Your deadline is on the horizon and suddenly your computer freezes. You’re probably screaming, “What’s wrong with my computer?”
Computers are a great tool that many of us rely on daily in both our personal and professional lives. Troubleshooting a computer is a bit different than, say, troubleshooting an iPhone. If our phone stops working we just upgrade to a new phone.
When it comes to our computers making a change isn’t that simple and upgrades aren’t being passed out like candy. Sometimes our whole life is on our computers. If something goes wrong it is a major crisis.
For that reason, everyone should learn basic computer troubleshooting techniques for broken or malfunctioning computers.
Don’t lose precious time dealing with PC problems. Continue reading for these tips on troubleshooting computer problems.
Computer Repair for Unexpected Shutdowns
A system that freezes and shuts down unexpectedly is a cause for concern. Sudden computer crashes is a serious problem that should not be overlooked. Run a complete diagnostic test to determine if there is an issue with the hard drive.
Often times a computer will shut down when it overheats. Other common causes that lead to computers failing are linked to viruses, bad power sources, and damage to the hardware. The automatic shutdown is the system safeguard.
Check Power Source
Check your cord to make sure the computer is still plugged in and the battery has not died. The power source could have disconnected at the outlet, the adaptor or the computer.
Your system should have notified you of a low battery. A flashing red light or pop-up are common features. Some computers have a function key that allows you to check the health of your battery.
Restart in Safe Mode
Restart the computer in safe mode or safe boot, depending on your operating system. This will allow limited access to the computer so you can investigate the reason for the crash.
Are the Fans Working?
Computers have fans that keep the modem cool so it can function properly. Check to see if the computer’s fans are working. If the fans are not working it is quite possible that the computer overheated.
Laptops can overheat if they are kept in a hot car or if the unit is sitting on a surface that blocks the vents.
Run a Diagnostic Test
After these common issues have been ruled out you will need to run a Bio Diagnostics test. The steps may vary by computer and operating system so check your owner’s manual for guidance.
If you can’t detect the issue and the problem persists, contact a computer repair service.
Data is Taking Too Long to Download or Upload
You have 10 minutes before a meeting and your report is taking an eternity to download. Or maybe you’re a YouTube Creator and are trying to upload your daily videos. Whatever the case, dealing with slow internet speeds is a pain and it also could mean your computer has a virus.
Slow computers are an inconvenience but rarely mean there is a serious issue that can’t be resolved on your own. Basic computer troubleshooting for a slow computer include:
Upgrade your Internet Service
If your day-to-day computer usage includes moving a lot of data, you may need to upgrade your internet speed. You can run a speed test from your computer. Check your manual for instructions. You can also contact your internet provider to have them run an internet speed diagnostic.
Although most downloads and uploads require less than 25mbps or million bits per second, internet providers are packaging basic plans that offer 100mbps.
Upgrade your Computer
We’re living in a digital world where so much can be done from a computer. It may be time to invest in a computer that can handle the exchange of data that you are transferring on a daily basis.
It also may require investing in a system that is better equipped to handle the number and size of your typical daily downloads. Downloading music and videos means using a lot of data. If you are trying to download multiple files at once on an older system can bog down the system.
Upgrading to a newer operating system can increase your speed times.
You are Running Out of Space
The internet may have indefinite space but your computer does not. At some point, you are going to run out of space and this will not only slow down your computer. It can also lead to system failure.
Now is the time to start looking in external drives and cloud storage solutions. You should also consider deleting old files you no longer need. External drives are great for saving large files as well as backing up the data on your hard drive.
Viruses and Dirty Systems
There can be many programs running in the background and the user not know it. These programs will cause older systems to underperform. When the system is being pulled in too many directions it will impact the input and output.
Viruses can have the same effect on your computer. This is why it is so important to have anti-virus software on your computer. Some anti-virus/anti-malware on your computer offer premium services that will not only stop viruses but check your system for productivity issues.
You can also run your own diagnostics to detect Malware. Computers also have programs to defrag computers and delete unused and unneeded files.
Your Computer is Humming and Clicking
Like cars, computers make noises when things malfunction. The only sound that should come from your computer’s operating system is the fan. If you are hearing other noises power down the computer immediately.
We talked about the fan earlier but here is additional information. During operation, the fan may turn on and off but typically isn’t distracting. However, if the computer is running hot the fan has to work harder and in return seem louder.
