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11. Mitigate Fan Problems

BIOS from A to Z

If your PC won't start up, it might be because the CPU fan is spinning too slowly - or not at all. This is especially true for thermo-regulated high-end coolers that might turn very slowly (or stop entirely) when temperature readings are very low, tricking the BIOS into thinking something's wrong with the fan. That's when the following BIOS tweak comes in handy.

Set the value for the option named "CPU Fan Failure Warning" to "Disabled". Once you've deactivated this function, the computer will start even with a slow fan. Of course, one problem is that you may not be able to access the BIOS on your first system start if, as is often the case, the default value for this setting is "Enabled". In that case, you may need to temporarily switch back to the cheap CPU cooler that came with your motherboard or CPU, which operates constantly at maximum fan rotation speed. After you disable this setting, switch back to your high end cooler without worrying about an emergency shutdown blocking access to the BIOS setup program.

12. Avoiding A System Crash

Modern hard disks can detect problems or symptoms that suggest a drive crash is imminent, and issue a warning to the BIOS. This function is called "Self Monitoring And Reporting Technology" (SMART). Activating "HDD SMART Capability" allows the BIOS to send a warning message to software such as Norton System Works, or the well-known SpeedFan freeware utility. That software can then in turn alert you to the condition of your storage device, providing early warning about potential disk problems so you can take corrective or evasive action.

13. Using Older Scanners And Printers

Parallel port: "ECP + EPP" is the fastest mode of parallel port communications (Screenshot F).

Your PC's parallel interface (aka parallel port) is normally set to allow only unidirectional communications. This setting works for nearly all devices, but also limits data transfer rates to a slow 100 kbps. The following trick can deliver data transfer rates of up to 1 Mbps for your parallel port.

All you need to do is activate either "ECP" (Extended Capability Port) or "EPP" (Enhanced Parallel Port). In fact, you'll often find both modes identified together as a single setting that reads "ECP/EPP".

Warning: If a printer and a scanner share a single parallel port, this configuration can cause device conflicts or problems, as shown in Screenshot F. If you want to maintain a high data transfer rate, you may need to install an additional PCI expansion card to add a second parallel port to your machine and then move one of these two devices to the other such port. Alternately, use a USB-to-parallel-port adapter for one of the two devices instead.

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