Essay, Research Paper: Troubleshooting For Soft 

Computers

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Programs running in the Background Sometimes you will run into the problem where
two programs that are installed on your PC conflict with each other and refuse
to run at the same time. It can be tricky to find the culprit, because you think
that no other programs were running, so what could possibly conflict? You'd be
surprised at how many programs are running on your PC right now. Take a look
right now and be amazed. Push Control (Ctrl), Alternate (Alt) and Delete (Del)
on your keyboard right now. You should now see a dialog box labeled Close
Programs. In there is a list of some pretty funny looking names. Each one of
those is a program running right now in the background. Didn't expect to see
that many, did you? Two of the items listed here are always there, that is
Explorer and Systray. Those are Windows components and they are supposed to be
there. But everything else is a program running right now that could be a
possible culprit for your software conflict. They get loaded automatically every
time you start Windows. How do they get loaded? There are several places where
you can find out. Let's first look at your startup files. Go to Start/Run, and
type Sysedit. In the resulting window you'll see many cascading Windows. In the
Autoexec.bat window you might find a few lines to start a program. Or in the
Win.ini file, look at the load= and run= lines. Anything in those lines after
the = sign is a program to be loaded. Windows also has a startup folder where it
checks every time Windows starts. If there are any programs listed, it will
start them automatically. You can find the contents of the startup folder by
going to Start/Programs/Startup. Didn't realize you had those items in there,
did you? Then there is another not so obvious place: the Windows Registry. The
registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun
holds a list of programs to be loaded on Windows startup as well. You probably
think how did they get in there since you didn't put them there. Some of them
need to be running in the background to function properly, such as a virus
scanner. They put themselves into a startup menu automatically when you install
them. Others might not need to be there, but they load anyway to be available
when you need them. Now that you know how to find out what programs you have
running in the background and how they got there, let's talk about how to do
some troubleshooting to find the culprit. Be systematic To find out which
application is the conflicting one, you need to take a systematic approach.
There are two ways to do this: You can shut down all other programs, make sure
the conflict does not happen anymore, then turn them back on one by one, until
the conflict happens again. Most likely the last program you turned on before
the conflict reappeared is the culprit. The other option is to shut down one
program at a time, until the conflict disappears. Most likely, the one program
you just shut down is the culprit. Prevent them from loading The best approach
is to make sure a possible suspect doesn't even load on startup. Windows 98
comes with a built-in utility that lets you control what loads when Windows
starts. Start this utility by going to Start/Run, typing msconfig and clicking
OK. You'll see a dialog with several tabs across the top. The last tab is
labeled Startup. In here is a complete list of items that Windows loads
automatically. Note the checkbox next to each item. Uncheck the first item,
reboot, see if the conflict persists. If so, go back to msconfig, re-check that
item, uncheck the next item and reboot. Repeat this procedure until you found
the culprit. Shut them down There is also a way to shut down a program that runs
in the background of your current Windows session which does not require a
reboot. You can push Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Close Program window. Now
highlight the program you want to disable for now and click End Task. The Close
Program window should disappear. Sometimes it can take a few seconds for the
program to unload, so be patient. Other times, you might get another window
informing you that the program is not responding. That window will have its own
End Task button that you should push to close it for good. Repeat this process
for every program that you want to shut down. Be careful: Do not push
Ctrl-Alt-Del while the Close Program window is still on the screen, it will
reboot your PC, reload Windows and all those programs you were just trying to
shut down and you'll have to start all over again. Also, remember not to shut
down Explorer. That's Windows running and it's supposed to be there. The main
advantage of the first procedure is that it will completely prevent that item
from loading, and will not load that item again until you re-check its box. The
disadvantages of the second procedure are that it will load all programs again
as soon as you reboot and that it's not as thorough because it might not
completely get rid of the program or unload all parts of it. Either way, you
should be able to isolate the program that's causing your problem. With that
knowledge, you can take the necessary steps to correct it, e.g. uninstalling the
program if it is no longer needed, upgrade it if there is an update, upgrade or
patch available from the manufacturer, or at least temporarily disable it to
avoid the conflict when applicable. To take this one step further, you can
download a neat little program called Startup Cop at http://205.181.112.65/pcmag/pctech/content/18/08/ut1808.001.html.
It not only lets you prevent programs from loading when booting, it also lets
you create separate profiles so you can boot with only pre-defined applications
running. This tool is especially helpful if you have Windows 95 which does not
come with the msconfig tool. http://www.PCNineOneOne.com

