Diagnosing PC Problems

Most of us rely so much on computers these days that when something goes wrong it’s a major disaster. Not having a functioning PC means you risk losing time, data and even money.  Your first thought when something goes wrong is likely to be, “I need someone to fix my computer.” But it’s worth taking a little time first to try to diagnose the problem yourself. You might find that it’s something easy to fix – like a loose connection. But even if it’s a bigger problem, if you’ve taken some steps towards finding the cause it will help when you do need to talk to a technician.

Tracking down PC problems isn’t as hard as you might think, all you have to do is take a logical approach.

[Read also: Computer Repair 101 – Safety Tips for Working with Computers]

fixing pc

What’s Changed?

When your computer stops working or begins behaving oddly the first question you need to ask yourself is has anything changed? A surprising number of problems are caused by the installation of some new hardware or software. This causes a conflict with something that’s already on the machine and you have a problem.

By thinking about any recent changes you’ve made you can either roll them back yourself or alert a repair technician to the problem. By giving the technician an idea of the source of the issue you’ll help them to fix your problem quickly.

Some people may choose to get help before making major changes to ensure that things run smoothly. You may choose to seek professional assistance for tasks such as setting up a wireless network for the first time or adding a printer so that it can be accessed by all of the devices in in your home.

[Read also: 6 Common Computer Nightmares and Possible Ways to Fix Them]

Regular Maintenance

All PCs slow down over time as they accumulate junk on the hard drive, programs are added to the start-up routine and so on. Although this is an inevitable consequence of the way the machine works, regular maintenance can help to put the spring back in your system’s step.

Cleaning up the file system, removing unused software and defragmenting the hard drive can all help to get your system back on track. If you don’t feel confident doing these things yourself then a qualified technician can help. They can even do the job remotely over the Internet so you needn’t be without your computer.

[Read also: Are You Keeping Your Computer in Optimal Operating Condition?]

Viruses and Malware

One of the most common causes of computer problems is malware.  Whether it’s a virus, spyware or something else it can infect even the most careful of computer users. Once you have an infection it can be very hard to dislodge as it embeds itself deeply in the system and can return even when you think you’ve removed it.

[Read more: Where Do Computer Viruses Come From?]

Removing malware and ensuring that it doesn’t come back requires a good deal of technical knowledge. It often needs specialized software tools too. Although you can tackle this yourself it’s an area where most people will need to call on the services of an expert.

Signs that you may have an infection are slow performance, unusual pop-up messages, a change to the home page or search screen used by your browser, or increased levels of Internet traffic. These days malware is often aimed at stealing your personal details so it’s important to deal with it as soon as possible. Make a note of the symptoms you’re experiencing as these will help to identify the particular nasty that’s infected your machine.

Whatever the issue you’re having with your PC it’s important to tackle it as soon as you can before it develops into something more serious. Being able to carry out some initial diagnosis yourself will help ensure that when you do call on a technician they’ll be able to solve your issue more quickly.

[Read also: Why Does My Computer Shut Off By Itself Unexpectedly? – Common Causes and Fixes]

[Image credit: Paula Haberman, Flickr]

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