In desktop computers, there is likely more than one fan. These fans are positioned to keep isolated components cool. They point to your graphics card, power cord outlet, Central Processing Unit (CPU) and hard drive.
If you are unclear which fan is having issues check your manual or consult with a computer repair person.
Laptops are simpler, they only have one fan. This fan is used to cool the CPU. Since laptops are not always stationary the fan could become obstructed by something inside the unit like a cable.
When you hear a loud humming noise or other unexpected sounds coming from your computer it is cause for concern. It is a sign that there is a serious problem with your hard drive.
Dealing with clinking, banging and other noises from your computer could require opening the unit. This is not something you should attempt to do if you are not trained to do so. Getting a diagnosis is not basic computer troubleshooting and requires a clean dust-free environment.
Sometimes your computer will make sounds if a disc drive is stuck. This happens when a CD or disc is not loaded properly. Pressing the release button typically release the disc. Do not force the release of the disc as it could damage the drive.
Fake Internet Alerts
It is frightening to hear loud beeping and a message that your system has been infected with a virus. You are wondering what’s wrong with my computer. Chances are there is nothing wrong and you’ve accidentally accessed a website that is trying to load malware.
Do not click on anything on the site. Exit out of the page. If you are prevented from doing so close your internet. In the worst case, you will be forced to shut down your computer.
In these instances, it is great to have an anti-virus program because it will immediately isolate any virus and malware then remove it. If you believe your computer is infected you will need professional assistance cleaning your system.
Poor Internet Connections
Working remotely means having a strong internet connection at all times. Not to be confused with the download and upload problems, this issue is usually not associated with your computer.
There are different types of internet connections. The fastest and most commonly used in today’s digital sphere is wireless, cable and satellite.
Wireless, also referred to as Wi-Fi, uses radio frequency to connect users to the internet. If your computer has an unsteady connection or won’t connect at all it is probably due to signal interference. When this happens your computer will continue to try and reconnect on its own.
Almost anything can interfere with the connection but the common causes are bad weather and use of a microwave oven. A connection may be weakened if the wireless router is too far from the area you’re working in you may need to move closer or relocate it.
You can also experience problems from your neighbor’s wireless connections but this is rare. Just make sure your network is set-up properly and password protected.
Satellite internet uses a satellite dish, one that is in space. They are known to have delayed connections but serve their purpose. Like wireless connections, they can be interrupted by atmospheric conditions.
If you live in a rural area you are more likely to experience connectivity issues.
Cable is the most popular and reliable option for connecting to the internet via a computer. Your connection is via a modem and exterior cable lines. This form of internet access often requires connecting the computer or laptop to the modem with an Ethernet cable.
Basic troubleshooting is to check to see if your Ethernet cord is connected to the modem and your computer.
Regardless of which method you have, try these techniques if you are unable to reconnect quickly or the internet is down for an extended period.
- Disconnect and then reconnect the internet using your computer function keys.
- Power off your computer and reboot.
- Check to see if the issue is isolated to your computer.
- Reboot the router or modem.
- If none of these work, contact your internet provider for further diagnostics.
If there are multiple users or devices in your home and the issue is isolated to one device, the problem is with the computer.
Clean Your Computer
Most people don’t think about the ongoing maintenance of their computer. If you want yours to last you must clean it inside and out on a regular basis. Computer maintenance is the best deterrent to needing computer repair.
Protect your computer’s outer appearance by keeping it free of dust and food particles. Sauces can cause keys to stick and crumbs can get stuck under the keys an affect your ability to type. Avoid drinking near your computer because an accidental spill can cause irreversible damage.
To keep your computer clean use only microfiber cleaning cloths for the screen. Compressed air can are a great way to free keyboards of foreign particles. Use a damp cloth to thoroughly wipe the entire computer down.
Do not blow compressed air into the vents of your computer as this can damage the fans and get dust into places that can cause damage to the system.
Depending on how long you have owned your computer and often you use it, there is a lot of clutter on it. There are probably thousands of music, video, images and document files you have saved over the years. And don’t forget the games and apps you don’t use.
If you no longer listen to it, watch it, or need it…delete it. Software programs that you’ve downloaded and never use can go also. When you are done run disk cleanup to free up space on your hard drive being utilized by temporary files, thumbnails and recycle bins.
It’s Easy to Troubleshoot Your Computer Issues
Now that you have these tips you can better decipher when your computer needs maintenance vs. computer repair.
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