Our normal hours of operation are from 9am to 6pm Pacific Standard Time. Technical support is available 7 days a week. New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are observed Holidays. We can and do schedule for correspondence outside of normal support hours. Support outside normal hours is limited to employee availability.

We prefer to handle general questions via e-mail. Feel free to send any questions you may have to support@falcon-nw.com. Please understand that this service is only for our customers and we do prioritize support requests before general questions.

The sales department handles all recommendations and discussions involving the purchase of upgrades from our company. You can contact them via e-mail at sales@falcon-nw.com or via phone at (888)FALCON1.

The system recovery CDs/DVDs restore the hard drive to the exact same configuration as when the system left our factory. The first boot following a system recovery will be identical to the first boot when you received the system. As such it is important that you back-up any important data you have added to the system before running the system recovery CDs/DVDs.

The first step is to uninstall the problematic program. Unfortunately, uninstalling a program does not always fix problems the installation caused. If problems persist after removing the program, please contact our technical support department for further help. It may be necessary to run the system recovery CDs/DVDs to restore stability.

This is generally a sign that the specific game or game manufacturer is having configuration problems. Consult the game's readme, help files, website, or technical support for direction.

Generally speaking, it is best to disable the program through its own setup options or preferences. Consult the software documentation or explore its setup options and preferences for options to "load during startup", "show icon in system tray", or "run in the background".

 

As a secondary option, you can manually disable programs that load during startup using Microsoft's System Configuration Utility.  To open the System Configuration Utility:

Click "start" and then "run".

Type in "msconfig" and then click "ok".

Select the "startup" tab.

 

Entries in the startup tab's list are various programs and other functions that load each time you boot your system. Uncheck the box for an item you do not want to load during bootup.

 

 

 

Yes, we provide phone and e-mail support on out of warranty systems at no charge. Systems within the warranty period are given priority over out of warranty systems. Some problems may be outside the ability to troubleshoot via phone, you may be asked to send the system in for repair or alternative options can be provided.

We do provide general installation and basic troubleshooting help on hardware which was not purchased from us. Problems will be directed back to the appropriate company's support. Please understand that the hardware or software manufacturer will probably have more resources to support their particular product, but tech support from other companies often sucks, and we'll help where we can.

The only utility software we recommend installing are security programs to protect against virus infections or scan for malware.

 

 

It is not recommended to install multiple anti-virus programs - they tend to conflict with each other.  Additionally, we do not recommend using full "Internet Security Suites" as tend to bog down the system and have an increased chance of interfering with a game or other application.

 

For firewall protection, we recommend using the operating system's firewall.

 

It is important that the latest service pack and supplemental security updates are applied through Windows Update.

 

For anti-virus and anti-malware, we recommend using Microsoft's Security Essentials anti-virus.

 

You can find more information or download the program at www.microsoft.com/security_essentials.

 

We advise against installing registry cleaners, uninstallers, software to manage the operating system, and similar utility programs. These types of utilities are typically unnecessary and can create problems such as instability and performance issues.  Keeping the operating system clean with fewer installed programs will provide better results than bogging it down with unneeded software.

Updating the motherboard BIOS is not a part of system maintenance. Updating the BIOS should only be performed when the newer BIOS revision includes a fix which specifically addresses a problem you are having. Please contact our technical support if you are in need of assistance with this process. Note: Updating your motherboard BIOS is not without risk. An event that interrupts the update process or improperly updating the BIOS can result in an inability to boot and use the system. This is generally not a warranty covered problem.

As a basic rule of thumb: If it's not broken, don't fix it! When your system is running perfectly, installing a driver update which results in problems can be extremely frustrating. We recommend that you update drivers only when they are providing you with a specific advantage or solution to a problem.  For example, the video card drivers may need to be updated if you are having a problem with a recently released game.

Double click on the "My Computer" or "Computer" icon. Right-click on the hard drive and then click "Properties". The free space and other information will be reported here.

