|Typical Hardware-related Symptoms||Typical Software-related Symptoms|
A good test for whether a problem is hardware-related is to try and start up the machine from a suitable CD such as a Knoppix system disk (available from OUCS). If the machine then behaves properly, the problem is probably a software issue. A separate page gives more information on doing this. For older machines with floppy-disk drives, a boot-floppy could be used instead.
If the advice in the How to tell... section hasn't helped, you probably need assistance.
If you're still unsure, contact the OUCS Help Centre - if your machine is a laptop, our helpdesk can take an initial look at your problem. Desktop machines can only be seen by a prior appointment made through the helpdesk.
- If your machine is still under its manufacturer's warranty: then
contact the manufacturer or supplier for advice on how to get the machine repaired.
Details can usually be found on their web site.
- If your machine is registered on the OUCS Breakdown Cover scheme: then
request an engineer call-out.
- For advice on getting the problem fixed at OUCS, see our Repair/Upgrade Enquiry Form and
Even though your machine may have a serious hardware problem, you may still be able to get a copy of your data from the hard disk using the OUCS Backup and Reinstall Service.
If your machine's hard disk itself has a serious hardware fault, recovering any data from it will require the services of a specialised data recovery company. These services are often expensive but may offer a "no recovery, no fee" charging system.
If you have a Windows XP system that won't start up properly, take a look at our web page on troubleshooting Windows XP systems .
Increasingly, the solution for major problems with your machine's operating system is to do a complete and clean install of the system. Information is provided on a separate page for doing this yourself for Windows XP systems. Alternatively, the OUCS Backup and Reinstall Service could do the work for you and copy your existing data on CD/DVD or onto the new system.