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Software...Hardware Problems?

Occasional Visitor

Software...Hardware Problems?

how can someone differ if the problem is hardware or software problem ? i have an interview and this question is most propably asked. your answers will be very much appreciated.

Rami Wahdan.
Balaji Alapati
Frequent Advisor

Re: Software...Hardware Problems?

Hi Rami,

It is always best to start a troubleshoot process with respect to a software problem then you move to the hardware troubleshooting.


If it is an issue with a playing CDs or DVDs in your computer.

You start the process of troubleshooting by

1. What is the error message u receive when you try to play the CDs or DVDs.
2. Have you tried with other softwares (Windows media player, real player, winamp and others)?
3. Have you tried with other audio CDs?
4. Then you check whether it happens with all the CDs (including data CDs)?

These initial probing question will tell you whether it is a software or hardware problem.

We started off with software - by trying different applications, if we initially find it is an issue only with one application then we will reinstall that application to resolve the issue.

If it happens with all application then we check for various sources - data cds in this case. If the issue persist then we will go to hardware troubleshooting like drivers reinstall, firmware/drivers update.

Hence we need to probe more question to isolate whether it is a hardware or software issue. But the best practice would be to start with the software troubleshooting.

Balaji A.
A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits
Igor Karasik
Honored Contributor

Re: Software...Hardware Problems?

Rami, interview for which position?
Because answers for programmer, system administrator or helpdesk positions maybe different.
Some examples:
1) Your have unexpected computer shutdown.
If you see any STOP Message like
"0x0000000A: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" you can search in Internet/Microsoft KB and more or less say if it is hardware or software problem .
You can also check which changes you recently did: installed any software or add memory, for example.
2) Sometimes error that seems to be hardware related is software related.
Examples: you have message "The device, \Device\TapeX, has a bad block". It doesn't
definitely show hardware problem - maybe firmware update on the tape will resolve this error.
Or you have message about correctable memory errors on your server. Typically it is hardware related and you must change memory module, but maybe you just have false error because you run old version of Proliant support pack.

Good luck !
Tom Leavitt
Honored Contributor
Tom Leavitt
Honored Contributor

Re: Software...Hardware Problems?