hardware failure - Computer Definition. A malfunction within the electronic circuits or electromechanical components (disks, tapes) of a computer system. Recovery from a hardware failure requires repair or replacement of the offending part. Contrast with software failure.
When their computer fails due to a hardware issue, many users will ask the same logical question: What caused the hardware issue to begin with? Hardware can go bad due to a huge number of different factors, but here we'll take a look at some of the most common ones.
Several components of a computer system contain moving parts that can fail. In most cases, these moving parts are in traditional hard disk drives, the buttons in keyboards and mice, or the fans present in the case or in graphics card and processor coolers. As these components age and get used, the mechanical components wear out and begin to fail. If not addressed quickly, these component failures can actually result in damage to other components in the system.
Sometimes, the electrical components of a computer system will fail. This usually happens because of a bad capacitor or similar electrical component present on either the motherboard, the power supply, or a laptop AC adapter. Capacitors control the power going into a system, and over time they begin to fail. On some older capacitors, the failure results in a visible leakage of the chemicals inside the capacitor. When these fail, the component needs to be replaced.
Heat and dust
Heat and dust are both problems that are present in almost any environment. While there are plenty of things that can be done to mitigate the potentially damaging effects of these issues, they'll always be present to some extent. Dust build up can reduce the efficiency of your system's cooling, which makes it heat up more quickly. Over time, this heat can damage your components. Many computer components operate at temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Without proper cooling or with too much dust accumulation, these temperatures can get much higher and cause damage to the heat sensitive components of your computer.
Computer components are produced on a massive scale, and while quality control has improved over the last several years, it still isn't perfect. Every once in a while, a component is manufactures that either just doesn't work or is on the brink of failure before it's even been unpacked. Fortunately, these kinds of situations are almost always covered by some kind of warranty and you can go through the manufacturer's RMA process to get the part replaced
Wear and tear
Even for those of us that are very careful with our things, accidents happen and damage from ordinary use is impossible to prevent. This is especially true for laptop users, who will often need to move their computers around, increasing the risk of dropping it or causing damage by packing or unpacking it. This damage accumulates slowly over time, and it might eventually get to a point where something breaks.
Regardless of the cause
If your computer has a hardware failure, we can help you by diagnosing the issue and replacing the part that went bad. Most failed hardware can be fixed or replaced for significantly less than the cost of a new computer, so it's at least worth your time to come in and have us look at it!
synonyms: worm, Trojan Horse
spyware (spy·ware, ˈspīwer/)
malware (mal·ware, ˈmalwer/)
What can I do to protect myself against unwanted software?
Think of your computer like a garden with lots of things trying to attack it. You need insecticide to protect it from bugs, herbicide to protect it from weeds, and a fence to protect it from animals like deer or rodents. Just like a garden, a computer has to be protected against all kinds of different threats that can come from anywhere.
Why didn't my antivirus protect me?
People often ask how they could possibly have gotten a virus when they have antivirus installed, and the simple answer is that no single antivirus can protect your computer from every threat. Every piece of antivirus software has a different strategy for identifying malicious or unwanted software and removing it from your computer without damaging your system. It takes time for the companies that produce these kinds of software to develop the best strategy to identify and remove viruses, and new viruses are developed every day.
Where do viruses and spyware come from?
People make viruses and find ways to distribute them so that you don't even notice. They do it for all kind of reasons. Some of them are just nerds without girlfriends that are looking for a way to spend their time. Some of them are criminals that are trying to exploit unsuspecting users for money or conduct fraudulent activities. In some cases, it might be governments carrying out secret operations. Whatever the reason, it ends up being like a competitive sport, and last year's defense might not be effective against this year's offense.