Note: this is mainly designed for helping XP, Windows 2000 and Windows 98 users
The first thing to do is to understand the
nature of the problem apart from what
is being said about the problem. Often users get flustered and do not convey
the nature of the problem in away that is useful for diagnosing the problem.
So verify the problem first hand before proceeding into a fix that may not even
Next after you have verified the problem
and know the extent of it. Inquire about
what may have happened recently to cause the problem. This is not to blame anyone
but to find a clue about what may be causing it so it can be undone. For example
you might have your computer working perfectly. But then find that someone installed XYZ File Sharing Utility,
and subsequently the computer runs enormously slowly. So knowing that
someone recently installed it you also know you can uninstall it, to see what happens.
This part is the hardest to define. It requires
some time experiencing problems and
having a mental catalog which tells you, " ahh, I recall this". So after awhile you will
get to know that when this happens, its usually related to this... Part of this requires
knowing how the different hardware components and software components function
and where a particular setting in the software gets set. So for example after awhile you
will get to understand that if you think its an issue with a device driver that you would
then look in the Device Manger to analyze the situation. This also means that you
would know that the Device Manager is available in the Control Panels via the
System icon. But what tells you that it’s a Device Driver in the first place?
Hardware or Software ?
Part of the process is to first determine whether its a hardware or software issue.
Nowadays with hardware being so cheap, hardware issues are mostly fixed by getting
replacement hardware. Tweaking the software is free but can take enormous amounts of
time. So at some point you will have to make a decision about whether its worth the time spent
troubleshooting. Just remember that a new and faster computer can be had for around $500-$600 !
But remember that if you
are going to tweak settings, write the present settings down (or take a screen
This way you don't change things and go backwards ! It will leave you a way to at
least reset it back to the way it was and say I can't help now ! Then go home and do
But as you will see there are areas its not always cut and dry. Regarding hardware
software, there are many areas where the hardware and software intersect.
For instance all hardware attached to the computer usually require a software
driver to be installed for the Computer to know how to "talk" to the hardware.
Often when installing new hardware, Windows will try to guess at what it is that
you are installing. But many times it may guess wrong. So it always wise to have
a list usually right on the computer case about what is inside the case and what
has been installed subsequently, along with this list you will want to keep all
special driver disks and other documentation around in case you need to
reinstall the drivers.