7 Common Computer Problems: How to Fix them Yourself and Save Money

angry computer user

Computers like to act up and this can be really frustrating. You know that feeling you get when you’re trying to do something but your computer just refuses to behave. You would wish it were a child so you could just smack it.

You may be thinking of taking your computer for a repair, but just before you do that, I’ll suggest you calm down and try the fixes I’ll provide because it’s quite easy to fix most of the common computer problems yourself.

Before you start applying any fixes, the first thing you should do when your computer has a problem is “Restarting”.  This is a no brainer but restarting your computer will solve a majority of the little problems your computer encounters.

This post is quite long so i’ve included a table of contents for your quick reference.

PROBLEM #1: My computer is as slow as a snail

PROBLEM #2: I lost/deleted an important document/file

PROBLEM #3: Why is my internet connection so slow?

PROBLEM #4: My computer freezes

PROBLEM #5: My computer turns off by itself

PROBLEM #6: Limited Wi-Fi connection

PROBLEM #7: Windows won’t boot

PROBLEM #1: My computer is as slow as a snail

I can understand your pain. I’ve experienced this severally. A lot of things could be responsible for this, so here are a few general solutions that can help you.
 

FIX #1: Limit the number of programs that run during startup

There are a lot of programs that run automatically when you boot your computer. Some of these programs could slow your computer down. To find out which ones are causing the problem, here’s what to do:

  • If you are using Windows Vista or 7, Press Windows +R. Type msconfig in the window that opens and press Enter. Once the system configuration window comes up, click the startup tab. The programs set to run during startup are indicated by a check mark, so you can disable them by unchecking. I’ll advice that you only disable programs that you are familiar with.
  • If you are using windows 8 or 10, after clicking the startup tab, click on Open task manager. To disable a program, just right click on it and select disable.

 

 FIX #2: Defragment your drives

Fragmentation makes your hard drive do extra work that can slow down your computer. So defragmentation takes files on your computer that are scattered all over and arranges them so that your hard drive can read them easily and access them quicker. Disk Defragmenter runs on a schedule, but you can also analyze and defragment your disks and drives manually. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Go to Start Menu and type “defragment” and “Defragment and optimise your drives” will show up under Settings. Click on it and it will bring you to the Optimise Drives screen.
  • You’ll start by analyzing your hard disk. So click on Analyze. This will do a quick run through your hard drive and see the way your hard drive space can be optimized so that it can run faster. When it is done, you will see the percentage of your hard drive that is fragmented.
  • To fix this, click Defragment or Optimize as the case may be. The defragmentation process might take from several minutes to a few hours to finish, depending on the size and degree of fragmentation of your hard disk.

 

FIX #3: Turn off Aero effect

Windows 7 and Vista use Aero effect to improve the look of the screen. Aero effects are what makes the taskbar look transparent but they can slow down your computer because they are really graphic intensive. So if you don’t care much about appearances and you want your computer to run faster, you can turn it off. Here’s how to do that:

On windows 7

  • Right-click on your desktop and select Personalize.
  • To turn it off, just scroll down to the Basic and High Contrast section and select a theme from there.

On Windows Vista

  • Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize
  • Click the “Window Color and Appearance” link
  • On the next screen, click the link near the bottom for “Open classic appearance properties for more color options”
  • To disable Aero effects, select Windows Vista Basic and click OK

 

FIX #4: Turn off Indexing

Windows indexes your hard disk for quicker searching, but this indexing can slow down your computer. To disable this feature,

  • Go to Start > Computer. Right-click on your system drive (usually C:) and then click Properties.
  • On the General tab, uncheck the box next to Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties and click OK. In the popup dialog box, make sure you select the option to apply changes to subfolders and files then click OK.

 

FIX #5: Limit the number of programs running at a time

The more programs you run at a time, the slower your computer will be. So try to reduce the number of programs running at the same time.

 

PROBLEM #2: I lost/deleted an important document or file

So you deleted an important file and don’t seem to find it in the recycle bin? Don’t panic, your data will still exist until it is overwritten by another file – but it is advisable to use your computer as little as possible until you recover the file or the chances of recovering that file will be reduced.
 

FIX #1: Check your Recycle Bin

Looking for a missing document/file? Check your Recycle Bin. If you find the file there, right-click on the file and select Restore.

Note: Large files may be permanently deleted instead of being sent to the recycle bin.
 

FIX #2: Use your backup

If you backup your hard drive regularly, this is a good place to check. And if you are not in the habit of doing this, it’s never too late to start as you can never tell when this will save you.
 

FIX #3: Use a data recovery software

Like I mentioned earlier, even if your file no longer exists in the recycle bin, don’t lose hope as there is still a good chance of recovering it as long as you don’t overwrite it.

