In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 1st season last episode, when Cameron is starting the jeep, it blasts. Then she tries to kill John Connor. So my question is, why is this? Is it because her software or hardware malfunctioned?
From what I remember, it was her original programming to kill him and the explosion must have reset her to factory settings (F*#k you Apple).
From my knowledge of real-world electronics, I suppose it's possible that the explosion could have corrupted a hard drive or part of a hard drive and that forced the CPU to boot in safe mode which would would boot with default settings, AKA kill John Connor.
Going back to normal may have been because her CPU found a backup of the hard drive that was corrupted. (Always backup your stuff!) However, computers in the real world are able to find and load backups in seconds not hours. Although it depends how much data she is storing.
So to answer your question, it's kinda both a software and hardware problem.