General discussion


Hardware or Software?

By RayFoxxe ·
When it comes to troubleshooting a computer or an electronic device, most technicians first has to do an examination. But what's the best first thing to do?

Checking the Hardware of the device first, looking for obvious flaws, failures, and damages to the unit itself to find out if it is the cause of the problem and giving the proper solution or repairing/replacing the damaged parts.


Checking the Software system first, trying to power on or plug the device to a computer, to look into the device's functions and programs itself to see if the error occurred in there and prying out the problem.


Does it mainly depend on the situation? Either the device failed physically or electronically and just assess the problem both ways, assuming this or that failed and checking into it, but taking more tedious and precious time to look into both Hardware and Software.

What's your opinion?

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From my prospective

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Hardware or Software?

It depends on the situation as to how you proceed.

The important thing however is to get as good a description of the problem as possible from the user.


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I agree with that!

by RayFoxxe In reply to From my prospective

Ask the user for every info you can get from them. x3
Ask every question you need to get a total assessment of the problem from their perspective until you figure out what to do next from that point and tracing the root of the problem.
Or ask them "Is there something else you need to tell me about this?" so that you can also get more clues and more info on what other things are wrong with the thing.

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Usually, one or the other suggests itself.

by seanferd In reply to Hardware or Software?

But certainly, there is a class of "computer is broken" which could be either, but I find I get a better idea of which by operating the machine, from which, incidentally, you can find out a lot about hardware problems. Would I open a device to start looking for bad capacitors and stuff right off the bat? No. Not unless the problem is a "I can haz no power?" issue.

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by RayFoxxe In reply to Usually, one or the other ...

You also vote for "It mainly depends on the situation"?
I'm kinda like trying to get a research opinion here on what IT people think about doing first, cracking open the computer and ripping out stuff to repair or tapping into the core system program to install or uninstall things to fix it.

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What to do first?

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Hardware or Software?

Investigate without changing anything.
Otherwise you are that bloke that reinstalls Vista, because of a dodgy memory chip.

Investigate what first, depends.
If your OS says you haven't got a CD Rom, checking that you do have one, is a good move.
The OS may be quite right...

First rule of troubleshooting, don't cause more trouble....

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Hopefully I get more opinions to this.

by RayFoxxe In reply to Hardware or Software?

So who has any opinions to what's the first step?



Or depends on the situation?

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Hopefully I get more opin ...

Has to doesn't it, otherwise you aren't looking at the fault you are looking at what you guess the fault is An educated guess hopefully but still a guess.

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Hardware? Software??

by mjd420nova In reply to Hardware or Software?

Every situation is different and unique. Being in front of the machine and with ticket in hand with an accurate discription of the fault, no user is required. Forming an opinion can have adverse effects upon your troubleshooting approaches to a fault. I work with a large number of units with a two year ticket history on each and every one of 2,300 pieces of perhiperals and desktops. Being open minded and maybe I've had prior experience with this particular machine, history could give me clues as to who and what the last service guy did and when. On truly cold calls, depending upon the number of hands and call desks before final dispatch point, discriptions are subjective.

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