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Testing for Hardware Problems Using Hardware Diagnostic Tools (Windows Vista)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows Vista and Hardware Diagnostic Tools.
Hardware Diagnostic Tools is a hardware diagnostic program. Use it to test computer hardware and troubleshoot computer issues.
NOTE:If you cannot find the information you are looking for from this document, click at the top of the hardware diagnostics page for more helpful information. View detailed information about the individual tests and recommendations for fixing common hardware issues.

Using Hardware Diagnostic Tools from Windows

This section explains how to use the Hardware Diagnostic Tools when Windows Vista is working and you are able to open the program from Windows. If you cannot access Windows Vista or open the Hardware Diagnostic Tools from Windows, see Using Hardware Diagnostic Tools when Windows will not open or Using the Bootable Diagnostic CD .

Step 1: Before you begin

Close all programs and turn off the screen saver. Most of the tests take only a few minutes to complete, however, some tests may take longer and use a lot of system resources. Turning off non-essential applications helps the tests run more efficiently.
NOTE: Hardware Diagnostic Tools provides a lot of information. For best results, read and follow the instructions as they are displayed. The instructions may be displayed before, during, and after the tests are run.

Step 2: Start Hardware Diagnostic Tools

Click Start , All Programs , PC Help & Tools , and Hardware Diagnostic Tools.
A window opens and displays a message to close all applications. Close all non-essential applications and click OK to continue.
Figure 1: Close all applications
Figure 2: Collecting information

Step 3: Check Alert Messages

Hardware Diagnostic Tools scans the computer for any disabled or misconfigured devices. Detected issues are displayed in the Alerts section at the top of the main page. Always check the Alerts first, the computer issue may be related to an alert.
Figure 3: Alerts
  1. Click Alerts and review the messages.
    If no alerts are displayed go to Step 4 to start testing.
  2. Record a bootable diagnostic CD (optional).
    The first alert is usually a reminder to record a bootable diagnostic CD. In case the computer is ever unable to start, the bootable CD can be used to open Hardware Diagnostic Tools to help diagnose the problem.
    Figure 4: Alert: Record Bootable Diagnostic CD
    Do one of the following:
    Click Record Bootable Diagnostic CD and follow the on-screen instructions to create a bootable CD. If you want to record the CD another time, click Next or Done .Click Next to read the next alert.Click Done to close the alert window.Select the Do not show this alert again checkbox and click Next or Done to never see the Record Bootable Diagnostic CD alert again.
  3. Review Misconfigured Device alerts. Read the information and decide whether it relates to the issue you are troubleshooting.
    Figure 5: Alert: Misconfigured Device
    Do one of the following:
    • Use the tools in the System Tools section to resolve the issue now. Click Help for more information.
    • Click Next to read the next alert. If the issue is not resolved, the alert will display again next time Hardware Diagnostic Tools is opened.
    • Click Done to close the alert window. If the issue is not resolved, the alert will display again next time Hardware Diagnostic Tools is opened.

Step 4: Test a device

The Hardware Diagnostic Tools main page displays device categories. Mouse over the category to view more information.
Figure 6: Hardware Diagnostic Tools: main page
  1. Select a category from the list on the left or from the groups on the main page.
    Figure 7: Available tests
  2. Review Misconfigured devices.
    Do one of the following:
    • Click the device and review the device information.
    • Click one of the System Tools and resolve the misconfiguration issue.
    • Do not troubleshoot the misconfigured device. The misconfigured device is not related to your current issue. Resolve the misconfigured device issue another time.
  3. Select a device and click Run test .
  4. Click Yes to continue.
    Figure 8: Confirm test
    Figure 9: Test in Progress
    NOTE:Some tests may display additional messages. Follow the instructions and click OK to continue.

Step 5: Understanding test results

Three test results are possible:
  • Pass: No problems were detected for the hardware device tested. This may indicate that the computer issue is caused by software program and not the hardware.
  • Fail or Specific problem description: A problem was detected with the hardware device. Follow the detailed instructions to help fix the problem, or click one of the links to view related help topics in the Help and Support Center and in the Hardware Diagnostic Tools online help.
  • User aborted: The test was cancelled by the user.
Figure 10: Test results

Using Hardware Diagnostic Tools when Windows does not open

If you cannot access Windows Vista, you can still use the Hardware Diagnostic Tools to test for hardware issues.

