January 30th, 2001

Rules of Computers

These rules are near universal truths for every computer I am aware of. The definition of computer can be extended to virtually any computing device, from phones to video games consoles. All of these may appear to you to be patently obvious, but everyone makes obvious mistakes from time to time. Keeping these in mind when dealing with computers may prevent you from spending a lot of time solving a very simple problem.

  1. Computers, and the components that make them up, almost always function better when they have a source of power.

  2. Operation of a computer is greatly facilitated by turning it on.

  3. Foreign objects and materials do not improve the performance of computers.

  4. Computers will not communicate with other computers or devices unless there is a connection of some sort between them.

  5. It is much easier to control a computer when a functioning input device is connected to it.

  6. A computing experience is more rewarding when the machine has a working method of giving feedback.

  7. It is difficult to operate a system without an Operating System.

  8. Adding a piece of software or hardware to a functioning computer will seldom make it more stable.

  9. Reading an error message before dismissing it will never decrease your understanding of its cause.

  10. If a computer consistently functions properly for one person, but does not for another person performing the same task, the problem is likely the person.

  11. The problems with a computer can never be solved entirely through verbal abuse.

  12. If a computer crashes or behaves in a manner undesirable, you may rest assured knowing it is not because it hates you.

  13. Computers cannot process information without a processor, they cannot handle information without memory, and they cannot save information without a storage device.

  14. Increasing the number of running programs on a computer will not make a computer work faster.

  15. If the information supplied to a computer is inaccurate, the information the computer supplies you with will also be inaccurate. (Note: supplying accurate information to a computer in no way guarantees that information the computer supplies you with will also be accurate)