If you have a computer, I have news for you. It is going to malfunction, usually at the worst possible time and often for no apparent reason. It isn’t something we look forward to, because it is very easy to end up spending a day or so trying to figure out what is wrong and getting it fixed. My most recent issue involved some of my desktop icons vanishing, namely the ones that allowed me to control volume and told me how much battery life I had left. The fix ended up being a quick one, once I actually found the solution that worked. But getting there was a harrowing experience indeed.
It is also a fact that user error plays a huge part in computer glitches. Visiting sites that harbor malicious codes or software, downloading programs without checking to see whether or not they may cause harm, or simply asking the computer to do more than it is effectively able to do with the resources provided. Many times we are the cause of what goes wrong.
Many computer malfunctions may also be the result of power surges such as lightning. This can usually be avoided through the use of a surge protector. If you do not have one, get one now and attach all of your comp’s connections through it to avoid an unpleasant episode.
Computers may also fall victim to viruses. Contrary to popular belief, most viruses do not wipe your hard drive or destroy your PC, but rather they install and then proceed to make nuisances of themselves. My most recent experience with a virus came disguising itself as an anti-virus program. Of course it was a fake, the idea being for you to believe its warning about your computer being infected and click on their link to download the fix. In reality, all it would be doing is scarfing up your credit card information. Viruses can usually be removed by use of any number of removal tools, such as Malwarebytes, or Avast!
Newer viruses are even more malicious in that they install themselves on your comp, change various registry settings, and then eliminate themselves. The virus is gone, but the damage it has done remains, requiring specialized help to correct. It isn’t advisable to go poking around a computer‘s registry settings unless you really know what you are doing. Changing the wrong thing may end up making a bad situation worse.
Quite possibly the single most common problem is the inability to access your PC at all. When you turn on your computer, nothing happens. Once you have had your intelligence insulted by being told to check and make sure the unit is plugged in, check out the power supply inside the unit and make sure it is functioning properly. If the comp appears to be running but the monitor is blank, check the unit’s video card.
Of course you can always cut down on potential problems by running normal system tools such as Disk Defragmenter, ScanDisk, and Disk Cleanup. In addition, keep a can of compressed air handy to remove dust from your unit, cutting down on the possibility of a short.
Other problems are less noticeable, such as the inevitable slowdown of your system over time. The more programs that are installed and running simultaneously, the slower your system will run overall. Make it a good habit of regularly emptying your cache files, cleaning your registry, and making sure all of your software is up to date. My current desktop is almost seven years old and still runs just as well as my two year old laptop.
We have all had a computer freeze up and crash (remember those annoying “blue screens of death”?); these are most often the result of out of date drivers. Keep all of your hardware drivers up to date on a regular basis. Increasing the amount of memory will also help your comp run better.
You may also hear unusual sounds coming out of your CPU (or “tower”). Clicking, buzzing, and squealing sounds are not uncommon and may be the result of damaged electronic components within the unit. In many cases you may be able to fix the problem yourself, however if it comes down to dealing with delicate software or your hard drive, your best bet is to call in a qualified computer technician.
Staying on top of your computer issues and properly maintaining the unit will go a long way towards helping to insure a long productive life for your unit.