Test from the hard drive (recovery partition exists and hard drive is working)

Use the following steps to perfrom a hardware test from the hard drive through the Recovery Manager upon system startup

Step 1: Start Hardware Diagnostic Tools

NOTE: Hardware Diagnostic Tools provides a lot of information. For best results, read and follow the instructions as they are displayed. The instructions may be displayed before, during, and after the tests are run.
  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Disconnect all connected devices (such as the Personal Media Drive, USB drives, printer, and fax), remove media from drives, and remove any recently added internal hardware. Do not disconnect the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and power cord.
  3. Turn on the computer.
  4. Do one of the following actions depending on how Windows Vista was installed:
    • If Windows Vista came pre-installed on your computer, press the F11 key repeatedly when the first screen opens (the logo screen), until the Recovery Manager program opens on the screen.
    • If your computer was upgraded from Windows XP to Windows Vista, press the F10 key repeatedly when the first screen opens (the logo screen) until the Recovery Manager program opens on the screen.
    Figure 11: Recovery manager
  5. Click Advanced Options .
  6. Place a check in the box next to Computer checkup and click Next .

Step 2: Run tests

  1. Click Basic Test to test the CPU, hard disk drive, and computer memory.
  2. For more detailed analysis of the hard drive, optical drive, CPU or memory, choose one of the tests under Advanced Category .
  3. On the test screen, click Run .
    Three test results are possible:
    • Passed: No problems were detected for the hardware device tested. This may indicate that the computer issue is caused by software program and not the hardware.
    • Failed: A problem was detected with the hardware device. Make a note of the error code. Replace the bad component or have your computer serviced.
    • Aborted: The test was cancelled by the user.
  4. When the test is complete, click Home to return to the main screen.
  5. Click Quit to finish using the Hardware Diagnostic Tools and restart the computer.

Running the test from the startup screen (boot)

If your computer was manufactured in 2008 or later, you may be able to run a hardware diagnostic test during the startup process. To do so, turn on the computer and press the F9 key during the screen with the HP or Compaq logo.
Figure 12: Example of Boot screen that displays the key press to enter the BIOS test.
Diagnostic Tools opens and performs a variety of hardware tests. Green checkmarks appear next to hardware items that pass the test. Any problems found are reported.
Figure 13: Screen example: Diagnostic Tools test

Using the Bootable Diagnostic CD

If you cannot access Windows Vista or the Recovery Manager, you can use a Bootable Diagnostic CD to run the Hardware Diagnostic Tools. The Bootable Diagnostic CD is created using the Hardware Diagnostic Tools in Windows Vista. For more information about creating the Bootable Diagnostic CD, see Using Hardware Diagnostic Tools from Windows . Once you have created the Bootable Diagnostic CD, use these steps to run Hardware Diagnostic Tools from the CD:
  1. Insert the Bootable Diagnostic CD into the CD drive.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. On the Language Selection screen, type the letter that corresponds to your language. For example, type A to select English.
  4. On the Introduction screen, press the spacebar to continue.
  5. From the Symptoms menu, press the number key that corresponds to the symptom you are experiencing. If you are not sure which symptom to use, press the 4 key to run the basic test suite.
  6. Based on the symptom you chose, the Hardware Diagnostic Tools run tests on your computer hardware.
    Three test results are possible:
    • Passed: No problems were detected for the hardware device tested. This may indicate that the computer issue is caused by software program and not the hardware.
    • Failed: A problem was detected with the hardware device. Make a note of the error code in the test log. To view the test log, press the spacebar to return to the Symptoms menu, then press the 7 key.
      Replace the bad component or have your computer serviced.
    • Aborted: The test was cancelled by the user.
  7. Press the spacebar to return to the Symptoms menu.
  8. To view detailed information about each test performed, press the 7 key from the Symptoms menu.
  9. Press 8 to exit the Hardware Diagnostic Tools.
  10. Remove the CD from the drive, then press any key to restart the system.
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