How to Find a Software Conflict

By Ruri Ranbe

If a particular program on your computer won't perform properly, but the program worked fine in the past, another application or background process may be at fault. Event Viewer in Windows 8 gives you a bird's-eye view of all the activities occuring on your computer. The service logs any detected conflicts the moment they happen, so you can review the log to see which process or processes are causing problems. If Event Viewer, however, fails to recognize the issue or can't determine the source of the problem, you can perform a Clean Boot on your PC via MSConfig to pinpoint which application or service is affecting the performance of other software.

Event Viewer

Step 1

Press "Windows-W" to view the Settings screen and then enter "event" into the search box.

Step 2

Select "Event Viewer" or "View Event Logs" from the results to launch Event Viewer.

Step 3

Expand "Windows Logs" in the left pane and then click "Application."

Step 4

Scroll through the list of events in the Application pane and double-click any recent events labeled "Error" or "Warning."

Step 5

Review the information on the General tab to see a description of the problem and find the name of the application or process causing the issue.

Step 6

Write down the information next to the Event ID and Source fields. Close the window and use a Web browser to visit the Microsoft Support site (see link in Resources).

Step 7

Type "event ID [#]" into the search bar (replace "[#]" with the appropriate event ID) and then press "Enter" to search the database for possible solutions.

Using Clean Boot

Step 1

Press "Windows-Q" to view the Apps screen and then type "msconfig" or "msconfig.exe" into the search box.

Step 2

Right-click "msconfig" and then choose "Run as Administrator" from the context menu to launch System Configuration with administrative privileges.

Step 3

Select the "Services" tab, check "Hide All Microsoft Services" and then click "Disable All" to uncheck all of the items in the list.

Step 4

Select the "Startup" tab and then check "Open Task Manager" to launch Task Manager.

Step 5

Choose the first item on the Startup tab and then click "Disable" in the bottom right. Repeat this for all other items on the tab.

Step 6

Exit Task Manager and then click "OK" to close System Configuration.

Step 7

Restart your computer and then launch the application with which you're having problems. If the program still won't open or run properly, contact the vendor for more assistance.

Step 8

Close the application and then reopen System Configuration. Check the first item on the Services tab to re-enable it and then click "OK."

Step 9

Restart your computer and then relaunch the application. If the program won't open or if you can't use the program as normal, the service you enabled is most likely causing conflict. If the program still works, repeat the above step for the next item on the Services tab. Do this for both the Services and Startup tabs until you locate which application or service is causing the problem.