Computer errors are very common and most of the time they are easy to fix. The first thing I ask people when they come to me about a computer error is, “Have you tried restarting the computer?” I know it sounds like a stupid question, but sometimes people don’t think of this. They just continue to try to get the computer to do what they want.
If you are having a problem with something like the printer not printing or you can’t connect to the internet, the first thing to try is a reboot. If you leave your computer on 24/7 without restarting it, it may eventually get temperamental. It will throw a tantrum and refuse to do what you ask of it. Give your computer a break and shut it down when you are not using it. This will save on your electric bill too. That is always a plus, right?
If you restarted your computer by clicking restart and it didn’t fix the problem, then shut down the computer and then turn it back on. If neither of these things fixes the problem then the next thing to do will depend on the actual problem. Below I will list several common problems and how you might be able to fix them.
1. Computer won’t power up – Try plugging the computer into another outlet. Sometimes for some reason or another, the outlet that the computer is plugged into will cause interference or just isn’t working correctly.
If you don’t hear any fans running when you start the computer up, then you may need a new power supply or worse, a new motherboard.
2. A pop up constantly pops up on your computer telling you that you have a virus – Do not download this software. It is a scam. You will need to use a anti-spyware program to remove the malware that is causing this problem. Spybot and Malwarebytes are free and work pretty well. If anti-spyware doesn’t work then you may need a program that is specifically made to remove it. If you can see the name of the software in the pop up, you can Google the name and find a remover for it. Or you can Google the message that you get and find it that way.
3. A program has frozen up and won’t close – On the keyboard, hold down the ctrl, alt and delete keys (in that order) and quickly release them. The task manager will open. Click on the processes tab and find the name of the program that is frozen. Click on it and then click on the end process button at the bottom right side of the window. You can use the application tab to remove it, but usually it won’t work unless you close it from the processes tab.
4. Software you just installed won’t load – This could be a compatibility problem. If you installed software that is normally meant to run on Windows XP and you have Windows 7, then it may not run. Try this before uninstalling it. Find the software icon on your desktop (if there isn’t an icon, then make a shortcut for the software on your desktop). Right click the icon and choose properties. Now click on the compatibility tab near the top of the window. Put a check mark beside “run the program in compatibility mode” and choose which Windows operating system it needs to run under. Click OK.
Try running the software again and if it doesn’t work, you may need to run the program under administrative rights. Go back to the properties window and at the bottom put a check beside “run this program as an administrator”. If you are not the administrator of the computer, then you might not be able to choose this option.
5. “Blue Screen of Death” (Stop Error) – This is an error that shows up on your computer as a blue screen with white letters. It tends to freak people out a little, I know it did me the first time I saw it. This is just an error message that stops windows from running. Pay attention to the code that shows up with the error and research it to find out exactly what the error is from.
Restarting your computer could fix this error. If it shows up every time you start your computer, then you may have a hardware problem. For instance, faulty memory (ram) could cause this error. A corrupt windows file could also bring up this error and you may need to reinstall Windows or run Windows repair. Here is a link to read more about Windows Startup Repair.
6. No internet connection (wired) – This could be caused by several things. First, make sure all of your connections to your modem, router and computer are securely connected. If these are all connected properly, unplug the modem, router and the Ethernet wire from the computer and wait 30 seconds. Plug everything back in starting with the modem. Wait for the modem to load and then plug the router back in. After those are running, plug the Ethernet wire back into the computer.
If that didn’t work, you can right-click your internet icon and choose diagnose and repair. If that option isn’t there, right-click it and chose “open network and sharing center”. Click on the name of your internet connection and then click on diagnose. A window will pop that will try to figure out why you can’t connect. Sometimes this works, but I have found that most of the time it doesn’t.
If the above options don’t work, unplug the modem, router and shut down the computer. Unplug the power connector and Ethernet wire from the computer. Hold down the power button on the computer for 30 seconds. Plug the modem and router back in and wait for them to load. Plug the Ethernet and power wire back into the computer. Boot it up and see if your internet is working. If so, do the happy dance. If not, then you may need to replace your Ethernet wire. If you have replaced the wire then contact your internet provider and ask them if there is a problem. It could be that you have a faulty modem or router. It could also be that you will need to replace your Ethernet card.
If you have a laptop with a wireless connection and restarting your computer didn’t work, then try the first two fixes mentioned above. If that doesn’t work, try disconnecting it from the internet through the laptop. If you have a wireless switch, turn it off for a few seconds and then turn it back on. You can also disconnect through the icon in the system tray. Click the internet icon and choose disconnect. Reconnect to the internet and see if it is working. If the above tips don’t work, call your internet provider.
7. Your computer constantly freezes up, restarts by itself or just shuts down on its own – This is usually caused by a hardware problem, viruses, spyware or corrupt files. The best way to try to fix these problems is to update your anti-virus and spyware software and run a check with each one (not at the same time). If the problem is corrupt files, you can run the Windows repair software. If it is a hardware problem, you may need to call the repair man.
Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your computer running correctly. You need to keep your antivirus and anti-spyware software up to date and always running. You can also run defrag to help your computer run more efficiently. Read more about defragging here. Make sure that you aren’t using a high percentage of your hard drive space. Windows needs room to run smoothly. Also make sure there aren’t a lot of unnecessary programs running when your computer starts up. If you are using a lot of memory to run programs then your computer may lag and freeze up. You can use Task Manager to see how much memory your programs are using. Just click on the performance tab.
My Name is Teresa Thomas. I have been repairing computers for friends and family for about 15 years.
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