6 common IT problems you can solve yourself without calling an IT Support Team
ICT like medicine and law has its own language, seemingly designed to create an air of mystery and uncertainty that prevents the average user from doing things for themselves. A lot of common IT problems can be sorted quickly before calling for IT Technical Support. All you need is a bit of confidence, know-how and an instruction sheet.
This blog concentrates on desktop and PC problems. The average user is unlikely to be able to correct network or corporate systems problems by themselves. That is when Small Business IT support or IT Technical Support is needed.
- Try This First.Restart your computer. It sounds stupid, but it often works. As you work on your computer, it gradually builds up bits of left-over work, bits of work still running but not needed and other things that clog it up. Sometimes they interfere with each other and cause problems. Restarting cleans them out.Try unplug/plug and switch off/switch on if you are having problems with a peripheral.
- Your computer randomly switches off and on.This is usually because you PC is overheating. When it overheats it automatically shuts down. If it’s in direct sunlight move it. Check the power fan. If it’s running slowly or has stopped, there’s your problem. Clean the fan. Clean the blades with an ear-bud. Spray a little WD-40 or suchlike onto the centre bearings. Not a lot, just a very little. Let it dry for an hour before starting again.If the fan is working normally, then there is a problem with the PC power supply and it needs to be replaced before it damages something else. Call IT Technical Support. Beware though, Windows Update can automatically restart your system.
- Everything started up fine, but there’s nothing on the screenFirst, check the monitor. Does it have power and is it plugged into the PC? There is usually a power-on light on the front. If it has external rotary controls make sure that the screen brightness is turned up.Listen to your PC as it starts up. One beep is ok. One long beep followed by shorter beeps means a problem with your graphics interface. If you have one, try a different monitor. If it works, great, otherwise it’s IT Technical Support.
- Suspected Virus or MalwareIf your PC starts doing strange things, for example, annoying and irrelevant pop-ups disrupt your normal work, check for malware.Every PC must have malware protection to guard against viruses, Trojans and all other kinds of malware. Another useful piece of software detects and removes spyware. Spyware is software that tracks and reports back on your use of the Internet which allows hackers to target your PC based on your likes. It is vital to keep your protection software up to date to ensure protection against the latest threats. Even so, some threats can still creep through your defences.Use your anti-malware software to run a full scan which hopefully will detect and remove any nasties lurking on your PC.
Some other tips: don’t accept ad’s offering a free “security” scan; don’t go to websites with a certificate error; keep your anti-spyware and anti-malware programs and data up to date.
- It worked yesterday, it doesn’t work today.Wireless keyboard and/or the mouse don’t work? Perhaps the batteries need to be replaced.Does it switch on? If no, is your PC getting power? Check that the power switch on the wall is switched on. If you have power, but there are no lights on the front where there used to be lights, then there is a power issue. Some PCs have an on/off switch at the back of the case. Check that it is on. it may be that the PC power supply has stopped working. You will need IT Technical Support to fix that one.Windows won’t start up. Have you added anything new? On some PCs, adding an external hard drive will stop them booting up. Have you left a flash drive in a USB port? Again, this might stop your PC starting up. Disconnect them and try again. Otherwise, it’s time for IT Technical Support.
It starts ok but gives errors. Something has changed. This is usually after an unattended overnight software upgrade. Again, you will need IT Technical Support to cure this one.
- Wireless Network IssuesIf you can’t connect to your wireless network, and can’t see it in the “Available Networks” screen, then:
- If you are running a laptop, check that the WiFi interface is switched on.
- Switch off your wireless router, wait 30 seconds, then switch it back on.
There are many PC problems that the canny user can resolve themselves before calling Small Business IT support or IT Technical Support. Often it is just a little detective work and common sense. The Internet has a wealth of information. Remember Google is your friend.