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Wallets Aren"t Just for Money Anymore
The best way we"ve discovered to organize and also protect CDs and also DVDs is to shed the jewel instances and also store them or, much better still, copies of them in one of those zippered vinyl or Cordura disc wallets you have the right to buy for a few dollars at Wal-Mart or Best Buy. These walallows use plastic or Tyvek sleeves to protect the discs, hold from fifty percent a dozen to several dozen discs, and also make it straightforward to find the one you want. If the disc has actually a serial number or activation crucial on the original jewel instance, make sure to record it on the CD, utilizing a soft long-term marker on the label side. It"s also an excellent concept to document the serial number or initialization (init) crucial on the disc sleeve or a little card so that the number is easily accessible when the disc is already in the drive.
We stock one of these walallows via essential discs Windows and Linux circulation CDs, applications, assorted diagnostics, and so on and constantly have it at hand also. We likewise buy a disc wallet for each COMPUTER we buy or build. New Computers generally arrive with a number of discs, as perform individual components. Storing these discs in one area, organized by the mechanism they belong to, makes it much simpler to find the one you need.
Before you open up the case
Although you may be raring to acquire in tright here and also solve somepoint, taking the moment to prepare effectively before you jump in pays huge dividends later. When your mechanism has troubles, carry out the following prior to you open the case:
Make certain it"s not a cable difficulty.
Weird points have the right to happen with cables. Disconnect all uncrucial cables, leaving only the computer mouse, keyboard, and also display attached. Unplug the printer, USB hub, and also any kind of various other attached peripherals to give them a possibility to reset themselves. Turn your computer system off, then restart it. If the problem is gone, attempt reattaching the cables one at a time to check out if it comes ago.
Make certain it"s not a software problem.
The old saying that "if all you have actually is a hammer, whatever looks like a nail" is nowbelow more true than through COMPUTER repairs. Before you assume that it"s a hardware difficulty, make sure that the difficulty isn"t brought about by an application, by Windows, or by a virus. Use Knoppix and also your virus/malware scanners before you assume the hardware is at fault and also start disconnecting points. If the device boots and also runs Knoppix effectively, defective hardware is very unlikely to be the difficulty.
Make sure it"s not a power difficulty.
The relicapability of electric power varies by wright here you live, which individual circuit you are associated to, and even from minute to minute as various other loads on the circuit kick in and also out. Sporadic difficulties such as spontaneous reboots are frequently caused by poor-high quality power. Before you start tearing your device down, make sure the problem isn"t led to by bad electrical power. At a minimum, usage a surge protector to smooth incoming power. Better still, connect the system to a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). If you don"t have actually a UPS, attach the mechanism to a power receptacle on a various circuit.
Make certain it"s not an overheating problem.
Modern units particularly "high-performance models run exceptionally hot. Sporadic difficulties, or those that take place just after a device has actually been running for some time, are often caused by extreme heat. Most contemporary motherboards encompass integrated temperature sensors primarily one installed in the processor socket to report CPU temperature and also one or more others close to the memory, chipset, and other critical components.
Many motherboard manufacturers supply energy programs that report and log temperature readings, and such various other crucial information as the speeds of the CPU and also various other device fans, the voltages on specific voltage rails, and also so on. If no such energy is easily accessible for your operating mechanism, ssuggest reboot the computer, run BIOS Setup, and navigate the Setup menus till you uncover the alternative for Hardware Monitoring or something equivalent. Since the integrated temperature, voltage, and also fan-speed sensors report their readings to the BIOS, you have the right to review and also document those values directly from the BIOS Setup display. It"s finest to reboot and take the analysis after the computer"s been up and running for a while, and also preferably simply after it"s exhibited the problems you are trying to fix.
It"s advantageous to establish baseline worths for temperature readings, bereason "normal" temperatures vary substantially depending on the kind and also speed of the processor, the form of heatsink/fan unit provided, the number and kind of supplementary situation fans, ambient temperature, level of mechanism pack, and also so on. For instance, a processor that typically idles at 35 C might reach 60 C or higher when it runs a CPU-intensive regime. The idle and loaded temperatures are both crucial. An increase in idle temperature more than likely suggests a cooling problem, such as clogged air inallows or a failing CPU fan, while incredibly high loaded temperatures may bring about system errors, processor slow-downs as a result of "thermal clamping," or, in the worst case, actual damage to the processor.
