An electronics magazine I get has a regular column written by a serviceman. Most of his work is repairing TVs but in recent years he has been required to fix an increasing number of computer problems. One of the aspects of repair work that becomes apparent on reading his column is the number of problems that are hidden by other problems. He will fix the reported problem only to find that something else isn’t working and fixing that will sometimes reveal a third problem. In the end the repair has required a lot more work and time than was originally envisaged.
So, how does this relate to computers?
The software installed on a PC these days is extremely complex. Some of you will remember the days when you could install an application or even an entire operating system from between 2 and 4 floppy disks. Nowadays there are many more software components and many of them rely on other components working correctly in order for them to work correctly.
When your computer starts playing up, it is usually not obvious where the problem lies. Sometimes it is not even obvious whether it is hardware or software that is at fault. In some situations, when one piece of software fails it can cause another software component to fail or to misconfigure itself so that when the original problem is fixed, a problem still remains due to the second software component.
The ways in which software can cause other software components to fail are numerous. The more common mechanisms are: overwriting a file with a completely different file which has the same name; overwriting a file with another version of the same file; installing different versions of the same file (eg, a DLL) in different places so that under some conditions one version of the DLL is used and under other conditions the other version of the DLL is used; corrupting the registry.
Often the symptoms are the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD). This screen usually gives a cryptic message as to the cause of the failure. When you reboot the computer it will offer to search online for a fix. I don’t know what your experience has been but anytime I have had a blue screen it never found a fix for the problem. I always had to rely on third party software to resolve the problems.
Unless you have an awful lot of time, experience and patience (none of which I have, I must confess) it is virtually impossible to fix all of these problems manually. Having a reliable and trustworthy computer scanner available makes the job much easier and more certain of a positive outcome. Many companies provide scanners free which is a great way to see how healthy your pc is. They also save you money because you don’t have to buy anything unless you have a problem with your computer.
Keep in mind, also, that when your computer is Blue Screening, you may not be able to get online to find a fix. It’s better to scan your computer while you can.
Keep in mind what that sometimes fixing one problem exposes another problem so you may have to go through the scan-and-fix process a few times. Once you have fixed the problem with your computer, it is a good idea to schedule a regular scan to ensure it stays fixed. This will reduce the chance of problems developing. And, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
One of the better computer scanners IMHO is the product known as ErrorFix. It can scan your entire computer in around 2 minutes and let you know what problems it has found and offer to fix them for you. Even if you aren’t experiencing problems at the moment, it can’t hurt to scan your computer and make sure there aren’t any hidden problems. After all, the scan is free and if nothing is found, at least you have peace of mind that your computer is operating well.