Thursday, 9 July 2015

Do You Know if It’s Hardware or Software That’s Behind a Problem?

When your computer decides to act up, how do you decide if it's a hardware problem or a software problem that's behind it? The tips that follow should help you determine where the cause of your problems lies.

When your computer has slowed down
Computer magazines and knowledgeable people often talk about older computers being slower. If you aren't that familiar with computers, you may misinterpret what they actually mean.

A computer can be slow in two ways. One way is when it takes too much time to complete simple, everyday tasks such as starting up or opening programs. The second way is when it grows obsolete because modern programs make demands that it can't meet. An obsolete computer doesn't exhibit slowness when performing everyday tasks.
Any computer from the last 10 years should be able to start up in one minute and quickly load commonly used programs as long as it runs an OS that it was designed for. If you find that your computer takes much more time than it did before to merely start up or to fire up programs, the problem isn't usually the hardware. You may have malware or some sort of operating system housekeeping problem. Cleaning up the browser cache, defragmenting and running your antivirus program should take care of the problem. You don't need to buy a new computer just because it seems to have slowed down.
If your computer's components are too slow for modern programs, the problem usually appears as a complete inability to work rather than a general slowness. For instance, if you run a Celeron from 2007, you'll find that while browsers do open quickly, they aren't able to play high-definition YouTube videos at all. It is when you see such complete inability to function that you should consider your computer old enough to replace. There's an easy way to tell if your computer's slowness comes from obsolete hardware -- simply go to the Task Manager and check out your CPU graph. If it is at or near 100% most of the time, your computer can no longer keep up.

You have a blue screen problem
In the past, blue screen crashes -- when your computer spontaneously crashed after a brief blue-colored error display -- used to be a Windows problem. They were so common and such a drag on Microsoft's reputation that hundreds of jokes about it circulated the Internet. These days, though, Windows is a stable OS that rarely crashes on its own. If your computer has a frequent blue screen problem, the problem is usually  hardware-related or related to poorly programmed drivers that come with low-quality hardware. You should check either recently added hardware or recently installed drivers. If neither seems to be a problem, you can safely assume that you have failing hardware -- the motherboard, a graphics card or anything else.

If your computer refuses to start
A computer that's completely dead always has a hardware problem - it could be as simple as loose connections within the computer or as complicated as defective hardware. If your computer starts but doesn't go as far as fully booting up, it could either be the hardware or the software. You could try repairing your Windows installation or reinstalling Windows to see if it fixes the problems you experience.

Fixing computer problems can be a trial-and-error process
It can take a great deal of patience to narrow a computer problem down. The easiest way to tell if it's the hardware or the software that's at fault in a particular problem is to reinstall Windows. If the problem persists, you can safely assume that you have a hardware problem.
Hardware problems don't always have to be major ones. If you have a frayed-out or rat-bitten cable going from your graphics cards to your monitor, for instance, it can make your computer spontaneously crash. Narrowing down a computer hardware problem can be painstaking work.


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