Frequently Asked Questions - Hardware Common Questions and Answers

FAQs - Hardware Common Questions and Answers
Here you will find questions and answers to common hardware topics.
I get an error message saying "Invalid configuration information. Please run setup program. Strike F1 continue or F2 to run setup. Portable device2.dll was not found."

It sounds as though your motherboard CMOS battery is dying. When you are prompted to go into setup at boot up it usually means there is a configuration problem. One thing you can try is to go into setup and check the date and time in the BIOS and change it if it's wrong. Then save and exit and see if that solves your problem.

Once you fix the configuration problem in the BIOS then that message should go away. If your time continues to be off then you should change the CMOS battery. They are only a couple of dollars and you can get them at an electronics store or even Amazon. Just be sure to bring the old one in to make sure you get the right one.

I am suddenly getting the following error message for my DVD drive, "this device cannot start (code 10)"

I would first check in Device Manager to see if you have any yellow question marks or exclamation marks on your DVD/CD-ROM drives section. If so then I would right click your drive and choose uninstall and then reboot your computer. Windows should recognize it again and reinstall it and hopefully clear up any resource conflicts it may have been having. This is assuming this is not what you meant by uninstalling the drive.

You can also use regedit to edit the registry and try this. Be careful when editing the registry since one wrong move can render your computer inoperable. Click on Start, Run then type regedit and click Ok. Go to File then Export and export your registry to your computer in case you have to restore it. Then browse to the following key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\ {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318)

See if you have a key in your registry for upperfilters and lowerfilters and delete both of these keys and reboot.

You may also want to put the drive on a different controller on the motherboard to see if it makes a difference.

Why do I hear ticking sound coming from my computer?

Its hard to say without hearing it but it sounds like it may be a hard drive tick. If this is the case then back up your data immediately because its only a matter of time before the drive dies. What you can do is take the cover off of the computer and then turn it on and listen to where the sound is coming from. You can use something like a paper towel roll and put it up to your ear to try and isolate the sound.

If it turns out to be the drive then you will need to backup your data and get ready to do a Windows reinstall along with all of your programs. You may be able to have the drive cloned so you can keep everything as is and install the new cloned drive in your system and boot up as normal. You can install some hard drive testing utilities that may give you a better idea of what is going on with your drive. To find out what brand of hard drive you have go into Device Manager and find out. Then install the appropriate tool for your drive.

If I upgrade to a larger hard drive what is the easiest method to transfer data to the new drive?

This will depend on if you play on transferring Windows and your programs or just your personal files. If you want to upgrade your hard drive as your primary drive with Windows and your programs then you can clone your old drive onto your new one. There are many programs available that can do this. Otherwise you will have to reinstall Windows and all of your programs that you installed on your computer since you bought it.

If you are just replacing a non system drive with another larger non system drive then you can copy your data to a recordable CD or DVD if you have a or you can use a USB flash drive or hard drive and copy your files that way.

I have a computer that starts up and then after 5-10 seconds, then just shuts down. I notices the fan on the CPU is not spinning and there is a light is on the mother board,

If the fan on the CPU is not running then that is very bad. Processors run very hot and will overheat quickly if they are not cooled. If its shutting down then its most likely a case of it over heating. You can go into the BIOS and see if you have anything set to shut off the computer at a certain temperature. This setting is to prevent the computer from being damaged from overheating. You can also let it run in the BIOS and watch the displayed temperature and see if it keeps rising or use a program like Speccy within Windows

I would get that fan replaced before using the computer again otherwise you might ruin your processor. When they go bad they will either start giving you problems in Windows with lots of errors or the computer wont boot up at all.

My computer has started to hum extremely loudly and vibrate. It is usually very quiet when running.

When a computer makes a loud humming sound and vibrates many times it is the CDROM spinning because it’s reading a CD. If you have a CD in the drive you should take it out if you aren't using it because the computer will tend to read the CD in the drive for various reasons.

