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Fix common PC problems

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by MziziMkavu, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2012
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    Having trouble with your computer? You've come to the right place. Even if you don't know a computer language (or want to), you can solve several common PC problems on your own.In this article, we offer many ways to do what you need to do in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Often, there may not be a Help topic for Windows XP, but the process is often the same as in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. The only difference is usually where to find the link in Control Panel. Most often, it’s just a matter of slightly different wording in the heading or the text describing the task. Don’t worry. If you search in Control Panel, you’ll usually find the link you need.F1 is magic: Get help on your PC

    [​IMG]If you can’t figure out how to complete a particular task in your software program—and you’re using a PC—the most important shortcut to know is the F1 key. Just push it while the program—Word, Excel, or whichever program you’re using—is open and active, wait a moment, and the Help window specific to your active program will appear. See an F1 key demonstration. The F1 key works with almost all Microsoft products, so it’s a helpful starting point for a wide variety of problems.


    The basics

    If you’re encountering a different kind of obstacle – your new device won’t appear on your desktop, an application you added won’t run, you see an error message, or your computer is refusing to start up – here are a few preliminary steps:

    1. Before adding any major hardware or software to your system, make sure you've recently backed up your Windows 7-based PC or your Windows Vista-based PC as a safeguard. By using the automatic backup functions, you can schedule regular upkeep for maximum convenience.
    2. Many issues can be resolved by simply checking to be sure that all of your plugs are connected properly. After you are sure of that, try restarting (“rebooting”) your system. Turn your computer off, and then back on a few seconds later. If the problem continues, follow the steps below.
    3. Write down the contact information for Microsoft Customer Service and Support, should you need to consult an expert. Take a second to print the below instructions as well, and keep them handy as you walk through the troubleshooting process.


    Locating the problem

    Microsoft provides a couple of free options to help you locate and fix the PC issue you’re encountering:
    Online: Is your PC showing an error message? If so, write down the exact number and wording of the error message, and search for it on the Microsoft Fix it Solution Center. In many cases, the Fix it center provides a "hot fix," which is an automatedsolution you can run on your PC with just one click! Even if you don’t see an error message, you may be able to find the solution in the Fix it center, either by topic or by searching. You can also check Microsoft Answers and Office Answers.
    Download: You can try out the new Microsoft Fix it Beta. Just download it to your machine, follow the instructions to set it up, and then it will tell you if you have any updates to run. Note: Once you run it, the system will ask you to set up an account, or you can sign in with your Windows Live ID. Also, the Fix it Center will ask you to send information about your computer.
    Walk through your system yourself: If you’d like to understand more about the issue you’re seeing, walk through the steps below to help you figure out if the problem is related to hardware, software, or the operating system (such as Windows 7, Windows XP, or Windows Vista). The following are some common indicators that can help you decide which is the right answer.
    We recommend you start at the top by determining if your software is working, using the Software errors section that follows. If the issue persists, proceed to the Hardware trouble section and then to the System failure section. The lists on the right side of this page may also help you narrow down the type of trouble you are experiencing.


    Software errors

    If programs refuse to install, won't appear on your desktop, can't seem to run without freezing, don't load at a decent speed or function properly, or Internet access is unavailable, here's how to troubleshoot:
    General issues

    1. Confirm that your PC meets the software's minimum system requirements. If it doesn't, you'll be unable to run the program without upgrading your computer's hardware. Note that PCs which barely meet or just slightly exceed these minimums may run the software more slowly and can be less reliable. Windows 7 and Windows Vista users can reference the Windows Experience Index to quickly gauge their PC's general capabilities.
    2. Check for compatibility with Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
    3. Close open programs and windows that you're not currently using. These can eat up system memory and processing power, slowing your PC or preventing additional software from running. Try running the program again.
    4. Check available hard drive space. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of your hard drive's total storage allotment should be left free to ensure optimum system performance in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, prevent crashes, and keep Windows running at top speed.
      Note Use Disk Cleanup to free more space:
      Windows 7
      Windows Vista
      Windows XP
      Check for program updates and information on frequently encountered issues at the software manufacturer's website. For Microsoft products, you can also load Windows Update for Windows 7, Windows Update for Windows Vista, or visit the Microsoft Download Center. If you install an update, restart your computer, and attempt to run the program again.
    5. Uninstall or delete unwanted programs in Windows 7 or Windows Vista to cut down on clutter and remove any drain on your system's resources.
    6. Disable programs you don't use to in Windows 7 or Windows Vista by preventing them from automatically loading when Windows starts. If you’re running Windows 7, restart your computer, and try the program again.
    7. Defragment your hard drive in Windows 7 or Windows Vista to improve performance.
    8. Scan for viruses and spyware. Windows Defender in Windows 7 and Windows Vista can help detect and prevent threats, along with preventing annoying pop-up notices and unauthorized home network intrusions. You can scan your PC for free.
    9. Reboot your computer and try loading the program again. If it still won't load or work correctly, you may need to uninstall the software and then reinstall it from scratch and reboot again. Advanced users can also try these advanced troubleshooting tricks in Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
    10. Consult Microsoft Help and Support and the Windows Community. If live assistance is required, first contact the software manufacturer's customer support department. For additional assistance, try Microsoft Customer Service and Support.
  2. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2012
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    Internet Connectivity

