I’ve pointed out some of the most common computer related problems new-bies face when they buy a new computer.
Sometimes your computer is working fine, and all of a sudden it starts behaving erratic. Is such situations, one of the first things to consider is what were you doing on the PC immediately prior to the fault manifesting itself. If you can identify something specific, that you were doing just before your PC/lap started acting funny, then most often simply ‘undoing’ it will eliminate the problem.
Let us, in this article look at most of the ‘common’ actions that may be the reason for your PC / laptop to behave the way it should not :
> Downloading from the Internet:
There are hundreds of thousands of known viruses, the vast majority of which are spread via the internet and their effects can mimic literally any computer fault. So if your PC starts giving trouble after downloading from the Internet there is a very good possibility that it has picked up a virus. If you suspect this to be the case then you must obtain an up-to-date virus program and check your system with it.
If you use internet often, download from unverified or untrusted sources, download attachments from unknown senders, then you should be aware that you are inviting trouble. You should never discount the possibility that your system can be infected by viruses, malwares, spyware and such that can be installed on your system through such programs.
You should also be very careful when you install any freeware programs. It is a very sketchy area, as a normal PC / Laptop user, you’ll have not have any idea if the freeware you want to install is infected or not. When you are downloading it from untrusted sources, it’s a safer way to visit related forums, discuss with people and see if the software you are planning to use is the best without any problems, or ask for suggestions. These days, with the internet boom, there are forums and communities that pretty much discuss everything you can think and imagine about !
> Installing a peripheral, i.e. a new scanner / Upgrading your PC with a new card, i.e. a graphics card:
Installing new hardware is a common cause of problems and is usually due to the new hardware device taking the resources allocated to an existing hardware device. This problem can usually be sorted out via Control Panel, System, Device Manager.
> Deleting/installing a program:
Often we install a program to try out and then having decided we don’t want it delete it. With most programs there is no problem. However there are some which simply refuse to go quietly. The usual problem is that these programs use or ‘borrow’ files and then when they are deleted, take these files with them. Any other programs on the PC which need these files will then not run correctly, if at all. The cure for this is to re-install the affected program.
There are occasions when simply running a particular program will cause problems. It will either have become corrupted or is incompatible with something else on the system. The result will usually be lockups and crashes. Deleting and then re-installing it will usually cure that fault.
> Changing your PC’s settings:
Windows is a very customizable operating system and allows the user to make all manner of changes to its default settings. This also applies to much of the systems hardware. However there are parts of the system where changes can have adverse effects on the PC’s performance. Examples are the BIOS and the registry. The best policy when experimenting with settings, is to make a written note of any changes made. If there are any subsequent problems then you’ll be able to reverse them.
If you are one those with inquisitive nature, to test and experiment new things and enjoy doing it, you should be a little more careful when you deal with your PC / Laptop with such an attitude. I don’t say its wrong if you try out something on your own, but I’d recommend that you better read up about the part you want to fiddle around with. It saves an arm and time. Always pen down whatever changes you’ve made to your system, which will come handy in case you fail to set it right if things go wrong.
> Shutting down / Restarting your PC the wrong way:
There is most definitely a right and a wrong way to shut down or restart your computer. The right way is to select Start -> Restart or Start -> Shutdown. You can also do a soft reboot by hitting Ctrl + Alt + Delete. The wrong way is to hit the reset button or power off button. This can corrupt any program that might be running, or worse, the hard drive itself. Usually though, the effects are minor and can be repaired by exiting in the proper manner and then running a disk utility such as ScanDisk.
Though often looked down on, I’ve seen a lot of problems caused by not exiting windows correctly. You should try and avoid your reboot button as much as possible. It must be used only when you have no option, like when your PC / Laptop is frozen solid. It should not be used as a time saver, quick option to shut down your system !
If, for any reason you have been delving inside the system case, its quite possible that you have inadvertently loosened or even disconnected something, a cable or expansion card for example. Try and retrace your steps, checking everything in the area in which you were working, making sure all boards and cables are firmly seated in their sockets.