7 Tips To Troubleshoot Software

Software not working as it should is probably the most inevitable thing about computer usage. Any number of things could happen (or don’t happen) to make a hitherto reliable program stop responding, or start responding unexpectedly. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to identify the problem and get your software working properly again. Here are seven of them.

1. Close Unnecessary Programs

Everyone wants to multi-task, but your computer has to bear the brunt of having a number of programs open at the same time. Use the Task manager to see what programs are consuming the most resources. Quitting them might make the software you need run smoother.

2. Stay Up To Date

Computers and technology move at the speed of light, and what you installed today could be obsolete – and incompatible – in a matter of months. Some pieces of software will update automatically. Some won’t, and will require you to download and install their newer versions in order to run better.

3. Restarting

Occasionally, a malfunctioning piece of software just needs a little refresh in order to work out its bugs – more often than not, a DLL file that became orphaned when another program was removed, updated or changed in some way – and start running again. Simply saving your work (if possible), closing down and reopening the program might unlock the conflict it had with other programs, if that was the problem in the first place.

4. Reinstalling

The worst-case-scenario of #3, above, is uninstalling and reinstalling the program. This will allow you to kill many birds with one stone: download a newer version of the software, if one is available; and it will further allow the program to reconfigure itself to the right DLL files, if a missing DLL file is what initially caused the problem.

5. Seek Help Online

Even if the problem with your software is the most confusing and bizarre thing you’ve ever seen, there’s a good chance someone else had the same problem. If you’re lucky, they posted the details of their issue online, and a friendly expert (maybe one at Microsoft online IT training) helped them resolve it. Search for blogs or forum posts for user-created content, or check the vendor’s website for information on what might be causing the problem.

6. Two Views Are Better Than One

One trial-and-error method of diagnosing a problem is to try running a file from the troublesome piece of software on another machine. That will suggest whether the issue lies with the software, or whether it’s on the machine trying to run the program.

7. Undo Other Software Changes

If everything in your computer is like a well-balanced house of cards, an innocuous change in one corner could unbalance a card in another. The removal or installation of software, like an anti-virus program, could displace a file that your key piece of software needs to run. Use System Restore to revert to a previous version of your operating system and see if that makes your program run better.

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