Magazine helpline

  wossie 03:57 06 Jun 2009

I read PC Advisor regularly (and a few others)and am shocked by the advice sometimes given out. In August issue PC advisor Craig Shipley wants to add a graphics card to his pc to play the latest 3D games, he was told it was not possible so he should increase the ram to a max of 4Gb, OR fit a larger faster hard drive, also concider a processor upgrade for a huge speed boost. He is still stuck with an integrated graphics chip. Why can't he fit a PCI express/AGP/PCI card, another mag replied to a guy with a PC that freezes on startup try safe mode, if that doesn't work try system restore..........IT WON'T START. I used to buy motorcycle mags but having been told I can increase the capacity of my engine by fitting longer conrods and a load of seriously dangerous advice. I stopped buying them.

  interzone55 14:13 06 Jun 2009

I haven't read the magazine for a couple of months, so I may have the wrong end of the stick here.

Did the person with the query mention the make & model of the PC or motherboard. If so then the advisor would have a good idea whether the mobo had a PCI-e or AGP slot, as not all boards have these, especially the low end boards with integrated graphics chip-sets.

As for PCs that won't start, there's a number of reasons for this, and the answer depends on what stage the PC is stalling.

If it won't start at all, then the most likely culprit is a dead psu, but it could also be down to a faulty case - the wire could have come off the power button.

If the PC powers up but fails POST (Power On Self-Test) you'll get a series of beeps, these will give you a clue about the faulty component - RAM, CPU, VGA Card, North Bridge etc.

If the PC gets past POST then the OS is the most likely candidate, either one of the drivers has failed or become corrupted, or the registry has become corrupted. If the former then starting in Safe Mode is favourite, then checking the drivers, but if it's the registry then using Windows System Restore to go back to a previous configuration is a good idea. This won't delete data, but may well restore the registry & drivers to a previous working state.

If this doesn't work, then using the Windows CD or restore CD from the manufacturer should do the trick, but will obviously wipe all data and software, which is why regular back-ups are a good idea...

  canarieslover 14:24 06 Jun 2009

What you really need are shorter conrods and a longer throw crank!

  wossie 21:27 06 Jun 2009

To alan14, would you read what I said versus the advice given. The least the motherboard would have is a PCI slot, maybe an AGP slot, or at most a PCI express slot. He is suggesting a CPU upgrade Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, so it must be a fairly recent MoBo with PCI, PCI Express. What is the point of fitting a larger faster hard drive as opposed to upgrading to 4Gb Ram. It still has onboard graphics. Regarding the pc not booting my point was the PC freezes on bootup, how do you get to system restore. I build and repair PC's as a major hobby so I know what I am talking about. READ THE TEXT FOR WHAT IT CONTAINS.
To canarieslover, you are spot on, longer conrods will only make the piston hit the head.

  Woolwell 22:03 06 Jun 2009

I also read the reply to that letter and was confused by then answer. Why cannot the questioner fit a new graphics card and disable the integrated graphics?

It was an Acer PC. I intially thought that the reply was about an laptop but the bit about the processor and HD made me puzzled.

There is also a reply in the Readers Write page which puzzled me. A person complained about built in obsolence with a webcam not working with the latest version of a browser (I suspect IE8). There wasn't any mention of trying any of the other browsers or using the compatibility mode.

  AL47 22:14 06 Jun 2009

btter to come to forums! i dont get the mag anymore, cause with a laptop theres no real need to keep up to date on stuff, u cand do anything to it!

  interzone55 14:05 07 Jun 2009

Just because the motherboard will take a recent CPU doesn't mean it has a suitable 16x PCI-e slot for a VGA card. It definitely won't have an AGP slot as they've not been fitted for years, and a standard PCI graphics card will be worse than any recent integrated graphics.

Regarding bootup, I still maintain that it could be a driver issue, so safe mode will allow full bootup and then access to system restore.

Finally - less of the shouting - I used to repair PCs for a living and your comment "I build and repair PC's as a major hobby so I know what I am talking about." was often seen on the repair comments of the messiest PCs brought into the service centre...

  wossie 16:50 07 Jun 2009

To alan14.... Can't you read, the PC won't boot how do you use ststem restore.

  interzone55 17:31 07 Jun 2009

I can read perfectly well.

If you read my first post you'll see I covered the various reasons why a PC won't boot.

If it won't power up then system restore is a problem, but Booting means so much more than powering up. If the PC stops after POST but before the log-in screen then going into Safe Mode will stop any potentially corrupt drivers from loading and will allow access to system restore.

Perhaps you could learn to read every word of a post before snapping off with ill considered replies...

  norman47 17:38 07 Jun 2009

" Can't you read, the PC won't boot how do you use ststem restore."

" I build and repair PC's as a major hobby so I know what I am talking about. "

You ain't learned much then, have you. You don't need a computer to boot to windows or windows safe mode to use system restore. :-))

  laurie53 19:43 07 Jun 2009

"You don't need a computer to boot to windows"

But Windows will only run on computers!

(It's alright, norman47, I know the real sense of what you said!)

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