Guide: Diagnosing Hardware / Software
Okay, I've created this guide because I know alot of people often have problems with their computers and they'd like to begin to learn how to search for basic problems.
Please be aware that my guide may not cover every single issue, but I have made the attempt to help you diagnose most problems.
An introduction to system diagnosis..
To diagnose a system error, you don't need to be a computer expert. The first step of diagnosing a problem is to find the source of it.. whether its being caused by software, or hardware. Depending on what you find from that, you can continue to search for a problem.
While diagnosing a problem, always follow one rule:
The rule of diagnosing is..
If you change any settings during diagnosing / repair, change them back. Only one change should be made at a time, and everything should be documented!
If you follow that rule, you will probally find things to be much more organized and it'll save you time of trying to undo things you might've changed (trust m e).
And so, we'll begin with the actual diagnosis process.
Diagnosing if it is a hardware or software issue
Well, the easiest way to go about this is to often examine the real source of the problem. For instance, say your computer does not start at all.. that would be more so related to a hardware issue than a software issue.
A very useful diagnostic tool that I tend to use, is Device Manager for determining whether it is a hardware or a software issue. For instance, if your sound card is not working, the first place you should check is Device Manager.
Any devices with a specified problem should appear with a red X or a yellow exclamation point next to the device name. These problems are ussually related to software, and can be fixed in most cases by changing / upgrading the driver, or changing resource settings (IRQ / DMA Addresses, ect.).
Although, if the device doesn't even appear in device manager, than you can probally assume it is a hardware issue (ussually not plugged in right or disabled somewhere, like BIOS).
For those of you who don't know how to get to Device Manager, there are several ways, but one that I commonly use is:
1) Right Click My Computer, and select Properties.
2) Click on the Hardware Tab.
3) Click on Device Manager.
Most importantly, google your problem..
If you still can't figure out where your problem is originating from, simply type in a search string into Google. In all of my experiences, at least one other person has had the same problem.. and getting a fix is easy.