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Computer Troubleshooting

Tracking down software problems: a step-by-step approach.

Stephn Davis

I vaguely remember having read somewhere that when someone asked Tesla how he was able to understand and invent complex electrical devices he replied: "By breaking the concepts underlying them down into simple parts, understanding those simple parts, and realising that complexity has an underlying simplicity".

An attitude like this prevents the mindset of being overwhelmed when confronted with problems that inevitably occur when using the complex technology of today. And of all the electronic devices that cause frustration, home computers would have to be right up there, along with setting up (and subsequently using) video recorders.

The added frustration that a home computer user has is that even the so-called professional's solution to a computer user's software problems is often destructive - ie, reformat the hard disk drive and start again or, at best, reinstall Windows from scratch. However, a little bit of knowledge and some careful analysis may be all that are required to save your PC's current setup from obliteration.

It often amuses me that some people who profess to be "au fait" with computers often describe themselves as software or hardware orientated and then shy away from gaining knowledge about that side of computers they feel doesn't interest them. This is a mistake, because if you are interested in solving computer related problems, a reasonable knowledge of both areas is necessary. After all, hardware faults can masquerade as software faults and vice-versa, so you have to be prepared to deal with both possibilities when troubleshooting.

The hardware and software in your PC is inexorably linked and this must be fully appreciated in order to solve problems as they arise.

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