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Start Here: Support Guide

Post Date: 2010-08-25

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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Start Here: Support Guide
    Posted: 25 Aug 2010 at 9:45pm
Welcome to the Digital Storm Forums Tech support post, read and follow this before posting and you have a solid chance at solving your problem by yourself and quickly.
*there are a LOT of updates that will be coming to this guide, including a full set of better pictures from Prime when I rebuild, so just bare with my placeholders for now please*
The guide is designed to work Top to Bottom. If you have a problem, start at the top and if the description does not match your problem, keep scrolling down until you find the desciption that does. If you try everything in your section, go up one section and work through that one.. and so on. For example, if your problem is software, you start at the very end, then do the sections in reverse order. If you have tons of different problems start at the top and work down.
Table of Contents:
Getting started (read below)
Reseat your hardware (link)
Reset your BIOS (link)
Problems in Windows (link)
Problems while gaming (link)
I just got my computer and the side panel fan is not connected:
Look in the bottom right side of the case if you are facing the open side, you should be able to find a small 3 cable plug (picture) that you can connect to. It may be tucked behind something to keep it out of the way, so look hard. If you can not find a connection, you can also connect your fan to any of the fan headers on the motherboard, just make sure the cable has enough slack to comfortably unplug it from the motherboard when you remove the side panel in the future... you dont want to forget about it and rip the plug off the motherboard.
Document your problem:
Include any information concerning things that happened, things that were installed, or anything that was changed before the problem(s) occurred. More importantly, describe what was going on while the error/problem surfaced, even try and get a screenshot that you can post here
And of course include your FULL system specs, best to paste it from your DSO order forms.
You will want to use the following programs any time you have a technical question. Include screen shots of all of these by uploading your screenshot to imageshack and linking them here
CPUZ (screenshot the "CPU" "Memory" and "Graphics" tabs
RealTemp (screenshot this while sitting at your desktop, then screenshot it with a game running in the backgroun.
The easiest way to show us a screenshot of something is to go to http://imageshack.us/ which allows you to upload image and link it for free and can handle basically any format or siz.
What is "reseating"?
It is incredibly simple, exactly the same thing as removing an electric plug from a wall socket, and putting it back. It may sound like shooting from the hip, but any time a computer is shipped, regardless of how good the packaging is, impact and vibration will move things around, this can cause parts inside your computer to have an unstable connection, which can obviously give you problems. Reseating each individual piece will be described in detail below.Additionally, your system does not have to be new for this to be a potential fix for you. Similar to someone always telling you to restart your computer first.. its just a nice little trick to fix common problems.
Stupid-Proof Guide for your first start up:
If your shiny new computer does not start when you first get it, do not panic, complete this list before even questioning that something could be wrong:
First, verify the wall socket or power strip where computer is plugged in is getting power, plug something else in and make sure the socket/power strip/battery backup is actually working. You should also give the power cable's connection to the case(power supply) a firm wiggle, these can give you a misleading resistance, it should fit in almost a full inch.
Check the on power supply switch | side is pressed down, not the O side, like this:

Alright, so you made it this far, something likely got shaken up inside. (or you are having stability problems) The rest of this works in order, its made to try and narrow down your problem by the order in which things are happening, so keep reading until you see your problem. It also works top to bottom, so if you cant boot at all, start at the very top, and work down. If you start a little further down, you still might get sent back to the top, just follow the directions given.

Edited by !ender_ - 16 Sep 2010 at 9:47am
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 25 Aug 2010 at 9:46pm
 When you press the power button:
-no light or sound comes out of the case at all
-some form of light or sound comes out of the case, but it does not stay on
-power comes on for a second and turns off, or power cycles more than 3 times*** (EVGA boards will sometimes power cycle multiple times before actually starting, so give it at least 3 cycles and make sure the monitor is not getting a signal before you assume something is wrong)
Warning: Static is a computer killer, make sure you at least touch your case before you go fiddling around inside, and if you are laying/sitting on carpet, be weary of your movements.

Be sure you power down, flip off the switch on the back of the case, remove the power cable from the case, and press the power button one time (to discharge anything remaining) sticking your freshly washed fingers in. It is also important that you never force anything. Everything in your case is designed to work together, it does not require force if you are doing something correctly.

Usually this means that something is shorting or not recieving enough power. After following the power off instructions above, remove the side panel of your case using the two thumbscrews on the back. Reseat your 8 pin ATX Power to motherboard(found at the top left of standard motherboard layout) If you have an extreme board, there may be 2 of these.
And do the same with your 24 pin ATXconnection. You will need to press down on the clip holding this plug in and slowly wiggle it out of place. Be firm but never rough.

Try turning it on again, you do not need to have the side panel on the case to do this. If it still power cycles or turns on then right back off, we need to be more thorough. This next part can be done a lot easier if you move the case in to the center of a carpeted area with all of the cords disconnected and lay it on its side.

Reseat the Ram - Flip out the white tabs on both ends of the ram sticks, then slowly pull them straight out with equal pressure on both ends.
Dont move or do anything else, just push the ram stick straight back in to the same slot, once it sticks, place your thumbs at the corners and push it in snug. If the ram seated correctly, the clips that you pushed out to remove the ram will fully realign to thier original position. Still need help?
Click here.

