SIMPLE COMPUTER FIXES AND TROUBLESHOOTING STRATEGIES
(FAIR WARNING: The following article is based on years of experience, and is provided as a free service. However, PC FIXER is not responsible for any damage that might result from following any of this advice. Proceed at your own risk.)
BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE
When faced with a mysterious (to you) computer problem, don't panic. Sometimes the computer gets caught in a processing loop and it needs your help to stop. The simplest and first thing to do --
SHUT DOWN, REBOOT AND RESTART
If closing programs and applications has not resolved the problem, as a last resort (at this stage), turn your computer off, unplug it, and let it sit for 15 mintues. Then turn it back on and try it again.
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!
As you deal with your computer problem, take notes of what you have done and all the error messages that show up. You may need to use them later. For instance, when you see an unusual blue screen with an error message, copy the entire message onto a piece of paper. In many situations, that message may point to the right direction in getting the problem solved quickly.
CHECK ALL CONNECTIONS - PART 1
Bad connections can cause a lot of difficulty. More than 70% of all computer problems are related to cabling and connections. Make sure all cables are connected firmly. Make sure all power cords are correctly plugged in, that all jacks are completely inserted and have not been accidentally pulled out (many cables are very susceptible to being jarred loose). Also make sure that they are inserted in the correct port!
If the problem persists ...
OPEN UP THE COMPUTER
It is all right to open a computer case and take a look inside. First, turn the machine OFF, and then UNPLUG it. Never open the case while you are still connected to outside power sources (either by direct electrical current or by battery). If you are dealing with a battery powered machine, turn it off and then remove the battery. The internal power supply only provides 5V and 12V DC voltage to the components. Those who have never seen the inside of a computer are often amazed by how simple it looks.
CHECK ALL CONNECTIONS - PART 2
Make sure the microprocessor, memory modules, and adapters (such as the video and sound cards) are seated correctly in their slots. Sometimes these components can become dislodged during movement or daily use. If any of these parts are loose, they might be the source of your problem.
TEST, REVIEW, ISOLATE, AND REVIEW AGAIN
Personal computers are designed in a modular and logical way, put together like building blocks. The most effective technique in solving an operational difficulty is to isolate the problem, identifying the specific problem component by trial-and-error. Swap compatible components and see if the system still works (such as a new video card for an old one). Try different peripherals on different machines and see if the same problem occurs. Make one change at a time. Test it. Change again if necessary.
STAY FOCUSED ON THE PROBLEM - BUT DON'T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME
Solving computer glitches can definitely be a learning opportunity. You can gain a great deal of self-satisfaction in the discovery that you can actually fix a computer problem yourself. Trouble-shooting is part of the fun of owning a computer, but only to a point.
If you find that the scope of your probelm is beyond these simple aspects, then of course the "fun" can quickly disappear. When you have spent too much time on the same problem with no "fix", you will become frustrated. And when the frustration level starts rising you need to leave it for a while and come back later with some new ideas. Or call PC Fixer for help.
Rule of thumb: You shouldn't spend more than a couple hours on the same problem. If it takes you longer than that, you probably need the help of professionals.