Cover image for Upgrading and repairing PCs : field guide
Upgrading and repairing PCs : field guide
Mueller, Scott.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, IN : Que, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 350 pages : illustrations ; 12 x 20 cm
General Note:
Cover title: Scott Mueller's upgrading and repairing PCs, field guide.

Includes index.

"An in-the-field survival guide for PC technicians, students, and hobbyists"--Cover.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK7887.5 .M844 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Computer Books

On Order



Upgrading and Repairing PCs: Field Guide is a portable, "essentials" version of Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 13th Edition - the bestselling PC hardware book of all-time. Weighing less than half a pound, this tiny book packs a hefty punch - containing the essential information you need to upgrade and repair PCs, whether you're a hardcore pro or a weekend warrior. All of this information fits nicely in your toolkit, briefcase or backpack and be there to rescue you when you're out of your office and away from your trusty copy of Upgrading and Repairing PCs .

Use the connector quick reference section to identify most any connector or port you run across while servicing PCs out in the wild! Who says detailed coverage must come in a big package? This diminutive book makes up for its tiny size by providing you with a level of detail that exceeds that found in some bigger (in size and name) competitor books. Hundreds of detailed tables boil down complicated settings, standards and specifications into an easy to read - and easy to find - format. All of this detailed information easily fits in your toolkit, briefcase or book bag-right where you need it!

Author Notes

Scott Mueller is president of Mueller Technical Research, an international research and corporate training firm. Since 1982, MTR has specialized in the industry''s most in-depth, accurate, and effective corporate PC hardware and technical training seminars, maintaining a client list that includes Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. government and foreign governments, major software and hardware corporations, as well as PC enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. His seminars have been presented to several thousands of PC support professionals throughout the world.

Scott has developed and presented training courses in all areas of PC hardware and software. He is an expert in PC hardware, operating systems, and data-recovery techniques. He currently spends about 25 weeks per year on the road teaching his seminars at several corporate clients. For more information about a custom PC hardware or data-recovery training seminar for your organization, contact Lynn at

Mueller Technical Research

21 Spring Lane

Barrington Hills, IL 60010-9009

(847) 854-6794

(847) 854-6795 Fax



Scott has many popular books, articles, and course materials to his credit, including Upgrading and Repairing PCs, which has sold more than two million copies, making it by far the most popular PC hardware book on the market today.

If you have suggestions for the next version of the book, or any comments about the book in general, send them to Scott via email at, or visit and click the Ask Scott button.

When he is not working on PC-related books or on the road teaching seminars, Scott can usually be found in the garage working on several projects. This year he continues to work on his customized ''99 Harley FLHRCI Road King Classic with a 95ci Twin-Cam motor (see you in Sturgis), as well as a modified 1998 5.9L Grand Cherokee (imagine a hotrod SUV).

Mark Edward Soper is president of Select Systems and Associates, Inc., a technical writing and training organization.

Mark has taught computer troubleshooting and other technical subjects to thousands of students from Maine to Hawaii since 1992. He is an A+ Certified hardware technician and a Microsoft Certified Professional. He has been writing technical documents since the mid-1980s and has contributed to many other Que books, including Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 11th, 12th,and 13th Editions; Upgrading and Repairing Networks, Second Edition; Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition; Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition; and Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition. Mark coauthored both the first and second editions of Upgrading and Repairing PCs, Technician''s Portable Reference and Upgrading and Repairing PCs: A+ Study Certification Guide, Second Edition. He is the author of The Complete Idiot''s Guide to High-Speed Internet Connections and coauthor of TechTV''s Upgrading Your PC.

Mark has been writing for major computer magazines since 1990, with more than 140 articles in publications such as SmartComputing, PCNovice, PCNovice Guides, and the PCNovice Learning Series. His early work was published in WordPerfect Magazine, The WordPerfectionist, and PCToday. Many of Mark''s articles are available in back issues or electronically via the World Wide Web at Select Systems maintains a subject index of all Mark''s articles at

Mark welcomes comments at


Mark Reddin is president of Trinity Microsystems, Inc., a computer reseller and repair center in Indiana. He is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer(MCSE) and A+ Certified PC technician who has enjoyed using computers, as well as breaking and fixing them, since the days of the early Commodore and Atari machines. Mark still enjoys being involved with computers and networks at a hands-on level and can often be found in the trenches, configuring hardware and running cables. He has been involved with several Que publications, providing technical verification as well as development. You can reach him through the contacts page at