There are a lot of free and user-friendly recovery programs available like Recuva and Restoration. These programs work much in the same way. They scan your hard drive to find deleted documents/files. When the software has found your missing file(s), you’ll be able to see the file names and click on the recovered files to preview them. Select the files you need to save and save them.

Just make sure you don’t save or install the recovery program to the same drive you want to recover the lost file from, or you may overwrite the file you need to recover. You can download the program on another computer and copy it to a flash drive. Then plug the flash drive into the computer with the missing files and run it from there. Also, do not restore your file to its original location. You can save it to the flash drive or another location.

 

PROBLEM #3: Why is my internet connection so slow?

Internet connections slow down for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the problem could be on your end or from your service provider.
 

FIX #1: Contact your service provider

Sometimes your internet is slow because you’re just getting what you paid for. Contact your service provider to find out what speed you should be getting. Then, visit www.speedtest.net or testmy.net to conduct a speed test to find out if your internet speed matches up with what you are getting from your service provider. If it does, then you are getting what you paid for but if you still seeking for faster internet speed, you need to upgrade.
 

FIX #2: Check your router

Sometimes, a quick reset on your router can easily fix the problem. If there is no improvement after resetting, consider changing the Wi-Fi channel your router uses to avoid interferences and also adjust a few other settings.
 

FIX #3: Free up your hard drive

A loaded hard drive will slow down your internet connection and your computer. So free up hard drive by transferring files to a cloud storage, an external drive and deleting unnecessary files. Don’t forget to also empty your recycle bin.
 

FIX #4: Clear temporary files

Deleting your web cache is a good way to speed up a slow internet connection. These files which are stored on your hard disk facilitate quicker viewing of pages that you have visited before but they take up valuable resources on your computer. Here’s how to delete your temporary internet files. The process varies for different browsers.

For Internet Explorer

  • Go to Start > Control Panel and search for Internet Options.
  • Under browsing history in the General tab, click the Delete…button.

internet explorer

  • In the popup dialog box, check the box that says Temporary Internet files and website files and click Delete.

Internet Explorer

For Firefox

  • Go to Firefox menu >History > Clear Recent History
  • Select Everything from Time Range to clear dropdown menu.

Firefox

  • Click the button next to details and uncheck everything expect Cache
  • Click the Clear Now

Note: If you wish to clear other kinds of stored data, feel free to check the appropriate boxes.

For Safari

  • Click on Safari menu > Reset safari

Safari

  • Make sure that Remove all website data and any other items you want to reset is checked.

Safari1

  • Click Reset

For Chrome

  • Select Chrome menu >More Tools > Clear Browsing Data

Chrome

  • Select the beginning of time from the “Obliterate the following items from” dropdown menu.

chome2

  • Check the box for Cached images and files
  • Click clear browsing data

 

FIX #5: Update your network drivers

If your network drivers are out-of-date, this could cause a slow internet connection. To update,

  • Go to your Start menu and search for Device Manager.
  • When it comes up, look under the Network Adapters category for your device. Right-click on it and select Properties.
  • Click on the Driver tab to get the manufacturer’s name and model.
  • Go to your network adapter’s manufacturer website and download the driver for your device. Use the information you obtained from the Device Manager to download the correct drivers.
  • Go back to Device Manager, right-click on your network adapter and select Properties.
  • Under the Driver tab, click on Update Driver to launch the driver installation wizard.
  • In the popup dialog box, select Browse my computer for driver software.
  • Browse for the driver and double-click on the file to upload it.
  • Click Next to allow the installation wizard to update your network driver.

 

PROBLEM #4: My computer freezes

Computer freezing is also a common problem with computers.
 

FIX #1: Update your antivirus and antispyware

In most cases, viruses, malwares and other malicious software are responsible for computer freezing. Update your antivirus and antispyware and perform a full scan on your computer.
 

FIX #2: Update your hardware drivers

Check your hardware driver for updated versions. Outdated drivers can cause your computer to stop responding and freeze.
 

FIX #3: Check your installed programs

Computer freezing could be a software related issue. If you just opened a program and your computer started freezing, ensure that you have the latest update for that program. If after updating and it still continues, it’s advisable to uninstall it.
 

FIX #4: Run few programs at a time

Having too many programs open at a time could make your computer low on resources and cause it to freeze. Run only a few programs at a time.
 

FIX #5: Check for overheating

Overheating can cause computer freezing. The CPU is really sensitive to extreme heats. Always make sure your computer vents are not blocked and if it is a laptop, ensure that you use it on a hard surface.

