one of three things:
  • Communications problems are preventing packets from flowing between the two machines. This could be caused by a disconnected cable, a bad routing table, or a number of other issues.
  • Communications are occurring, but are too slow for PING to acknowledge. This can be caused by extreme network congestion, or by faulty network hardware or wiring.
  • Communications are functional, but a firewall is blocking ICMP traffic. PING will not work unless the destination machine’s firewall (and any firewalls between the two machines) allow ICMP echos.
A third thing that can happen when you enter the PING command is that some replies are received, while others time out. This can point to bad network cabling, faulty hardware, or extreme network congestion.
The fourth thing that can occur when pinging a host is that you receive an error similar to the one that is shown in Figure C.

Figure C:
This type of error indicates that TCP/IP is not configured correctly
The PING: Transmit Failed error indicates that TCP/IP is not configured correctly on the machine on which you are trying to enter the PING command. This particular error is specific to Vista though. Older versions of Windows produce an error when TCP/IP is configured incorrectly, but the error message is “Destination Host Unreachable”

What if the PING is Successful?

Believe it or not, it is not uncommon for a ping to succeed, even though two machines are having trouble communicating with each other. If this happens, it means that the underlying network infrastructure is good, and that the machines are able to communicate at the TCP/IP level. Typically, this is good news, because it means that the problem that is occurring is not very serious.
If normal communications between two machines are failing, but the two machines can PING each other successfully (be sure to run the PING command from both machines), then there is something else that you can try. Rather than pinging the network host by IP address, try replacing the IP address with the host’s fully qualified domain name, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D:
Try pinging the network host by its fully qualified domain name
If you are able to ping the machine by its IP address, but not by its fully qualified domain name, then you most likely have a DNS issue. The workstation may be configured to use the wrong DNS server, or the DNS server may not contain a host record for the machine that you are trying to ping.
If you look at Figure D, you can see that the machine’s IP address is listed just to the right of its fully qualified domain name. This proves that the machine was able to resolve the fully qualified domain name. Make sure that the IP address that the name was resolved to is correct. If you see a different IP address than the one that you expected, then you may have an incorrect DNS host record.

Confirming Connectivity

In the previous article, I showed you the basics of using the PING command to test network connectivity. However, if you are having trouble communicating with other hosts on the network, or hosts on remote networks, then there are a few more PING tests that you can perform in order to get a better idea of what’s going on.
Before I show you those techniques though, it is important to understand how the host that is having communications problems is configured. The procedure for doing so varies from one version of Windows to the next, so I will show you how to check the network configuration on a machine that’s running Windows Server 2003
The first thing that you must do is to determine whether the machine in question is running a static or a dynamic IP address configuration. To do so, open the Control Panel, and choose the Network Connections option. Now, right click on the connection that you are trying to diagnose, and choose the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. Upon doing so, you will see the connection’s properties sheet, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A:
This is the network connection’s properties sheet
Now, scroll through the list of items that the connection uses until you locate the TCP/IP protocol (selected in Figure A). Select this protocol, and click the Properties button to reveal the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties sheet, shown in Figure B.

Figure B:
The Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties sheet is used to configure the TCP{/IP protocol
Once you arrive at this screen, it is important to make note of the machine’s IP configuration. Specifically, you will want to make note of the following items:
  • Is the machine using a static or a dynamic configuration?
  • If a static configuration is being used, what is the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway?
  • Is the DNS server address being obtained automatically?
  • If the DNS server address is being manually specified, what address is being used?
Before I move on, I also want to mention that if a computer has multiple network adapters installed, then there will be multiple connections that are listed in the Control Panel. It is very important that you know which connection corresponds to which network adapter, or else the techniques that I am about to show you will not work.
If you have any doubt as to which connection corresponds to which network adapter, then check the adapter type. If you look at Figure A, you will notice that the adapter type is listed at the top of the screen. If need be, you can open the case to see which network adapter the network cable is connected to, so that you can be absolutely sure that you are looking at the correct network connection.
Now that you know how TCP/IP is configured for the network adapter in question, we must determine whether or not Windows acknowledges the configuration. To do so, open a Command Prompt window, and enter the following command:
It might seem strange to have to make sure that Windows acknowledges your configuration, but IPCONFIG can really tell you a lot about what’s going on. For example, take a look at the screen that’s shown in Figure C.  When you enter the IPCONFIG /ALL command, the first thing that you must do is to locate the correct network adapter. In this case, locating the correct adapter is easy, because only one adapter is listed. Notice though that IPCONFIG provides you with the connection number (in this case it’s Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection 2).  If you look back at Figure A, you will notice that the title of the properties sheet shown in the figure bears the same name. That along with the description of the physical network adapter tells you exactly which network connection you are looking at.

