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Why Power Supplies Fail

If power supplies could talk, they'd probably sound a lot like the late Rodney Dangerfield: “I don't get no respect!” If you're planning a system upgrade, it's likely that your power supply is not on the list. After all, it doesn't appear to affect a system's performance or features. But appearances can be deceiving. As a quick review of the Hardware forum at Leoville Town Square (my online home) shows, bad power supplies can cause a lot of grief. A lot of the problems PC users experience that get blamed on memory, Windows, and so on can all be traced to a faulty or poor-quality power supply. Sadly, the power supply is often the first component most PC vendors attempt to skimp on.

What can a bad power supply do to your system? It prevents your computer from running reliably, can cause bus-powered USB and IEEE-1394 devices to be unreliable, and can even cause the computer to reboot spontaneously or fail to boot at all. The trouble is, a bad power supply isn't the only PC component that can cause these kinds of problems. In this chapter, we'll put on our deerstalker caps, grab our magnifying glasses, and turn amateur detectives to determine if you have a defective power supply. You'll learn how to protect your power supply and how to replace your power supply with the right model for your needs.


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