Computer Cable Confusion

Computer Cable Confusion

Mar 1, 2016, 1:11:11 AM Tech and Science

Recently, it was drawn to my attention that after freshly installing a Windows upgrade on a computer, meaning everything was wiped off the hard drive on the HP computer and we started over with a new operating system it would not boot up all the way. Granted it could be considered an older model machine, but to my credit, I am A+ Certified and know a little bit about how to clean up a laptop or a desktop computer so it will indeed boot.

The clients took responsibility of transporting the computer home and setting the machine back up again the best way they knew how, plugging everything back in, and I mean everything, leaving no cords or cables dangling without a slot or port to call home.

Needless to say, this would normally be a safe thing to do.  Not true in this case.  This is a rare case in which I have seen the computer include two (both) types of VGA monitor computer cables: DVI and your basic vanilla VGA cable which both came right out of the monitor.  In addition, the client's computer also included 2 ports in the back where the cables could both easily be installed simultaneously.  This is not typical of most computers, but this was a 5-7 year old model that previously had Windows Vista installed.

What's the harm, you ask? Well, mainly the computer did not know where to send the signal upon startup and got confused.  So basically it locked up during the POST (Power On Self Test) and didn't present a viable, working desktop that displayed icons, only a blue screen of perpetual Windows with no Icon.

I arrived on site, inspected computer and ran tests. Once I unhooked the cables where they were connected, I was able to decipher which cable was suspect and which could stay connected.  The good old fashioned VGA cable was the winner in this case and remained installed.  I warned the computer owners not to reconnect the cable even though it was tempting since it was just dangling there.  I rebooted the computer and that was it.  And then re-started the computer for good measure at least a half dozen times. 

I highly recommend labeling your cables with tape or other labels so you know what goes where.  I have seen many clients do this with great success.  It definitely reduces the "intimidation factor" should a cable become unplugged.  Even one that says "do not plug in" would be helpful.  Some have labeled their camera plugs and other devices.  Or, if you can, just remove the unneeded from the back of the computer or computer monitor, as the case may be.  (Some all in one computers have both cables as well, just stick with the one you need and remove the other, if possible - or label). 

On a side note: you can plug in any USB device in any working USB port.  If the device doesn't work or power on, as the case may be, try switching the USB port you're plugging into.  Not all USB ports work on all computers.  Usually at least one is not operational on every computer I've seen, especially those in front on a desktop.

This particular HP micro desktop computer happily has Windows 7 installed on it and the clients do not wish upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10 any time soon, even though it's free.  And yes, it still boots all the way.  After this, they've learned their lesson and will stick with what is operational and functional.  Just because a computer (or USB) cord or cable is dangling, doesn't mean it needs to have a home.   And no, this will probably never happen to you, but hopefully this article will help you decipher to do with those cables that just do not seem to have a place to be installed. 

Good luck and keep enjoying your computer!


Published by Kim Harvey


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