Eleven Tips for Troubleshooting Software


Your nonprofit or library is predicated on software to get its paintings carried out, and unexplained software crashes and errors messages can carry your work to a standstill. When this occurs, it’s tempting to name tech aid without delay. But before you make the decision, there are simple steps you may take to remedy software issues for your very own, or as a minimum narrow down their causes.

The next time you’ve got a software hassle, attempt these troubleshooting recommendations inside the order they’re listed under. Carefully report the steps you’re taking. That way, if a tech assist name turns into essential, as a minimum you will have an excellent idea of what isn’t always inflicting the trouble.

1. Free up RAM by way of ultimate other open packages.

Every piece of software program makes use of Random Access Memory (RAM). The greater software it truly is strolling to your pc, the more RAM it makes use of. This may be particularly complex if you’re using older machines that do not have plenty of RAM. So if a software application refuses to load or is strolling slowly, the primary component to do is to close all other open applications.

If you need to discover which open programs might be hogging your RAM, both Windows and Macintosh working structures (OS) have tools that show this statistics:

In Windows, hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete, then pick out the Start Task Manager choice. From the window that appears, click the Processes tab, then click the Memory menu item. This sorts all open approaches based on the amount of RAM they are the usage of. You can close down a runaway process by clicking the End Process button. Before you do this, you could need to do a piece of studies on the process to ensure which you do not by chance forestall a vital process or software.

In Mac OS X, use the Activity Monitor (known as the Process Viewer in older versions of OS X). Access the Activity Monitor by way of going to Applications > Utilities. Once you’ve known as up the Activity Monitor, type applications based on RAM usage by way of clicking the column categorised “Real Memory.”

2. Restart the software.

Software issues can stem from a conflict with different applications or genuinely from difficulties the software encountered whilst commencing. Shutting this system down and restarting it is able to sometimes resolve those problems.

3. Shut down and restart your computer.

If restarting the complicated application doesn’t clear up the issue, attempt rebooting your computer. Once the laptop has absolutely restarted, re-launch the utility in question and see if the hassle has been resolved.

4. Use the Internet to find assist.

  • No be counted what software troubles you come across, probabilities are it’s befell to someone else. So there may be a terrific hazard you may locate help on the Internet. Here are some places to get started:
  • Search for answers: In your search engine query, encompass the software program software name and model, the problem you encountered, and the instances beneath which the trouble came about. If you obtained a selected blunders message, enter the precise blunders message text, at the side of the name of the software.
  • Check the seller’s internet site: Most software vendors offer a few form of product help, together with answers to regularly asked questions, product documentation, or user dialogue forums.
  • Check different web sites: TechSoup’s article Learning About Technology Online lists some of other websites that offer generation tutorials, articles, and discussion boards.

5. Undo any recent hardware or software program adjustments.

Changes to software program and hardware can every so often cause software issues, inclusive of:

  • Conflicts with different software: Newly set up software may additionally conflict with other software program. For example, Symantec Norton Antivirus can conflict with competing antivirus merchandise. So, if you lately established any other antivirus program and Norton Antivirus no longer works efficiently, uninstalling the other antivirus product should resolve your problem.
  • Changes to laptop settings: Undo any latest changes to your pc’s settings, and try launching the software once more. For example, the Windows Control Panel includes an choice to “Set Program Access and Defaults,” which allows you to disable get right of entry to to positive packages. If you by accident disable get admission to to a software here, this system may not run.
  • Conflicts with new or improperly configured hardware, together with scanners and printers. If you’ve got currently linked new hardware to one in all your computers, attempt disconnecting the hardware and notice if that corrects the software problem.

6. Uninstall the software, then reinstall it.

Sometimes, software program issues occur due to the fact crucial application documents have been eliminated, updated, or deleted. For instance, many Windows programs use Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files to carry out fundamental obligations. Often, several packages will use the same DLL document. If you’ve got recently removed one software from your computer, it is possible you removed DLL files that another program relied on. Similarly, adding a application should add or update DLL files. Applications that were depending on those DLL documents may additionally become unstable or prevent operating totally.

To ensure that each one the vital files are intact, you can completely uninstall the complicated software, then reinstall it. Even if you eliminate a program the use of its built-in uninstall wizard (if it consists of one), it is still a very good concept to check your hard power’s Program Files folder — usually placed at the C drive — for any remnants of this system, and delete any documents or folders you discover.

Before reinstalling, take a look at to peer if there may be a new version of this system to be had. The dealer or developer may have brought computer virus fixes that cope with the issue you’re having.

7. Look for software program patches.

Software vendors can also restoration insects by issuing patches — small software program updates that deal with regarded troubles. Even if you’re the usage of the most present day model of the software, there may be a more recent patch to be had for that model.

8. Scan for viruses and malware.

Viruses, spyware, and other types of malicious software (or “malware”) can cause software program to freeze, crash, or cease operating completely.

If tips 1 via 8 haven’t helped solve your software trouble, you can additionally want to test the pc the usage of each antivirus and anti-malware equipment to find and put off viruses and malware. Use the maximum thorough experiment mode to be had, and remember to restart your device if the antivirus or anti-malware programs discovered any threats.

9. Check for a firewall struggle.

Some organizations can also pick to install personal firewall software program on each laptop, in place of a centralized hardware or software program-based totally firewall. Personal firewalls can be an crucial line of protection towards hackers and other safety threats, but they also can reason software conflicts.

Firewalls regularly display messages asking whether or not it have to permit a software to run or block it. Therefore, it’s possible to by chance inform the personal firewall to block a program from running. Check the firewall’s settings to see if the complex software became brought to the firewall’s listing of programs to dam. If so, alternate the firewall’s settings to allow the software to run, then test to look if you’re still having troubles together with your software.

10. Boot up in Safe Mode.

Some software program malfunctions may be due to OS settings or other system problems. Windows and Mac operating systems both provide a troubleshooting surroundings known as Safe Mode. Safe Mode disables non-essential packages and strategies, which theoretically makes it less difficult to isolate troubles.

Most Windows computers permit you to input Safe Mode with the aid of urgent the F8 key as your laptop is booting up. On a Mac, enter Safe Mode through urgent the Shift key while your computer boots up (or immediately after it boots up).

Once your pc is in Safe Mode, release the complicated software program and try and reflect the hassle you had while your laptop became in ordinary mode. If you don’t have the identical hassle in secure mode, there may be a great risk that the problem became because of your OS or every other software, not by means of the utility you’re troubleshooting.

11. Defragment your tough drive.

As a very last troubleshooting step, you might defragment your laptop’s hard force. Defragmenting rearranges your tough pressure’s record shape so that the gadget runs more correctly. Defragmenting will possibly be maximum useful in case you’re experiencing normal sluggishness on your pc, because defragmenting is meant to make your complete system run faster. Note that defragmenting a tough pressure applies more often than not to Windows-based totally computers.

Most recent Windows variants — which includes XP, Vista, and Windows 7 — encompass a built-in disk-defragmentation tool. To launch it, visit Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. Be aware that defragmenting a difficult pressure can be time-consuming, so make sure to perform this undertaking while you may be far from your pc for a few hours.


If the suggestions indexed above haven’t solved your software program hassle, it could be time to name tech guide. At minimum, you will be capable of assist them narrow down the trouble with the aid of describing the troubleshooting steps you’ve already taken in your very own.