Figure C:
The IPCONFIG /ALL command shows you the machine’s IP configuration as Windows sees it
Of course the first thing that you will probably notice about Figure C is that it lists many different IP addresses for the connection. The reason for this is that I created the screenshot on a Web server. The Web server hosts multiple Web sites, each with its own IP address. I wanted to use this server to illustrate the point that the IP address configuration that you see when you glance at the TCP/IP properties sheet isn’t always what Windows is using.  In this case, the IP configuration information shown in Figure B is still valid. It serves as the machine’s primary IP address. However, there are many other IP addresses that are also in use.
The next step in the troubleshooting process varies depending on whether the machine is using a static or a dynamic IP address configuration. If the machine is using a static configuration, then for right now, just check to make sure that the IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS server address that is listed matches those entered on the TCP/IP properties sheet.
If the machine is using a dynamic IP address, then you will want to look at the address and see if it falls within the expected address range. If you are troubleshooting a problem on an unfamiliar network, then you may not know what the address range should be. If that’s the case, there are a few values that you can look for that have special meanings.
The most obvious clue that something has gone wrong is an IP address of This presence of this address usually indicates one of three things:
The network adapter is not connected to the network (possibly because of a cable problem or a bad switch port)
The IP address was released
An IP address conflict has occurred.
If you receive this address, then try entering the following three commands:
These commands will essentially tell the computer to give up its current address, try to obtain a new address, and then show you the new configuration information. Sometimes this process will fix the problem, and sometimes it won’t. Often though, it will yield clues as to the cause of the problem.
Another tell tale clue that something has gone wrong is that the IP address falls into the 169.254.x.x range with a subnet mask of Some versions of Windows will automatically use this address if an IP address cannot be acquired from a DHCP server.

The first test that you need to perform is to ping the local host address. There are a couple of different ways of accomplishing this. One way is to enter the following command:
When you enter this command, Windows will ping the address Regardless of your machine's IP address, Windows will always use as the local host address. Therefore, an alternative to the command listed above is to simply enter the following command:
Upon entering this command, you should see a successful ping, just as you would with any other ping command. You can see an example of this, shown in Figure A.

Figure A: You should receive a successful ping when you attempt to ping the local host address
Pinging the local host address does nothing to diagnose communications problems with a remote host. It does however allow you to confirm that your local TCP/IP stack is functioning correctly. If you ping the local host address and receive a destination host unreachable error message, it is almost always an indication that TCP/IP is configured incorrectly, or that some part of the local TCP/IP stack is damaged. It has been my experience that you can usually get around this problem by removing the TCP/IP protocol from the computer, and then reintroducing it from scratch.

Ping the Default Gateway

In the previous part of this article series, I mentioned that there were several different aspects of the TCP/IP configuration that you needed to document, and have on hand for the troubleshooting process.  Among these pieces of information or the IP addresses of the default Gateway, and of the primary DNS server.
Assuming that the hosts that you're trying to communicate with is on a remote network, or on a different segment of your corporate network, then the next thing that you need to attempt is to ping the default Gateway. You can accomplish this by simply appending the default gateway’s IP address to the ping command. For example, if you look at Figure B, you will notice that my TCP/IP configuration lists my default Gateway address as I then simply pinged this address. This verifies that the local machine can communicate with the default Gateway. It also tells you that communications on the local network are working as intended, at least at the IP address level.

Figure B: Pinging the default gateway verifies that IP packets can reach your network’s default gateway

Ping the DNS Server

So far we have established that IP level communications are working between the local computer and the default Gateway. This does not however guarantee that host names are being resolved to IP addresses. In the first part of the article series, I showed you how you could use the destination host's fully qualified domain name in conjunction with the ping command as a way of verifying that the DNS server is doing its job. There are a couple of other ways that you can easily test DNS name resolution though.
One thing that you can do is to ping the DNS server's IP address, as shown in Figure C. This does not guarantee the name resolution is working correctly, but it does verify that the local machine is able to communicate with the DNS server.

