2.6 - Software Troubleshooting

Exam Board:

OCR

A software error occurs when a program or process stops working as expected.

Software errors usually occur when programs are badly written or if a user inputs unexpected data.​

Common Faults

System Freeze

The computer freezes and pressing keys or moving the mouse shows no response. Commonly caused by a software bug or virus.

Unexpected Reboot

To try and fix errors, a computer might get stuck in an endless loop of booting and rebooting. Other systems may frequently restart without warning.

Stop Error

This occurs after a fatal system error when the operating system stops, usually because of a driver software issue. Commonly known as the 'blue screen of death' on Windows-based systems.

Update Error

While designed to fix errors, updates can sometimes bring more problems if they interfere with the current software.

Troubleshooting Tools for Software Errors

Event Viewer (Logs)

If a software error does occur then the same characteristics as a hardware error should be logged, such as the time / date of the error, the user logged in, problem history etc.

Baselines

Before

After

A comparison of what the system is like after a crash compared to a fixed point in time beforehand. The baseline can be used to see differences which may have caused the computer to fail.

Memory Dump

RAM (1).png

Copies and displays the contents of RAM at the time of a crash to help a technician discover what happened.

Anti-Virus

Checks if malware is running on a system and using up resources and slowing the system down. It could then be quarantined and deleted by the anti-virus.

Installable tools can also be downloaded to investigate the system and find the cause of the problem.

Question Corner

2.6 - Software Troubleshooting:

1. Describe each of the four common types of software error:

        a. System Freeze

        b. Stop Error

        c. Unexpected Reboot

        d. Update Error                [2 each]

2. Describe each type of troubleshooting tool and explain how it can be used to discover and fix software errors.

        a. Event Viewer

        b. Memory Dump

        c. Baselines

        d. Antivirus Software 

        e. Installable Tools   [2 each]

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