8.4.5 Practice Questions Notebook Troubleshooting

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You’re troubleshooting a notebook system that uses a digitizer pad and stylus for user input. The user has complained that the digitizer pad registers stylus taps about 1 inch to the right of where the tap actually occurred. How can you fix this problem?

Recalibrate the digitizer Explanation To fix this problem, you need to recalibrate the digitizer pad. Over time, digitizer pads on notebooks can develop drift. This can be fixed by running a recalibration program, usually included with the pad.

A user is trying to log into Windows on her notebook computer. She enters the correct password for her user account, but the system won;t let her authenticate, claiming the wrong password has been entered. What’s causing the problem?

She has turned Num Lock on causing numbers to be sent from the keyboard instead of letters. Explanation The most likely cause of this user’s problem is that the Num Lock key sequence for the notebook system has been pressed causing the keyboard to send numbers in the place of letters. Turning Num Lock off should fix the problem. When Intruder Detection is enabled, no logon attempts will be allowed, even if the correct password is used.

You’re troubleshooting a malfunctioning notebook computer system. The user has indicated that the screen is always dark and difficult to read even while the system is plugged into a wall outlet. You checked the system and determined that the backlight isn’t working. Which of the following could be the cause?

The LCD cutoff switch is stuck in the Off position. Explanation It’s possible that the notebook’s LCD cutoff switch is stuck in the off position. The cutoff switch is used to shut off the backlight (and sometimes the video display itself) when the notebook lid is closed. Press and release the cutoff switch to determine if this is actually the problem. Because the problem exists when plugged in, you know the problem is not related to the battery.

You’re troubleshooting a malfunctioning notebook computer. Nothing appears on the LED display when the system is powered on. What is the first thing you should do?

Plug in an external monitor. Explanation If the built-in monitor isn’t working, connect an external monitor to the laptop. If the display appears on an external monitor but not the built-in display, the problem could be a malfunctioning LED assembly or it could be due to the display output being redirected to the external monitor port using the Fn key. If you don’t get a display on the internal or external monitor, you can assume that there is a problem with the video card. Repairing the video card typically means replacing the motherboard. You should calibrate the battery if your battery seems to be losing the ability to hold a charge or if the power drops shortly after starting to use it.

A user in sales cannot get his laptop to display through a projector. He sees the screen output on the built-in display, but the video is not being seen on the projector. What should you do first?

Use the Fn key to redirect display to the external video port. Explanation Toggle the display setting with the Fn key. Most laptops offer several display choices, such as: PC screen only, Second screen only, Duplicate (both screen), and Extend (both screens). The most likely culprit in this scenario is that the display has been toggled to PC screen only, so choosing either of the other two settings should allow the user to see the display on the projector. Upgrading the video card, replacing the display, or checking the backlight settings are not necessary as the video shows properly on the internal display.

Six months age, you purchased a new laptop. Since then, you have noticed that the battery life has been steadily going down. When it was new, a full charge lasted about 3 hours. Now you are lucky to get 2 hours before the battery charge level drops below 5%. What should be your first step to correct this problem?

Calibrate the battery. Explanation If your battery seems to be losing the ability to hold a charge, or if the power drops shortly after starting to use it, you might need to recalibrate the battery. Over time, the power meter gets out of sync with the actual power that is left in the battery. Calibration resets the power meter so that the percentages are a more accurate reflection of the remaining charge. It is common for batteries to lose their ability to hold a charge over time. However, most batteries last between 1-3 years. You should only replace the battery after you determine that calibration will not correct the problem. You cannot replace the power meter chip in a battery; in fact, you should never disassemble a battery. Cleaning the contacts will have no effect.

You recently replaced a malfunctioning video card on your laptop. After reassembling the laptop, everything works well except for the wireless network connection. The wireless adapter functioned correctly before you replaced the video card. What would most likely resolve this problem?

Reconnect the antenna connections. Explanation The wireless connection is affected by the internal antenna. after replacing a video card or LCD screen, be sure to reconnect the antenna leads when reassembling. Because the wireless connection functioned correctly before you replaced the video card, you know the network card works fine and should not need replacement. A USB-compatible wireless network device would provide a new connection, but does not necessarily resolve the problem. Because all of the other components function correctly, removing and reconnecting the battery would not resolve the internal Internet connection.

After arriving in a new city today, a traveling sales team member calls you stating that his wireless connection no longer work. He has checked the wireless configuration and he knows it to be correct because it was working yesterday. What should you do first?

