One of the great things about Windows computers is that it’s easy to add hardware to them. Unlike computers from other manufacturers, PCs are very versatile in terms of the different types of hardware they can use, the different manufacturer brands of hardware they can use and so forth. Sometimes, you’re going to run into trouble when you add hardware. Here are some of the most common problems that people have when they add hardware and likely solutions to them. Computer Won’t Boot One of the most common problems that people run into is that their computer will not boot after they add new hardware. Sometimes, the most obvious solutions may make you feel a little bit silly for having missed them, but going to them right away can save you trouble. As this article from the University of Washington points out, there are some rather obvious problems you want to look for if you have trouble with hardware. Check to make certain that all of the power cords are installed correctly. If you have just installed a device such as a video card or a sound card, make certain that whatever power supply connector it requires is hooked up. People sometimes miss these and will end up troubleshooting hardware for hours and not realizing that they never hooked it up to the power supply in their computer. You should also verify that you have turned on the switch on your power supply. Most computers that you buy ready-made – such as those from Dell, Gateway and other manufacturers – tend not to have separate switches on the power supply. Many do, however, and you want to look for this. If everything is hooked up and running and it still won’t boot, take the new hardware out and see if it boots. If it does, this likely indicates that there is a problem with the hardware itself and you may just want to return it for a replacement at this point to avoid wasting your time troubleshooting something that’s broken. Runs and Then Dies You may run into a situation where the hardware seems to boot up fine with the computer and then, after operating for a while, it suddenly crashes. You may end up with a blue screen of death or a screen that looks something like the one below, taken from a site that caters to the crowd who likes to overclock their computers. Figure 1: Source: http://cdn.overclock.net/3/3e/500x1000px-LL-3ebd7769_WP_000118.jpeg These types of errors can be symptoms of many different things. They could be driver errors or they could be errors related to the hardware failing in some regard. The important thing to remember is that this is not at all normal. There is probably nothing you did during the installation process to cause this; it’s likely in error originating from a driver or an error originating from hardware that is faulty in its manufacture or that is simply incompatible with your computer. If you have these types of symptoms, pull the hardware out and get ready to return it. The repair process for something like this can be very difficult. You can also go down to a store, buy a cheaper version of whatever hardware you installed and see if you can replicate the problem. This will at least let you know whether the problem is coming from your computer or from the hardware that you purchased. No Features There are occasions when you will install a new piece of hardware and when it will seem to work fine, until you try to access the advanced features. At that point, you may find that you can’t get great screen resolution out of the video card, that the audio card you installed doesn’t give you access to all of its various outputs and effects and you may have other issues, as well. This is usually a driver issue. Go to the manufacturer’s site and download the latest drivers for the hardware that you installed. This will usually take care of it. If it doesn’t, go to the manufacturer’s site and try to find an older version of the drivers. Sometimes, that will actually fix the problem, as well. Troubleshooting new hardware can be frustrating, but once you learn the process, you’ll find that you can really customize your computer a lot without having to call a tech.