Figure C: You should verify that the host can communicate with your DNS server
Another thing that you can do is to use the Nslookup command to verify that name resolution is working properly. To do so, simply enter the Nslookup command, followed by the remote host’s fully qualified domain name. The Nslookup command should be able to resolve the fully qualified domain name to an IP address, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D: The Nslookup command tells you whether or not your DNS server is able to resolve the host name
The image above can be a bit misleading at first, if you are not used to working with Nslookup. Initially, this screen appears to be reporting an error. If you take a closer look though, you can see that the first part of the information that has been returned refers to the local DNS server. You can tell this because the IP address that is referenced matches the DNS server’s IP address. However, the lower section of the returned information provides you with the IP address of the host that you have queried. As long as this IP address is listed, then the DNS query was successful.
If the name resolution process fails, then there is a DNS problem. The actual problem may be any one of a number of different problems with the DNS server. For example, the DNS servers forwarding address may not be correct, or the DNS server may not have access to the Internet, which it needs in order to contact higher level DNS servers. Likewise, the DNS server's DNS service may have stopped. Typically though, these types of problems will affect other clients as well since multiple clients usually rely on a single DNS server.
If DNS name resolution succeeds, that it is important that you've verified the IP address that was returned during the name resolution process. You can do this by comparing the IP address of the returned to the actual IP address that the remote host is using. These IP addresses should match, but there are conditions that could cause a mismatch, which would result of the communications failure.
If you do encounter a IP address mismatch, it could be the result of a malware infestation on the client, or it could be the result of DNS poisoning. DNS poisoning is a process in which the DNS cache is populated with invalid or incorrect IP addresses.
If you should encounter such a problem, then I would recommend scanning the client machine for a malware.  It is important to scan for both spyware and viruses since both are known to cause this type of problem. Once the machine is free of malware, then try flushing the DNS cache.  You can flush the DNS cache by entering the following command:
You can see an example of this, shown in Figure E.
It is important to keep in mind that just because the DNS cache contains inaccurate IP addresses, it does not always mean that DNS poisoning has taken place. Sometimes hosts are assigned new IP addresses, and it takes the DNS cache a while to become aware of the changes.

Figure E: If you suspect that your DNS cache may contain inaccurate information, then you must flush it

Packet Loss

So far when we have used the ping command, the command has either been successful, or it has failed. There really has not been any in between. As you may recall the ping command is designed to return four different responses. Occasionally, one or more of these responses may fail while others succeed. When this happens, it means that packet loss is occurring.
In such a situation, the local host and the remote host or both functioning are properly, but conditions exist that cause some packets to be lost along the way. The TCP/IP protocol is designed so that it can retry the transmission one packet loss occurs, but packet loss kills performance. A slow connection with no packet loss will often outperform a high speed connection on which packet loss is occurring.
The tricky thing about packet loss is that it can sometimes be hard to spot. Sure, you know that packet loss is occurring if some of the ping responses fail, but ICMP packets used by pinging are so small that they will often be successfully returned even if a network condition exists that may cause packet loss in real world situations.
If you suspect that packet loss may be occurring but ping is not returning any errors then you can try increasing the size of the ICMP packets. Larger packets are more prone to failure if network problems exist. You can tell ping to use larger packet sizes by using the –L switch.
Using the –L switch is simple. All you have to do is enter the ping command followed by the address that you want to ping, and the –L switch and the number of bytes that you want to send. For example, suppose that your network was experiencing poor performance when connecting to a particular host. You suspect that packet loss is occurring, but ping is consistently successful. Therefore, you decide to tell ping to use a packet size of 1024 bytes. To do so, you would use the following command:
Ping –L 1024
You can see a real world example of how this command works, in Figure A.

