Check for Loose Cables to Troubleshoot Some PC Problems - dummies

Check for Loose Cables to Troubleshoot Some PC Problems

By Dan Gookin

One of the most common causes of computer problems is that a connector comes loose. In order to troubleshoot, check all the cables on the outside of the computer. If you find all of those in place, you may want to check the cables on the inside of your computer.

Two types of cables are inside the console: power and data. Some devices, like disk drives, require both.

To ensure that cables are properly attached, follow these steps:

  1. Open the console.

  2. Locate the spot where the cable attaches.

  3. Give the cable a little tug.

    If the cable is loose, it falls out. If it does, reattach it.

  4. Gently press the cable so that it’s snugly attached.

Cables have two ends. You need to check both ends.

When you find a free cable, one that isn’t plugged in anywhere, do some hunting to figure out where it goes. Some cables have never been in use and are just waiting for a future expansion. Don’t worry about those. But, when the cable was plugged into a device, you can guess where it goes by looking in its general vicinity (or remembering which gizmo isn’t working).

Cables that connect to the motherboard have multiple issues. Sometimes, you luck out and the cable can plug into only one location and in only one orientation. That’s good. When you have multiple opportunities to plug in a cable, don’t guess: Plugging a cable into the wrong spot may have no ill effects, but then again you can damage the computer by guessing.

If you detach a cable while working on the PC, use a pair of colored, sticky dots to label both the cable you unplugged and the connector from which you unplugged it. For example, place a blue sticky on the cable end and a blue sticky on the socket. Use different colors for each set of cable ends and connectors. When you’re done, you’ll know where to reconnect everything.

  • Cables don’t normally pop out by themselves. They can work loose, but they normally don’t spring out of their connectors.

  • Often cables bend and twist, and thanks to Mother Nature, they stay in those positions. You can use the bends and twists to help you locate where cables go and in which orientation they were set originally.

  • Power cables can often be tough to attach. Sometimes they require a lot of push to get them all the way in the connector.