Bibliography
Troubleshooting Software Conflicts Programs running in the Background Sometimes
you will run into the problem where two programs that are installed on your PC
conflict with each other and refuse to run at the same time. It can be tricky to
find the culprit, because you think that no other programs were running, so what
could possibly conflict? You'd be surprised at how many programs are running on
your PC right now. Take a look right now and be amazed. Push Control (Ctrl),
Alternate (Alt) and Delete (Del) on your keyboard right now. You should now see
a dialog box labeled Close Programs. In there is a list of some pretty funny
looking names. Each one of those is a program running right now in the
background. Didn't expect to see that many, did you? Two of the items listed
here are always there, that is Explorer and Systray. Those are Windows
components and they are supposed to be there. But everything else is a program
running right now that could be a possible culprit for your software conflict.
They get loaded automatically every time you start Windows. How do they get
loaded? There are several places where you can find out. Let's first look at
your startup files. Go to Start/Run, and type Sysedit. In the resulting window
you'll see many cascading Windows. In the Autoexec.bat window you might find a
few lines to start a program. Or in the Win.ini file, look at the load= and run=
lines. Anything in those lines after the = sign is a program to be loaded.
Windows also has a startup folder where it checks every time Windows starts. If
there are any programs listed, it will start them automatically. You can find
the contents of the startup folder by going to Start/Programs/Startup. Didn't
realize you had those items in there, did you? Then there is another not so
obvious place: the Windows Registry. The registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun
holds a list of programs to be loaded on Windows startup as well. You probably
think how did they get in there since you didn't put them there. Some of them
need to be running in the background to function properly, such as a virus
scanner. They put themselves into a startup menu automatically when you install
them. Others might not need to be there, but they load anyway to be available
when you need them. Now that you know how to find out what programs you have
running in the background and how they got there, let's talk about how to do
some troubleshooting to find the culprit. Be systematic To find out which
application is the conflicting one, you need to take a systematic approach.
There are two ways to do this: You can shut down all other programs, make sure
the conflict does not happen anymore, then turn them back on one by one, until
the conflict happens again. Most likely the last program you turned on before
the conflict reappeared is the culprit. The other option is to shut down one
program at a time, until the conflict disappears. Most likely, the one program
you just shut down is the culprit. Prevent them from loading The best approach
is to make sure a possible suspect doesn't even load on startup. Windows 98
comes with a built-in utility that lets you control what loads when Windows
starts. Start this utility by going to Start/Run, typing msconfig and clicking
OK. You'll see a dialog with several tabs across the top. The last tab is
labeled Startup. In here is a complete list of items that Windows loads
automatically. Note the checkbox next to each item. Uncheck the first item,
reboot, see if the conflict persists. If so, go back to msconfig, re-check that
item, uncheck the next item and reboot. Repeat this procedure until you found
the culprit. Shut them down There is also a way to shut down a program that runs
in the background of your current Windows session which does not require a
reboot. You can push Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up the Close Program window. Now
highlight the program you want to disable for now and click End Task. The Close
Program window should disappear. Sometimes it can take a few seconds for the
program to unload, so be patient. Other times, you might get another window
informing you that the program is not responding. That window will have its own
End Task button that you should push to close it for good. Repeat this process
for every program that you want to shut down. Be careful: Do not push
Ctrl-Alt-Del while the Close Program window is still on the screen, it will
reboot your PC, reload Windows and all those programs you were just trying to
shut down and you'll have to start all over again. Also, remember not to shut
down Explorer. That's Windows running and it's supposed to be there. The main
advantage of the first procedure is that it will completely prevent that item
from loading, and will not load that item again until you re-check its box. The
disadvantages of the second procedure are that it will load all programs again
as soon as you reboot and that it's not as thorough because it might not
completely get rid of the program or unload all parts of it. Either way, you
should be able to isolate the program that's causing your problem. With that
knowledge, you can take the necessary steps to correct it, e.g. uninstalling the
program if it is no longer needed, upgrade it if there is an update, upgrade or
patch available from the manufacturer, or at least temporarily disable it to
avoid the conflict when applicable. To take this one step further, you can
download a neat little program called Startup Cop at http://205.181.112.65/pcmag/pctech/content/18/08/ut1808.001.html.
It not only lets you prevent programs from loading when booting, it also lets
you create separate profiles so you can boot with only pre-defined applications
running. This tool is especially helpful if you have Windows 95 which does not
come with the msconfig tool. 
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