Why do computers get problems?

Updated: 12/30/2019 by Computer Hope
Computer problem

Computers are complex machines that contain hardware from different companies, run software containing thousands of lines of code, and use several drivers. Honestly, it's amazing that they are as stable as they are today.

Most problems are related to a software programming error that can be fixed by obtaining an updated version (patch) of the software code. Patches are released by the developer and can be downloaded from the Internet or through the program. Below are the reasons why a computer could experience a problem, become unstable, or encounter an error.

Reasons why computers have problems

What causes hardware failure?

A hardware device can fail in the computer and cause it or only the device to stop working. Below are some common reasons why a hardware device or component could fail.

Over powered or under powered - Too much power or too little power can damage hardware. If the computer and hardware are not protected by a surge protector, it's at risk of getting too much power. If the hardware is not protected by a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), it's in danger of being under powered.

Movement - A desktop computer that is not made to be frequently moved can have expansion cards, memory, or cables in the computer loosened as it is being moved. Any card or cable not firmly connected can cause the computer not to work or fail. Even mobile devices designed to be moved can have components in them become bad because of the device being dropped or abnormal movement.

Bad capacitor - A capacitor that is leaking, blown, or otherwise defective can cause a hardware device to no longer work.

Heat and temperature change - Too much heat either because of the environment or because a fan has failed can damage hardware components. Extreme environments where the temperature alternates between hot and cold can cause condensation. Moisture can damage a computer's electronics, or loosen components due to expansion and contraction over time.

Weak solder - Each of the components (capacitors, ICs (integrated circuit), inductors, etc.) in the computer are connected to a circuit board using solder. If the soldering is not done properly, loosened because of heat, or chipped away it can create a bad connection and cause the device to stop working.

Wear and tear - A computer with case fans, heat sinks, and hard drives that have moving parts can all experience wear and tear that over time and will eventually fail.

Bad interface board or IC - A circuit board used to control hardware can become bad because of any of the reasons mentioned above. If the interface board or circuit board that controls the device becomes defective, it prevents the computer or components from communicating with that device.

User error - If cables are not connected properly or a device is installed improperly it can prevent the device from working and may even damage the device. Also, while working with any electronic hardware devices, it is important to take all the proper precautions in protecting it from ESD (electrostatic discharge).

What should I do when I get a problem?

Make sure your computer or software has all of the latest updates and search Computer Hope for a resolution to your problem. We help all users with all computer-related questions and problems for free and have a site with thousands of easy to read pages.