Numerous and varied technical failures can occur in a computer. Any error can be eliminated with careful and systematic repair. Here are a few computer hardware repair and maintenance tips... What is computer hardware? The hardware components like monitor, keyboard, CPU (Central Processing Unit), mouse and other I/O (Input-Output) devices, constitute a computer. The working of the monitor, keyboard, mouse and I/O devices depends largely upon the CPU. Due to some minor causes like loose connections or dust saturation, either of them can stop functioning. A few troubleshooting tips can be followed to correct such minor errors. Faults occurring in the CPU are most hazardous, as it has a very complicated structure. CPU is an assembly of the motherboard, hard disk drive (HDD), random access memory (RAM), compact disk-read only memory (CD-ROM) drive and the floppy drive. Unless you are well-acquainted with the CPU hardware, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly where the fault has occurred. If any one of these components fail to perform, there are a few repair tips that can be followed. In order to view the circuitry inside the CPU, its casing has to be removed. Motherboard The entire functioning of the computer depends on this component. The processor chip-set, that performs all the logical operations of the PC, is embedded in the motherboard. Ribbon cables, power supply, CPU and RAM are the things to be checked first on the motherboard. Check if any of the ribbon cables or the power supply cord is loose. Check if the RAM chip has been misplaced from its slot. The CPU (chip-set embedded in the board) will not show any marks on the outside if it is blown. The only way to check whether the CPU is working or not, is to test it by mounting it on the motherboard of another PC. The motherboard has a real-time clock, ROM BIOS, CMOS RAM, RAM sockets, CPU sockets or slots, cache RAM slots, keyboard controller, interrupts, internal connectors and external connectors mounted on it. Do not tamper with these components, unless you know each and every one of it well. Do not touch the motherboard without turning off the power. Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Also known as hard drive, it is the long-term storage device of the system. If the hard drive cannot be detected for booting, check the jumper setting. The jumper setting can change the mode of the hard disk from master to slave or vice-versa. Make sure the Windows version being used for partitioning is consistent. Check that each drive has been assigned a drive-type. Make sure the pin numbers of the plug are attached to the corresponding pin numbers of the socket. Do not force the plug into the socket with extra force, the pins may bend. If the plug is not fitting perfectly in the socket, try inserting it again by flipping it over. Do not attempt to open the hard drive without enough knowledge of its components. Random Access Memory (RAM) It is the temporary memory of the PC. The data in the RAM is erased when the computer is shut down. Check if the RAM is misplaced from its slot. While replacing the RAM in its slot, check the small niche at the center of the chip (the niche indicates how the RAM is supposed to be placed in the slot and may not be at the exact mid position of the chip-strip). Do not forget to secure the side clips that hold the chip in place. If you are unable to secure them, it means that the chip is not placed correctly in the slot. Compact Disk-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) Drive Data stored on external storage device like compact disk (CD) is read by inserting the CD in the CD drive. If the CD drive is not functioning, check if the CD is scratched. If the CD works fine in another PC, check if the power cable of the former drive is loose. Check if the plug and socket pin numbers match. If the tray of the drive is not opening, right click on CD-ROM icon and select eject option. If the tray does not open, insert a straight thin metal pin into the edge and try to pull it open. Do not apply too much of force while doing so. Avoid connecting the CD-ROM drive on the same controller cable as the primary hard drive, this will slow down its performance. Floppy Drive If the floppy disk is not opening, try opening it in the floppy drive of another PC. If the disk does not open, then it is probably corrupt. If the disk is stuck in the drive, hold down the eject button for sometime or right click on floppy drive icon and select eject option. If the disk is still stuck, wiggle it up and down till it can be ejected or use tweezers to pull it out. Do not apply too much of force while doing so. In order to avoid any kind of faults, following maintenance tips can be followed: Do not let dust saturate on the motherboard. Clean it with a vacuum cleaner or a hand broom once in 2-3 months. Hard drive mostly does not need any external cleaning, though by performing de-fragmentation and disk clean, it can be prevented from crashing. In the case of CD-ROM, do not pull the tray forcibly. Make use of the insert/eject button rather than pulling and pushing the tray. Clean the tray once in a while. Do not keep any heavy object on the tray. Avoid running scratched or damaged CDs in the CD-ROM. If the CPU fan is making too much noise, unmount it and oil the bearings. Do not attempt to start the PC if the fan is not in a working condition. If the fault persists, contact professional services. Also make a note of what exactly is happening when you start the PC. It makes the diagnosis a lot easier for the professional. CPU is the brain of the computer. Proper maintenance of the CPU, as well as all other components enhances the computer performance.