Hard drive manufacturers define 1 gigabyte as exactly 1,000,000,000 bytes. By their definition, a 45GB hard drive is exactly 45,000,000,000 bytes. The true definition of 1 gigabyte is actually 1,073,741,824 bytes:
1024 bytes = 1 kilobyte
1024 kilobytes = 1 megabyte
1024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte
To obtain the true size in gigabytes of a 45GB hard drive you must divide the manufacturer's size in bytes by the number of bytes in a gigabyte:
45,000,000,000/1,073,741,824 = 41.9
As such, the actual reported size in gigabytes will always be smaller than the manufacturer's advertised size.

Yes, we recommend you keep the original boxes and packing materials. The original boxes serve great for storage and protecting the system during a move.

If your warranty coverage includes shipping to and from our factory, shipment to us can only be covered by Falcon when in the original box and packing materials.

A replacement box and packing materials can be ordered from us. Shipment costs for a replacement box are your responsibility. UPS charges for "dimensional weight" (the space which the box takes up in their vehicles) and the cost of shipping an empty box can be quite expensive. Save the original box if at all possible!

We have included a setup poster with your system which describes the setup process. Please give our technical support a call at (888) 800-7440 if you need further assistance with the setup process.

Installing additional hardware can often cause problematic behavior.  Our technical support has received many reports of problems caused by a user immediately installing their own hardware upon receiving their new system.  To simplify troubleshooting, it is important to be sure that your new system is running properly prior to making any changes.

 

We recommend that you run the system for at least 7 days before the installation of any new hardware. This period will allow you to get familiar with the system as configured and confirm it is operating properly.

 

The most common cause of this problem is the loose monitor cable. Check the connection from the monitor to the back of the system. It is also possible the monitor is connected to the wrong port on the back of the system. Refer to the included setup poster to ensure the monitor is connected to the correct port.

In some rare instances, the video card or another internal component can be unseated during transit. The common symptom of an unseated video card is a series of 4 beeps when you turn the system on. Please contact our technical support department if you suspect the problem to be related to a loose part.

Consult the installation directions which come with the device. You will want to follow the directions with one very important exception: Always check the manufacturer's web site for the current version of the drivers.  The driver disc included with the device is commonly an early and outdated version.  Outdated device drivers may contain bugs that can make the system unstable. You can often avoid these problems by starting with the newest drivers available.  Also note that many devices, especially printers, will require you to connect the device at a specific point of the installation.  Do not connect the device until the instructions direct you to.

The Windows operating system will be fully set up and configured here at the factory. There is no need to install Windows on your system.

All of the latest drivers for your hardware have been installed by Falcon Northwest. You will not need to install any drivers for hardware purchased from us. In almost all cases, drivers which are found on CDs or floppy disks are outdated. There is rarely a need to install any drivers from a disk under any circumstances.

We install only the necessary drivers and software for the SoundBlaster sound cards. The optional components are not installed in order to conserve hard drive space and to eliminate the various "background programs" which consume system resources.

The demo games we install are frequently changed to include newer titles.  For Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can find the installed demo games in the "Start "Menu" under "Games".

With WindowsXP, you can remove the demo games via the "Add/Remove Programs" applet in the control panel.  For Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can remove the demo games via the "Programs and Features" applet in the Control Panel.

Monitor, other peripherals (printers, scanners, etc), the computer, and finally the speakers.

For Mach V systems we recommend approximately one foot of ventilation room at the front, rear, and top of the case.  For watercooled systems, it is extremely important that the top vent is not covered or blocked.

 

For Talon systems using the Silverstone TJ04 Black case we recommend approximately one foot of ventilation room at the rear of the case.  Additionally, there are vents for cool air intake on the bottom front of the chassis.  Placing the system on a hard, flat surface is recommended for proper ventilation.

 

For Talon systems using the new Talon 3.0 case we recommend approximately one foot of ventilation room at the front and rear of the case.

