Computer diagnostics are software programs designed to scan the hard disk and other computer hardware components of a computer system, and identify any issues that may be hampering the overall performance of that system. Many diagnostic utilities of this type also have the capability of correcting those issues, and thus restoring full function to the system immediately after the diagnostics session is completed. Most operating systems have basic computer diagnostics programming included in the basic installation. In addition, it is possible to purchase additional computer software and routinely run diagnostics sessions to identify and correct a wide range of operational issues.
The main function of computer diagnostics is to ensure the ongoing operation efficiency of the computer and its related components. For this reason, all diagnostic programs scan the hard drive of the system. Most types of diagnostic programs have the capability to scan all other drives that are currently enabled on the system. Many programs of this type will also allow the user to set up a recurring schedule of automatic scans, thus ensuring that any developing issues are identified and resolved before there is a chance for severe damage to any of the drives. One common recommendation for running computer diagnostics is to set the system to initiate a system wide check at the end of each workday, or at least at the end of the workweek.
In addition to computer diagnostics associated with a computer workstation, there are also diagnostic programs that address the efficiency of a network configuration. This type of tool is helpful when a specific workstation experiences difficulty when attempting to connect to a network via a server or some type of remote connection. Like the basic diagnostics used to scan local drives, many operating systems also are equipped with a network tool that is capable of troubleshooting the more common issues that may develop.
IT professionals normally run computer diagnostics using software that is capable of managing a more comprehensive scan than the tools included with most operating systems. This is especially important when the professional is responsible for overseeing the function of a network located in an office or other business setting. Periodic diagnostics sessions make it much easier for the IT team to affirm the overall health of the network, including the function of all workstations that are connected to that network. The broader application of diagnostics makes it much easier to locate and resolve a problem before it has a chance to spread to other portions of the network, and thus minimize the potential for the entire network to be rendered inoperable for a period of time.