Figure A
: Appending the –L command to the ping command allows you to increase the size of the ICMP packet

Time To Live

The next concept that I want to discuss in relation to the ping command is that of Time To Live (TTL). If you take a look at Figure A, you will notice that each of the ping replies ends in TTL=64.
As you probably know, the Internet consists of a huge number of routers that are connected to each other. Every router is connected to at least two other routers. The idea behind this architecture is that if a link fails, there should be at least one other path to the destination. The problem with this type of architecture is that under certain circumstances link failures could cause packets to travel in circles for infinity, never actually reaching their destination.
This is where the TTL value comes into play. Think of the TTL value as a self destruct mechanism for the packet. The TTL value is initially set at a fairly high number, although this number varies depending on the operating system that is being used. Every time the packet travels across as a router, the packet is said to have performed a hop. Each time that a hop occurs, the TTL value is decremented by one. If the TTL value reaches zero, the packet is destroyed. This keeps a lost packet from traveling around the Internet for all eternity.

Trace Route

Another reason why the TTL value is so useful is because a troubleshooting tool called tracert is based on it. Using the ping command is fine for troubleshooting small networks in which the remote host is in close proximity to the sending host, but when it comes to the Internet or to a wide area network the remote host may be thousands of miles away. As such, the ICMP packet generated by the ping command may have to travel through dozens of routers in order to reach the remote host. You may occasionally run into situations in which the local host and the remote host or both working correctly, but one of the routers somewhere along the way is having problems. Fortunately, you can use the tracert command to diagnose these types of problems.
The tracert command is actually based on the ping command. The basic idea behind tracert is that it sends out an ICMP packet to the remote host, but with the TTL value set to one. This causes the first router encountered to send back a TTL expired in transit message. This message contains information that identifies the router that produced the message. The router's identification is documented, and then the ICMP packet is sent out again, but this time with a TTL value of two. This time, the ICMP packet reaches the second router before the TTL value expires. This process is repeated, increasing the TTL value by one each time, until the host is eventually reached. This allows you to see a report of all of the routers between the local host and the remote host. You can sometimes use this information to spot problems along the route that may be affecting traffic flow.
Using the tracert command is very similar to using the ping command. To do so, simply enter the tracert command followed by the IP address or the fully qualified domain name of the remote host. Figure B shows the tracert command inaction.

Figure B
: The tracert command can be used to spot problems with traffic flow.
There are a couple of different things to keep in mind when using the tracert command. First, some hosts use a firewall to block ICMP packets. As such, you will sometimes see a series of asterisks indicating that trace route was not able to get information from a particular host.
Another thing to keep in mind is that like the hosts themselves, every router is assigned an IP address. Regardless of whether they are used for hosts or for routers, IP addresses are structured in a way that allows them to reflect their geographic location. In fact, sometimes this geographic information or even a description of the router is provided within the tracert. If you want more information though, there are third party tools that can graphically track the tracert command based on this geographic information. You can see an example of such a tool in Figure C.

Figure C
: You can perform a visual tracert to determine a host’s geographic location

