If you own a PC, the question is not whether you will have a tech support issue, but when you will have a tech support issue. Luckily, for most of us, the issues that plague most PCs are easily remedied with just a little bit of calm and knowledge. So put down that phone and prepare to get your hands dirty (while saving yourself from those tech support fees). Here are some of the most common remedies for the problems that ail your PC.
Every Tech Support Call Starts Here
That's right. If you have ever sat through the scripted tech support conversations hoisted upon us by the major manufacturers and service providers, you know where we have to start. Go ahead and restart your computer. Just restarting your computer can solve many issues just by refreshing your system.
Once you are done restarting, check to make sure that all important operating systems and program updates are fully installed. These bug fixes and patches are meant to improve your system or repair problems that exist.
If the issue is not only with your PC but possibly a printer or other peripheral, go ahead and restart these as well. You might consider detaching and reattaching the device as well. Over time, some connections loosen and need to be reseated to guarantee uninterrupted operation.
My Computer Is Slow
Everyone gets that sinking feeling, from time to time, when the PC isn't loading pages or running programs as fast as it used to. Don't fret. There are a number of issues that can cause your PC to seem slow and most have nothing to do with your computer.
The first step is to look at which program seems to be running slower. There are many issues outside of your computer than can cause a slowdown. For example, the video that you want to watch is taking forever to buffer. This can be caused by the video hosting site dealing with heavier than normal traffic, your ISP is experiencing issues, or even someone else in your house is downloading the Library of Congress.
If you are confident that the issue resides in your PC, the next step is to check the free space available on your drive. Many operating systems require free space available to write files and store configurations. If your storage drive is full, your performance will suffer.
The last items that can affect performance are startup programs. If your PC is forced to load many programs into memory right off the bat or if you constantly have multiple programs operating in your system tray then your PC will be wasting precious resources. Fixing this issue on Windows machines requires using Microsoft's System Configurations tool. This is a much more advanced topic that can lead to issues with your OS, so we will leave that up to the more advanced users and a later blog post.
We mentioned possible issues with poor download speeds in the slow computer section above. Keep these issues in mind as you troubleshoot your connection speeds.
The first step to attempting to diagnose download speed issues is to run a speed test. The easiest and most reliable way to accomplish this is to load up speedtest.net. Run the test offered by the site and take a look at your listed speeds. The best results should have your speeds at approximately 5o percent of your ISP's advertised speeds with a latency of under 100ms.
If your speedtest.net numbers look right, check to see if you are downloading or uploading anything. There are several programs, your OS included, that will download updates and patches for installation later without directly informing you.
Lastly, if all else fails, restart your modem and router (if you have one). There may be a conflict or communication error interfering with your download speeds.
If all else fails, call your ISP's support and find out if there are issues on the network in your area.