If that's not the case then you may have a fan that is getting noisy or about to go out. There are fans in the power supply, on the processor and usually mounted inside the case. It’s hard to say which one it is without being able to look inside. You may want to open the case and run the computer to see where the noise is coming from. Other than that there are no other moving parts inside the computer except for the hard drive platters which shouldn't be able to vibrate your case.

TAGS: noise, vibration
I have a WD hard drive in my system. It was working fine, and then all of a sudden the system can't find the drive. Is there any way I can reinitialize the drive WITHOUT losing the data on it?

I would begin by looking in the BIOS to make sure the computer itself recognizes the drive. If not then it can be a case of a bad IDE or power cable or even motherboard IDE port. It can also be that the drive itself has gone bad.

If it is recognized in the BIOS then I would open Windows Disk Management to see if its listed there but not initialized. It may be listed as a foreign disk and you may be able to import it back into the system.

It may also be a case of it simply needing a drive letter assigned to it so you can view its contents.

Another option is to take the drive out and put it in a USB external drive caddy and attach it to the computer that way or add it as a secondary drive in a different computer and see if you can read it.

A screen comes up and it says the chassis fan is too slow. Press F2 to change BIOS or F1 to ignore.
It sounds like your computer has built in software to monitor your fan speeds. This may indicate that one of your fans inside your computer is spinning too slow which may or may not be a problem depending on how many other fans you have and how slow its actually spinning. You don't want to overheat your computer because that will cause hardware failure. You can try to go into the BIOS and see any messages or install a program like Speccy and see if it sees which fan is the problem. In most cases the chassis fans are easy to replace and fairly inexpensive. If its something you don't feel comfortable replacing then you may have to take it to a computer shop for repairs.

TAGS: fans, Press F2
How do you delete partitions on your hard drive?

If you want to delete partitions on your hard drive that are not the system drive (C:) then you can use Windows Disk Management to do so. Just be sure that you have backed up any data that you want to keep since everything will be erased. You can also use Disk Management to create and format new partitions.

If you want to delete your system partition then you will have to boot with a bootable disk such as your Windows CD. Then you can begin the installation and when it gets to the part about where to install Windows you will be able to delete and create partitions there as well. Since you won’t be using your system partition this will allow you to delete it. If you don't want to make a new one after deleting it then you can simply quit the installation after that step.

Upon startup I get a message saying low battery voltage, push F1 to continue. I push F1 and everything appears to be OK. Whats the problem?
It sounds like it's a message about your CMOS battery which is on your motherboard. It stores information such as the date and time and your hardware configuration. They are pretty cheap and easy to replace. You can find them at electronic stores or sites like You can look at it to get the part number and buy a new one and then take it out and replace it. Just make sure the computer is off and unplugged before doing so. Keep in mind that you may have to reset the date and time in the BIOS afterward.

How dangerous is it to have a physically dirty computer?
The main thing to worry about with a dirty computer is dust on the inside that will cause it to overheat. Dust can act like an insulator keeping the heat in. It can also get into your fans and cause them to fail over time. If you have dirt blocking the case vent holes that that can cause overheating too. If dirt gets into slots like PCI slots then it can affect the connectivity of your components causing problems as well. You should clean your computer once in awhile to keep it running efficiently and to avoid potential problems down the road.
I have problems with starting my PC and it starts with a really loud fan. Usually the loud fan stops but now it just keeps going. Why is that?
On many computers the fan spins up much faster during startup and the quiets down in a few seconds or so. If your computer is running hot then the fan may spin faster to try and keep it cool. This may be caused by things such as the environment you are using it in, being really dusty on the inside or if one of the other fans stops working. I would boot up into the BIOS and see if you have a temperature setting that you can watch while the computer is running to see how hot it gets. Or you can use Speccy within Windows to see the temperature. If the temperature stays at a reasonable level but the fan stays on high then it could be a problem with the fan or the controller for the fan's speed and one or the other may need to be replaced.

