Difference Between Diagnosing and Troubleshooting In Computers

Computer issues and problems are normal. Some common computer issues include freezing the screen, slowing down of the computer, slow internet, strange noises, abnormality in the functioning of OS, the screen going blank, etc. Although these common issues may sound trivial, they signify a serious underlying problem that needs to be detected and solved earliest. The most common terms involved in this include diagnosing and troubleshooting in computers.

Diagnosing vs Troubleshooting In Computers

The main difference between diagnosing and troubleshooting in computers is that diagnosing involves identifying a particular issue, whereas troubleshooting involves identifying and solving the problem. The diagnosis process is less complex than troubleshooting due to the absence of the resolution process. Moreover, the diagnosis was discovered in the 1960s. Troubleshooting was found in the 1930s.

Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

Diagnosing refers to the method of detecting malfunctioning in the computer system. Before releasing a system to the public audience, the diagnosing of the computer is generally carried out. Specific diagnostic programs are available that test the device’s operational status, thereby ensuring its full-fledged functioning. Diagnostic programs scan every drive present in the system to ensure operational efficiency. 

Troubleshooting in computers refers to diagnosing a problem, its cause, and its solutions. The three most common troubleshooting methods are diagnosis, elimination, and product restoration. The elimination process is the most common and easiest method of troubleshooting and identifying the underlying issue. All the possible problems closely related to the underlying issue are generally observed, checked, and ruled out in this process. 

Comparison Table Between Diagnosing and Troubleshooting In Computers

Parameters of ComparisonDiagnosing in ComputersTroubleshooting in Computers
DefinitionLike the word says, Diagnosing is the recognition of the issues and problems underlying the malfunctioning of the computer.Troubleshooting involves recognizing and solving the problems and issues responsible for the malfunctioning.
TypesDiagnosing in computers is basically of two types, i.e., hardware diagnosing and software diagnosing.Troubleshooting in computers is basically of four types, i.e., troubleshooting IP problems, physical connectivity issues, local connectivity issues, and issues regarding the entry of repetitive IP addresses.
MethodsDiagnosing in computers has a single and lengthy process.We can do troubleshooting in computers in three methods, of which the elimination method is the most convenient.
Steps InvolvedThe steps involved in diagnosing the computer include POST, OS load time test, RAM test, graphics test, audio tests, heat level tests, CPU test, new installations test, listening tests followed by virus scans. The four steps involved in troubleshooting in computers include awareness followed by confirmation. Then comes identification, followed by resolution of the specific issue.
Tools InvolvedThe tools involved in diagnosing computers include Windows Performance Monitor, Windows Resource Monitor, Open Hardware Monitor, Speccy, and HD Tune.Tools used in troubleshooting computers include Ping, Traceroute, Ipconfig, Nslookup, Whois, Netstat, and IP calculator.

What is Diagnosing In Computers?

Diagnosing in computers, also known as diagnostics, refers to how software programs and hardware devices of the computer are tested. There are various steps of diagnosing computers. Firstly, it becomes essential to unbox the computer and ensure that all components such as RAM chips, sound cards, cables, and video cards are well connected to the system, especially the motherboard. 

Then, run the computer through POST, i.e., Power On Self Test. This startup program helps diagnose the computer’s hardware devices, thereby ensuring that they are operating correctly. If the hardware components have any issues, POST comes up with an error message followed by beeps. As the next step, one needs to check the operating system and its loading time. If the load time turns out to be longer, there are higher chances of some problems in the hard drive. Then, another diagnostic test for graphics problems is done. 

Following this, diagnostic tests to detect hardware problems are conducted. When all diagnostics for the hardware turns out with good results, one can check the computer for newly installed software, CPU consumption rates, and RAM consumption rates. The final step would be to get one’s ears close to the computer. Any unusual sound indicates a probable problem in the hard disk or the CPU fan. Finally, one can run antivirus programs and software to ensure that no virus or malware exists in the computer.

What is Troubleshooting In Computers?

Troubleshooting in computers refers to identifying problems in the computer system, thereby leading to its restoration. After identifying a specific fault, various methods for solving it are used. Thus, the entire process is termed troubleshooting. The cause of any malfunctioning in the system may vary from one to many. However, a single troubleshooting problem can identify all these underlying reasons. 

To get started with troubleshooting on the computer, one can clear the RAM. Clearing the RAM means shutting down all the programs running in the background. Generally, the number of running programs is directly proportional to their space in the RAM. After cleaning up the RAM, one can try closing down the software/program and then starting it again from scratch. This method helps in solving the issue in most cases.

However, if the problem still exists, one can reboot the computer and relaunch the program. If the problem persists, one can undo any software or hardware changes in the recent past. The penultimate step would involve the uninstallation of the program followed by its reinstallation. If the user still faces the same issue, he should let the computer go through a virus scan. 

Main Differences Between Diagnosing and Troubleshooting In Computers

  1. Diagnosing computers came up during the end of the 1960s. On the other hand, troubleshooting of computers came up during the 1930s. 
  2. The diagnosis in a computer is possible through the only process, which is a lengthy attempt. But, troubleshooting has a very effective method called the elimination technique. Apart from it, troubleshooting can be performed in two other ways.
  3. The diagnosis in a computer can be performed in two ways. But, based on computer systems, it is software diagnosing and hardware diagnosing. The entry of repetitive IP addresses, local connectivity issues, physical connectivity issues, and troubleshooting of IP problems are four basic steps of troubleshooting.
  4. The computer diagnosis process passed through various measures. Every step is vital to complete the function. But, the computer troubleshooting follows a few steps to proceed. Moving to the confirmation after awareness, then identification with a specific issue resolution. 
  5. Proper tools are needed for successful diagnosis in computers. But, the necessary tools include Open Hardware Monitor, Windows Resource Monitor, Speccy, HD Tune, Windows Performance Monitor. The essential tools for healthy computer diagnosis include IP calculator, Ipconfig, Nslookup, Whois, Netstat, Ping, and Traceroute.


Whenever your computer faces any problem, it becomes crucial to diagnose both the hardware and software. Various tools are also available for troubleshooting and diagnosing. Looking at the sequence, diagnosing problems follows their troubleshooting. Early detection of faults and viruses is necessary. If left unattended for long, these faults and viruses can cripple the entire computer system.


  1. https://www.birpublications.org/doi/abs/10.1259/bjr.70.839.9536897
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563298000053
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