Most computer problems aren’t that violent or that dramatic, but the
immediate result is often the same: you sit there in a state of shock, staring at
the computer, saying to yourself, “What happened? What should I do now?
It’s never done that before!” This book will tell you how to understand and
fix most personal computer failures, whether they were caused by the
computer hardware, by the Windows operating system, or by some other
program running on the computer.
There’s not much you can do when your computer explodes except to
sweep up the remains and open a window to let the smoke out of the room.
But if Windows won’t start, or your hard drive breaks down, or you get a
cryptic Blue Screen error message, or any of a jillion other things go wrong,
you can almost always restore the machine to useful operation and recover
most of your data if you take an organized approach to troubleshooting.
The tools for understanding most computer problems are out there on the
Internet, in manuals and user guides, and through both on- and offline
communities of people who use similar equipment and programs. But they
won’t do you any good unless you know where to find them. That’s what this
book is for.
This is a book for people who use their computers all the time but who
don’t always know how to deal with the major and minor problems that
eventually seem to attack most computers. It will tell you how to apply
troubleshooting techniques and methods to evaluate and solve computer
problems, with an emphasis on computers running Windows XP. It won’t tell
you exactly what to do for every possible problem that might appear, but it will
tell you where to find detailed explanations of most problems and instructions
for fixing them. I will also show you how to recognize specific symptoms
and how to understand and use error messages, beep codes, and other
diagnostic tools that aren’t always clear on first inspection. I’ll also show you
where to find help from Microsoft, from other manufacturers and users, and
from the Combined Wisdom of the Internet. And finally, I will tell you how
to decide if the time and cost of a repair just isn’t worth the effort.