Reseat the Video Card - You may need a small phillips head screwdriver, or if it is a tool-less case, the video card may be secured with a simple clip. Where the video card meets the back of the case there will be a screw or plastic clip holding it in place, remove that the one or two power cables that will be connected to the card. Then locate the clip on the top of the pci slot.
You will need to reach in and hold this clip down (or up, depending on the motherboard) while slowly pulling the video card straight out, once it is clear of the pci slot, push it straight back in to place, you dont need to touch the clip to push the video card in, and you should hear it click in to place once you seat the card all the way. For good measure, give a little firm push on both sides of the video card to make sure it is properly in place. If it is lined up correctly, the hole where you removed the screw or plastic clip will align with the matching hole in the case, and the bracket from the video card should be flush against the back of the case with little to no wiggle room. Need more help? Click here.
Sound Card / Wireless Card / USB 3.0 card - All reseated just like the video card without the PCI clip involved. Some may have screws, some may not, but just pull them straight out and replace them slow but firm, should line up perfectly with the back PCI slots of the case if installed correctly.
All interior cables should be reseated as well, optical drives and hard drives will have 1 power connection and 1 data connection, you may need to remove the other side of the case to gain access to the power and data connections on the hard drive(s) Need more help? Click here.

If you have a modular power supply (which is any power supply except the 750w corsair) then you need to do the same reseating with all of your optional power cables located on the inside edge of your PSU.

Nothing above worked?
There is one more thing you can try. You will need to strip your system to the absolute minimum to try and narrow down the problem. This means unplug any extra PCI slot items like sound cards, internet cards, USB cards, etc. Remove any items plugged into your computer besides your keyboard, any LAN connection, usb device, anything.
You should end up with just a video card, 1 hard drive, 1 keyboard and 1 monitor connected when you try and start up.
If even that doesnt work, the last option is to try and boot on each stick of ram individuall: Check the manual for your motherboard to see which ram slot is "slot_0" which is your primary ram slot. If you have any more than 1 stick of ram, try each ram stick in this primary slot by itself. Assuming at least one of them works: whichever sticks do not work were the source of your problem. As a very last ditch effort, you can try and single out your power supply by using this How To made by DSO's own Eric http://digitalstormonline.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=7419 .. if this test turns on only the power supply fan, then your motherboard is dead.(You may need a flashlight to see if this fan is spinning) If the fan does not start spinning, your power supply is dead. In either case, you will likely end up sending the PC back to DSO as replacing either part is very involved.
If you do everything here and and you still get no response or your motherboard keeps turning on and off more than 3 times, you will have to contact DSO.

Edited by !ender_ - 16 Sep 2010 at 10:19am
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 25 Aug 2010 at 9:47pm
Resetting the BIOS
This step is for motherboard lights that come on and stay on when you press power button, you see something show up on the monitor but you crash or the computer restarts before you see a windows splash screen.
First step is to get in to your BIOS (this is how you communicate with your motherboard) do this by watching the prompts your screen displays when you first hit power (usually at the bottom of the screen) which will tell you to press "a key" to enter setup, or to enter BIOS... usually something like Delete or F10.

Locate the profile section, if an option to save profiles is not on the main page, look for it under "Advanced" or "OC profiles" Without changing anything: save the current settingns to profile 1 or something you will remember.

Then go to "Load Setup Defaults" which will reset everything in your bios to stock settings. Read the bottom and press the key listed to SAVE and EXIT, usually F10.

*****Remove the power cable from your computer before you go further!********
If you can not get into the BIOS because the computer turns off too fast, or the key you are supposed to hit to enter the BIOS isnt working, Look in your motherboard's manual for instructions to reset your CMOS, most current motherboards have a button to do this with, if you do not have a button, your manual will show you where to locate a nickle sized battery and remove it, count to 10 and put it back.
If you reset the CMOS, boot up, and have the same problem, go up to "When you press the power button" above this section and compelete all of the tasks, if youve already done the first section and this section, you will have to contact Digital Storm.
Crashing/Hanging in Windows
If your computer gets past windows splash screen and/or login screen, but then hangs or crashes, your problem could be you overclock or Windows itself, if you have your information backed up, or you just recieved your computer (you wont lose anything but drivers which are easy to install)

Go in to your BIOS by watching the prompts your screen displays when you first hit power (usually at the bottom) which will tell you to press "a key" to enter Setup or BIOS. Look in standard and advanced options for Boot priority/order/options. Set the first option to your optical drive(CD/DVD), Save and Exit, put your Windows CD in and restart. Follow the on screen directions and install a fresh copy of Windows. Delete any existing partitions before installing a new Windows.

If the computer does the same thing when you boot with your fresh copy of Windows, go back one step (Resetting your bios) and try that. If you have already done the bios reset, and you come to this step again, go back to the first section "When you press the power button". If you do all of this with no results, you will need to contact DSO.


