Top 5 Common IT Problems and How to Fix Them

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When you are working in an IT department or working for an IT Support Company, it becomes obvious very quickly that there are some IT problems that occur more frequently than others.  Experience shows that printers can be a major cause of irritating problems, closely followed by desktops not working properly.  IT Support Companies are well aware of these problems.

Here are here five common IT problems reported by IT Support Companies about desktops and how to avoid and fix them:

  1. I can’t print

    Printer issues

    Even in this day and age of digital convergence and everything online, there is still an atavistic need to print stuff out and write on it.   Users become very frustrated when they can’t print.  The problem can lie in one of three places, the attached printer itself, the desktop, or the direct or networked connection to the printer.

    The first step  is to check if the printer is ok.  Is it switched on, does it have paper, is it out of ink or toner?  Fix any of these conditions.

    A non-technical, but very common problem is an uncleared paper jam.  A small piece of torn paper can be hiding in the works, causing the printer to stay offline.  Clean the paper path.

    Print a self-test page to make sure it’s working.

    The opening step in checking  a problem with a working printer is to see if the desktop can recognise the printer.  In Windows 10, attached printers can be found in the “Printers and Devices” applet within Control Panel.  If it isn’t there, then it needs to be added.

    If it seems to be ok, but the desktop can’t see it, then the connection is faulty.  If it’s a direct connection, check that the cable connecting the printer and the desktop is correctly attached.  If it’s ok, then the desktop may have a badly configured parallel port.

    If it’s a network connection, make sure that the printer is connected to the network and the same network subnet as the desktop.   In both cases, print a self-test page from the printer config applet to make sure it’s working.

  2. Slow computer

    Slow computer

    A user complains that their desktop is very slow.  They can go make a cup of coffee while an app loads and switching between apps takes an age.

    The reasons are many and various.  The desktop could just be an old machine that doesn’t have the horsepower to operate recent operating systems and apps.  It could be short on processor power, memory or disk space.   Perhaps a virus.  Sometimes it’s old programs that are still in the mix  kicking off hidden background apps that consume resources.

    Investigate and fix what needs to be fixed.

  3. Slow Internet

    Slow Internet

    This can be a real can of worms.  The problem could be a badly configured network interface on either the desktop or the Internet interface. A virus could be hogging the bandwidth.  The Internet operates at the speed of the slowest connection to the website you want to visit, so it could just be that you have a slow connection at some point in the chain.

    WiFi has its own problems.  You could be connecting to an oversubscribed access point or you could have a poor WiFi signal if you don’t have direct line of sight or are too far from the access point.

    Again, investigate and fix.

  4. Computer won’t start up

    Computer wont start

    You switch on, and either get the screen of death or nothing at all happens.

    Step one, and it’s not as stupid as it sounds, if nothing happens check that you have power to the desktop. The cleaner could have unplugged you to plug in the vacuum.

    If it does clank and whirr and show a few lights, but you either have the screen of death or a black screen, this can be terminal for your desktop or just a glitch caused by a recent software update.

    Windows 10 should lurch into Automatic Repair mode which may well be able to fix the problem.  If it does work, then the first thing you should do is to backup your important files and data.  That is even possible from Automatic Repair by going into command mode and manually copying files to a flash drive.

    If Automatic Repair doesn’t work, that is serious.  You could have a faulty hard drive or a corrupted operating system.  Either case will mean reinstalling the operating system and possibly losing all your apps and probably data.

  5. Lost files

    Missing file

    Another common user complaint is that they can’t find a data file they just downloaded or downloaded a while back but forgot where they put it. Or it is just plain missing.

    Windows Explorer and third party search apps provide a wealth of search options to help find that missing file.

Most common IT problems are user related, and you will recognise some or all of the above.

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