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Computer tips and tricks

Five common computer problems – A guide to easy fixes

Computer tips and tricksBekijk in het NederlandsIf you use a computer as much as I do, you have probably had your fair share of computer problems. If you haven’t, maybe your friends or family have. Although I know my way around a computer, I usually end up fixing the errors of said family and friends on their computer. Especially family tends to crash a computer every now and then, and get about a virus a week. In this post I will try to cover some common computer problems and try to give you a simple solution.¬†Optimize your PC quick and simple with these tips!

Common computer problems

After a year or two, or for some people a week or two, computers tend to lose the edge they once had when they were new. They tend to lose a little bit of speed here and there, and become sluggish in everyday tasks. They may have some annoying pop-ups, or you get some reports of viruses but just don’t know what to do with those. Some people decide to throw away the pc and buy a new one, but with some simple tweaks and solutions, you can get your ‘old’ PC up and running again in a second.¬†Computers usually become slower than they used to because of malicious use. The installation and un-installation of various programs leave its marks on the computers registry. The bigger this gets, the longer it takes for your PC to find what it needs. A lot of free programs come with some added ‘extra free’ programs as well, also known as adware, spam and pop-ups. These programs slow your system down as well. Anyways, let’s get to business.

1: Your computer has become slow and sluggish

The main reason for this is already explained partly above. You tend to install and uninstall things every day. This results in a corrupted or bloated registry. In turn, it takes more time for your PC to locate the files it needs. The same goes for your hard drive. This gets filled with fragmented data which needs to be defragmented from time to time. Spyware and unnecessary computer programs have its fair share in these matters too. Getting rid of these programs as soon as possible can speed up your system a lot.

To defragment your HDD, go to the control panel, then to system and security and you will find it under Administrative tools. Note that newer versions of windows tend to defragment automatically. You can also clean up some disc space here while you’re at it.

To get rid of unwanted programs click on default programs under the start button. Once there you will see Programs and Features in the bottom left corner, and when clicked you will see a complete list of every application installed on your computer. It is wise to run through this list every now and then, and remove any unknown or unused programs.

To get rid of spyware and viruses it is a good idea to run your virus scanner. If you do not have one, get one as soon as possible. In the meantime you can use Windows defender, which is free for windows users. Another powerful and free tool is malwarebytes. More on anti-virus programs in a later post.

In addition, you can try cleaning your registry, but this is a risky business. Do not attempt to mess with this unless you know what you are doing, or unless you make a proper back-up of basically everything.

2: Computer system freezes and shows a blue screen

In order to find out why you computer is freezing you will need to do some proper research. Try to find out if you can trigger the freezes, and what you are doing at that time. Then narrow your search for the problem around that piece of software or hardware. I can however list some basic tips for dealing with this problem.

As with the previous problem, viruses may cause problems like these. Do a complete scan of your computer with a proper anti-virus program and windows defender. Make sure your computer is clean before continuing.

The next step is to update drivers to your hardware. Windows uses drivers to make sure hardware is able to communicate with each other. If there is a driver problem and your hardware is unable to properly communicate this can result in freezes and blue screens.

To update drivers you must first find out what hardware is in your computer. Go to the control panel and open up the Hardware and Sound section. Here you can open the Device Manager. In the Device Manager you will find all the hardware that is currently recognised by windows. If you see any errors, try to download drivers for those devices. In addition you can automatically update the drivers on all the devices by clicking ‘update drivers’ for each device. This is sometimes rather buggy, so I would advice to search for driver updates manually by going to the manufacturer’s website and look for updated drivers there. Do this for the most important devices. Your sound drivers for example usually do not generate blue screens, so this is a somewhat less important driver to focus on.

Another possibility is that your RAM is not sufficient. Try to stick some more RAM memory in your PC and see if the problem persists. Some more RAM never hurts.

3: Your computer keeps on rebooting

computer problem helpWhen your computer keeps on rebooting without reason you can probably say this is hardware related. When your computer suddenly powers down or reboots it could well be overheating of a certain part. It is therefore very important to check if all your fans are still working. Also, if your case is filled with dust, and your fans are stuck because of this dust, your computer cannot lose its heat. Make sure you get rid of all excess dust, and make sure your computer is sitting in a rather clean environment. If you want to get rid of this issue for once and for all maybe you should buying a case with dust filters all around and excellent cooling capacity.

Do not open your case if it voids your warranty!

Another major issue can be the power supply. When you buy a power supply, it generates a certain amount of power and delivers that to your PC. Over time, this amount degrades and when it comes under a certain threshold, your computer is not able to run properly anymore and shuts down whenever too much power is required. This is especially true for the cheaper power supplies. You can find more about power supplies is a later post.

In the meantime, try to hook up another power supply to your computer and see if the problem persists. If you do not have one of those lying around, your local computer shop will probably be able to assist you for a small amount of money.

4: Noise, strange sounds and vibrations

This can only be your hardware. The only way to figure out what is causing the noise or vibrations is by opening your case. Note that this may sometimes void your warranty. Do NOT open your case when you still have warranty! When you don’t, you can safely open your case and see the inner workings of your computer. You can safely boot up your computer with the lid of your case, and when you do so you should be able to identify what is making the sound or vibrations. If this is just a loose wire, tuck it away somewhere safe. If it is a fan of some sort you may need to clean it, oil it up or just replace it. Fans are inexpensive so do not worry about that. If you are unable to do it yourself, let a professional do it for you.

If it is something else try to locate the problem, for example to one of your hard drives. Take out the part if possible or replace it and see if the problem persists. If you are unable to safely do so, make sure you contact a professional.

5: Your internet homepage keeps changing by itself

This is either because you forget to uncheck an option box during an installation and let a program change your home page, or because of some virus or spyware. These programs are sometimes able to run hidden code every time you run your internet browser and change your home page whenever it does. Get rid of these viruses by scanning and cleaning your computer with a proper virus scanner and windows defender.

All of the problems stated in this article can be avoided easily by simply keeping your computer in proper shape. Take your time every month or so to review how your PC is doing and cleaning up the hard drive. Make sure you are virus free and don’t have a lot of unused programs running in the background. Make sure you do not panic whenever you are having computer troubles, but keep your head cool and do a little bit of research on the internet. Most of the time, these problems can be solved easily, even by someone who is new to computers with just the help of a search engine.