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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | General Troubleshooting Techniques | Steps To Take First When Troubleshooting ]

Double-Check Any Recent Changes

Ask yourself: when did the problem I am experiencing first start? If you have just made any change to your system, and are now having a problem with your PC that was not present before the change, the chances are probably 99% that the change is the cause of the problem. This is true even if the problem seems to have absolutely nothing to do with what you changed. If you hunt around, eventually you will find something that links the problem to the change. While it is certainly possible for something to coincidentally stop working at the same time that you make a change, the odds are greatly against this ever happening to you.

Here's an example of something that happened to me, to illustrate what I mean. I opened up my PC to do some work on my system memory. I removed two SIMMs and replaced them with another pair of higher capacity. When I turned on the system next, my floppy disk drive was malfunctioning. Had my floppy drive failed just then? Almost certainly not. As it turned out, my motherboard has the header for the floppy drive cable located directly adjacent to the SIMM slots. While I was working on the memory I had loosened the floppy drive cable.

Sometimes the problems can be even more indirectly related than this. You should in most cases stick to pursuing how the change affected the system, as this is likely to eventually lead you to the cause of the problem.

Next: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

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