Troubleshooting - Overview

Intro - Read this first !

Most computer problems are related to software and configuration errors and not to the hardware itself. Many times it's enough to re-install some software (or to remove some malfunctioning or even malicious programs) to make things running again, while in other cases a completely new, clean re-installation of the whole system will be the best and most secure solution.
These info topics are intended to be a straightforward and step-by-step guide for novice users who want to fix such problems themselves, without the need of much technical knowledge. So it will not give you the technical information behind your actions, neither will it help you in case your hardware is defective. But, as the biggest part of all computer problems are software-related, you've a very good chance to fix the problem. At least give it a try before taking your system to the shop, spending money on it.
Remark: info given here applies to ibm-compatible pc-systems only, running a version of the Microsoft Windows (tm) operating system.
Warning: although it's nearly impossible to damage your system by trying to re-install your software, keep in mind that some configurations and/or settings can be tricky. I'm not responsible for any damage to your machine, neither for any troubles which may occur by following the information given. O well, that's the usual stuff of course. You'd better give it a try...

Determinating the problem

What went wrong? First thing to do is trying to describe and isolate the problem. Roughly said, there are some well-defined symptoms:

Case 1

your computer seems to start up normally and maybe it runs well most of the time, but when using some programs (one or more) it will crash, or as they say, it will "hang". The mouse won't work anymore, the system seems to do nothing anymore and so on. Likely the problem is caused by the program you were using at the moment of the crash, while the system itself, the operating system is still doing well. So there's a good chance that by reinstalling some programs everything will run fine again.

Case 2

the system hangs continuously or randomly, no matter what programs you're using or not. Even when you've only started up Windows, it seems that things go wrong. This is more likely to be a system problem which goes deeper than just a single program malfunctioning. It could be that important system files or settings were lost or corrupted, a virus could have messed things up, and more stuff like that...

Case 3

luckily the least probable cause is something got stuck in the hardware. Of course, critical hardware faillures will mostly stop the whole machine from functioning, but some hardware malfunctions will give the same random crashes as described above. This basic guide is not intended to help you in determining and solving real hardware problems, defects and incompatibilies, but fortunately, most so called hardware problems are also due to installation and configuration, let's say "software" problems, which can also be resolved by checking a few things and eventually reinstalling them.

Depending on the behaviour of the system, checkout the troubleshooting topics and give it a try. In most cases the re-installation
of the bad-running programs, combined with a malware check and system cleanup, will make the system up and running again.

In case this won't help, look at the step-by-step instructions to completely restore your system. Although this is a bit more
complicated to do, it sounds much more complicated than it really is. By trying to restore the system, you don't risk to damage the hardware itself, so you can just give it a try. Good luck!




Related topics : Application software fixes - Malware forced removal - System cleanup - System restore


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