Figuring Out What's Wrong
If you're reading this section, it's because the quick fix techniques listed in the "The Three Basic Suitability Tests" section haven't solved your problems. In this section, I hope to help you out, but please bear in mind this rather brutal truth about PCs in general:
Sometimes there may not be a solution to your problem.
The problem with PCs is simply that not all hardware is created equal; not all the hardware that costs megabucks is guaranteed to be the best; and sadly, not all PCs are destined to ever become NLE workstations.
This all might sound a little on the bleak side, but it's worth bearing this important rule in mind before you start endlessly trying to reconfigure your system. Otherwise you could end up stuck in a circle where you wind up reformatting the drive to reinstall the OS; in order to reconstruct perhaps a little sanity back into your relentlessly PC-persecuted life.
Try to remember that drivers for graphics cards and sound cards can be and often are bugged; hard drives can go wrong just after you buy them; and PC motherboards are updated so often that compatibility lists are often pretty meaningless.
Pretty scary, huh? But if you know about this in advance, then you're prepared (at least mentally) for the road ahead.