Hardware problems typically show up in the form of a computer that won't boot or a piece of equipment that doesn't work (a modem or a sound card, for example). Software problems show themselves when a particular program locks up your system, a program stops working, or your computer slows to a crawl.
Many computer troubles can be solved using the Windows 2000 troubleshooting wizards known as Troubleshooters. To locate the appropriate troubleshooter for your problem, choose Start→Help, then click the Contents tab. Double-click Troubleshooting and Maintenance, then Windows 2000 Troubleshooters.
Of course, a troubleshooter is useless if your computer doesn't start, as described next.
Startup is generally a smooth and predictable process. When there's a problem with startup, it's always because something has changed. You may have added a new sound or video card, installed new memory, changed a hardware setting, or even acquired a virus. (A new video card is by far the most likely culprit when the operating system doesn't start.)
Until you determine the cause, you'll have a hard time fixing the effect. Start by returning to the instructions that came with the new hardware to see if there's an additional driver that must be installed, a jumper that must be set, or a mistake in installation.
If, at boot up, the computer stops and displays an error message that says, "Non-System disk or disk error; Replace and strike ...