Chapter 6. Troubleshooting

What’s wrong with your PC? I know, stupid question: it’s like asking, “how long is a piece of string?” But it’s even a harder one to answer than it used to be. While Windows 7 is a big improvement over its predecessor, the list of things that can go wrong grows even longer.

An application won’t install? Perhaps the installer is buggy. Or maybe your registry permissions are munged. Or it could be a native 32-bit program that isn’t compatible with your 64-bit OS. And then there’s User Access Control, which always seems to muck things up.

Does it sometimes seem like your hardware or software “gets tired”? For instance, a device that works normally most of the time may malfunction only when it’s used more aggressively, which could point to overheating or a bug in its power saving features. Or Windows works fine until you open multiple applications or use it for more than 20 minutes, which could suggest a faulty power supply or defective RAM.

A message appears to break the bad news: you have a virus. But wait, is that just a browser pop-up? It could be a false-positive from your legit antivirus software…or maybe it’s spyware in the guise of an anti-spyware tool.

Your Internet not working? Maybe you flubbed your WiFi passphrase. Or your router has crashed…again. Or the storm knocked out your DSL. Is that smoke coming from your modem?

Of course, this entire book is devoted to problem solving, but this chapter is where you’ll want to look when Windows won’t start (or ...

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