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How to Troubleshoot These 8 Common Computer Problems

There are several common computer problems that users may encounter, and troubleshooting them can be straightforward with a little bit of knowledge and patience.

Without a doubt, computers have become a ubiquitous part of our lives, from work to entertainment, and therefore it’s important to know a little knowledge to fix some common problems that your computer might encounter. These problems are inevitable and can be frustrating and time-consuming, however, having a little bit of troubleshooting knowledge you can resolve them without the need of seeking professional help. However, if the problem is beyond your expertise or you’re unsure about how to proceed with the problem, then it is best to seek professional help.

Below are some of the common computer problems and how to troubleshoot them;

  1. Computer won’t turn on: If your computer is not turning on, it is most likely that it is either the internal power supply is faulty or there’s no power coming to your computer. Sometimes, it could be that the computer is turning on, but there’s a fault with the display or there are some unusual settings that are interfering with the boot sequence, in this case, it would be best to seek professional help.

To fix the problem:

  • Make sure the power cable is properly connected to the computer and the power outlet.
  • Check if the power outlet works by plugging in another device, for instance trying charging your phone.
  • Try a different power cable. If you have a spare power cord available, swap it out. If the original cord has failed.
  • Make sure the power supply unit (PSU) is functioning properly and if it is not working consider replacing it.
  • If you have a laptop, make sure the battery is charged.
  1. Computer running slow: If your computer is running slow, it may be due to several factors, such as too many applications or programs running at the same time, low disk space, or a virus/malware infection, among other reasons.

To fix this problem:

  • Delete/remove unnecessary applications, files, and programs.
  • Use a disk cleanup tool to free up space on your storage.
  • Delete temp files. To do so press the Windows Key + R and in the dialog box type “%temp%” >> select and permanently delete the files. On Mac, go to Finder, select Go >> Go to Folder, and type “~/Library/Caches/” >> select and permanently delete the files.
  • Scan your computer for viruses and malware, and delete all the malware/viruses detected.
  • Consider upgrading your memory (RAM) and Storage. If you have 2GB RAM consider upgrading to 4GB, on the other hand, upgrade your storage from a standard hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) this will drastically improve the computer’s performance.
  • Defragment your hard disk drive.
Upgrading your memory as well as your storage from a standard hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) this will drastically improve the computer's performance. PHOTO: Heliberto Arias/Unsplash
Upgrading your memory as well as your storage from a standard hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) this will drastically improve the computer’s performance. PHOTO: Heliberto Arias/Unsplash
  1. Blue screen of death (BSoD): Officially known as a Stop error, this is a critical error in Windows PCs that happens in the event of a fatal system error. It indicates a system crash, in which the operating system has reached a critical condition where it can no longer operate safely. An occasional BSoD that you never see again could be harmless. However, regular blue screens can be problematic and frustrating because they may indicate a deeper malaise and force you to lose data upon every reboot.
Blue screen of death is a critical error in Windows PCs that happens in the event of a fatal system error.
Blue screen of death is a critical error in Windows PCs that happens in the event of a fatal system error.

To fix this problem:

  • Restart the computer in safe mode (press F5 on your keyboard) and run your antivirus.
  • Disconnect all peripherals including printers, scanners, USB devices, and external storage from your PC because any of these may be the cause of the BSoD.
  • Uninstall any recently installed applications or software/programs if any.
  • Download and install the latest drivers.
  • Fully scan your computer for any possible viruses and malware.
  • If all else fails, reset Windows or perform a clean install. However, this is a last-resort option and users should be sure to back up all important data to an external hard drive before reinstalling Windows.
  1. No internet connection: If your computer is not connecting to the internet, it could be due to several factors, such as faulty network settings, incorrect Wi-Fi password, or issues with the modem or router.

To fix this problem:

  • Check if other devices on the same network are experiencing internet connectivity issues. If so, restart the modem and router. Also, check that you have no loose cables, if so make sure they are all powered up and go ahead to restart the modem and router.
  • If you’re using Wi-Fi, make sure your Wi-Fi is turned on, and make check you also have the correct Wi-Fi password. If it is ethernet check the ethernet cable is plugged into the correct ethernet port or try using a different ethernet cable.
  • Make sure you are in the wireless signal range.
  • Make sure your network settings are correct. Open the Network Diagnostics and check your DNS settings. For PC, go to Windows Settings >> Network & Internet >> Status. Next, view under Network Settings and click Network Troubleshooter. On Mac, press and hold the Option key, click the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar, then choose Open Wireless Diagnostics. Follow the onscreen instructions to analyze your network connection. If any issue is discovered, a list of possible actions is given to take to restore your connection.
  • Lastly, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  1. Frozen or unresponsive computer: If your computer is frozen or unresponsive, it could be due to software or hardware issues.

To fix this problem:

  • Press and hold the power button until the computer turns off, then restart it.
  • Use the task manager to close any unresponsive applications.
  • Check for any updates to your software or operating system. Also, if you have updates running in the background without your knowledge, it could be a reason causing this problem.
  • If the problem persists, check your hardware components, you might want to upgrade your hardware RAM and Storage.
  1. Audio or sound issues: Your speakers, sound card, or software/drivers are the possible reasons you have audio/sound issues. Or on the other hand, your headphones or your wireless audio devices could be faulty.

To fix this problem:

  • First, you should get the most obvious fix out of the way. If you have no sound on your computer, double-check to make sure that you haven’t muted the audio or if the volume bars aren’t at zero.
  • If you have more than one audio output device connected to your computer, it’s possible that Windows is playing sound through the wrong one.
  • Try the built-in audio troubleshooter, this allows you to identify and fix issues on its own—sometimes.
  • Update your sound card drivers or software.
  • If you’re using wired headphones make sure they are plugged in properly and also they have to be working in the first place. If the headphones are faulty, get a new pair. For wireless audio devices make sure you’ve paired your device to your computer properly.
  1. Overheating: If your computer is overheating, it could be due to various factors, such as faulty fans, dust accumulation, or improper ventilation.

To fix this problem:

  • Clean your computer’s fans and ventilation system to remove dust and debris.
  • Avoid using your computer on soft surfaces (such as beds or couches) that block ventilation.
  • Consider purchasing a cooling pad or external fan to improve airflow.
  • Check for any hardware issues with your computer components (such as the CPU or graphics card) that may be causing excessive heat.
  1. Battery draining so fast: If your laptop’s battery is draining too quickly, it could be due to software issues, background applications, or hardware problems.

To fix this problem:

  • Check for any software updates and install them.
  • Close any unused applications and processes running in the background.
  • Adjust your power settings to optimize battery life.
  • Replace your laptop’s battery if it is old or damaged.

Troubleshooting common computer problems can be a daunting task, but with a little bit of knowledge, most issues can be resolved without the need for professional help. Seek a professional when you are unsure about how to proceed with a problem, the problem is beyond your expertise, or if the problem is a hardware issue and needs opening the computer. Remember seeking professional help comes at a cost.


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