shotgun debugging

Shotgun debugging is the debugging of a program, hardware, or system problem using the approach of trying several possible solutions at the same time in the hope that one of them will work.

Shotgun debugging is the debugging of a program, hardware, or system problem using the approach of trying several possible solutions at the same time in the hope that one of them will work. This approach may work in some circumstances while sometimes incurring the risk of introducing new and even more serious problems.

Technicians who repair electronic equipment sometimes use this approach to solving a hardware problem. If test equipment necessary to isolate the faulty component is not available, an experienced technician may replace several components at once, knowing, from experience, that the observed trouble is nearly always caused by a malfunction of one of those components. This is an inefficient and costly method to repair hardware, but in the field, it may work temporarily.

This was first published in February 2007

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