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Windows Me Annoyances by David A. Karp

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Chapter 6. Troubleshooting

Most of us would consider the barrage of incomprehensible error messages and insatiable appetite for crashing among Windows’ biggest annoyances. The most important step—and usually the most difficult—in troubleshooting a computer system is to isolate the problem. With a little know-how and a lot of patience, you can fix just about any problem you’ll encounter. Consider the following two axioms to be your guiding principles when troubleshooting any computer system:

  1. 99% of all computer problems are solved by pressing the Reset button.

  2. The true definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again, expecting different results.

Naturally, a corollary to these principles is that resetting your computer repeatedly will get you nowhere. Herein lies the rub: what do you do during that remaining 1% of the time when restarting your computer doesn’t help?

Like it or not, most problems are simply caused by poorly written software. As soon as you remove yourself (the user) as a potential cause of the problem, it makes it much easier to track down the real source of the problem and fix it.

Computer problems can come in many forms: error messages, crashes, lock-ups, unexpected results, and corrupted data. A crash is usually attributed by a cryptic error message of some sort (General Protection Fault, Blue Screen of Death, etc.),[80] followed by having the application—or Windows—shut down abruptly. A lock-up is when an application—or Windows—stops responding ...

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