MONITOR YOUR MOTHERBOARD
To safeguard your device against thermal difficulties, we recommend installing and activating the surveillance utility provided with the motherboard. Most such utilities allow you to collection user-defined "tripwire" worths that create an alarm if the temperature becomes also high, the volteras are out of tolerance, or the fans are running as well gradually. Most of these utilities can likewise shut dvery own the mechanism to prevent damages if the readings exceed the boundaries you"ve set. To recognize the proper variety of settings, refer to the documentation included via your system, motherboard, or processor.
Inproficient technicians dive in willy-nilly without thinking points via first. Experienced ones initially decide what is the most likely reason of the trouble, what have the right to be done to fix it, in what order they should strategy the repair, and also what they"ll have to finish it. Medical students have actually a saying, "when you hear thundering hooves, don"t think about zebras." In other words, most of the moment it"ll be steeds, and you can waste many time in search of missing zebras. Determine the most most likely reasons of the trouble in approximate ranked order, decide which are straightforward to inspect for, and also then remove the easy ones initially. In order, examine easy/likely, easy/unmost likely, hard/likely, and finally hard/unlikely. Otherwise, you might find yourself tearing down your PC and also rerelocating the video card before you notification that someone unplugged the monitor.
We"ll say it again: prior to you start upgrading or repairing a device, ago up the important information on its difficult drive. Every time you pop the cover of a COMPUTER, there"s a small yet ever-current threat that something that used to work won"t work as soon as you put whatever together again. One of the wires in a cable may be hanging by a thread, or the tough drive may be teetering on the edge of faientice. Just opening the situation might cause a marginal component to fail irreversibly. So, before you also think of doing COMPUTER surgical treatment, make certain that the difficult drive is backed up.
It might seem obvious, however you have to disattach all external cables prior to you have the right to move the COMPUTER itself to the operating room. Many type of PCs are under desks or somewright here that otherwise renders it tough to view the rear panel. If important, acquire down on the floor and crawl behind the COMPUTER via a flashlight to make certain it isn"t still tethered to somepoint. We"ve dragged modems, keyboards, and also mice off desks because we weren"t paying attention, and also we once came within inches of pulling a $2,000 monitor onto the floor. Check the cables or pay the price.
CRT display screens are not just fragile, yet deserve to cause major injuries if the tube implodes. Flat-panel LCD display screens aren"t dangerous in that respect, however it"s easy to carry out the majority of expensive damage incredibly quickly if you do not take treatment. A screen on the floor is an accident waiting to happen. If you"re not moving the display to the job-related area, save it on the desk out of harm"s way. If you must put it on the floor, at least rotate the display screen toward the wall.
You have the right to eliminate a lot of of the danger of damaging components by static electrical power ssuggest by making it a halittle to touch the situation chassis or power supply to ground yourself prior to poignant the processor, memory modules, or other static-sensitive components. It"s additionally a good concept to avoid rubber-soled shoes and also artificial apparel and to work in an uncarpeted location.
If the air is specifically dry, use one of those spray/mister bottles that you can buy at any type of hardware save or supermarket. Fill it through water and include a few drops of dishwashing liquid or fabric softener. Before you begin work, mist the work location liberally, both air and also surfaces. The goal isn"t to gain anypoint wet. Just the added humidity is sufficient to all but get rid of static electrical power.
It sounds stupid, yet it"s not always instantly evident exactly how to get the cover off the chassis. We"ve worked on numerous various PCs from scores of manufacturers over the years, and we"re still occasionally stumped. Manufacturers use an endmuch less array of fiendish methods to secure the cover to the chassis. Some were intfinished to permit tool-totally free accessibility, others to proccasion novice users from opening the case, and also still others were reportedly designed simply to prove that tright here was yet another method to carry out it.
We"ve watched novice upgraders throw up their hands in despair, figuring that if they couldn"t also gain the instance open up they weren"t destined to end up being PC technicians. Nopoint could be additionally from the reality. It just occasionally takes a while to figure it out.