 

For notebook systems we recommend running on a hard, flat surface.

 

For FragBox systems we recommend approximately one foot of ventilation room at the rear and both sides of the case.

 

Enclosed desk cabinets are not recommended as they tend to trap heat buildup and can lead to overheating problems.

 

There are several different noises which can be emitted from inside the case. Some noises are normal and some can be indicative of a problem.

It is common for the internal fans to emit more noise when you first turn on the system, they will quiet down when they reach full speed and balance out. Dust build-up will accentuate this behavior.

Fans will accumulate dust under normal usage. Dust build-up can cause the fans to operate much louder than normal and cause grinding or loud whirring noises. Cleaning the dust build-up with a can of compressed air can help.

You may notice a whirring noise when inserting a disc into the CDROM or DVDROM drive. (This can also occur when accessing the CDROM or DVDROM drive after a period of inactivity.) This symptom usually occurs only when a disc is spinning up to reach normal speed and will quiet down when the drive reaches full speed and the disc balances. You may find that only certain CD or DVD discs create noises. This is caused by an unbalanced disc and is not the fault of the drive.

If you have questions about any noises, please call technical support. A technician will be able to listen and help determine if it's normal.

Using a can of compressed air is the best method. Cans of compressed air for cleaning computers can be obtained at most department stores or computer specialty shops.

The first step is to power down the system and open your case. As the computer is constantly circulating air (and dust), you may find that quite a mess is created when dusting out the system. Relocate the system to an appropriate area for cleaning.

It is not necessary to touch any components while dusting out the system. Take care to keep the can of compressed air upright, as tilting it may result in expelling the propellant.  Start at the top of the system, blowing dust off of the components and working down to the bottom of the system. Fans and heatsinks tend to trap dust and often require extra attention.

This is dependent upon how dusty the environment the computer is in is. On average, cleaning out dust should be performed every 3 to 6 months. Exceptionally dusty locations may require more frequent cleaning. As a general rule of thumb, cleaning should be done if there is a visible layer of dust on any internal components.

The best protection is a properly grounded anti-static mat and/or grounded wrist-strap.  However only the most serious PC hobbyists have these.  But you can use the computer case itself as a grounding point to safely discharge static electricity whenever you touch it.

 

The goal is to cut power the PC, but keep the power cord to the computer plugged in.  This may sound counter-intuitive, but the third prong of the power cord is a ground. When the power cord is connected to a properly grounded wall socket the metal frame of the case becomes a grounding point. 

 

For configurations that include a power supply with an on/off switch:  Use the on/off switch to power off the power supply.  The switch will be in the "off" position when the "0" is depressed.

 

For configurations where the power supply does not have an on/off switch:  Connect the power supply to a surge protector or other power strip that includes an on/off switch.  The surge protector must be connected to a wall outlet.  Use the on/off switch of the surge protector to turn power off.

Beginning with the release of WindowsXP, Microsoft has renamed the "Scandisk" utility as "Error-checking".  This new name has continued to be used in both Windows Vista and Windows 7.  You can access the utility by double clicking on the "My Computer" or "Computer" icon, right clicking the desired hard drive, clicking "properties", and selecting the "Tools" tab.

Many household cleaners can damage the protective coating of the monitor and should not be used.  In particular, Ammonia-based cleaners should be avoided.  A good quality microfiber cloth (dry) should be used for cleaning when possible.  Use light pressure to gently clean the surface of the monitor.

 

If the dry microfiber cloth is not sufficient, lightly dampen the microfiber cloth with distilled water.  (Tap water may contain minerals that cause smearing or discoloration.)  Again, use light pressure to gently clean the surface of the monitor.

 

If more aggressive cleaning is required, a 50/50 solution of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol may be used.  (Do not use rubbing alcohol, 70% or greater isopropyl alcohol only.)  Mix an equal amount of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.  Lightly dampen the microfiber cloth with the solution.  Again, use light pressure to gently clean the surface of the monitor.