Unexpected Shutdowns


At times, Capable 21C may be forced to close for a number of possible reasons. This article describes how to diagnose the difference between these shutdowns, and what reasons each of them indicate.

Underlying challenge

Capable 21C relies heavily on the Windows Operating System (OS). Many of the windows displayed by Capable 21C are actually core parts of the Windows OS. This explains why they have a similar look and feel to other software packages. The colour picker window is a good example.

In turn, the Windows OS relies heavily on the underlying hardware to perform its normal operations. /p>

If any of these components fail, either due to a temporary glitch, or due to something more serious, the end result is likely to be an unexpected shutdown of one or more applications. Capable 21C is typically the application that is open most often, so is very likely to be one of the applications affected.

The general rule of thumb is that there are three possible ways for Capable 21C to shut itself down:

  • It experienced a runtime error (in which case, you will always see a runtime error message before Capable closes).
  • Windows closed Capable 21C (in which case, you will almost always see a windows message that says something like ‘Capable performed an illegal operation and needs to close). These windows messages are distinctive, as they’re usually blue and white, and are much bigger than Capable 21C’s runtime error windows.
  • Something went wrong inside Windows, or at the hardware level and the machine has become unstable.
  • A more detailed explanation of each of these scenarios is covered in the resolution section below.


    Runtime errors

    Runtime errors are caused when Capable 21C tries to perform a normal operation, but encounters unexpected data in the database, or an unexpected configuration setting in Windows. Examples of these are:

  • If there is database corruption. Database corruption is not common, but it is not infrequent either. Common causes include sudden power loss, or any of the failures described below in the sections for Windows OS failures or Hardware failures.
  • If the machine is configured in a way never previously tested in Capable Software’s test labs (this happened when the first system was sold into Malaysia, as the currency symbol was different).
  • If the configuration of Capable 21C is somehow different to anything tested in Capable Software’s test labs. Generally speaking, this is considered a shortfall in Capable Software’s testing program, and is more commonly known as a ‘bug’ or ‘defect’.
  • Windows OS failures

    Microsoft ™ produces a Windows product that is intended to work on millions of computers all over the world. It is a challenge of mammoth proportions for Microsoft to be able to guarantee or assure the stability of their Windows OS on every platform, and every combination of hardware.

    Given that a typical modern computer processes 2 billion operations each second, even if Windows only failed 0.0000001% of the time, every computer would still crash once every second. Statistics like this are staggering, as they are a testament to the stability of the Windows OS.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft are not able to anticipate every possible scenario, every possible combination of equipment, or every sequence of keystrokes and mouse clicks that people will perform. Furthermore, Microsoft is engaged in a running battle with people who develop viruses that are intended to harm the Windows OS.

    As Capable 21C has such a heavy reliance on the internal systems within Windows, it is also prone to the failure of those internal systems. When one of those dependent systems fails, Windows will either a) report the error back to Capable 21C (which will result in a runtime error described above), or it will b) forcibly terminate the failing system and any applications that depend upon it. When this happens, Windows will typically display a message for the user to advise what has happened. These messages are given nicknames by technical people (such as ‘the blue screen of death’ or an ‘IPF’). They are not particularly informative to the lay-person, and typically contain information that only a Microsoft technician would be able to diagnose.

    Hardware failures /p>

    When hardware fails, it will typically fail in one of two ways.

  • Catastrophic hardware failure is where a component stops functioning. More often than not, this means that the entire PC stops functioning, and will not be able to be started again until the faulty component is replaced.
  • Heat based hardware failure is where a component fails at a certain temperature range. As soon as the PC becomes warmer or cooler, it begins to operate again. This can be the most frustrating type of failure, as it is exceptionally hard to replicate, but will occur quite frequently.
  • Detailed Information

    What to do about a runtime error:

  • Take a note of the runtime error. Capable 21C produces two kinds of runtime errors. Simple runtime errors appear something like this:  More complex runtime errors appear something like this: 
  • In either case, these kinds of runtime errors should be reported to Capable Technical Support for more analysis. Capable Technical Support can typically advise which of the three possible causes is responsible for these kinds of error messages.
  • What to do about Windows OS failures:

  • Windows is an inherently complex piece of software, and is prone to getting internally cluttered. Whilst this is not immediately apparent to the user, it can sometimes manifest itself in the form of a general slowdown of system performance, or Windows errors.
  • Regular system maintenance will help to reduce the likelihood of Windows OS failures. This can include performing a disk cleanup, using a registry cleaner and the removal of applications that are no longer required.
  • In a worst case scenario, a computer can be completely wiped clean, and a fresh copy of Windows (and other applications) can be re-installed. Whilst this sounds like an extreme measure, Capable Software maintains a policy of completely re-building every PC at least once per year. Test lab PCs are rebuilt much more frequently. It is a considerable commitment, but pays considerable dividends in terms of reducing Windows OS failures.
  • Capable Software does not provide technical support for the resolution of Windows OS failures. It is recommended that each office retain the services of a local Windows/Hardware technician for support in this area.
  • What to do about Hardware failures:

  • In the case of catastrophic hardware failure, replace the faulty piece of hardware.
  • In the case of intermittent (or heat based) hardware failure, a good strategy is to pick one component of the system and replace it temporarily. If the intermittent fault continues, replace another component. When the intermittent fault ceases, the faulty component has most probably been replaced.
  • Intermittent hardware failure is the most frustrating problem, as it is the hardest to diagnose. Capable Software recommends that every office have a documented strategy for dealing with intermittent hardware failure. This could be in the form of having a second PC that can be quickly put on the front desk, or in the form of a contract with a local hardware/technical resource.
  • This knowledge resource is designed for use on a Windows (tm) XP system operating at a screen resolution of 1024x768 or better. Windows Media Player must be installed for this training resource to operate correctly.

    Copyright 2008 Capable Software Pty Ltd

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