The most evil instance we ever before encountered was a mini-tower case that had no screws visible except those that secured the power supply. The cover appeared seammuch less and also monolithic. The only clue was a two-inch long piece of silver "warranty void if removed" tape that wrapped from the optimal of the cover to one side, making it clear that the separation point was tright here. We tried every little thing we can think of to obtain that cover off. We pulled gently on the front of the case, reasoning that probably it would pop off and also disclose screws underneath. We pressed in gently on the side panels, thinking that possibly they were secured by a spring latch or friction fit. Nopoint operated.
Finally, we turned the thing upside dvery own and examined the bottom. The bottom of computer situations is almost constantly unfinished metal, but this one was finished beige material that looked simply favor the other components of the cover. That appeared odd, so we examined the 4 rubber feet carefully. They had actually what appeared to be facility inserts, so we pried gently on among these with our tiny screwdriver. Sure enough, it popped off and revealed a concealed screw within the rubber foot. Once we rerelocated those 4 screws, the cover slid off quickly, bottom first.
The ethical is that what one perboy have the right to assemble, one more perboy can disassemble. It sometimes just takes determicountry, so keep trying. Your initially resort have to be the manual or, lacking that, the internet website of the mechanism or situation manufacturer. Fortunately, most situations don"t use such convoluted methods, so opening the case is generally straightforward.
Rather than making use of pins and holes, the connectors provided on some cables for instance, modular telephone cables and 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet cables usage other techniques to establish the link. The connector that terminates a cable might mate through a connector on the end of an additional cable, or it might mate through a connector that is permanently afsolved to a machine, such as a hard disk or a circuit board. Such a permanently afresolved connector is called a socket, and also may be male or female.
When you pop the cover of a PC, the first point you"ll notification is cables all over the area. These cables lug power and also signals in between miscellaneous subsystems and components of the COMPUTER. Making sure they"re routed and linked properly is no little part of working on Computers.
The cables provided in PCs terminate in a range of connectors. By convention, eexceptionally connector is considered either male or female. Many male connectors, also referred to as plugs or headers, have actually protruding pins, each of which maps to an individual wire in the cable. The corresponding female connector, likewise called a jack, has actually holes that enhance the pins on the mating male connector. Matching male and female connectors are joined to create the link.
Some cables use unsheathed wires joined to a connector. Three cables of this sort are widespread in Computers those offered to supply power to the motherboard and drives; those that connect front-panel LEDs, switches, and also (sometimes) USB, FireWire, and also audio ports to the motherboard; and also those that attach audio-out on an optical drive to a sound card or motherboard audio connector. Figure 2-5 shows the front-panel power LED cable currently associated to the motherboard, and also the female jack of the front-panel reset switch cable being seated against the male motherboard header-pin connector for that cable.
Figure 2-5: Typical unsheathed cables
Some PC cables contain many type of individual wires packaged as a ribbon cable, so dubbed because individually insulated conductors are arranged side-by-side in a flat array that resembles a ribbon. Ribbon cables administer a way to organize the wires forced to connect tools like drives and also controllers, whose interfaces require many conductors. Ribbon cables are supplied mainly for low-voltage signals, although they are additionally provided to conduct low voltage/low current power in some applications. Ribbon cables are typically supplied just inside the situation, bereason their electric qualities cause them to geneprice significant RF emissions, which have the right to interfere via adjacent electronic components.
Square Peg, Round Hole
System designers attempt to avoid 2 potential threats via regard to PC cables. Most necessary is to prevent connecting a cable to the wrong device. For instance, connecting 12-volt power to a maker that expects just 5 volts can have a catastrophic outcome. This goal is accomplished by utilizing distinctive connectors that physically prevent the cable from connecting to a machine not designed to get it. The second potential error is connecting a cable upside-dvery own or backward. Many COMPUTER cables proccasion this by making use of unsymmetrical connectors that physically fit just if oriented appropriately, a procedure referred to as keying.
Two keying approaches are typically used for COMPUTER cables, either individually or in conjunction. The initially supplies mating connectors whose bodies attach only one way, and is provided for all power cables and some ribbon cables. The second, supplied by some ribbon cables, blocks one or more holes on the female connector and also leaves out the matching pin on the male connector. Such a ribbon cable can be installed only when oriented so that missing pins correspond to blocked holes.
