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I was wondering if operating systems can in anyway effect hardware of a system. Like, is it possible that a corrupted OS can cause heating problems/ power management issues/ hard drive errors?
If we take the case of Windows OS, Pirated Windows OS, Ubuntu.
The question might sound stupid. I am not well aware of the interconnections of layers between software handling hardware. Any views would be much appreciated.

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marked as duplicate by ta.speot.is, Tog, Brad Patton, Karan, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 13 '13 at 15:03

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3 Answers 3

It depends on how the hardware is designed.

In general, if the hardware is designed so that potentially dangerous operations (in the sense that they could damage the hardware itself) are in control of the software then yes, the software could cause hardware damage. If instead the hardware present to the OS an interface that avoids any dangerous operation or is able to override software control for safety reason, then the software shouldn't be able to damage it.

For example a cpu or gpu that has hardware thermal control will unlikely reach dangerous temperatures because when the threshold is reached it will turn itself off, avoiding any damage, regardless of what the software is doing. But if the cpu depends on the software (OS or even an application) for its safety, then a bug could cause an excessive overheat without any way for the hardware to avoid it, and that could cause a cpu damage.

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+1, a few years ago Nvidia released an update that did just this, the drivers control the fan speed in order to balance cooling vs fan noise and they got something wrong and some cards ended up overheating. The same could happen to any fan that is able to be software controlled. –  Mokubai Apr 13 '13 at 9:34

A failure in software can cause damage to hardware as while the hardware in use by a particular software and there is some problem in the function of software and it crashes, the hardware is not aware of that and it cause can serious trouble. For example,in case of network devices it occurs most of the times.

But, modern OS prevent the hardware in most of the cases eg. Blue screen of death

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There's a few scenarios where this can happen. One would be where some firmware critical to the running of some hardware is somehow damaged - happened with some samsung laptops when linux was installed. Likewise other components might get bricked - with a lot of parts having upgradable firmware, a failed update could result in any one of these components failing to work. Even where the firmware update works, flawed firmware could cause failures - like with the seagate barracuda 7200.11 or the crucial m4.

Thankfully there hasn't been anything as bad as the old CIH virus which was able to render a system unbootable, but one can imagine the damage that would cause.

Hardware has software these days, and this can affect reliability or overall condition.

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