Determine if your stall is due to hardware or software

This tip was submitted to the SearchWin2000.com Tip Exchange by member Armando Liban. Let other users know how useful it is by rating the tip below.

Inevitably, you will be challenged with a hanging computer. It could be stuck on a blue screen flashing a "Please Wait" message endlessly -- or seemingly frozen in time. Your biggest problem is determining where to look for the problem -- is it hardware or software related?

Here is a quick test that is accurate about 90% of the time. First, try to recreate the problem and get it to the point where the computer has just hung. If you can't do this, don't worry about it -- the trick still works.

Next, begin pressing a single key on the keyboard. Count each keystroke. If you get a beep on the 17th keystroke, then you know your computer hanging is a result of a software problem. If you do not hear the beep, then you know you have a hardware problem.

The reasoning is simple. Each keystroke is entered into a 16 byte keyboard buffer. Normally, if the hardware is working properly, each of these keystrokes is dealt with by the software application. It would withdraw the keystroke from the buffer ensuring that you never hear the beep of a full buffer. But if you do hear the beep, then the application is not doing its thing - it is not withdrawing that keystroke. The hardware is operating correctly because you could hear the beep. It is the software application that is the

Requires Free Membership to View


This was first published in September 2002

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.