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5 Tips for Troubleshooting Software

Having trouble with one of the programs you rely on daily? Don’t worry…you’ll be back up and running in no time. But before you pick up the phone and call customer service (or IT, or your friend Bill who’s “good with computers”), try these basic steps to get back on track first. 

These Basic Troubleshooting Tips are excerpts from an article published by “Techsoup.org“, a technology support website for non-profits and libraries. The original article was published in 2007, has been since updated, and provides several more “Tips” (as well as more information for each tip given). It’s worth a read (if you like tech stuff or are in a bit of trouble with your software), and can be found Here.

Here we go:

1. Free up RAM by closing other open programs.

Every piece of software uses Random Access Memory (RAM). The more software that’s running on your computer, the more RAM it uses. This can be especially problematic if you’re using older machines that don’t have a lot of RAM. So if a software program refuses to load or is running slowly, the first thing to do is to close all other open applications.

2. Restart the software.

Software problems can stem from a conflict with other programs or simply from difficulties the software encountered when starting up. Shutting the program down and restarting it can sometimes resolve these issues.

3. Shut down and restart your computer.

If restarting the problematic program doesn’t resolve the issue, try rebooting your computer. Once the computer has fully restarted, re-launch the application in question and see if the problem has been resolved.

4. Use the Internet to find help.

No matter what software problems you encounter, chances are it’s happened to someone else. So there’s a good chance you can find help on the Internet.

5. Undo any recent hardware or software changes.

Changes to software and hardware can sometimes cause software problems, such as:

  • Conflicts with other software: Newly installed software may conflict with other software. For example, Symantec Norton Antivirus can conflict with competing antivirus products. So, if you recently installed another antivirus program and Norton Antivirus no longer works correctly, uninstalling the other antivirus product could solve your problem.
  • Changes to computer settings: Undo any recent changes to your computer’s settings, and try launching the software again. For example, the Windows Control Panel includes an option to “Set Program Access and Defaults,” which allows you to disable access to certain applications. If you accidentally disable access to a program here, the program may not run.
  • Conflicts with new or improperly configured hardware, such as scanners and printers. If you’ve recently connected new hardware to one of your computers, try disconnecting the hardware and see if that corrects the software issue.

6. Look for software patches.

Software vendors may also fix bugs by issuing patches — small software updates that address known problems. Even if you’re using the most current version of the software, there may be a more recent patch available for that version.

7. Scan for viruses and malware.

Viruses, spyware, and other forms of malicious software (or “malware”) can cause software to freeze, crash, or quit working entirely.

If tips 1 through 8 haven’t helped solve your software problem, you may also want to scan the computer using both antivirus and anti-malware tools to find and remove viruses and malware. Use the most thorough scan mode available, and remember to restart your machine if the antivirus or anti-malware programs found any threats.

Alright….if the problem is not fixed by now, go ahead and pick up the phone. If you don’t have an IT department or anyone else to call, check out the FULL ARTICLE for more troubleshooting tips, then give us a call!

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