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 General Technical Referencep. 3
PC Subsystem Components Quick Referencep. 3
The Motherboard and Its Componentsp. 6
Understanding Bits and Bytesp. 7
Glossary of Essential Termsp. 8
Hexadecimal/ASCII Conversionsp. 14
Windows Release/Version Numbersp. 21
2 System Components and Configurationp. 23
Processors and Their Data Bus Widthsp. 23
Differences Between PC/XT and AT Systemsp. 24
Intel and Compatible Processor Specificationsp. 25
Troubleshooting Processor Problemsp. 31
Motherboard Form Factorsp. 33
Which Motherboard Is Which?p. 36
PC99 Color-Coding for Portsp. 36
Power Suppliesp. 37
Memory Typesp. 44
Other Add-On Card Configuration Issuesp. 55
Expansion Slotsp. 68
3 BIOS Configurations and Upgradesp. 73
What the BIOS Is and What It Doesp. 73
When a BIOS Update Is Necessaryp. 73
How BIOS Updates Are Performedp. 75
Where BIOS Updates Come Fromp. 75
Precautions to Take Before Updating a BIOSp. 76
How to Recover from a Failed BIOS Update Procedurep. 77
Plug-and-Play BIOSp. 78
Other BIOS Troubleshooting Tipsp. 82
Soft BIOS CPU Speed and Multiplier Settingsp. 83
Determining Which BIOS You Havep. 83
Determining the Motherboard Manufacturer for BIOS Upgradesp. 84
Accessing the BIOS Setup Programsp. 86
How the BIOS Reports Errorsp. 87
Microid Research Beep Codesp. 92
Other BIOS and Motherboard Manufacturers' Beep and POST Codesp. 92
Reading BIOS Error Codesp. 92
BIOS Configuration Worksheetp. 93
4 SCSI and ATA Hard Drives and Optical Drivesp. 99
Understanding Hard Disk Terminologyp. 99
IDE/ATA Hard Drive Identificationp. 101
ATA Standardsp. 103
Using LBA Modep. 106
Sources for BIOS Upgrades and Alternatives for Large ATA Hard Disk Supportp. 114
Standard and Alternative Jumper Settingsp. 115
Improving Hard-Disk Speedp. 115
Ultra DMAp. 116
Bus-Mastering Chipsets for ATAp. 118
Benefits of Manual Drive Typingp. 120
Troubleshooting ATA Installationp. 121
Serial ATAp. 122
SCSIp. 123
Single-Ended Versus Differential SCSIp. 125
SCSI Drive and Device Configurationp. 126
SCSI Configuration Troubleshootingp. 128
Hard Disk Preparationp. 133
Using FDISKp. 134
Benefits of Hard-Disk Partitioningp. 136
How Disk Partitioning and the Operating System Create and Allocate Drive Lettersp. 139
Third-Party Hard-Disk Installation Programsp. 144
Drive Migration Data-Transfer Methodsp. 146
Hard-Disk Drive Troubleshooting and Repairp. 148
Optical Drive Interface Typesp. 150
MS-DOS Command-Line Access to CD-ROM Drives for Reloading Windowsp. 150
Troubleshooting Optical Drivesp. 152
5 Floppy, Removable, Tape, and Flash Memory Storagep. 155
Floppy Drivesp. 155
Removable Storage Drivesp. 164
Types of Flash Memory Devicesp. 170
Tape Backup Drives and Mediap. 171
6 Serial and Parallel Ports and Devicesp. 179
Understanding Serial Portsp. 179
UARTsp. 181
High-Speed Serial Ports (ESP and Super ESP)p. 184
Serial Port Configurationp. 184
Modemsp. 187
Parallel Port Connectorsp. 194
Printersp. 197
7 USB and IEEE-1394 Ports and Devicesp. 207
Universal Serial Busp. 207
IEEE-1394p. 215
8 Keyboards, Mice, and Input Devicesp. 221
Keyboard Designsp. 221
Using Windows Keysp. 221
Key Switch Typesp. 225
Adjusting Keyboard Parameters in Windowsp. 227
Keyboard Layouts and Scan Codesp. 227
Keyboard Connectorsp. 231
USB Keyboard Requirementsp. 232
Keyboard Troubleshooting and Repairp. 233
Keyboard Connector Voltage and Signal Specificationsp. 234
Keyboard Error Codesp. 234
Mice and Pointing Devicesp. 235
Mouse Troubleshootingp. 239
9 Video and Audiop. 243
Monitor Resolutionp. 243
Monitor Power-Management Modesp. 245
VGA Video Connector Pinoutsp. 246
Video RAMp. 248
Memory, Resolution, and Color Depthp. 249
Determining the Amount of RAM on Your Display Cardp. 252
Local-Bus Video Standardsp. 252
Refresh Ratesp. 253
Setting Up Multiple Monitor Support in Windows 98/Me/2000/XPp. 255
Multimedia Devicesp. 258
Troubleshooting Video Capture Devicesp. 258
Audio I/O Connectorsp. 262
Sound Quality Standardsp. 265
Configuring Sound Cardsp. 266
Troubleshooting Audio Hardwarep. 267
10 Networkingp. 273
Client/Server Versus Peer-to-Peer Networkingp. 273
Choosing Network Hardware and Softwarep. 274
Network Protocolsp. 279
Selecting a Network Data-Link Protocol (Specification)p. 280
Network Cable Connectorsp. 281
Wire Pairing for Twisted-Pair Cablingp. 282
Network Cabling Distance Limitationsp. 285
Specialized Network Optionsp. 286
TCP/IP Network Protocol Settingsp. 291
Troubleshooting Networksp. 295
Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)p. 298
Direct Cable Connectionsp. 302
11 Tools and Techniquesp. 311
General Informationp. 311
Hardware Tools and Their Usesp. 311
12 Connector Quick Referencep. 319
Serial Ports and Cablesp. 319
Keyboard and Mouse Portsp. 324
Video Connectorsp. 325
Sound Card Portsp. 327
Network and Modem Ports and Cablesp. 329
Indexp. 333