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Other PC Hardware Problems
Nov 10, 2011 - Jim Bernstein
Hardware can be just as problematic as software so it's a good idea to know what to check for when it comes to diagnosing hardware problems.
Corrupt device drivers
There may be an occasion where all of the sudden one of your devices may not function the way its supposed to or not at all. It may be a case of a corrupt device driver. There are a few things you can try in this case. You may first want to go into Device Manager to check for any errors listed. To do so, find your My Computer icon, right click it and select properties. For Windows 95/98/ME users you will have a Device Manager tab. For 2000, 2003 & XP users you will have a Hardware tab with a Device Manager button. For Vista, 7 and 2008 you will have a Device Manager link on the left column.
Click on the Device Manager button/tab and you will see the following.
Notice how you can expand the devices to get more detail like in the case of Network adapters on the example. If you see a yellow question mark or exclamation mark that means there is a problem.
You can then double click the device to get more details.
Notice there is a section that tells the status of the device.
You can also click on the Driver tab to get information on the driver or to remove it or reinstall it.
Most of the time you can just reinstall the driver or get an updated driver to fix your problem. You can reinstall your existing driver, have the computer check online for a better driver or go to the vendors website to download a newer one.
Excessive Hard Drive Activity
If your hard drive is constantly churning away and your hard drive light is flashing more than it should there are several possible causes for this.
One reason may be that you don't have enough RAM . When your computer doesn't have enough RAM then it goes to the hard drive for memory. Your hard drive is much slower than RAM which in turn makes your computer slower when it has to resort to using it for memory.
nother reason for this could be a fragmented hard drive. You should defragment your hard drive at regular intervals to keep this from happening. Click here for details on how to defrag your hard drive.
If you are really low on hard drive space as in only a couple hundred megabytes left then you will also experience a slow down and excessive hard drive activity.
There may also be some program or service running in the background causing excessive reads on your hard drive. Viruses and spyware can be the cause of this type of activity. Be sure to check your startup configuration (msconfig) to see what is starting with your computer.
Checking For Bad Hardware and Configuring
Hard Drive Diagnostic Tools
Using Windows Help and Support Center to Configure and Troubleshoot Hardware
Using Device Manager to Troubleshoot Hardware