Edited by !ender_ - 16 Sep 2010 at 10:29am
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 25 Aug 2010 at 9:49pm
If you made it this far and your computer is not brand new:
Its a good idea to do some spring cleaning before you point fingers. Download CCleaner and Spybot.
In CC cleaner, select all of the options except "wipe free space" and Analyze/Run multiple times. Then flip to the registry tab and Scan/Fix multiple times. (You can save a backup if you want to. I never have felt the need to do this.)
Both of these will find different things if you run them multiple times. I usually do each repeatedly until I get no results, then restart and keep repeating the cleaner and registry parts until I get no results again.
Then have spybot do a full system scan and select the option that allows it to scan before you log in to windows, remove anything you do not recognize. If you are more familiar with a different antivirus, feel free to use that.
New or not, time to test the hardware:
If you are still having problems at this point it is likely the overclock or the hardware itself is failing. To find out which it is we will need to troubleshoot.
First, run Prime95 = Instructions here
*If you can pass Prime95, its likely related to software. Skip the rest of this paragraph.
*If you had to reset the BIOS to pass Prime95, the overclock was unstable. Post in the Performance / Overclocking section or contact DSO directly for help tuning it up.
*If you do not pass Prime95 even with the BIOS reset, it is probably hardware, so we need to test it individually.
Test your RAM with memtest = Instructions here
*If you fail this test or have errors with your BIOS reset, the RAM could be faulty. Contact DSO directly for further instructions
*If you pass this test with your BIOS reset, it could be the processor.
Test your processer individually with LinX = Instructions here
*If you fail this test or have errors with your BIOS reset, the CPU could be faulty. Contact DSO directly for further instructions
*If you pass this test with your BIOS reset, it could be the power supply, motherboard, or software related, post in the Technical Assistance section with everything that has happened and everything you have done so far for further assistance. 
If all of this passed, your problem could be your video card.
Test your video card individually with Furmark = Instructions here
If you pass the video tests, move to the next section.
Stability problems when using the computer (not gaming)
If your system is overclocked, you have to rule that out first, so as discussed, see the bios reset section first. When you complete that part, if you are still having problems, then come back here. its time to start shooting from the hip, troubleshooting software can take some work: first step is to roll windows back to an earlier date, probably about 1 week or more, avoid installing windows updates unless you find out that something else caused the problem.
Lots of people have drivers install automatically(maybe even without knowing it), check your drivers to see what has updated recently. If you find anything has updated pretty close to the start of your problem, look online for an older version of that driver, then see if you still have problems. If you dont know what has updated recently, check through your Device Manager(hit start and type Device Manager) on the driver tabs and see what may have had recent update dates.
If you dont make any progress, post on the forums with everything that has happened and everything you have tried, software can be very tricky. Be sure to include as much information as possible.
Stability problems when using the computer (gaming)
*You must remove any overclock on your video card if this is one of your problems. Not only do you need to rule it out as the cause, but the excess heat could cause damage to the card.
**Also, if you are using SLI / Crossfire, remove all but the highest up video card. Best to just rule out this causing your problems from the start.
This section will assume you are having problems with more than one game. If everything but one game works, focus on that game first, I would suggest looking for problems in at least 2 different games before changing anything below, some games just have bugs and glitches that cause you to crash or freeze. Recreating the issue in a different game ensures that the problem is more than just that specific game. The best tool for this is Google, if its game specific, its likely not going to be just you having the problem. You can also contact the game creator to see if they are any help.
Most problems with games only lie in unstable overclocks and video drivers. The easiest thing to check for is a software conflict or driver issue, so first go to nvidia or catalyst website, check to see if your video driver is up to date. If the last release is the driver you are still using, go back about 2-3 releases and install an older version. Try your game again and see if you have any problems.
Heat Issues:
If your screen is artifacting, or your computer is just shutting down (without a blue screen or an error) its possible that heat is causing your problem, its a good excuse to clean out your case(if it is not new), dust can cause serious heat problems that get far worse and harder to clean as time goes by. Take your case outside, preferably when it is a little windy. Remove both side panels using the thumbscrews on the back, use a can of air duster, found in the electronic section of most stores, to blow everything out. The more thorough the better AND the longer until your case will need it again, focus mainly on your video card fan/exhaust and your cpu heatsink and fan.
If your computer is new and your temps concern you, pick up RealTemps and have a look, if you are getting over 85c at any point, use a flashlight to check each fan while the computer is on to make sure the fans are spinning. You can also hold your had out infront of the fans to see which way the air is going. If you have a liquid cooled system then look at the tubing to make sure the liquid is moving, and make sure your reservoir is close to 3/4 full.

Again have to rule out overclocking causing the issue, see bios reset section to return your settings to default. If you can play games without problems when the bios options are reset, your overclock was either unstable or it could have been causing too much heat.

Edited by !ender_ - 17 Sep 2010 at 1:15am
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 25 Aug 2010 at 9:50pm
8/25/10   -posted, lots of updates to come
8/29/10   -added titles/connected links
9/04/10   -added more from the DSO support guides and some updates / minor changes

Edited by !ender_ - 04 Sep 2010 at 11:17pm
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