Building a PC: Foreword -Disclaimer – Warnings
I cannot be held responsible for any damage that you may cause to yourself or any computer hardware or software that may come about by your attempts to build a computer using the following information.
BEFORE YOU DO ANY WORK ON YOUR COMPUTER, ALWAYS TURN THE POWER OFF! BUT, UNLESS THERE IS AN ELECTRICAL STORM IN YOUR AREA, YOU SHOULD LEAVE THE MAINS PLUG IN ITS WALL SOCKET (WITH THE SWITCH OFF) IN ORDER TO KEEP THE COMPUTER EARTHED. ALTERNATIVELY, YOU CAN JUST SWITCH THE POWER SUPPLY SWITCH OFF WITH THE MAINS SUPPLY SWITCHED ON. DOING THAT ALSO KEEPS THE PC EARTHED IF THE PC IS CONNECTED TO THE MAINS. BEFORE INSTALLING PCI/PCI EXPRESS ADAPTER CARDS OR OTHER COMPONENTS ALWAYS HAVE THE PC TURNED OFF
Static Electricity and Other Important Warnings
Electronic devices can easily be destroyed by static electricity, which can discharge thousands of volts that cannot harm a human but will be fatal to a motherboard, RAM modules, or expansion cards, so, before installing anything, you should take the precaution of discharging yourself by touching an earthed metal object, such as the computer’s case, attached to a mains power outlet, with the switch turned off.
Also, never work on the insides of a computer, or plug in non-hotplug devices, such as the monitor, when it is switched on. USB devices are hotplug devices, which means that they can be plugged into the PC or disconnected while it is switched on. The USB icon in the Notification Area that appears when a USB device is connected should be used to disconnect a USB device. Adding a non-hotplug device while the PC is switched on can cause a sudden drain of current from the motherboard that can destroy it.
You can only ‘hotplug’ USB and FireWire (IEEE 1394) and SATA serial devices.
Sale of Goods Act (UK)
Anything that you buy in the UK, including the components bought to build a PC, are protected by the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act. You are not restricted to the 12-month statutory warranty period to make a claim. You can demand a replacement or a refund if the goods are not fit for purpose to begin with or are rendered as such within their expected life-spans. You should not accept a credit note or vouchers that allow you to make purchases. If you cannot be provided with a suitable replacement of the goods, you can demand a full refund.
Visit the PC Warranties section of this website for some very useful information on them. For example, it is now EU law that all warranties must be valid for a period of two years, not one year. Some PC manufacturers are still selling their computers – desktops, laptops, tablets – with a one-year warranty, which can therefore be overridden in court.
There is plenty of other information on the UK Sale of Goods Act on the web.
Next page: Introduction to building a desktop PC