Ideal COMPUTER cables usage unambiguous keyed connectors. You can"t attach these cables to the wrong thing because the connector only fits the right thing; you can not affix them backwards, because the connector only fits the ideal means. Fortunately, most of the dangerous cables in PCs the ones that can damage a component or the COMPUTER itself if they were misconnected are of this sort. Power cables for disk drives and also ATX motherboards, for instance, fit only the correct gadgets and cannot be connected backwards.
Some PC cables, on the various other hand, require cautious attention. Their connectors may physically fit a component that they"re not intended to affix to, and/or they may not be keyed, which indicates you have the right to conveniently affix them backwards if you"re not paying attention. Connecting one of these cables wrong usually won"t damages anything, however the mechanism might not work-related effectively, either. The cables that link front-panel switches and also indicator LEDs to the motherboard are of this array.
Figure 2-6 mirrors a 40-wire ATA ribbon cable associated to the additional ATA interface on an ASUS K8N-E Deluxe motherboard. The 40 individual wires are visible as raised ridges in the ribbon cable assembly. ASUS has actually provided a pull tab on the motherboard end of the cable to make it less complicated to rerelocate, and has labeled the pull tab to recommfinish utilizing it via optical drives. (Hard drives use the 80-wire variation of the cable, presented later in Figure 2-7.)
Figure 2-6: A 40-wire ATA cable connected to the second motherboard ATA interface
All ribbon cables appear equivalent. They"re regularly light gray, although some more recent motherboards targeted at gamers and also various other enthusiasts include cables that are black, a bright primary color, or rainbow-colored. All of them usage a contrasting colored stripe to suggest pin 1 red on typical gray cables; white on the cable shown here; brvery own on rainbow cables. But tright here are the following differences among ribbon cables:
Two for One
With one exemption, the variety of wires in a cable matches the number of pins on the connector, or extremely practically so. The exception is Ultra-ATA tough drive cables, which usage 40-pin connectors via 80-wire cables. The "extra" 40 wires are ground wires that are placed in between the signal wires to minimize interference. Although the physical connectors are identical, if you affix an Ultra- ATA difficult drive with a 40-wire ATA cable drive, performance will be substantially sreduced than if you use the correct 80-wire cable.
Typical ribbon cable connectors array from the 10-pin connectors on the cables that are regularly supplied to extend serial, USB, FireWire, and also audio ports from the motherboard header-pin connector to the front or back panel, via 34-pin floppy drive connectors, 40-pin ATA (IDE) drive connectors, to 50-, 68-, and also 80-pin SCSI connectors.
Some ribbon cables have actually only 2 connectors, one at either end. ATA cables, provided to connect difficult drives and also optical drives, have actually three connectors, a motherboard connector at one end, a connector for the understand drive at the other finish, and also a connector for the servant drive in the middle (however located nearer the grasp drive connector). SCSI cables, provided in servers and high-end workstations, may have five or even more drive connectors.
Some ATA drive cables, referred to as cable-select or CS cables, reduced one conductor between the 2 gadget connectors. That is, while all 40 signal wires attach to the drive connector in the middle of the cable, only 39 of those signal wires are routed to the drive connector on the end of the cable. This missing conductor allows the place of the tool on the cable to determine whether that gadget features as a understand or slave tool, without requiring jumpers to be collection.
FLAT VERSUS ROUND
So-referred to as "round" ribbon cables have recently come to be famous, particularly with devices who cater to gamers and also other enthusiasts. A round ribbon cable is simply a traditional cable that has been sliced longitudinally into smaller sized groups of wires. For example, a conventional level 40-wire IDE ribbon cable can be sliced right into ten 4-wire segments, which are then bound through cable ties or otherwise secured into an extra or less round package. The advantage to round ribbon cables is that they mitigate clutter inside the situation and also boost air circulation. The disadvantage is that doing this reduces signal integrity on the individual wires because signal-bearing wires are put into closer proximity than intended. We recommend you avoid round ribbon cables, and also relocation any you discover in any of your systems via flat ribbon cables. Note, but, that some round cables, such as Serial ATA cables, are designed to be round, and need not be replaced.
All ribbon cables used in present and also current units use a header-pin connector similar to the ones displayed in Figures 2-6 and also 2-7. (Very old devices those from the days of 5.25" floppy drives supplied another form of connector referred to as a card-edge connector, yet that connector has not been provided in new units for more than a decade.) Header-pin connectors are used on cables for tough drives, optical drives, tape drives, and comparable components, and also for connecting embedded motherboard ports to outside front or rear panel jacks.