For demonstration purposes, I have performed a TRACERT against The only reason why I chose this particular site is because it is one of the few sites that I know of off the top of my head that does not block ICMP traffic. You can see the output from the trace route below. I will be referring to this output throughout the rest of the article.
Tracing route to [] over a maximum of 30 hops:
  1     2 ms     1 ms    <1 ms
  2    10 ms    10 ms     9 ms
  3     9 ms     9 ms     9 ms
  4     9 ms     8 ms     9 ms
  5    10 ms     9 ms    10 ms
  6    11 ms    14 ms    10 ms
  7    11 ms    10 ms    11 ms []
  8    31 ms    31 ms    30 ms
  9    38 ms    39 ms    40 ms []
 10    31 ms    31 ms    31 ms
 11    31 ms    30 ms    31 ms
 12    48 ms    35 ms    35 ms []
 13    32 ms    31 ms    33 ms []
 14    60 ms    53 ms    54 ms []
 15    86 ms    71 ms    70 ms []
 16   137 ms   103 ms   102 ms []
 17    95 ms    95 ms    95 ms []
 18    94 ms    95 ms    95 ms []
 19     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 20    97 ms    95 ms    98 ms
Trace complete.
If you look at the TRACERT above, you will notice that each line of the output contains several different pieces of information. The first piece of information found on the leftmost side of each line is the hop number. As I explained in the previous article, TRACERT works by sending a ping request to the specified host. Initially, the requests TTL value is set to 1. This insures that the request will fail after the first hop. Information about the hop is presented, and then the ICMP request is transmitted again, but this time with the TTL value set to 2. The process is repeated over and over again, increasing the TTL value by 1 each time until the specified host is finally reached. In doing so, TRACERT is able to report how many hops the request had to make in order to reach the remote host. If you look at the last line of the output above, you will see that it begins with the number 20. That is because it took 20 hops to reach the specified host.
The next three pieces of information on each line display the amount of time that it took to reach the router or host that the particular line refers to. If you look through the list, you will notice that the time links generally increase with each hop. There are two things that you really need to know about the time links that are displayed.
First, three separate time lengths are displayed for each hop. As I mentioned before, trace route is based on the concept of sending multiple ICMP requests. When we worked with the ping command earlier in this article series, you saw the ping command always returned four different values as a way of measuring packet loss. The same concept applies to trace route, except that the length of time the request took is measured three times instead of four.
The second thing that you need to know about the response times are that an asterisk indicates that a request has timed out. This may or may not indicate a problem, depending on how the asterisk appears. If you look at hop number 19 in the output above, you will notice that all three response time values are presented as asterisks. When you see three asterisks in a row, it usually means that the device that is being pinged on at hop has its firewall configured to reject ICMP packets this will cause each of the timers to timeout, and the final column will simply display the words Request Timed Out.
Keep in mind though that although this is usually the case, it is not the only possibility. Trace route will also display three asterisks when the device in question is unreachable. Of course that raises the question of how you can tell the difference between a site that blocks ICMP packets, and a link failure? Well, it can be a little tricky.
At first glance, a link failure looks identical to what you see when a router or a host blocks ICMP requests. When a failure occurs, you are not going to see an error message. In fact, the process ends with the standard Trace Complete message.
There are two good signs that a link failure has occurred. One sign is that beyond a certain point in the trace, every result that is returned times out. Another sign of a link failure is that the TRACERT proceeds for a full 30 hops. Neither of these conditions guarantee that a link failure has occurred even when they occur together. For example, my Web site ( is working fine at the moment, and yet when I run a TRACERT against it, both of these symptoms show up, as shown in the output below:
Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:
  1     1 ms     1 ms    <1 ms
  2     8 ms    12 ms     8 ms
  3     9 ms     8 ms     9 ms
  4    10 ms     9 ms     8 ms
  5    10 ms    12 ms    11 ms
  6    12 ms    10 ms     9 ms
  7    15 ms    23 ms    13 ms []
  8    13 ms    12 ms    13 ms
  9    31 ms    30 ms     * []
 10    56 ms    57 ms    55 ms []
 11    55 ms    53 ms    55 ms []
 12    59 ms    56 ms    56 ms []
 13    64 ms    63 ms    68 ms []
 14    68 ms    68 ms    64 ms []
 15     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 16     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 17     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 18     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 19     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 20     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 21     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 22     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 23     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 24     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 25     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 26     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 27     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 28     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 29     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 30     *        *        *     Request timed out.
Trace complete.
If you see an output like the one above, it may indicate that a link failure has occurred, but it does not guarantee it. The only way to know for sure is to try running a TRACERT against multiple sites, and see if you keep getting the same types of results. Keep in mind that higher numbered hops are further away from you. The further away a failure is, the harder it will be to diagnose because tests of other sites may take alternate routes. When you perform TRACERT tests against multiple sites, you will have to look at the routes that were actually taken to determine whether or not a link failure is occurring.
The final piece of information displayed on each row is the identity of the router or host that responded to the ICMP request. TRACERT will identify each host or router by name whenever possible, but you will not always get a full name resolution. For example, if you look at the output above, you can see that about half of the routers are identified by name, while the others are not. That in and of itself is not usually a big deal.
What you might find interesting is that the host that you are tracing the route to is not always going to be identified. For example, if you look at the very beginning of the first sample output above, you will notice that we entered the command TRACERT WWW.ESPN.COM. Immediately after doing so, TRACERT resolved to the IP address If you skip ahead to the end of the sample output, you will notice that TRACERT eventually reaches its destination, but it does not identify the destination by name (at least not in this case).
This behavior is not problematic, it is by design. The reason why I showed you this is so that you would not try to perform a TRACERT to a site, and think that the process failed because the destination host is not identified by name.

This is really a great article from Brien M. Posey. Just want to share to all of you guys and I hope this helps you solve your windows networking problems in hand.