Houston, We have a PC Problem – Step 7: Reinstall, Reconfigure or Replace

The only three things you ever have to do to repair any computer…

Now that you have a good idea of which part has gone bad, you may begin the decision-making process of whether or not to reinstall/reconfigure your software (and any accompanying device driver software) or to replace a failing hardware component.

But before you do you need to understand that computer problems especially hardware failures come in two flavors:

1) It never really worked...

The "It has never worked" problem most often crops up when installing new hardware or software in older computers. Or you try installing non-standard components (putting your very old parts or very cheap parts into a new machine). Or you attempt to put your brother's copy of Windows XP on a PC that originally came with Windows 95. Hmm... When you mix "cutting edge" technology with an older, slower operating system or device drivers, you often create a troublesome "it has never worked" problem as a result.

For example, some older BIOS/motherboards simply can't handle the huge 100+ gigabyte hard drives available today. Putting one of these babies in your ancient computer would be like trying to put a V-8 Hemi motor inside a Mini Cooper.

Interesting but not very practical (and yes I saw the "You Tube" video.)

Your best bet is to simply remove the offending component or software and reinstall it with something compatible. You may also have to uninstall or reconfigure any device driver software that works with this part. Double check your system requirements to make sure the part will work with your operating system and your machine. Or, bite the bullet and get a completely new system.

2) It stopped working...

The "it has stopped working" issue can occur through ordinary wear-and-tear, a change in an industry standard or software. For example, when my local telephone company upgraded their services, overnight my old modem couldn't "connect" to anything!

I had to buy a new modem just to get back online. I reinstalled the driver software which bought me another six months but in the end I had to get a "new" modem when my old one was still working.

Or "it has stopped working" can also be a result of a "glitch" or a "bug" from new software patches, updates or upgrades...

"A computer glitch is the failure of a system, usually containing a computing device, to complete its functions or to perform them properly".

"A software bug (or just "bug") is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from behaving as intended (e.g., producing an incorrect result). Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program's source code or its design..."

According to computer folklore the first "bug" was an actual dead moth trapped inside the Mark II (an early room-size mainframe computer) in 1945, which crashed the entire machine.