The female header-pin connector on the cable has 2 parallel rows of holes that mate to a matching variety of pins on the male connector on the motherboard or peripheral. On all however the least-expensive drives and various other peripherals, these pins are enclosed in a plastic socket designed to accept the female connector. On inexpensive motherboards and adapter cards, the male connector might be simply a naked collection of pins. Even high-quality motherboards and adapter cards often use naked pins for secondary connectors (prefer USB ports or attribute connectors).
Figure 2-7 mirrors an Ultra-ATA tough drive cable compare the 80-wire cable shown here via the 40-wire cable presented in the coming before picture and two ATA interdeals with on the motherboard. This cable uses 2 keying methods. The elevated tab visible at the peak of the cable connector mates to the slot visible on the lower edge of the connector shroud of the blue main ATA interchallenge on the motherboard. The blocked hole in the lower row of holes on the cable connector matches the missing pin visible in the peak row of pins on the motherboard connector. Although there are 80 conductors, tbelow are still only 40 pins. The 80-conductor cables have actually a grounded wire running between each pair of signal wires, which reduces electric crosstalk, thus permitting better information prices with better relicapability.
Figure 2-7: An 80-wire Ultra-ATA cable and also 2 motherboard interdeals with, showing keying
Also note the keying arrangements for the babsence secondary ATA motherboard connector. Like the primary motherboard connector, the additional connector is keyed through a absent pin. But the secondary connector lacks the cut-out slot present in the main motherboard connector, which suggests that this cable cannot be put right into the second connector. That"s by design. Although the 80-wire cable would function appropriately via the second connector, ASUS has actually liked to vital this Ultra-ATA cable to ensure that it can be linked just to the primary motherboard ATA interchallenge connector, which is generally provided to connect a tough drive. The second motherboard ATA connector, which is commonly provided to connect an optical drive, calls for a cable that does not have actually the keying tab, such as the one presented in Figure 2-6.
Some header-pin connectors, male and female, are not keyed. Others usage connector body keying, pin/hole keying, or both. This diversity means that it is fairly feasible to find that you cannot usage a particular header-pin cable for its intfinished purpose. For instance, we as soon as attempted to use the ATA cable supplied with a drive to affix that drive to the secondary ATA header pin connector on the motherboard. The motherboard finish of that cable was keyed by a blocked hole, yet the header-pin connector on the motherboard had all pins present, which prevented the cable from seating. Fortunately, the cable that came through the motherboard fit both the motherboard and the drive connectors effectively, allowing us to finish the installation.
If you run into such a keying problem, there are four feasible solutions:
The IDE and also various other header-pin cables that a lot of computer system stores sell usage connectors that usage neither connector body nor pin/hole keying. You deserve to usage among these cables of the correct size to connect any tool, but the lack of all keying implies that you should be particularly mindful not to attach it backwards.
If you do not have actually an unkeyed cable accessible, you might be able to remove the essential from the existing cable. Many keyed cables use a small little of plastic to block one of the holes. You might be able to use a needle to pry the block out far enough that you have the right to extract it through your needlenose pliers. Alternatively, try pushing a pin into the block at an angle, then bfinishing the peak of the pin over and pulling both bent pin and block out with your pliers. If the vital is a solid, integral component of the cable (which is hardly ever the case), you might be able to use a heated needle or pin to melt the crucial out of the hole far sufficient for the pin to seat.
Heat a needle with a pair of pliers over a flame and also carefully insert to a depth of 3/8" to bore open the offending plug.
Sometimes you have no choice. If the stores are closed, the just cable you have provides pin/hole keying with a solid block that you can not gain out, and you have to connect that cable to a header-pin connector that has actually all pins present, you have to go via what you have. You have the right to usage diagonal cutters to nip off the pin that stays clear of you from connecting the cable. Obviously, this is drastic. If you nip the wrong pin, you"ll destroy the motherboard or development card, or at leastern render that interface unusable. Before you cut, see if you deserve to swap cables within the COMPUTER to come up via an unkeyed cable for the problem connector. If not, you can periodically bfinish the offfinishing pin slightly sufficient to allow the female connector to partially seat. This may be great sufficient to usage as a short-term link until you have the right to replace the cable. If all else falls short and also you must cut the pin, prior to doing so, align the keyed female connector through the pin array and also verify simply which pin requirements to be reduced. Also, examine the hands-on for a thorough list of signal/pin assignments on that interconfront. The pin you are around to rerelocate should be labeled No Connection or N/C in that list. Use the old carpenter"s maxim below meacertain twice and cut as soon as.
