A typical Windows 7 computer has more than 80,000 program files and over 200,000 individual program settings which are stored in the computer"registry". Errors in any of these files or settings can cause the computer to malfunction.
Windows 7 can work with thousands of different pieces of hardware and comes with in built support for more than 5000 different types of hardware from files stored in its library. These hardware files are called drivers.
Thankfully, computer systems are relatively reliable despite their complexity. Lets then look briefly at some of key components inside the computer and where problems can occur.
The Central Processing Unit.
Also called the CPU or brains of the whole system. These are now incredibly tiny and powerful. Smaller components means the computer can be faster, more capable and use less power. Fortunately the central processing unit is one of the most reliable parts of the computer and can be expected to last years, even with 24 hour operation. Usually other parts of the computer will fail before the central processor does.
The Hard Disk.
The hard disk is the permanent memory store insider the computer. Being electro- mechanical it is more prone to error than the non moving parts such as the CPU. Unfortunately hard disk failure will result in loss of your data, so it is a major catastrophe when it does fail. That is why it is so important to constantly save your data to a back up device. Minor hard disk failures can also cause glitches in the programs which can look like software faults.
The operating system (eg. windows xp, Windows Vista, Windows 7 etc) is the nerve control system of the brain keeping a watch on everything and keeping things organised. With the Windows operating system, Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in time and effort to ensure the software is reliable.
Microsoft has also built in a range of self checking and correcting features into Windows 7 that automatically fix common errors when they occur. The system configuration is automatically backed up on a regular basis and when any changes or updates are made to the computer. In the event of a failure of the system settings the previous state of the computer can be restored.
Considering the millions of parts, program files, settings and hardware types that make up a modern computer it's no wonder they sometimes fail.
Content based on information from baycitycomputers.com.au