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:
99% of all computer problems are solved by pressing the Reset button.
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.), followed by having the application—or Windows—shut down abruptly. A lock-up is when an application—or Windows—stops responding ...