Troubleshoot Operating System Issue

  • Given a scenario, explain, and interpret common hardware and operating system symptoms and their causes
  • OS related symptoms
    • Bluescreen (BSOD) – Windows Stop Error, contains important information (also written to event log), useful when tracking down problems (sometimes more useful for manufacturer support)
    • System lock-up – Usually not much in the event log, check for any activity (hard drive, status lights, try Ctrl-Alt-Del), update drivers and software patches, consider reverting to a restore point
    • Input/output device – No mouse, can’t print, can’t see an external USB drive, always check the Device Manager (you’ll know immediately if there’s a problem with Windows), it’s either a driver or the device (software or hardware)
    • Application install – open files can cause problems (close all applications, may require stopping of services), check your versions (Windows XP vs Windows Vista vs Windows 7, 32-bit vs 64-bit)
    • Startup errors- Usually appear just after login (try a different username), caused by Windows or by applications (the title bar of the error message can provide clues, sometimes it’s impossible to know)
    • Windows specific printing problems – Spooling service problems (corrupted queue, clear queue, restart print spooler), printer and scanner drivers (drivers are specific to printer model), printers are incredibly important (printer “language”, paper trays, colors, fonts, other options)


  • Where can you get details about a Window stop error after the computer has restarted?
    • Event log
  • During the installation of an application, you get a “file in use” error. How can you easily resolve this?
    • Close all open programs
  • Where can you get detailed information about printer settings?
    • Printer properties

Operating System Troubleshooting Tools

Automated System Recovery

  • Last resort of Operating System (Windows) recovery
    • Try Safe Mode and Last Known Good first!
      And almost anything else
  • Accessories/System Tools/Backup
  • Requires a disk drive
    • Recovery requires ASR floppy, system backup, Windows CD
  • Restores disk signatures, volumes, and partitions (Destructive! You will lose your data)
  • Starts a data restore from a separate backup
  • You should have a complete backup
    • Automated System Recovery (ASR) does not back up or restore your data!

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