    Whether you have a modem or a Windows 7 or Windows Vista home network, answers to common Internet access and online networking problems can be found atMicrosoft Help and Support. Quick references include:
    Dropped signals

    Finding wireless networks

    Internet connection problems

    Network connection issues

    Slow speeds


    Hardware trouble

    Should equipment fail to turn on, be recognized by your system, or function properly, follow these steps to address some of the most common hardware issues:

    1. Determine that equipment has been assembled correctly, by consulting your product manual or referencing the manufacturer's website.
    2. Confirm that your device is securely plugged in and receiving power. For equipment that relies on an A/C (wall outlet plug) power adapter, you can double-check that the outlet is functioning correctly by plugging in another device and observing if it starts up or begins charging.
    3. Check to see whether equipment is properly connected to your PC by making sure all cables are securely plugged into the correct ports.
    4. Verify that hardware is turned on.
    5. Look for error messages displayed on either the equipment itself (commonly found on a small LCD screen) or on your desktop. Solutions for many of these can be found in your product manual or by checking this comprehensive database.
    6. Install or reinstall drivers for the device in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Windows automatically searches for drivers when new devices are connected and notifies you of any available updates. It may be necessary to manually install them yourself, if these files are contained directly on the device, on a CD/DVD sold with the equipment, or on the manufacturer's website. To activate setup, just double-click on the driver installation program. You may need advice for Windows 7 or Windows Vista if the installation program fails to run.
    7. Confirm that you're using the latest drivers for your hardware. Manufacturers routinely issue patches to correct errors and inconsistencies that users encounter. To do so, simply use Windows Update, visit the Microsoft Download Center, or check the Download or Support section of the manufacturer's website.
    8. Reboot your system and test the device again.
    9. Consult Microsoft Help and Support, the Windows Community, or the manufacturer's website for assistance. The following resources also offer solutions to common problems with popular devices, including:
    Audio and sound cards

    CD or DVD drives

    Speech recognition

    Network adapters



    TV tuners

    USB Devices


    System failure

    Can't get your PC to start up or shut down? Is Windows stalling out, randomly turning your computer off, or rebooting without warning? Follow these step-by-step instructions to restore system health.

    1. Confirm that your PC is plugged into an electrical outlet and receiving power. If so, reboot and see whether the problem persists.
    Try restoring your system.

    Check to see if you have a memory problem.

    Scan your hard drive for errors.

    Look for driver problems.

    Repair your PC using the Startup Repair function.

    Reinstall Windows.

    Hard drive failure
    In a worst-case scenario, system failure may be caused by a damaged or corrupted hard drive. There are many warning signs that may indicate this problem:

    • Your system won't boot.
    • No operating system is detected.
    • The computer hangs during startup.
    • Your PC is making strange noises.
    If you are concerned about the safety of your files, try the following options before paying to send it to a data recovery specialist:

  3. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2012
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    Speed up your PC: Automate your computer maintenance schedule

    Most people do one of the following when their computer begins to slow down (besides get angry):
    1. Speed up their computer by buying more memory.
    2. Try to tweak their computer's settings.
    3. Give up. They figure that their computer is old, there's nothing else they can do, and it's probably time to buy a new computer.
    All these solutions can help increase PC speed. However, what's to keep your newly blazing PC from slowing down again after a couple months or years? A badly fragmented hard drive will bring even a top-of-the-line new computer to a grinding halt.One option is to

    create a preventive PC maintenance plan—a computer maintenance schedule that's easy to set up and put in motion so you never have to think about it again. The plan outlined in this paper uses tools that are built in to your Windows operating system, including Disk

    Defragmenter, so they can be run free of charge as often as you like.
    The following sections provide information on how to automate a maintenance schedule to help keep your PC running smoothly. These procedures differ from version to version, but overall you'll find these tasks work for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

    Create a preventive maintenance plan for your computer

    When people notice their computer's performance slowing, the most common reason is the hard disk. Your computer's hard disk is a non-removable area that holds all the information available from your computer. Over time, hard disks begin to lose their ability to store data efficiently.

