5 Computer Problems You Can Solve Without Calling an IT Help

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Ask users what their pet peeve about an IT Helpdesk is and they will say firstly waiting for their call to be answered, and second, it is something they could have fixed themselves if they only knew how.  If you were to ask an IT Helpdesk what their pet hate is, it is likely to be the utter cluelessness of users who waste their time with trivial problems that they could easily fix themselves.

There are several ways the IT Helpdesk can help to resolve this issue, perhaps starting with having an FAQ for each potential issue that outlines a fix for each. Another way to square the circle is to empower users with the knowledge of how to fix common problems.

Problems can be roughly classified into hardware and software problems.  Here are 5 problems that you can probably fix yourself, at least to the extent of knowing that you need to call the IT Helpdesk for IT support.
The first thing to do when encountering a problem is to sit, take a deep breath, perhaps a warm beverage, and calm down.

The next process is to troubleshoot what the problem is and work out if it’s something you can fix.

The first mantra is “What’s Changed?”. if it was working before and now isn’t, something has changed, and that is likely the root of the problem.  When you have that worked out, and sometimes it’s not obvious, you can decide to try and fix it, or pass the problem to the experts.

  • Power issues

    Power issues

    A very common problem is power, usually the lack of it. If your computer suddenly stops working or won’t start, check power. Make sure all plugs and cables are connected correctly. A restless leg can unplug a power cable.

    It wouldn’t be the first time that a power cut has knocked a PC out.  The answer – if it’s a general power outage, wait for power to be restored.

    If it’s not a general power outage, it might be local. Check the wall plug by plugging something else into it and see if it has power. If it hasn’t, check the distribution board to see if a circuit breaker has tripped. If there is no power at the wall, and no breakers have tripped call an electrician.

    If all is well, change the power cable to the PC with one you know works.   If the PC still has no power, there are several things to check.

    • If the fan in the power supply twitches when you apply power, you have a power supply problem. The PC needs to be replaced. You can probably transfer your existing hard drive to keep your applications and data.
    • If the fan starts up, but nothing else does, you have a component failure and the PC might need to be replaced.   Occasionally, it can be a simple problem, for example, the off-on switch has failed.
    • In both cases, ask a technician to check it out.
  • Blank Monitor

    Blank Monitor

    If the PC powers up, but nothing appears on the monitor, and you know it’s switched on:

    • Check the connecting cable to make sure the monitor is properly connected.
    • Check the monitor power cable.
    • Replace either or both cables.
  • Printer Issues

    Printer Issues

    Even in this age of digital processes, people still want the comfort of a printed report.  However, printing can be one of the biggest problem areas.

    • Check you sent the document to the correct printer.
    • Check the printer has enough paper, and it’s not jammed.
    • Check that there is enough printer ink.
    • Check If there are any messages on the printer console (if there is one).
  • Network Problems

    Network Problems

    How to proceed depends on whether you have a cabled connection or work through WiFi. If a cabled connection suddenly stops working, check the cable connection at the back of the PC and at the wall. Unplug and plug it in again. Replace the cable with a cable you know is working. If this doesn’t work, try the networking troubleshooter.

    If a WiFi connection suddenly drops, there is probably an issue with the access point you are using, the router further up the line, or perhaps even your Internet connection. You will need specialist help to fix it. On the other hand, it could be an intermittent problem and it will fix itself in time.

  • Windows Problems

    Windows Problems

    Most Windows issues can be fixed with the Bill Gates Three-Fingered Salute –   CTRL_ALT_DEL or a restart of the PC. However, that might not work, and perhaps may not be suitable in some situations.

    When you do this a new screen pops up. Choose Task Manager. For a frozen system, select the application you think is freezing your PC and click end task. Hopefully, that will fix things. For other issues, minimise Task Manager and try to work.

     Fortunately, Windows, particularly in Windows 10 and 11 provides a comprehensive range of troubleshooting tools,
    To find them in Windows 10 and 11, go to settings (Windows Flag, then click settings), search for Troubleshoot and choose Additional Troubleshooters. Then choose the most appropriate one.

A lot of PC issues can be solved quickly and easily. The skill lies in recognising when specialist help is needed. For home users, some organisations provide remote and on-site support and business users usually have an IT department to help.

Good Luck.

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