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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System Resources | Resource Conflicts and Conflict Resolution ]

The Nature of Resource Conflicts

Resource conflicts can manifest themselves in several different ways. Some conflicts can be very easy to recognize; others can be extremely difficult to find and correct, because they manifest themselves indirectly, or through symptoms that may not seem to have anything to do with the device causing the problem. Here are some of the ways that resource conflicts manifest themselves. Some of these may be consistent and repeatable, while others may be intermittent:

  • System hangs or lockups, particularly while using a peripheral device.
  • (Memory) parity errors on parity-enabled systems.
  • Noise or other problems from sound cards.
  • Junk being printed on your printer.
  • The mouse pointer hanging and refusing to move, or moving in a stuttering fashion.
  • Error messages from Windows 95, messages about the PC not operating at maximum performance, or the system dropping to "Safe Mode" or "MS-DOS Compatibility Mode".
  • Errors and crashes of applications for no apparent reason.

As you can see, some of these obviously point to a resource problem, but many do not. For example, system crashes can be caused by many non-resource-related factors. If your mouse works until you try to use your modem, well, you can probably figure out what the problem is, or at least where to start looking. In general, if you just added a new peripheral to your PC and a resource conflict is indicated, the new device is almost certainly involved somehow.

Tip: If the list of example problems above seems similar to a list of computer viruses symptoms, that's probably because it is. It is not uncommon for a PC that appears to have a resource conflict problem to really be suffering from a virus. Make sure you always check for viruses as the first step in debugging any PC problem.

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