What happens within your computer when it locks up or crashes? And why do some operating systems seem inherently more stable than others?
Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
All computers lock up or crash, and no operating system is immune (as a matter of fact, we crashed once as we wrote this answer), but singling out specific reasons oversimplifies the issue, explains Daniel Jackson, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The underlying cause, Jackson says, is that hardware and software developers are trying to bring products to market in "Internet time"-that is, hyperfast. The result: Quality and reliability suffer.