First post, by BitWrangler
I was thinking the other day about how muggles sometimes think experienced hardware guys can walk up to a machine and fix it just by operating the power button themselves... well yah, it does sometimes happen, but then there's that automatic checklist thing, just walking towards the system you are processing information, seemingly run your hands over it maybe, then hit the power... folks who are fresher to the hobby might like to know the tricks. I find it hard breaking it all out, I'm probably missing stuff in recounting it that I do second nature, so I thought I'd get a thread going where everyone can chip in.
So, eyeballing the system, probably gets you a good idea of AT or ATX, soft power or switched, and check for a physical switch on the back also, a glance tells you if the voltage selector is set right. Possibly you've traced the power plug to the wall or through powerstrip to the wall if you're able to see it in the open.
Contact, you've got your hands on it, you snug up the power connector, you're feeling for clips or whatever you need to do to open the case if it's not open. Toolfree you might just need to slide the panel back or loosen a couple of thumbscrews first.
Appearing just to glance inside you're tracking all the PSU to drive power connectors, the interface connections, the header connectors to see they're plugged in and don't look askew, standing up too far or sitting on one line of pins.
Then you stick a hand inside, you're snugging up all the connectors, pressing down the back edge of PCI cards, ISA cards, seeing they feel firm in the slots, Thumb down on the memory, give it a quick wiggle to make sure it's fully "scrinched" home and isn't gonna flop out of the socket because it's riding on the key bump because it's installed backwards. Now you give a quick wiggle check on the heatsink to make sure it's properly seated down, and judge clearance to board to determine CPU is probably down in it's socket okay. Any additional sinks you check for security. All the while you're scanning for brownish or dull marks on any of the ICs, concavity of the tops of capacitors, and other assorted board and component problems.
If all looks well you flip the switch and she comes to life... yeah, one of those PCI cards just gave a bit when you pressed it, but you'll smirk when they say it just needed the magic touch.... after all, all you did was walk up to it and hit the power right?
Chip in with all the quick look and feel tests that you run through when you assess a system.
Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.