TAGS: fan noise, Speccy
Is there is any way I could test my hard drive to see if its dead or if I can still use it because I have a problem on my hard drive but the BIOS can still detect my hard drive

Depending on the brand you may be able to find a diagnostic tool to test your drive. Most major manufacturers offer tools to test with. Some are designed to work from within Windows and others can be run off of boot disks so you will have to see what you can find online.

You can also take out the drive and put it in an external hard drive caddy or as a secondary drive in another computer and see if you can access it that way. If so you can copy your files off the drive and then think about replacing the drive or at least put a different hard drive in your computer and see if you can get that one to work with your computer.

Another test method is to boot your computer with a Linux boot disk and run a copy of Linux off the CD and see if you can access your files that way. You can use a version of Linux such as Ubuntu or Knoppix to do this type of test. Doing this will also allow you to copy files to an external drive or USB flash drive to make a backup of your files.

Why doesn't my card reader show up in My Computer in Windows unless it has pictures on it?

By default, Windows will hide removable media drives that don't have anything on them such as card readers. This is most likely done to avoid cluttering up your Explorer view with a bunch of empty card reader slots that aren't being used.

There is a setting you can change so that your card reader drives are always shown in Windows Explorer whether they are empty or not. To do this you need to go to your Folder Options settings. To get there open Windows Explorer or Computer and go to the Tools menu and then choose Folder Options. If you don't have the Tools menu shown then you can click on Organize and then click Layout and check Menu bar to have the menus show up in Windows Explorer.

Once you are in the Folder Options section, click on the View tab and uncheck the box that says Hide empty drives in the Computer folder. You can change other options here to such as having hidden files and folders shown as well as having Windows show file extensions for all files which is very handy. After you make your selections click on Apply to Folders to have the setting applied to all folders you open in the future. And now you should be able to see your card reader drives even when there is nothing in them.

TAGS: card reader
My computer screen has started to wobble at the sides, how can I fix it or do I need a new monitor?

There are a couple of things you can try before going out and getting a new monitor. Make sure the connection at the back of the computer is secure. If you feel comfortable taking the case off of the computer you can reseat the video card as well. Make sure the computer is off and unplugged first.

Have you moved the monitor by any electrical devices or put any electrical devices by the monitor? Some electronics will cause your monitor to do strange things when they are too close.

One easy test is to borrow a monitor and see if it does it on that one. I'm thinking your monitor is most likely going out but you can try the above suggestions first.

TAGS: monitor
I want to know how much space is left on my hard drive. When I check, it says 2 things: DATA (D:) 100% free; ACER (C:) 30% free. What exactly does it mean, do I have 2 hard drives and when the other is full will it jump to the other? What does it mean
What you are seeing is how much free space is left on each drive. It looks as though your computer came with a second hard drive (data) or someone added one to it. When you install programs they will be placed on your C drive unless you tell the software differently during installation. Any documents and photos that you put in to your Documents folder will also be placed on your C drive since that's the default location. If your C drive gets full it won't start using your D drive to store files. You can use the D drive to store photos or music if you want to keep your C drive from filling up. When your C drive gets too full it starts to affect performance and will slow your computer down. In your case it looks like your D drive is full so you might want to browse the files on the drive and see what is using up all the space.

How do you delete partitions on your hard drive?

If you want to delete partitions on your hard drive that are not the system drive (C:) then you can use Windows Disk Management to do so. Just be sure that you have backed up any data that you want to keep since everything will be erased. You can also use Disk Management to create and format new partitions.

If you want to delete your system partition then you will have to boot with a bootable disk such as your Windows CD. Then you can begin the installation and when it gets to the part about where to install Windows you will be able to delete and create partitions there as well. Since you won’t be using your system partition this will allow you to delete it. If you don't want to make a new one after deleting it then you can simply quit the installation after that step.

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