Do you believe in ghosts?

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There is one misguidance in the computer technology which strongly affects the performance of a program product. As it is highly subjective, the consideration of this paradox can eliminate lots of misunderstandings within the installation, implementation, maintenance and usage of the program products. The problem could be narrowed to a single statement: “Nothing has been done to the computer, but the program stopped working!”
The title “Do you believe in ghosts?” precisely describes this problem and illustrates it in the most plausible way.


Origin of the misunderstanding

The misunderstanding that nothing has been done to the computer configurations and software, but there are changes in the product’s behavior, is based on the lack of knowledge of the whole computer process. Sometimes something totally insignificant has been changed, completely irrelevant to another, but it affects the whole system. For example, such actions could be:

  1. Installed anti-virus software;
  2. Updating or replacing of the antivirus software;
  3. Updating the antivirus software turns on a new firewall;
  4. This firewall is blocking the incoming ports of the SQL server;
  5. The connections of other computers to the central SQL server fail;
  6. All remote work computers display the message “No connection …”.

As a reaction to this sequence the clients claim: “We haven’t done a thing, but the system stopped working.” A reason for this statement is the lack of experience and analysis of the correlations between the events.

Engineering basis

Computers are a complex engineering creation. And as a part of science in computer technology there is a sequence of events, which determines the behavior of the hardware and software. This is the basic pattern of work, which eliminates the possibilities of changing hardware settings. Every change in the functions or products` behavior has its incontrovertible argument. A competent specialist is required in order to analyze correctly the sequence of actions and the chain of events.

Who is subordinate to a phenomenon like this

There are exactly two types of users and specialists, who are subordinate to this phenomenon:

  • Users who are not computer specialists, but have enough experience and knowledge to change the settings. As a rule they don’t know the correlation between the products;
  • Computer specialists, who have no sufficient knowledge and experience. Typical for this kind of people are significant discrepancy between goal and skills.

Those problems are not current to:

  • Beginner users. As a rule they do not “touch” or change anything on their own. They always consult with a specialist.
  • Advanced specialists. They are aware of what and when happens, have good knowledge of the correlation and sequence of events. Usually they are the only ones who can fix existing problems from this sequence.

Considering users to one of the above mentioned groups is based on a mixure of knowledge, skills, goals and abilities. That is why it is advisable to leave the complicated tasks to the specialists with the necessary qualifications.

Incorrect actions

Incorrect actions are:

  1. Stubbornly repeating: “We’ve done nothing wrong.”
  2. Covering the tracks after realizing what has been done. For example, a database file has been deleted. Afterwards another file has been recovered, that is not the right one.
  3. Blaming the program or the service specialist for their own acitons.
  4. Help from another non-specialist.

These actions only make the situation worse and sometimes completely eliminate the possibility of correcting the problems.

Correct actions

The correct actions solve the problem and permanently work out the difficulties:

  1. Full analysis of the last actions. Conjure up the possible causes: “We updated the software, changed the printer` s settings, established a new network, added an additional password.”
  2. Dividing the problem into small tasks and solving each one separately. For example, checking the connections, the work of separate components, etc.
  3. Reading the log files and taking recommendatory actions. For example, eliminating the errors or warnings that are stated in the log file.

External and independent problems

As a subpart of the affected problems are the technical problems – crash of the hardware, running out of disk space, overheating of a component, pollution of operating mechanism, etc. Every one of these situations can cause inexplicable for a non-specialist acting of the products. But as if in the main cause, all these problems have their own cause and can’t be classified as another cases. Fighting that kind of problems is with system prophylaxis.

Preventing the unknown

The best techniques of preventing the “unknown” are:

  1. Putting much restricting rights of access of the operators;
  2. Establishing strict passwords and individual roles;
  3. Banning the all dangerous actions that can be done by users;
  4. Training the operators in the computer basics;
  5. Entering consultations before every action which is unknown for the operators.

If these rules are observed all the possible unexpected program acting is minimalized.


When it comes to computers, there are no paranormal phenomenons. All problems have their own cause and it’s the key to their solving. That’s why if you do not believe in ghosts, you should make a full analysis of the actual condition and to solve the existing problems with experience, knowledge and skills. If this is not enough – contact a specialist.

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