A computer's software is the abstract layer of programs, procedures, symbols, and settings that manages the various physical hardware components of the computer. System software - device drivers, utilities, an operating system, and a graphical user interface – sets up basic computer functionality and a platform for running application software.
Normally, hardware and software pairs up productively to make a reliable computer system. Software provides the instructions from the user for telling a computer what to do and how to do it.
Hardware and software don't always play nicely together. Pieces of hardware can eventually run down, and software can become corrupt or defective. New hardware or software may also introduce conflicts, bugs, viruses, instabilities, a drain on system resources, or other serious problems. In either case, users may begin to encounter numerous system errors, as well as computer crashes and data loss.
- Why a computer’s software problems may not be pinpointed in the time usually allotted to an initial diagnostic fee -
There are a variety of interrelationships between the computer’s hardware and software systems. Erroneous software settings can cause hardware malfunctions, and defective hardware components can cause severe software problems. Therefore, the reasons for slowdowns, shutdowns and lingering damage to the computer may not always be attributed to a single factor alone, particularly if some problems are of a chronic, intermittent nature. Most troubleshooting involves informed guesswork, observation, and logical elimination of possible causes to work backwards to what the actual problem is.
Computer tune-ups are advisable for several reasons:
1. Some parts of your system will actually degrade in performance over time, and preventive maintenance will help to improve the speed of your system.
2. If a hardware malfunction and a virus infection have each been eliminated as the primary source of a computer's problem, the system should have a performance tune-up.
Software troubleshooting in fine-tuning a computer's performance usually includes assuring that: (1) system resources are allocated efficiently; (2) system and device settings are optimized and reconfigured; as necessary; (3) timely updates and patches are applied; (4) hard drive maintenance is up-to-date; (5) no unnecessary programs are running in the background; and (6) drivers or applications are reinstalled, if they are found to have been corrupted.
As much as we depend upon computers, there are security considerations to optimize your work and leisure time with computers. Take reasonable precautions and be proactive about how to stave off catastrophic outcomes. For instance, watch for tell-tale signs or other evidence of malicious attacks on digital security, data integrity and system performance.
Reinstalling the Operating System
If serious problems interfere with recovery of all information from a boot drive, or if operating system problems are widespread, formatting a drive and reinstalling the operating system may be necessary. This is the solution undertaken in the case of last resort, since this involves erasing your primary (or only) drive and starting completely over.
For best results, consider the following:
❏ Did you backup all information on your hard drive?
❏ Do you have your Windows CD or Recovery CD (if your computer does not have a System Recovery partition)?
❏ Do you have the necessary licensing and OEM numbers needed to register your software again?
❏ Were you provided with disks for any new hardware (e.g. printer, video card) you added since you bought your computer?
❏ Be prepared for the time needed for full installation of the operating system, required applications, and dozens of patches, updates, and drivers.
❏ Bring installation disks or be prepared to get an antivirus immediately after reinstall of the operating system.