Tracing Apple Mac Hardware Faults

May 15, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Computer faults come in all shapes and sizes, from problems with a mouse to a failed motherboard component. A poorly performing operating system could be caused by a broken hard disk drive, while sudden restarts can be traced to any number of problems from faulty wiring to an overheating Mac.

There are some problems that you can’t fix yourself; you can buy a new mouse, reinstall Mac OS X and replace a hard disk drive and you can even resolve issues with the computer overheating, but replacing a motherboard or processor can prove a lot trickier on a MacBook, Mac Mini or iMac.

Tracing Apple Mac hardware faults

Let’s get this bit straightened out: it may cost you quite a bit of money if you suspect that your Mac has a problem and you follow the steps outlined below to conduct an Apple Hardware Test. There are several ways around paying, of course, but the problem won’t go away. Selling your computer to an unsuspecting buyer may or may not have karmic repercussions, but the fault will still be there, waiting to crush someone who might be a Mac first timer.

If you do find that the Apple Hardware Test reveals an issue, take action swiftly and make sure that you have all of your Apple Care documentation and a payment method to hand when you descend upon your local Apple Store.

Running the Apple Hardware Test

Usually problems on an Apple Mac are pretty easy to resolve, such as issues booting the computer. Any problems with connecting to the web are again regularly resolved in seconds such is the attention to functionality that the Mac OS X user interface brings to the Apple computers.

However, any issues that appear to be resolved only to re-occur at a later can often be traced back to an underlying hardware fault. Obviously there is no way that you can know this under normal circumstances unless you have some impressive skills.

Aware of this, Apple provide the Apple Hardware Test on the Mac OS X install disc. This is a troubleshooting tool that can be inserted into your Mac and used to verify the condition of your computer hardware, hopefully establishing that there are no problems. If a fault is detected, however, the Apple Hardware Test will provide details which you can then use for further information (such as contacting Apple Care or checking for additional details on Google).

In order to run the Apple Hardware test, find the correct Mac OS X install disc and insert it into your optical drive, then restart your Mac while holding the D key.

Keep the key depressed until you see a new user interface and select the appropriate language. Select Test to run a basic test; any issues will be displayed in the Test Results box.

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