Step 8: The Last!Congratulations - Now Test things

Congratulations, you are almost finished.
The only thing left is to test the computer, to do a full "burn-in." 
A "burn-in"  means that you will need to keep it running and powered on for about 48 hours straight, doing various things... even if it is only a screen saver or a self running demo program while you are away or sleeping. 
I write a little DOS batch file and run it for at least 8 hours each day, even on Windows based computers. This keeps the CPU, basic video, memory, and disk drives running, which will generally stop or produce errors on the system if any of these parts are not good. I have had less than a 2% problem rate on systems that were delivered to customers, simply because of the burn-in tests I did on each system I sold.
I place the following file, named TEST.BAT, in the root of drive C:
cls
chkdsk c:
mem /c
dir c: /s
dir a: /s
dir d: /s
test.bat
It is very basic, and easy to run. It creates an infinite loop, stopped only by holding down the Ctrl (Control) key and pressing C. You will be asked if you are sure, press "Y" for "Yes." Which will terminate the batch file.
The best way to test your computer is to use it. Run every program, play every game. Make sure that everything is working properly.
If the monitor is brand new, there will be a slight odor (like melting plastic). This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Just make sure there is plenty of ventilation. The smell should be gone in 4 to 12 hours. If there is ever actual smoke, then you have a problem. Check the Basic Trouble Shooting  section for more details.
Running the programs, using your computer is the only way that you will truly be able to determine the computer is behaving the way you desire, and the way it should.
If you wish, you can run hardware diagnostic programs on the computer.
The Norton Utilities provide a system check, as does Check It! Pro, ZIF Davis's Benchmarks, WinTune, and various other programs. Search the Internet for testing or burn-in programs. If you have any questions, suggestions of programs you really liked, please email me with the information. terry@helpus.com

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Copyright 1998 T.E. Mercer, all rights reserved. This page was last updated 16 April 2000

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