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Troubleshoot these 6 PC problems yourself

Have you ever been in a situation where your computer has malfunctioned and you’re unsure what to do next? Don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us.

Fixing your computer can be a daunting task, especially when you’re just not sure what the cause may be.

The thought of taking your machine to a technician isn’t much better with the added expenses. Avoiding those pricey PC repairs and fixing computer problems yourself, for free, could be the lifesaver you’ve been searching for.

A big misconception with working on computers is that you have to hold some sort of specialized training to do it. In reality, the problem is just a Google search away.

Now there are instances where a technician could be warranted, but most scenarios can be fixed with some free advice online and free software tools. That’s why we’re going to talk about some of the issues you can fix on your own.

PC problems you can fix

1) “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

This catch phrase comes from the British comedy sitcom ‘The IT Crowd’, but is as simple as it sounds. Many memory, software, and miscellaneous issues can be fixed with a quick shutdown of your machine for 30-60 seconds and turning it back on fresh.

This allows your PC to clear the stored memory, and begin operating as you would expect it to with little hesitation.

2) Basic steps such as checking plugs

If you’re having issues with a monitor, or random USB peripherals not powering on or displaying in Windows, it may be time to double check those cords to see if they’re plugged in all the way. Something as simple as unplugging these components and plugging them back in can even trigger Windows to remember that they exist and “reinstall” them for standard usage.

3) Disk error checking

Microsoft’s chkdsk utility is the tool for detecting and fixing hard disk corruptions. The disk is systematically monitored for file system errors, bad sectors, lost clusters, etc., during Automatic Maintenance and you now no longer need to go and run it.

In fact, Windows 8 now even exposes the state of the file-system and disk via the Action Center or under the Drive properties in File Explorer. If potential errors are found, you will be informed about it. You can continue to use the computer, while the scan is carried out in the background. If errors are found, you may be prompted via a notification to restart your computer.

How to run chkdsk in Windows 10

  • To begin the scan, double-click on This PC >> Right-click on Local Disk (C:) (or your drive of preference) > Properties > Tools > Check > Scan drive
  • You can also choose to use the command line by typing and entering: chkdsk /f C:

If the system detects errors, you will be asked to check the disk. If no errors are found, you will see a message stating that you don’t need to scan this drive, but you can if you feel so inclined to do so.

4) Speed up and clean up your PC

When your computer slows down, you don’t have to. It’s bound to happen and it’s normal as your PC ages. Some new machines even come pre-installed with programs, or bloatware, that you don’t need. You can use a program such as PC Decrapifier to remove trial programs and other junk without hunting for what is garbage on your system.

You can quickly clear things such as cookies, temporary system and internet files and other miscellaneous remnants of software and give an older PC a speed boost, with CCleaner. There’s a lot you can do with this tool as it looks through your Windows PC, web browsers and other third-party programs for unwanted clutter and gets free up that space in memory and hard drive storage.

CCleaner also has the ability to scan and fix errors in the Windows registry which you should allow making a backup before making changes.

5) Network issues

If you’re having wireless or plugged-in network issues and it’s essentially dead, your router, cable or DSL modem probably needs to be power cycled. It’s bound to happen with regular use. Simply reboot your devices by unplugging them for 30 to 60 seconds, then plugging them back in. This can usually solve the issue.

6) PC overheating

One thing I learned about this early on is that if your PC or fans are running especially hard and seem to overheat or shut off unexpectedly, it could be something as simple as opening the case and cleaning the tower. Sometimes we forget that the computer needs good air flow and as we use it sometimes dust particles, pet hair and other things floating in the air can get inside.

All you have to do to fix this is open the case with often a flat-head or Phillips-head screwdriver, grab a vacuum, a can of air, and blow out the machine while being careful of the electronics within the case. Just be sure to power down, unplug and have an anti-static wristband to avoid shocking key components.

There are always methods with which you can fix your machine. All it takes is the ability to experiment with your computer while making sure you’ve done the proper research on what you’re trying to accomplish first. There are a plethora of simple fixes and actions you can attempt without ever taking it to a computer technician, and it allows you to save money too.

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