Hari's Articles

My general articles repository and workshop

How to differentiate between hardware and software problems

Technology | Last modified on: 09 Jul 2015 @ 08:46:14 | printer friendly

A different kind of article to address a frequent issue that keeps cropping up on tech support forums, particularly one like LinuxQuestions.org.

I've often found questions on this forum where the problems encountered by users are hard to diagnose as either a software issue or a hardware issue. In particular, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on what makes a problem more likely to be a hardware problem. While rare, hardware problems do occur on modern machines because of the increasing number of transistors choked into smaller and smaller boards and the enormous heat generated by multi-gigahertz processors with advanced features.

Here is a small checklist which will help you determine if an issue is hardware related or not.

Many hardware problems are hard to diagnose. The underlying fact is that Linux and other *nix are more sensitive when it comes to detecting faulty hardware as opposed to Windows, so a system that was running perfectly under Windows for ages may not necessarily be free of hardware problems.

The bottom line is that if there's any problem that's not easily reproducible or occurs seemingly at random without appearing to have an underlying cause, you should start suspecting a hardware problem.