11-15-2004 mind of its own
Q:My computer has a mind of its own. Why doesn't it just do what it is supposed to do?
A: It might seem like your computer has a mind of its own but your computer is just following orders. Those orders are the programs or software that has been installed on your computer. Improperly installed software, viruses, or badly written software are the most common reasons for your computer to start misbehaving.
A computer can be intimidating but it really isn't a mysterious life form with a mind of its own. If you dig deep into the hardware, the basic component of the computer is the transistor. Think of the transistor like a switch. It is either on or off. Millions of transistors make up a computer's CPU or Central Processing Unit. When you bought your computer, you didn't just buy hardware or the physical pieces that make your computer. You purchased software too. Software tells your computer how to perform all the tasks that you expect from your computer. Just a few examples of those tasks would be word processing, Internet communications, or game machine but the list is endless. Don't just run out to the local computer store and purchase a program that you think you want. Do your homework. Know what you are buying. All software is not created equal. You need to find the right program for you. Here's a few important questions to consider. Does the program work? Don't laugh, you wouldn't believe how many programs don't work as advertised. Is the program easy to use? Programs should be easy to use. You should be able to determine how to operate the program without reading a complicated manual. Did you see a program on your friend's computer that you thought would be good for you? Ask your friend what they like and dislike about the program. Check out the Internet for ratings on the program that you intend to buy. While you will find naysayers to even the best product. A consistent message that a program has problems should be a tip off that you won't be very happy if you purchase a particular program. You also need to verify that your computer is able to run the program. There are a lot of of "vintage" computers still being used that are not able to effectively execute some of the most recent computer programs. Purchasing software is not like buying a loaf of bread. It requires some research. You need to know that it is right for you. It's is similar to buying clothing, make sure that your purchase fits you.