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Basic Hardware Problem Diagnostics

If your hardware is under a warranty or service contract, contact the manufacturer or representative to repair it. Opening the box or messing around with the internals of the workstation to find a problem could void your coverage.

DIY: Proceed With Caution

If the equipment is no longer under warranty or service contract, you can take a shot at diagnosing and fixing it yourself. But don't service any equipment with a CRT unless you know what you're doing. CRTs can carry a major charge even when unplugged, and you can be seriously hurt if you don't take the proper safety measures.

For other pieces of equipment, make sure it is unplugged, and that you're using antistatic protection--a grounded wrist strap or heel strap, for instance.

Next, look carefully inside the box. Do you see signs of damage? Are there any scorch marks, cracked or melted components, or frayed wires? Don't be fooled if the damage seems minor. Even a tiny crack on the outer casing of an IC can indicate failure of the silicon inside. Scorch marks on the main circuit assemblies or wires leading to them can also spell trouble.