What to do when my computer program won’t start?

Your personal computing experience could become lot easier and convenient if you know how to deal with the programs and applications that you use on a regular basis. More specifically, when they don’t work at all or don’t work the way they should, and you can take few relatively easy technical steps to bring them back to life. In this case, when your program won’t start, it is far better than having a computer that won’t start. At least we can access the computer to solve this problem.

You could face many different scenarios when it comes to babysitting your computer programs and applications; some programs may have worked for a while and then stopped and some could be more stubborn – don’t work at all from the very beginning.

Additionally, I have seen many cases when a particular program works today and then will not work tomorrow and then back to normal the very next day! This sort of sporadic behavior is quite common with regards to several widely used programs as well. For example, Adobe Flash Player fits perfectly into this category. As far as my personal experience is concerned, I end up re-installing it every other week to be able to get my work done on the internet.

Various Types of Programs and How to Decide the Next Course of Action

Depending on the nature how a program is packaged and distributed by the manufacturer and then installed in the end user’s PC, I would like to separate all programs into three major categories;

  1. Independent self contained programs.
  2. Computing environment dependent programs.
  3. Browser based programs.

1. Independent self contained programs

Independent self contained programs are normally the large programs coming from major software vendors like Microsoft, Adobe, Netscape, Macromedia and many others. These are distributed as an all-in-one package in a CD or DVD or through the on-line download. They come bundled together as one product and can be installed just by running a single setup utility to install the entire software. These types of programs often work if you install correctly. They will only fail if you have accidentally deleted some of the files or due to sudden crashing of your PC when the program was on or if the license has expired. They are normally easy to manage also – if they stop working, just reinstalling it with proper license and serial number will bring it back to normal again.

2. Computing environment dependent programs

Computing environment dependent programs are the programs that need a certain environment created in your PC like Java, .net Framework, Adobe flash, Direct Draw etc so that the program gets an environment compatible with its designer requirements. So you need to install two modules; the program itself and also the environment. If you use a Java application like accounting software or an e-commerce software for example, you must make sure a working version of Java Run-time Environment (JRE) is installed in your PC along with the program itself. Similarly, if you play lot of computer games, you need to make sure you have a latest version of Direct Draw installed and the same applies for Flash player and .net framework based programs.

3. Browser based programs

Browser based programs on the other hand are the ones that need no installation of the main program module in your PC. You just need a web browser capable of running the software off the internet. Here the web browser is the environment that provides the interface between your computer and the main application server somewhere on the internet. One advantage of using such program is that you can access and use them from anywhere and from any computer in the world, like Gmail or Yahoo mail. There are quite a few very handy browser based applications that are widely popular today like Basecamp project management software and Zoho document management and presentation software along with many browser based on-line games.

Therefore it is important to identify the type of program you are having trouble with to decide the next course of action. When a type 1 program will not start, I would just uninstall it and then make a fresh new install, for type 2 programs first check on the environment module and then the main program. For browser based programs, check if your browser has required plug-ins enabled and then if that doesn’t work check with the software provider.



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