Over half of computer owners says they run into computer problems at least once a year. While technology’s brought us amazing innovations, the reality is, computers are still something that poses many issues because of their intricate parts.
If you’re having computer problems, then you’ll want to know if they’re caused by your hardware or software. Read on to find out how to determine the root of your problems.
What Is Hardware?
First of all, what is hardware exactly? Hardware is any aspect of your computer that exists in the physical world.
For example, your laptop or computer case has a variety of hardware inside. You have the central processing unit or CPU, which is essentially where all of the actual “computing happens.” And then you have other pieces of hardware like the graphics processing unit, which is used for generating 3D graphics.
Hardware can become physically broken, so you need to make sure you don’t push it beyond its limits. One common way that your computer hardware can fail is when you let it get too hot, causing it to overheat.
The following examples show some typical types of hardware failure.
Hard Drive Failure
If your hard drive starts to fail, your computer may lose the ability to open certain files and folders. If it’s acting erratically and taking forever to open your locally stored files, it could be evidence of a failing hard drive.
Sometimes, you’ll literally be able to hear the hard drive failing, which is never a good sign.
If one or more fans stop functioning, it’ll quickly lead to problems with your computer. It relies on the fans to keep the CPU cool, and without this cooling, the CPU will get so hot that it’ll probably cause the computer to shut off.
If you suspect one of your fans has failed, you can try looking inside the case to see if the fan is still spinning. Or you can also try to confirm the failure by using your motherboards BIOS.
Power Supply Failure
Power supply failure can be a scary hardware failure to experience because your computer might simply stop turning on at all.
If your computer is essentially bricked, it could indicate that you need to replace the power supply.
There are a few indicators that your CPU could be failing. In severe cases, your computer won’t turn on.
In others, you might have a CPU that’s overheating. This could cause your system to blue screen when it’s under load.
Motherboard failure is one of the most challenging problems out there to diagnose. You may be able to figure out what’s happening through error codes.
If you suspect your motherboard is failing, it might be a good idea to contact a computer repair professional.
What Is Software?
Next up is software. Software is any kind of app or program that your computer runs.
While hardware exists in the real physical world, software is a bit more abstract, existing only inside your computer’s hard drive. Examples of software include your internet browser, antivirus software, and games.
Software can malfunction for a whole variety of reasons. For example, if you try to run more software than your computer can handle at once, it might cause your computer to crash.
Here are some kinds of software failures you could encounter on your home computer.
A driver is a piece of software that tells your hardware how to communicate with your operating system. In some cases, the driver software can malfunction, causing your computer to behave in unexpected ways.
Driver failure often manifests itself as a blue screen. Take note of the blue screen error code and you should get enough information to determine which driver software is causing the crash, if any.
Virus or Malware
Viruses and malware are malicious pieces of software that have been made to serve some nefarious purpose. Sometimes, the intent of a virus is simply to ruin a victim’s computer. Other times, a hacker might use a virus to try and extort money out of a computer user.
While it’s impossible to make your system “immune” to viruses, you can certainly make them more resilient. Make sure you run a robust antivirus system, back up your files regularly, and practice good online safety.
If you’re using a particular piece of software and it keeps locking up or exiting out, it could be a sign that there’s a problem with the software. The trouble with this kind of issue is that there are so many different potential root sources of it.
Try making sure you’re using the latest version of the software. Software developers will often push out patches to bring their programs up to speed and to eliminate any crashes that you might be experiencing.
If you’re running the latest version of a program, but you’re still experiencing crashes, you might want to consider reinstalling the software.
Solve Your Computer Problems Today
After reading this article, you might be able to tell if your computer problems are arising from hardware or software issues.
Regardless of if you can or not, it’s always helpful to bring your computer in to a professional. Not only can they determine if it’s a hardware or software problem, but they can also fix it in a flash.
For instance, we at Computer Revival can either examine your computer in-store or on-site, whichever’s more convenient for you. From there, we can resolve your issues so you have as little interruption to your day as possible.
Need your computer fixed pronto? Then get in touch with us now.