Have him verify that the wireless card’s hardware switch in the On position. Explanation Have the user verify that the wireless card’s hardware switch is in the On position. Many built-in wireless cards can be turned off and on through a switch on the laptop case. Because this is a likely problem and easy to check, you should do this first before trying other solutions.

You’re troubleshooting a malfunctioning LED display on a notebook computer system. An external monitor correctly displays the output from the notebook. Which of the following could be the cause?

Failed backlight Explanation In this case, the LEd backlight has failed. The backlight provides illumination to the display. Because the output displays fine on the external monitor, you know the problem is not related to the video card. LED backlights use DC power, eliminating the need for an inverter. A CCFL is one of the backlight methods (LED being the other), and uses an inverter to provide AC power to the backlight.

In preparation to use your laptop on the airplane as you travel to a conference, you disconnected the USB mouse. However, after removing the external mouse, the cursor drifts consistently to the left side of the screen while using the built-in trackpad and mouse buttons.

What should you do?

Access the BIOS/UEFI configuration and disable the USB pointer option. Explanation This issue is frequently seen in notebook systems where both the internal trackpad and an external mouse interface (such as USB or even PS/2) are enabled at the same time in the BIOS/UEFI configuration. Essentially, the two mouse interfaces contend with each other for control of the cursor. This problem can be fixed by disabling the external mouse option in the BIOS/UEFI configuration. If that doesn’t work, then you can try updating the trackpad drivers or even replacing the trackpad.

panicked user comes to you at the support desk and asks you to come to his office because his notebook has no power. He’s positive that his battery has completely failed because he came in this morning and there is no power at all to his laptop. He left it plugged in on his desk all night but it will not turn on. He has an important presentation to make in a couple of hours and insists that you bring a replacement battery.

What troubleshooting steps should you do before replacing the battery?

Make sure the DC cord from the power adapter is plugged firmly into the notebook power connector. Make sure the AC cord is securely plugged into both the wall outlet and the power adapter. Explanation When a computer will not turn on, the first troubleshooting steps are always to make sure it is plugged in. In the case of a notebook computer there are two cords that have to be plugged in: – The AC cord that plugs into the wall outlet and the power adapter. – The DC cord form the power adapter that plugs into the notebook power connector. If these cords are plugged in securely, but not providing power, the next step is to replace it with a known good power adapter.

A user recently used her notebook to make a presentation that required her to display her screen from a projector in the conference room. She is now back at her desk, her notebook is still on, but the display is blank.

What should you do first to restore the display>

Use the Fn keys to toggle the display output to the laptop monitor. Explanation The first step to try to restore the display is to use the Fn keys to toggle the display output to the laptop monitor. It is very likely that the Fn keys were used to toggle the display output to the projector for the presentation and then not toggled back to the laptop monitor. Rebooting the computer will probably restore the default display output, but is not the best first solution to try. The other steps might become necessary is some cases, but only after the easiest and likeliest solutions are tried.

A user complains that his notebook display has started to go dim intermittently. You suspect the backlight might need to be replaced but you want to verify that the backlight is failing before you replace it.

What should you check before replacing the backlight?

Make sure that the dimming isn’t being caused by a power saving method that has been configured to conserve notebook power. Explanation It is possible that the configuration of the power saving method has been changed and is dimming the screen earlier than the user is accustomed to. You should first check to see if the power saving method is working as configured.

If a notebook computer is exhibiting symptoms that seem to indicate a malfunctioning keyboard, what troubleshooting steps can you take to determine if the keyboard needs to be replaced?

Connect an external keyboard. Check for special keyboard features that could be enabled that may cause some keys to perform alternate tasks. Explanation Check to see if the user has inadvertently set a special notebook keyboard feature that alters the way certain keys work. For example, setting the NumLock feature may cause part of the keyboard to emulate 10-key functionality. IF no special features have been set, you can connect an external keyboard to see if the malfunctiong keyboard symptoms go away. If they do, the laptop keyboard needs to be replaced. None of the other troubleshooting options could be used to determine what is wrong with a notebook keyboard.

If a notebook computer with an integrated wireless network adapter shows that there is no wireless network connection, what should you check first?

Make sure the switch that turns the wireless network card on and off is in the on position. Explanation The quickest and easiest solution should be checked first. With wireless network cards on notebook computers, if the network card switch has been turned off, turning it back on is the easiest solution to try.

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