Sometimes the problem may be a bit complicated like that of a broken fan and would need you to see a computer repairer immediately. If this is not done on time, your computer may not be able to boot until the problem is fixed.

 

PROBLEM #5: My computer turns off by itself

If your computer shuts down randomly, several factors could be responsible for the problem. The first thing to look at is your power supply. Also check that the cables are well connected. Overheating is also a common cause. If it is a laptop, it could be that the battery has deteriorated and needs to be replaced.
 

FIX #1: Check for overheating

This is one of the most likely reasons for random computer shutdown. Most computers are designed to shutdown automatically if any of the components becomes too hot. This is to avoid your CPU being damaged. The common culprit of overheating are dirty fans. You will need to clear off dust and other residue from the fan. With the PC off, spray compressed air into the vents to remove the dust.
 

FIX #2: Hardware failure

Another common reason for a random shutdown of your computer is a hardware failure. If you recently added any hardware, try removing it and check if the problem persists.

 

PROBLEM #6: Limited Wi-Fi connection

Having a limited Wi-Fi connection? Try the following fixes.
 

FIX #1: Reset the TCP/IP setting

  • Go to your Start menu and type Command Prompt
  • Right-click on it and select Run as administrator
  • In the window that opens type netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt and press enter
  • Restart your computer and check if it is working.

 

FIX #2: Check the power management settings for your wireless adapter

  • Go to your Start menu and search for Device Manager
  • When it comes up, expand the Network Adapters
  • Right-click on your Ethernet/Wireless Adapter and select Properties
  • Click on the Power Management tab
  • Uncheck the box beside “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”
  • Click OK and confirm if it’s working.

 FIX #3: Reinstall your network adapter drivers

  • Download the drivers but do not run them yet
  • Go to your start menu and type Device Manager
  • Expand the Network Adapters category
  • Right-click on the wireless adapter and click Uninstall
  • Run the downloaded drivers
  • Restart your computer and test.

 

FIX #4: Disable TCP settings/Address issue with TCP command lines

  • Go to your Start menu and type Command Prompt
  • Right-click on it and select Run as administrator
  • Type the following commands and hit enter after each command:

netsh int tcp set heuristics disabled

netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled

  • To verify that these settings are disabled, type the following command and press enter

netsh int tcp show global

  • Restart your computer and check if the problem is solved.

If you are experiencing this problem after upgrading from windows 8 to 8.1 or 10, try reverting your network adapter driver back to the older version instead of the one installed with windows 8.1 or 10 by Microsoft.

  • Go to Device Manager
  • Right click on your Wireless Network Adapter and select Update Driver Software.
  • In the window that opens, click on Browse from my computer for driver software.
  • Then select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
  • You may find two drivers. One by the Manufacturer and the other by Microsoft. Choose the one by the manufacturer and click
  • When you are done, restart your computer and check if the problem is solved.

 

PROBLEM #7: Windows won’t boot

This is a common problem with a variety of causes. Before trying the fixes below, check that your power supply hasn’t failed. Also, remove any recently added hardware and check if the problem is fixed.
 

FIX #1: Boot into Safe Mode

Booting into safe mode will help you to undo any recent changes that caused your computer to stop booting.

  • Restart your computer and press the F8 key repeatedly before the Windows logo appears.
  • Select Safe Mode from the Advanced Startup Options screen and press Enter.
  • Try uninstalling any recently installed software or hardware drivers.

 

 FIX #2: Run msconfig

  • Boot into safe mode
  • Press Windows +R
  • Type msconfig in the window that opens and press Enter
  • Go to the Services tab and check the box beside Hide all Microsoft Services
  • Disable all other services.
  • Restart your computer and check if it will boot.
  • If it does, enable the services one by one to find out which of them caused boot problem.
  • If it doesn’t, go to the Startup tab
  • Disable all services.
  • Restart your computer again and check if it will boot.

 

FIX #3: Run Startup Repair

  • When a startup error like this occurs, Window’s Recovery Options screen should come up with an option to run Startup Repair. If the Recovery Options screen doesn’t show up, restart your computer and hit the F8 key repeatedly until the Advanced Startup Option menu comes up.
  • Select Repair your Computer and press Enter.
  • Select Startup Repair from the Recovery Options screen.
  • Startup Repair will now scan your computer to detect and fix any startup problems.

If hitting the F8 key repeatedly did not get you to the Advanced Startup Options, you can boot to the System Recovery Option screen using a Windows Installation Disc or System Recovery Disc.

 

Image Credit: abovethelaw

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Ukeme likes to keep things simple and believes that tech doesn’t really have to be complicated. She is also a web designer and loves to learn new things.

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