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General IT and Computer Troubleshooting Tips

Frustrated computer user

Don't get frustrated when your computer plays up. Check out the tips and tricks here to see if you can easily solve the issue.

DISCLAIMER: DP Computing will not be held responsible for any damage or data loss to your system. If you are in doubt over something or if anything is different to what you see on your computer contact DP Computing.

  1. Take a deep breath and don't panic.
    Stand up and step back from your computer. You need to approach things in a calm, and controlled manner. Panicking won't help solve the problem, and it could make things much worse.
      
  2. Save your current work.
    Before doing anything, if you can, make sure you save your current work so that you don't lose it. Save it on the hard drive or on a USB drive. It doesn't matter where just make sure you save it.
     
  3. Backup your critical data.
    If it looks like your hard drive may crash or the computer may not start up again, take steps to backup all of your critical data while it is still working and before you turn it off. Hopefully you have a recent full backup and will only have to backup your most recent documents. Consider copying the data to a network drive, USB drive or burning it onto a CD-ROM.
     
  4. Check with others in your office.
    Ask if anyone else in the office is having the same issues.
     
     
  5. Reboot your computer / modem / peripheral.
    Turn off the device you are having issues with, let it sit for a 10 seconds, and reboot it. Sometimes one command of the hundreds a computer executes every second can cause corrupted memory or other unexplainable problems. Rebooting will clear out all the gremlins and gives everything a fresh-start.
     
  6. What did you do last?
    Did your problems start just after you installed a new software program or some other update or change? This can be a great clue as to the source of a problem. Undoing what you just did may solve the problem.
     
  7. Is everything plugged in properly?
    Asking this a question may seem very basic, but you will be surprised how often it can often be the fix you are looking for. Cables get knocked or work themselves loose over time. Make sure they are all snug and tight. If you want to look under the hood, and are comfortable doing so, ideally you should check the cables and connections within your computer case as well. You should also make sure all cards and memory are firmly seated by gently but firmly pushing them into their respective slots.

Generally a tech will need to be called in now (click here for our contact details). If it is an emergency and a technician is not available consider going through the following steps as well.

  1. Is your hardware happy?
    Unhappy hardware is often the source of problems. To check your hardware, right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the Hardware tab, and then the Device Manager button. This will open the Device Manager dialog box. It lists all the hardware devices on your computer. Devices that aren't working properly will have a yellow exclamation mark next to them. Double-click on the problem devices to open a dialog box that may have details on the problem, and a listing of suggestions on how to fix it.
     
  2. Check your computer for nasties.
    Run a complete system scan with your anti-virus software (make sure you update your virus definitions before you run the scan). You can do a free online scan at TrendMicro's Web site (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/au/). You should also scan your computer for adware, spyware, or other malware with a product like Malwarebytes (http://www.malwarebytes.org). Scanning your machine with these products can be helpful as sometimes you will find something that one product missed.
     
  3. Install software or driver updates.
    If it seems one program or hardware device is acting up, check the manufacturer's Web site for updates. The code in most software is thousands if not millions of lines long and it is impossible for software companies to find all the bugs in their programs. As users discover problems, software and hardware manufacturers often release revised software or updated drivers that include new code to address newly discovered problems.
     
  4. Contact the manufacturers support team.
    If you get as far as this step, your problem is probably more complex. Most hardware and software manufacturers now have extensive support information. Phone the appropriate support company for further assistance.
     
  5. Still having problems?
     
    • A technician will need to diagnose the issue. Contact DP Computing now to arrange a technician to visit your site.
     
    • Document the detailed description of the problem and the exact wording of any error messages. Knowing exactly what is wrong and being able to share the message is critical to determining a solution.
     
    • Consider whether or not the problem occurs at random times or at consistent/specific times. Random and/or intermittent problems are usually more difficult to diagnose and fix. But if a problem occurs at a specific time and you can reproduce the problem, the technician may be able to isolate the problem to help find a solution.

DP Computing are computer support company providing IT consulting and support services throughout Adelaide in South Australia to SMB's (small and medium sized businesses). If you need any type of computer or IT help please contact us.

A full list of services to help small and medium sized businesses (SMB's) is provided on our computer services page.

 

 

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