    The Windows operating system provides three great tools to help keep your hard drive humming smoothly. These tools are Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, and Check Disk. Find more information about using these tools to optimize your PC.Ideally you should

    clean the hard disk of temporary files, optimize (defragment) the hard disk, and check the hard disk for errors on a weekly basis.

    Who has the time (or the desire) to keep up with this schedule? The best solution is to let Windows do all of the work.

    Windows allows you to set up and automate these tasks. Please note that the tools may require user input or administrator privileges to run correctly. See specific sections for additional details, and make sure you know your administrator password.

    In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you can go directly to any of the tools mentioned in this article. Just click the Start button, and, in the Search box, type the name of the tool. When you see the name of the tool populate in the Search list, just click it. This works for the Task Scheduler tool referenced on some of the pages linked to in this article, as well.


    Clean up your hard disk

    Your computer amasses temporary files over time. These files can come from any number of sources, with the web being one of the largest offenders. After a while, these temporary files will slow down your computer.

    About once every week, you should run the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to clear your PC of these temporary files. The Windows Disk Cleanup tool requires user input to complete its designated task. For this reason, it is recommended that, when setting up the utility to

    run automatically (as described in the next paragraph), you choose a time when you are typically on the computer so you can provide this input. When using the Create Basic Task Wizard, select the Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish check

    box. This allows you to access additional properties related to the task. On the Settings tab, select the Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed check box to ensure that the task starts the next time you are logged on to your computer.

    Schedule Disk Cleanup to run automatically:

    Windows 7

    Windows Vista

    Windows XP


    Optimize your fragmented files

    Whenever a file becomes too large to store in a single location on your hard disk, your computer breaks that file into parts (or fragments). Don't worry, though. Your computer keeps track of all these fragments, piecing them together whenever the file is accessed.

    However, as fragmented files accumulate on your hard disk, your computer becomes gradually slower. This is because your computer has to go through all these fragmented files to piece the correct parts together again.

    Although there's nothing you can do to prevent the fragmentation of files, Windows does have a utility (Disk Defragmenter) to help deal with this situation. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented files, resulting in increased free space on your hard disk and quicker performance from your PC.

    About once every week, you should run the Windows Disk Defragmenter utility.

    Windows 7 and most versions of Windows Vista are preconfigured to automatically run Disk Defragmenter on a weekly basis. Follow the directions for your operating system to confirm that Disk Defragmenter is already set up or to make changes to the existing schedule.

    Set up Disk Defragmenter to run automatically:

    Windows 7

    Windows Vista

    Windows XP


    Check your hard disk for errors

    Whenever a program you're using crashes, your computer may create errors on your hard disk. These errors will eventually slow your computer to a crawl.

    The good news is that Windows includes a Check Disk program. Check Disk corrects these types of errors on your hard disk, resulting in better PC performance.

    About once every week, you should run the Check Disk utility. While Check Disk runs, a black window will open. If you happen to be working at your computer when the window opens, you can ignore it. The window will automatically disappear when Check Disk is complete.

    You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps. If you aren't logged on as an administrator, you can only change settings that apply to your user account.

    Set up Check Disk to run automatically:

    Windows 7

    Windows Vista

    Windows XP

    Follow the prompts in Task Scheduler to schedule a program to run at a set time (for Windows 7 and Windows Vista only—the directions in Step 1 for Windows XP are all inclusive).
    Note: Check Disk isn't available within the scroll-down list of programs that you select from in the Task Scheduler, so you'll need to select it manually. To select it, click Browse. Then, navigate to windows\system32\chkdsk.exe. Select chkdsk.exe, and then click Open.

    Schedule tasks

    The best way to schedule tasks as described in the previous sections varies depending on how you use your computer. For example, if
    you shut down your computer every day, schedule the tasks to perform during a time when your computer is typically on. You can do

    this by editing the Task properties as described in the steps for each utility and operating system. On the Settings tab, select the Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed check box when creating the new tasks described in this article. This

    ensures that the task starts the next time you are logged on to your computer, should it happen to be turned off during the scheduled time. If you set your computer to Hibernate or Sleep and want to schedule the tasks to run during that mode (for example, overnight),

    on the Conditions tab, select the Wake the computer to run this task check box. If you don't set these parameters during the initial setup, you can always go back and access them via the Task Scheduler. Simply locate your task in the Task Scheduler Library, and then double-click it. This opens the Properties dialog box for a given task.

    Let Windows do all the work

    These automated tasks—while they seem simple enough—are the foundation on which your computer's performance rests. Lucky for us, Windows can completely handle these tasks. You never have to worry about them. You just set up your maintenance tasks once, automate them, and let Windows take care of the rest.

  4. Skillseeker

    Skillseeker JF-Expert Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
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    asante sana