Connector and keying worries aside, the many common mishap through header-pin connectors occurs once you install the cable offset by a column or a row. The shrouded male connectors used on the majority of drives make this difficult to perform, but the male connectors offered on some cheap motherboards are an unshrouded double row of pins, making it exceptionally straightforward to install the connector with the pins and also holes misaligned. Working in a dark COMPUTER, it"s exceptionally basic to slide a connector onto a collection of header pins and finish up with an unconnected pair of pins at one end and also an unlinked pair of holes at the other. It"s just as simple to misalign the connector the various other method, and also finish up with an entire row of pins and also holes unlinked. One of our reviewers did this and also fried a client"s difficult drive. If you require analysis glasses, this isn"t the moment to uncover out the hard way.
Locating Pin 1
If you upgrade your system and it falls short to boot or the brand-new device does not work-related, chances are that you linked a ribbon cable backwards. This can not take place if all connectors and also cables are keyed, yet many type of units have actually at least some unkeyed connectors. The excellent news is that connecting ribbon cables backwards practically never before dameras anypoint. We"re tempted to say "never" without qualification, but there"s a first time for every little thing. If your device does not boot after an upgrade, go ago and verify the connections for each cable. Better yet, verify them prior to you restart the mechanism.
To prevent connecting a ribbon cable backwards, situate pin 1 on each tool and then make certain that pin 1 on one device connects to pin 1 on the various other. This step is periodically much easier said than done. Nearly on all ribbon cables usage a colored stripe to indicate pin 1, so there"s little opportunity of confusion there. However, not all devices label pin 1. Those that do generally use a silk-screened numeral 1 on the circuit board itself. If pin 1 is not labeled numerically, you can sometimes determine which is pin 1 in among the following ways:Instead of a numeral, some manufacturers print a tiny arrow or triangle to show pin 1.The layout of some circuit boards allows no area for a label close to pin 1. On these boards, the manufacturer might instead number the last pin. For instance, fairly than pin 1 being labeled on an ATA connector, pin 40 may be labeled on the various other side of the connector.If tright here is no indication of pin 1 on the front of the board, turn it over (this is hard for a placed motherboard) and study the reverse side. Some manufacturers usage round solder connections for all pins other than 1, and also a square solder connection for pin 1.If all else fails, you can make an educated guess. Many kind of disk drives area pin 1 closest to the power supply connector. On a motherboard, pin 1 is often the one closest to the memory or processor. We easily admit that we usage this approach on occasion to prevent having to rerelocate a disk drive or motherboard to locate pin 1 via certainty. We"ve never damaged a component utilizing this quick-and-dirty strategy, but we use it just for ATA drives, rear-panel port connectors, and various other cables that execute not lug power. Don"t try this via SCSI particularly differential SCSI.
Once you locate an unnoted or unplainly marked pin 1, usage nail polish or some other permanent means to note it so that you will not have to repeat the procedure the following time. Wite-Out is really handy for this. Make a solitary stripe throughout both cable connector and plug and you"ll have a visual confirmation that they align properly.
For many type of years, a lot of Computers supplied just the kinds of cables we"ve already explained. In 2003, motherboards and drives began shipping that supplied a brand-new conventional called Serial ATA (regularly abbreviated S-ATA or SATA). For clarity, old-style ATA drives are currently sometimes referred to as Parallel ATA (P-ATA or PATA), although the formal name of the older conventional has actually not readjusted.
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The noticeable distinction between ATA tools and also SATA gadgets is that they usage various cables and connectors for power and information. Rather than the familiar wide 40-pin data connector and big 4-pin Molex power connector offered by ATA gadgets (presented in Figure 2-8), SATA provides a 7-pin thin, flat information connector and a comparable 15-pin power connector (displayed inFigure 2-9).