The first step in fixing a slow computer is checking to see whether or not there is plenty of free space on the hard drive holding the operating system. Since Windows needs room to create files and keep the system running, having a hard drive that is maxed out can negatively affect the overall performance of the computer. If your hard drive is full, removing unnecessary files can be a great way to free up space, as well as to boost your computer’s speed.
If the hard drive is not the issue, the next step would be to use Microsoft’s System Configuration tool to tackle the computer’s slow performance. Since many applications tend to launch automatically when the computer boots up, trimming down the list of start-up items can increase the computer’s boot time. To use Microsoft’s System Configuration tool:
1. Open the tool by pressing Windows-R, typing msconfig, and pressing enter.
2. Check the Startup Item and Manufacturer columns to figure out which items can be disabled, avoiding any services and programs that are manufactured by the Microsoft Corporation.
3. Disable any programs that do not need to open upon boot up.
4. Once you have made all of your changes, click OK and restart the computer.
If your computer is having connectivity issues, try running a speed test online to see what your exact download and upload speeds are (ideally, they should be at least 50% of your Internet service provider’s advertised speeds). If the test speeds appear to be positive, double check that there is nothing downloading or uploading in the background that could be affecting the performance speed. While network card updates are not common, checking to see if your card’s manufacturer offers a new driver and downloading it can help with download times.
In the event that there is nothing downloading or uploading in the background and there is no network card update, resetting the router and modem may help solve the connection problems. Try pressing the router and modems reset buttons or pulling the power cord for 1-2 seconds.
If you are still having connectivity issues, call your Internet service provider to see if the problem is on your end or theirs. As a last result, your provider can reset the master connection.
In most cases, hardware problems that cause your computer to keep restarting can be difficult to diagnose, as the problem can be caused by viruses, adware, overheating, or missing updates. First, confirm that your computer is not restarting simply to install the latest Windows updates before starting to update all of the critical system drivers, such as graphic cards, motherboard, and network card drivers.
If your computer is making weird noises, it may be restarting because it is overheating. Make sure to give the machine a thorough clean to help prevent the components from overheating, causing the computer to shut down.
If pop-up ads are appearing on your desktop while you are not running a Web browser, chances are that you have installed adware on your computer. While removing adware from your computer is not an easy task, running a full scan of your computer with a credible antivirus software can help find and remove the adware.
In the event that the antivirus software is unable to remove the adware, searching online for the name of the advertised product can sometimes turn up solutions reported by other victims. If the search results do not produce a solution, you can always perform a complete system reinstall. While this might take a long time, it is the only guaranteed way to remove adware or spyware. Just make sure to back up all of your files first.
Malware programs known as browser hijackers can take over the Web browser on your computer, redirecting your Google searches and other queries to fake pages in an attempt to steal your personal information or to further infect your computer. Running a real-time antivirus program can help protect your computer from this type of program; however, if your Web browser has already been hacked, uninstall the browser and use an antivirus program to remove the problem.
Before calling your Internet service provider about a spotty wireless connection, make sure that your computer is in range of the wireless router. If the connection does not improve, make sure that the computer has the latest wireless card drivers installed. You can also let Windows try to troubleshoot the problem for you by right-clicking on the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar and selecting “troubleshoot problems”.
If your printer will not print even though all the printer’s drivers are up to date and it has enough paper and ink to print, try turning the printer off and on or unplugging it and plugging it back in. You can also check the printer’s queue by double clicking on the printer icon in the system tray. This will show you the status of each job, as well as the status of the printer. Make sure that “Use Printer Offline” is not checked, as this can stall jobs from printing.
If you are unable to open email attachments, chances are that you do not have the necessary software to view the file. If the file you are unable to open is a PDF, you can download a free reader to solve the problem. If the problem involves a different file format, try performing a quick search online for the attachment’s file extension (the letters after the period in the file name) to find out what type of program you need. In the event that the attachment does not have a file extension, try adding it back to correct the problem.
Before calling your IT support company, double check that the software you are trying to run is compatible with your new operating system. In some cases, older software might not work on a newer PC, just like apps created for Mac OS will not run on a Windows PC. While a 32-bit program will most likely be able to run on a 64-bit operating system, a 64-bit program will not be able to run on a 32-bit operating system.
If the blue screen of death appears on your computer, the solution may be as simple as rebooting your computer; however, since the blue screen of death may be caused by a variety of different problems—failing hardware, damaged software, corrupt DLL files, problems with drivers, etc.—the best way to fix the blue screen of death will depend on the original problem. When the blue screen of death appears on your computer, make sure to pay attention to the codes it provides you with, as these will help you identify and fix your computer problems.
If a new application will not install on your computer, it may be because your computer does not have enough hard drive space. Try freeing up some hard drive space by getting rid of any files or folders that you no longer need, such as temporary files, duplicate files, or data for software that you have uninstalled from your computer.
In the event that an application on your computer starts working strangely, simply try restarting your computer to see if that fixes the problem. Alternatively, you can also conduct an Internet search for the type of problem you are experiencing or consulting the user’s manual to see if there is any information available for troubleshooting the problem.
If your PC will not turn on at all, there might be a problem with the power source. If you are working on a desktop and the PC’s extension cord, power outlet, and other connections appear to be in working order, the problem might be with the PC’s power cable. Try replacing the power cable of the monitor with the CPU’s power cable to see if the PC will turn on. If the PC turns on, getting a new power cable should fix the problem.
If you are working on a laptop, try taking out the battery and putting it back in before starting the computer. If this does not work, take out the battery again and connect the charging cable to the laptop. Start up the PC on charger power to see if it will turn on. If it does, replacing the laptop’s battery will solve the problem.