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Tech Tips for Troubleshooting Your Computer

A broken computer can seriously impede your work flow. Find out how to troubleshoot some basic computer problems in order to avoid losing valuable time and effort to a malfunctioning PC.

A malfunctioning computer can spell disaster for students and office workers alike. Whether you’re a student at  , the , or you’re an employee at a local office, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by knowing how to troubleshoot some common PC problems.

One of the most common computer issues is a significant slowdown in the performance of the computer over time. If your computer is running slow, it can mean your computer is launching too many applications on start up; it can mean you’ve got some malware on your system slowing it down; or it can mean you’re in need of a RAM upgrade.

Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus installed on your computer. If you don’t have one, check out Avast or AVG–both are free, and both do a great job of monitoring your computer for malicious software.

Run a full system scan with your antivirus of choice once a week and you’ll be able to remove most malicious software from your computer.

In order to make sure your computer isn’t starting too many applications when it boots up, you’ll have to open up msconfig and make some changes. In windows XP, open the start menu and click “Run”. Type in “msconfig” and press enter to open it.

In Vista or Windows 7, just type msconfig into the search box at the bottom of the start menu and hit enter.

Once you’re in msconfig, click on the “start up” tab. You’ll see a list of applications with checkboxes next to them. The only checkboxes that should be filled are those for programs you want to run when Windows starts up.

Once you’ve cleaned up the start up section, move on to the “services” tab. At the bottom of the services tab, there’s a checkbox that will hide all of the services from Microsoft – make sure that box is checked.

Uncheck any services you don’t need running all the time. If you’re not sure what a service does, take a second and Google it. Some of the services are tied to the various pieces of software you use, and disabling a service that’s tied to a piece of software could cause performance issues, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re disabling.

If all else fails, you can always reformat your computer using the recovery disc that came with it. By doing so, you’ll be resetting the computer to the way it was when you first bought it, so make sure to back up all of your files before doing this.

You can also boost your computer’s speed by installing additional RAM. You can usually get RAM for a reasonably low price by purchasing it on Amazon, and installing it yourself, but if you’d rather have someone take care of the installation for you, most electronics stores offer free installation when you purchase a stick of RAM from them.

Anyone who owns a Windows PC is familiar with the blue screen of death. Each blue screen lists a STOP error made up of a series of numbers and letters. While they might look like nonsense, those characters actually indicate what went wrong with your computer to cause the BSoD.

This guide will help you decipher those codes, and figure out what went wrong with your computer.

If your web browser’s homepage keeps changing, or if you keep getting a different Web page than what you were expecting when you click on a link, you’ve probably got some spyware on your computer.

Malwarebytes will find, and remove just about any piece of malware on your computer. Fire up the software, let it check for updates, and then run a full scan on your computer. If you’ve got spyware interfering with your web browser, Malwarebytes should take care of it.

You aren’t going to be able to solve every computer problem on your own, but by using these troubleshooting tips, you can eliminate some basic problems without having to go to a repair shop, or contacting the company’s IT guy. 

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