Knowing the aberration amid HDMI and USB qualifies me as the bounded tech “expert,” so association generally allure me about to fix their computer problems. I’ll let you into a little secret, though: Best of the time, I’m not accomplishing annihilation all that absorbing or magical. Troubleshooting basal computer problems is absolutely appealing straightforward.
That’s not to belittle the accomplished assignment of 18-carat computer adjustment professionals—or to say that every botheration is a simple one—but there are some basal accomplish you can assignment through afore accepting addition abroad in to booty a look. Here’s how to accouterment it yourself.
And, yes, I will still arise and reinstall Windows for you in acknowledgment for a brace of beers.
Neighbors and ancestors accept acquiescently accustomed me absolute money for advancing to their abode and Googling their computer problems for them. It’s not a cop out—it’s a absolutely accessible way of alive out what’s activity wrong. That said, you charge to be as specific as you possibly can in your queries and cut through the masses of after-effects you’re acceptable to get back.
Chances are, addition has suffered the aforementioned affair as you, and apparently begin a fix too. Ignore sponsored after-effects and links affairs software and apply on appointment posts or (even better) official sources from the software and accouterments companies involved. Is there a fix you can download? Or a adviser you can follow?
If you’re advancing beyond a lot of altered after-effects and abeyant solutions, attending for ones that users affirm accept worked, or which accept been accustomed by official sources. Best above software and accouterments firms now accept advantageous online troubleshooting tools, so coursing bottomward those too—they may not consistently arise in your chase results.
It’s the best accessible cliche out there, but like best cliches, there’s some accuracy in it—it alike works for Boeing Dreamliners. Reboot your computer, your printer, your router, your adaptable phone, your USB hub and aggregate abroad you’re accepting a botheration with. By reboot, we beggarly about-face it off, delay a acceptable minute or two, and about-face it aback on.
Why does it assignment so well? It clears out all of the acting (and abeyant dodgy) advice from the memories of your altered $.25 of accouterments and armament them to alpha from scratch, whether that’s aing to wifi or loading a game. It additionally closes bottomward apps or $.25 of cipher that shouldn’t absolutely be running.
Some applications handle reboots bigger than others, but it’s consistently best to go through the official abeyance and reboot activity for your OS rather than affairs the bung (unless you accept no choice)—it gives programs adventitious to save your assignment and do whatever housekeeping needs to be done afore they alpha up afresh with a apple-pie slate.
Rebooting clears out the acting band blind about in your computer’s anamnesis but it won’t affect annihilation assuredly accounting to disk: Base ambience files, damaged abstracts that should’ve been besmirched but hasn’t, and added $.25 of agenda bits will still be blind around.
An app reinstall can advice fix that, and you should accord it a try if one affairs in accurate is proving problematic. Uninstalling and reinstalling an appliance not alone clears out any base abstracts or burst settings, it additionally ensures you’re active the latest adaptation of the software, complete with the latest affinity updates and bug fixes (assuming you get it from the web).
Drivers and firmware aren’t as important as they already were on computer systems but they’re still account a mention: Analysis in with architect websites to see if any cipher updates are accessible for your cartoon card, printer or added accouterments components, decidedly if there’s one bit of kit that’s giving you trouble.
If you’re still accepting problems with arrangement crashes and accepted sluggishness, a spyware or malware affairs may accept taken basis on your machine. Amend your antivirus and antispyware software to the latest versions and run the best absolute scans they has. Lifehacker has a acceptable aggregation of the best choices.
The added adult types of malware out there apperceive what an antivirus affairs looks like and will bouncer adjoin advance or reinstall themselves already you reboot. Standalone scanners, like Microsoft Safety Scanner or McAfee Stinger, can sometimes get about this and customs decidedly awful infections.
It’s additionally account blockage up on the programs active in the accomplishments while your computer is on. Launch Task Manager on Windows or Activity Monitor on Mac to attending for annihilation apprehensive (there’s no abashment in active a web chase for any entries you don’t accept to analysis if they should be there or not).
Some simple detective assignment can do wonders for award solutions to PC problems. It’s not consistently possible, but if you’re accepting agitation with one bit of hardware, try replacing it with another: If it works, you’ve articular the antecedent of the affair and can booty adapted activity (like affairs a new keyboard).
There are affluence of useful, chargeless affection accoutrement out there to accommodate a hand. DiskCheckup (Windows) and Onyx (Mac) can browse your adamantine drive for errors and apple-pie up assertive problems, while the much-loved CCleaner (Windows or Mac) is abundant for tidying up acting files that shouldn’t be blind around.
Dell has a array of affection programs you can use to try and get a bigger handle on what the botheration is, while Windows has its own advocate apparatus in the Activity Center. If you’re on an Apple computer you can run the chip Apple Accouterments Test or Apple Affection depending on the age of your machine.
We’ve talked about elimination your computer’s anamnesis and charwoman up abstracts files, and reinstalling Windows or Mac OS is the ultimate adaptation of that. In the past, this acclimated to be a circumlocutory and potentially alarming process, but Apple and Microsoft accept now fabricated it so aboveboard that it’s about account accomplishing consistently whether you’re accepting problems or not.
It’s like a branch displace for your phone: Your computer will go aback to actuality as it was aback you aboriginal bought it. That agency burst files, base data, dodgy extensions and any bacilli (except the best low-level and assiduous ones) will be wiped away. So will all your documents, photos, emails, apps and settings too, so accomplish abiding you accept aggregate cautiously backed up.
You’ll charge to analysis the official instructions for whatever OS you accept installed, but if you’re active the latest versions of Windows or Mac OS X afresh it’s not a complicated process. In both cases you can accept to try resetting the arrangement files after affecting your own abstracts afore activity for a abounding reinstall.
This is a bluff area for basal troubleshooting, not a across-the-board for every botheration out there. If article austere is activity on—like a declining adamantine drive or a assiduous virus—then calling in the advice of a able is a acceptable idea. It’s account blockage what affectionate of assurance and abutment options are offered by whoever awash you the computer as a aboriginal anchorage of call.
And, if you still can, aback aggregate up. This is article you should be accomplishing anyway, but best bodies don’t anticipate about it until their laptop or desktop dies. You can eventually alter your computer (even if you accept to save up for a while), but adored photos and important abstracts are beneath accessible to get aback again.
[Header image: KJBevan/Shutterstock.com]
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